Friday, 5 February 2010

Day 5: Friday - Identity and Covent Garden

Woooo...such a good day, I'm actually too shattered to go out tonight *shock* (I KNOW)

Still, I made my way to the wellcome collection building, on the bus, no drama...It was pretty empty. The bus stop just had a guy and his girl, who couldn't stand near me and stood behind a poster or something. Fair play to her. Her boyfriend wasn't quite as sympathetic and carried on sending a text (sms) message on his phone.

I was waiting for my friend outside the building...and had the walkers by doing the usual triple take. A few actually came to a halt and stared. As I had my headphones on - and was playing with my phone - I didn't do much. I waved sometimes but just looked straight back at them for the most. And they looked back, and I looked at them, and they were then truly satisfied with what they saw and moved on. Should I be charging money for that?

Anyway, I took a picture!

I think that pretty much defines me right now, this is purely curiosity. You can call it a performance, you can call it a social experiment...hell you can call it a Banana for all I care. I like learning, and if it can be done in a "hands-on" manner then I'm a happy bunny :-)

So she shows up and we go inside. First thing's first is a bag check. The security guy is glaring at me, and I know full well what the issue is.

"Y'alright?" says I, "Yeah I'm fine thanks, I need to see your face."

I grin, "Really..."

"Yes" says he. I take off my hood for a split second, "Not much difference really is there?"

"No, but I must see your face" he replied.

Now...just for the record...I have a shaved head and I shave my eyebrows. So other than my eyes, ears, nose, cheekbones, mouth and jawline....I'm pretty much the same!

Anywho, we go to the exhibition...being architect students (Well I'm an ex-student and she's taking a year off) we were obsessing about the temporary space, as opposed to the actual exhibition! The people were all well and good and the DNA and fingerprints and stuff about twins was interesting, but the Discovery Channel did me some good as a kid. We walked around, some people looked at me and were startled. A lot didn't though, they looked at me in a thoughtful manner...

We walked around a bit more, generally catching up on stuff (after we were told off about there being no photography, I turned on my audio recorder) and at the end took some pictures outside the exhibition.

Whilst I was standing inside the exhibition and she was outside taking photos, I noticed this couple standing to the side of me...the lady especially, looking at me quite intently!

I've tried cleaning up the audio as best I can:

Good times! I never thought that people would think I'd be angry/upset if they came and spoke to me. It's always been the other way round...but I guess it makes sense!

So onwards and take a detour into Oxford Street before Covent Garden. On the bus, people were staring as usual but as it was the end of a school day, there was a gaggle of girls on there. About half of them were staring, not even remotely switched onto to the idea that i was looking back. Until I waved. It was at one specific girl and she quickly hid behind another girl who was engrossed in some other conversation. I kept on looking in her direction and she kept on popping out to see if I had looked away. Every time she did I waved quickly and had my hand over my mouth in a shy manner too.

We got off the bus, and we ended up playing leap-frog with the bus as the traffic was pretty thick. I didn't realise until the second time the bus moved by me that the girl had now found a seat on the pedestrian side and she was still staring at me. So the game carried on. I'd wave ecstatically at her but now she had another friend and they'd both giggle back and wave a little. Awesome.

Walking back towards Covent Garden, I spied a white top hat....Oh yes I did!! And the impulsive creature in me was more than awake today, so I bought it. It wasn't dear, and it's pretty good. Though when I went into the shop, the two shop keepers were looking at me. One looked like he was about ready to throw me out whilst the other was smiling - I waved back. I saw the hat I wanted and walked up to them asking if I could try it on. The younger - more stand-offish - of the two immediately said, "show me your face. I have CCTV, show me your face" to which I said, "Mate, I've got my driving license and my passport in my bag, you can see my eyes quite clear...." he interjected, "NO, for CCTV I must see your face".

I don't know what took over me but I refused to take my hood off. It really didn't make sense why he was being so uptight. I was going go buy something from his shop. My wallet was in my hand, I'd already identified what I wanted and he was freaking out. So I just said, "You know, I was actually going to buy something from you. But if you're going to be a d**k, then it's really not worth it" ...Oops.

The elder of the two hushed the hot-head down and asked me in a calm manner, "which hat would you like, madam?" Instant diffusing of an unnecessary situation. I walked back to the hat I wanted, sat way up in the heavens and we chatted. I apologised for my reaction, and he shrugged it of saying that it is a bit intimidating. Still, cash exchanged, product bagged and we all left with a smile...except for the stroppy lad at the back of the shop still stabbing me with his beady little eyes.

Top hat in tow! We went off to Covent Garden. I went by Capezio to see if they had any tap shoes in store but they didn't *cries*.

On the way there, I was looking at window displays. Another idea i wanted to do, was to go stand in one for like 10 minutes, but that would require A) more balls (metaphorical ones!!!) and B) more organisation. As today was totally last minute. Still, there were some cool ones with bunny ears on, and a black mannequin inside a shop, i sat on a moped next to's pretty funny. You'll have to wait till i get the pictures to see them!

Initially I was going to stand in Covent Garden with my hat on staying perfectly still until someone looked at me, but it was quite busy and i bottled it at the last minute. Instead, opting to go stand next to the mimes who are always there and having a picture taken, then other people taking my picture..then trying to walk off...then being asked to stop for a minute...then pretending I didn't hear them, hehe.

So in Paperchase I'm idling around, and there are these two girls who are hovering around me like fruit flies:

As you've noticed I didn't have the top hat on...yet. Once we left the shop I took it out and got a few pictures done. Whilst that was going on, I spied two "bobby's" walking around with the classic hats and everything. I think this has turned from paranoia into a slight obsession...If they're not going to get me, I'm going to say hello to them first! So, with my bright white top hat on, and not wearing my sleeveless jacket, I marched in the direction of them and was quite amused at their change in facial expressions as they turned around to an initial (and ever so girly/damsel-in-distress", "Excuse me???"

One of the two just laughed, whilst the other kept a straight face and said, "Can I help you??" I replied saying, "Yes you can actually. Would you mind terribly if I had a picture taken with you two??"

They obliged whilst asking me what I was up to and why and then said their good byes and idly walked on, with a smile.

With little time left, we walked through the market square...

Before finally saying good bye, we spied a red telephone box...I now think I understand what my mum was spewing about when I was younger...doing pretty much the same thing..."Show-off". I got in that telephone box and started climbing out of it. I think it took about 2 minutes before a large group of people formed taking pictures and such. A smaller group came up and asked me what the performance was all about. I grinned and said, "Nothing really. I was bored today and fancied coming out" I don't think they actually understood...ho hum, I got a picture with them anyway.

Top hat packed away, and a hug and a good bye, and I walked back to Holborn (about a 6 minute walk) and stood at the bus stop to get home. More of the same, although these two ladies who were initially a good 15/20 meters away, slowly migrated to being right next to the post i was leaning against, staring at me...REALLY HARD! I know the light was dim and all, but damn woman! THEY startled me! When I next looked to my left. So after an initial, "Oh sh**" I looked at them again and waved at them. Only THEN, did that break their concentration and one lady turned a bright shade of red, even at that time of the evening. Whilst the other just turned away.

They walked around me, and sat within the bus stop, still looking at me.

Bus and all..As usual it was jam packed, and when I needed to get off, I turned invisible to everyone. So a loud "OI" seems to work :-). Today though, a "suit" was really helpful and pushed a lot of people out of my way too.

"Aww, thank you!! Have a good evening!"


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