Saturday, 5 April 2014

International Pillow Fight Day

Today was International Pillow Fight Day and I was looking forward to celebrating it for the first time.

The last time I remember having a pillow fight was when I was about 10 years of age. I was sleeping over at my friend Ben Hughes' house. I remember having a pillow fight - but it not being my idea - and I remember Ben's dad shouting at me - something that was quite out of character for him - because in a moment of overzealousness, I had caught Ben's younger brother - who I think was called Adam? though I might be remembering that wrongly - who was 3 years younger than we were and therefore a whole lot smaller than we were too, full in the face and a little harder than I had intended. Inadvertently making him cry. Which I wouldn't mind except he was always whimpering about something!

I'm 100% sure that I've had pillow fights since. Me and my younger sister would have pillow fights and one of our favourite games was to recreate the TV show Gladiators. Saracen was my favourite Gladiator and it was my long time dream - in the years before I realised I wouldn't grow up to be 6 foot 3 and built like a WWF wrestler - to be a contestant on the show. And I'm sure that these recreations involved pillow fights in some form (for sure during a recreation of the classic game Duel).

Play fighting is also very much a part of flirting etiquette - or at least a solid part of mine - and so there's no doubt that I have had pillow fights with a few of the girls I've liked over the years. So it's not that I haven't had a pillow fight in the last 20 years. It's just that I can't remember when.

But I've never celebrated International Pillow Fight Day before and I've never been part of a giant pillow fight either. But hopefully that was about to change. The plan was to head to Trafalgar Square where thousands of people would be gathering for a giant pillow fight - one of many planned for cities around the globe.

Only things didn't quite turn out as planned. Firstly most of my - few close London based - friends couldn't make it due to being away for the weekend, working or moving flats etc but there was still a couple of us up for heading down. Except then we heard that event was cancelled and decided not to go. But was it really cancelled? The Mayors office certainly wanted you people think so. I believe it was even printed in Time Out - where I originally read about the event - that the event had been cancelled.

So it looked like being a little pointless in going down. But in the end - I hadn't made any alternative plans - I thought I would go down and see what happens. I didn't take a pillow - which I would maybe regret - but I took my camera.

And it seems like Boris's office were just being a little naughty. For some reason or other they didn't want the mass pillow fight to take place and so they had tried to convince everyone that it had been cancelled.

But before I even got there, it was clear that although some people might have been put off from attending. Not everyone had been.

 And when I did get there it was extremely busy.

Was there enough people to break a world record? The current World Record of 3,706 was set in Chicago last October and there were a lot of people at Trafalgar Square but I don't think it was enough for a new record. What a great way to be able to tick "set a new world record" off my list that would have been.

But regardless of numbers the pillow fight was well and truly on.

And it looked like so much fun. So much so I nearly picked up a pillow I saw lying on the floor and started hitting random people around me. But I felt a little too self conscious (unfortunately) and just took pictures of others enjoying themselves instead :(

There seemed to be a lot of other people doing this too. Maybe more people taking pictures than were pillow fighting? I think a lot of the people there seemed to be just passing - many of whom appeared to be tourists - and upon seeing what was going on stopped to take a photo or ten.

But - despite the event being "cancelled" people had turned up - pillows in hand - in force. & I'm not too sure what Boris' reason for trying to ban the event were? Maybe he doesn't like people having fun? Maybe it was on safety grounds? I doubt that! No, I think it's more likely because they weren't getting paid to use Trafalgar Square and also maybe because there was bound to be quite a mess to clean up.

There were literally feathers everywhere.

They were in the air all around me and I certainly sneezed a fair few times.

So - whatever their reasons - they made up some excuse about construction work to barricade Trafalgar Square off.

Leaving in completely empty.

However, if they were at all concerned about safety? By fencing off Trafalgar Square they only made the situation more dangerous by squeezing the many, many pillow fighters into the narrow strip of concrete between  the square and The National Gallery. It was quite claustrophobic in there!

All in all though I think the event was quite a success. People turned up inmass, had fun and as far as I'm aware went home without anyone getting hurt. I hope that it goes ahead again next year without the mayors office attempts to disrupt it.

Because although a success for the organisers. Yesterday was quite frustrating and somewhat of a failure for me personally. But I hope to join in in a mass pillow fight soon. Hopefully I will make it along to one of the monthly events held by Focal Local - who host lots of fun other events - and if not there is always next year!

Happy Pillow Fighting :)

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