A Morris Man is on the plinth; Mr Indie Karaoke is on the cherry picker about to swop over and I'm up in 60 mins. It's baltic outside.
Category Archives: 4th Plinth
It turns out that like motorcycling, harmonica playing is genetically predetermined. Talking to my dad about my Plinth Plans, he revealed that in an effort to stave off boredom in the sanatorium (every single one of the diseases of post-war childhood had a go at killing off my dad: fortunately for me, unsuccessfully) he decided to join a trio of pyjama-clad percussionists on the harmonica. I’m not sure which is the greater challenge, playing chromatic with TB or playing diatonic 26 feet above Trafalgar Square. I guess I’ll find out on Thursday!
PS That’s not my cool kit in the photo – it’s all on loan from the fabulous Steve Lockwood. (apart from the roll of prayer flags) (and the Conga Girl badge.)
In 5 days it will all be over and I will hopefully be drawing a sigh of relief and wondering what to do with 5 inflatable motorcycles. I love the great writing which motorcycling inspires in people and I have been puzzling over how to make that manifest on the plinth without having to stand there and read any of it out loud, because I suck at public oration.
Inspiration struck this morning, and in slight trepidation at the possible insult to Buddhism, I have made biker prayer flags. I’m going to fly them from the string on one of my sets of balloons and they will send inspirational words about riding into the London dawn.
I’ll do proper links later but the writers I’ve included are the incomparable and much-missed Hunter S Thompson, Dan Walsh, Melissa Holbrook Pierson, Lois Pryce, and Teresa Wallach. I’ve also made a flag which quotes “On the Move” by Thom Gunn, which speaks to the soul. If I’m going to read anything out loud it will be this, as Plinth Day is also National Poetry Day. But I may not be brave enough.
These are the rules for what is allowed to happen on the plinth – “in answer to the questions you posed in your email, due to hell and safety reasons all naked flames are banned from the plinth. This includes candles, lighters, matches, barbeque…..etc. Sharp objects may be taken up but must be attached to your body.”
Also – no pressure – but Gerald has set the bar pretty high…
“It seemed like a good idea at the time” will be my epitaph. And I will have it written on a big piece of paper that I will stare at very hard at 4.59 am on Thursday 8th October as a cherry-picker deposits me on the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square as one of the 2,400 people taking part in One and Other.
The rules are that I can do anything I want as long as it is legal. I’m not allowed to take Ruby with me, unless I learn to benchpress a large German motorcycle: here’s the full wording: “You are welcome to bring anything you yourself can carry onto the plinth. You might want to bring warm clothes (especially if your time slot is during the night), a book, an umbrella, some food or drink, props, or even a small, battery-powered amplifier.”
Props are going to be essential – I had a walk past today, a guy was sitting up there with a briefcase and a mobile phone, barely visible from the ground and certainly inaudible. Also, my slot is 5am so it’s going to be dark, though there are floodlights.
A quick google reveals that there have been at least 2 other bikers, both women, taking their turn on the plinth – Spark, who wanted to reflect her personality as a “proud biker,” and MotorcycleRachel, who got a bike up there courtesy of Scooterman and looks absolutely fantastic pulling wheelies and riding no-hands. I want to celebrate what motorcycling means to me, and that’s community. But how to make that visible?
I’m thinking at the moment that what might work is to ask all the bikers I know, and all the bikers they know, for three things:-
– a photo of a bike they love
– a word that says why they love riding
– and the name of the person they love to ride with
and I’ll find a way of displaying these on the plinth. A bit like Tracy Emin’s tent, but less smutty.
The next art project for the “Fourth Plinth” at Trafalgar Square is an invititation from Antony Gormley to be one of 2,400 people who will stand on the plinth for an hour each.
If chosen I would be allowed to take “anything you yourself can carry onto the plinth.” Not sure this would include Ruby….