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Flash Mobs

Updated on November 9, 2010

Flash Mobs are a phenomenon of this decade. A Flash Mob is a group of people gathering together in a seemingly random fashion. There is no reason to pick anyone of them out as being out of the ordinary. Until, they begin doing something totally unexpected and out of the ordinary. It happens in a public place or sometimes in a quasi-public place such as a shopping mall or a subway train but at anytime something truly amazing can happen and it will be done by ordinary folks. A Flash Mob is evidence that even in this modern, technological and Oh-So-Politically-Correct world. There are an awful lot of us who just want to have fun.

Flash mobs began as a prank. For a long time it was unclear who first had the idea until Bill Wasik, senior editor of New York’s Harper’s magazine, admitted it was his idea of a lark.

In May 2003 Bill created an e-mail address. then forwarded to himself an e-mail to meet at a certain location in Manhattan. He then forwarded it on to about 40 friends. They forwarded it on further. On the day about 300 people gathered in front of a store. Unfortunately the police had been tipped off and they had the place protected. They feared something awful was going to happen. The next time Bill sent out an e-mail where he had people gather at four separate locations. The instructions were given just before the Mob began. This time it worked and from then on the idea snowballed around the world with Flash Mobs springing up everywhere. Some were quite intricate while others were very simple.

The largest ever took place in Paris on March 8th 2008. Approximately 3,000 people showed up and while walking around quite normally, suddenly froze in place and kept it for 10 minutes. Then, all at the same time, they just started moving again as though nothing had happened.

Another Flash Mob that was much more intricate and required a lot of rehearsal took place in the Welsh city of Swansea. This was done to promote the Musical Show “Cappucino Girls” The title song is sung by Bonnie Tyler, or Gaynor Hopkins as she is known to the local folks in Swansea.

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Though Bill got his idea in 2003, something similar had been going on since August 2001.Charlie Todd created a company called “Improv Everywhere” with the byline “We cause scenes” These are much smaller groups of people, associated with the company, who meet in a pre-determined location. They act like ordinary folk going about their business, and then they will suddenly put on a show. After it’s over they carry on with what they were doing before as though they were just ordinary shoppers, pedestrians or whoever.

So watch out. At the most unlikely time and in the most unlikely place;



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