My mother doesn’t own a computer, she has no desire to own one, and her interest in the Internet barely registers as negligible. And yet on her most recent visit, we could scarcely drag her away from the laptop on the kitchen table, such was her fascination for one particular site.
Glued, she was, to the live stream from the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square, where a constant procession of cheery blokes in chicken suits, bubble-blowing ladies in capes, middle-aged lecturers, twee librarians, mumbling texters and other assorted show-offs kept her entertained and enthralled. Anthony Gormley’s “One & Other” project has already been dubbed “Big Brother for the middle classes” – and if my mother’s reaction is anything to go by, then the dubber was spot-on.
There was, however, an additional dimension.
Once again, I sense that you are ahead of me.
On Thursday September 17th, between 18:00 and 19:00, I shall be confounding my vertigo in the name of Conceptual Art, by mounting the plinth and placing myself on public display. And you are all invited to come and watch me.
Even before filling in the application form, I knew what I would do if picked. Quite simply, I’m going to dance. Non-stop. For an hour.
Now, you might be forgiven for thinking that for a 47-year old with a sticky-out beer belly and lamentable co-ordination skills – who has always compensated with limbs-akimbo enthusiasm for what he so patently lacks in technique – this might all be a little… undignified. But the way I see it is this: I’m too old for nightclubs, I’m the wrong age to get invited to many weddings, and yet I still LOVE dancing: sociably, in public spaces, with all the happy communality and shared, channelled emotion that goes with the territory.
Faced with such diminishing opportunites, my decision is merely a practical one. If there’s nowhere else left for me to shake my protuberant tushie, then I shall just have to create my own, eight-metre high, 1.7 metre wide space, slap bang in the middle of the London rush hour.
Tomorrow, I’ll explain how this foolhardy (yet artistically valid) little venture is going to work – and, crucially, how you can all join in, even if you’re on the other side of the world.