As promised, here are some more details on my upcoming bid to turn myself into an unseemly public spectacle – and to turn the rest of you into “creative collaborators” in the process.
Q: What are you going to be doing up there?
I shall be dancing. Non-stop. For an hour. Stone cold sober (they reserve the right to test for these things), and trying not to let vertigo get the better of me (there’s a huge safety net, as yet untested by toppling plinthers, but I’m a trusting soul).
Q: What are you going to be dancing to?
A home-made mix of tunes, spliced together as a single, 60-minute MP3. As to what the mix contains: I have a shortlist, I’m already onto the fourth draft, and BLOODY HELL it’s been a struggle thus far. The loose concept is to start the mix with tunes from the upper reaches of the 2009 singles charts. It’s been a vintage year for chart pop – the best in many years, in my estimation – and so I’d like to celebrate that. Thereafter, I shall move on to The Golden Classics That Made Me A Man. Expect 1970s soul/funk/disco evergreens, 1990s dance anthems, and maybe a swift nod to dear old Eurovision. The general vibe will be relentlessly cheerful, bouncy and uptempo. Happy music makes me happy. ‘Twas ever thus.
Q: But Mike, I’ve seen you dance. Are you sure this is wise?
Oh, I’m under no delusions. I’m a crap dancer, and I’m not attempting to turn myself into an object of awestruck wonder and desire. Instead, my aim is to dance – how can I put this? – honestly. “Like there’s nobody watching”, as the saying goes. I’ll be the random stranger that you see in the crowd: lost in his own little space, oblivious to the world beyond his headphones.
Q: But Mike, this is all very well for you – but what about the rest of us? Much as we love you, the prospect of watching you jig about in silence with your headphones on, for a full hour, is hardly an enticing one.
OK, so here’s where this gets a bit more interesting. Well in advance of the day itself, I’ll be making my mix available to anyone who wants a copy. Then when my hour begins, and on a pre-arranged cue, I’ll be inviting you all – whether physically present in Trafalgar Square, or watching the live stream from elsewhere – to un-pause the pause buttons on your MP3 players of choice, and to dance along with me. For what is dancing, if not a social act? (And if nobody else was listening, then I’d just be a self-indulgent berk, pleasuring himself on a perch.)
Q: So it’s basically a Silent Disco, yes?
In a certain sense, but hopefully with a slight twist. If you’re coming to the Square in person – and I very much hope that plenty of you do – then it would be great if you could spread yourselves out a bit, find a spot of your own, and dance along in the same spirit: tuned out from your physical surroundings, lost in your own little world, not caring what you look like to anyone else. And if that means minimal jiggling rather than full-on flailing, then that’s fine – as long as you’re comfortable, and as long as you’re dancing honestly.
If it all works, then other observers and passers-by will hopefully witness a curious, vaguely mystifying spectacle: a seemingly regular crowd of random strangers, subtly subverted by a smattering of lone individuals, all happily lost in their music and doing their things. Separately, and yet together.
(I’m also toying with the idea of giving you occasional instructions along the way, overlaid within the mix: a jump to the right here, a jump to the left there, maybe the odd hands-aloft moment during a chorus, but nothing too tricky or absurd. I’m thinking that these occasional bursts of synchronicity could add another dimension to the mystery. But we shall see.)
Q: Will you be using any props?
Nope – just a plain, unadorned plinth. I hate those little plonked-down bags of crap that plinthers take up with them. They’re just not sculptural, darlings.
Q: And what will you be wearing?
Probably just a T-shirt and jeans, in plain, dark colours. Or maybe I’ll wear my smartest suit and tie. I haven’t quite decided yet. What do you think?
Q: Any plans for later on?
I’d like it very much if you could join me and K in the pub afterwards, for a post-plinth de-brief and a mutual bout of self-congratulation. There are some people coming along who I’ve wanted to meet for ages, and there will be others who I haven’t caught up with in way too long. As to which pub: I don’t know the area, so does anyone have any suggestions?
(This would also be a good moment to mention that Heidi “H Factor” Stephens – you know, her what live-blogs the telly for The Guardian – will be plinthing later the same night, at 1:00 am. So if you haven’t made it home by then, why not turn up and cheer her on?)
Q: I’ll be otherwise engaged on the night, so I’m going to miss the whole thing. Boo! Waah! Not fair!
No matter; the whole performance will be archived on the official website. So whenever you’re overcome by the irresistable urge to watch Mike off Troubled Diva prancing about in the name of Art, at any time of the day or night, all you’ll need to do is click, sit back, and enjoy. Isn’t the modern world wonderful?