Sunday, 6 April 2014

Pillow Fight Day ... the cushiony cudgel of ick

Yesterday was Pillow Fight Day in London. I had heard that the Fight was going to be cancelled, with TimeOut reporting the Greater London Authority as saying that the majority of Trafalgar Square would be fenced off at the scheduled hour for some (in)conveniently timed maintenance. Nothing to do with the reported £2000 clean-up cost from last year, of course...

However, I happened to be heading towards the National Gallery at 2.55pm, and found the Pillow Fight very much about to be taking place. There must have been a few thousand more people than normal sardined into the Square, a good few hundred of them armed with pillows, with dozens more streaming in every second from every direction, and those not holding pillows craning for a better view from every pole, fence and statue pedestal:

The Pillow Fight crowd - the fighters themselves were left of picture

I immediately abandoned all hope of visiting the Gallery, but stood and watched until the countdown hit zero and the feathers began to fly.

As I then wandered off in search of something I could do without having to force my way through a whirling, pumelling throng, two thoughts struck me.

The first was: how many new pillows would have to be bought for the commercial benefit of the Fight to pay for the cost of the cleanup? The cheapest pillow on John Lewis's website is £6, but presumably they sell out of those pretty quickly, even if they do judiciously stock up with extras for PFD.

However, as I headed away from the Square with the fighting still going on, plenty of people were still making their way in the opposite direction clutching pillows, eager to get involved, and I noticed that at least a few of them were holding pillows that were clearly not newly bought, but rather were marbled with antiquating cartographies of sweat and drool stains. Which prompted thought two: how much human and microbiological gunk are these pillows saturated with - said gunk soon to be battered over the heads of strangers and blasted into the air? If this story in the DM is to be believed, rather a lot.

Come to think of it, I do have a bit of a sore throat this morning...

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