Mind the gap on ‘No Pants Day’
Four years of a phenomenon since it first came to London’s Tube and by now surely most commuters are clued up as to what the trouser-less were up to on the Piccadilly line yesterday. The annual “No Trousers Tube Ride” (originally the No Pants Subway Ride, commonly confused with ‘No Pants day’ which happens in late May) took place worldwide as the brainchild of a New York prank collective, Improv Everywhere whose website boasts that in 60 cities from over 25 countries participants attempt to cause “scenes of chaos and joy in public places.” London has a long way to go yet reaching the numbers seen in New York where it originated but so do other notable cities such as Paris, Beijing and Amsterdam.
Strictly nothing political or charitable is associated with the event which seems a change from the cause-centric collective activities of student protests, riots and ‘slut-walking’. It simply provides an opportunity for light-hearted mischief that possibly confuses if not bewilders some of its spectators. “A celebration of silliness” is how Improv Everywhere’s founder describes the act of boarding on underground carriages with the only unusual feature of being one’s lack of trousers. The London leg of the event only required two things from its participants:
1. Willing to take trousers off on the Tube.
2. Able to keep a straight face about it.
What would cause any sane individual to do this in the middle of winter just as the first snowfall of the year begins? Actually, not a lot time is spent exposed to the elements; this is specifically required to happen on the subway. It is nonetheless prone to disconcerting looks and reactions from the onlookers. Yes, let us mind the gap between spectator and participant. In Brisbane, even police officers joined in the fun, telling unaware passengers that they are in a ‘no-pants’ carriage. There is something fascinating about why this solely happens on the tube where everyone participates in the daily flash mob of silent reflection.
A quirky prank that can be easily imagined as a genuine mistakes on the part the clumsy Miranda Hart somewhat reflects society’s fanaticism for flash mob culture. In her series, Miranda finds it difficult to leave her inner child behind and is often caught without her trousers on. But surely organised fun is not necessary to rediscover our inner child? It is, however, crucial to inspiring the bystanders who were simply not interested in the first place. Whereas the trouser-less might call it liberating, some observers might view it as mild exhibitionism.
For one, it has created discussion by making its way onto mainstream media, when individuals are now increasingly becoming isolated from conversational interaction with the increase of tasks now easily carried out online; shopping, learning, socialising etc. This might reveal why there seems to be such an appetite for collaborative activities made easier by social media and networking. So far it has caused no chaos but to ensure it continues to cause joy, abide by the adage that if you “can’t beat them, join them.”Tagged in: metro, No Pants Day, no trousers, NY, tube, underfround
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