Last Saturday me and Dani played in Leeds, and again I had lots of fun!
To warm up we started with the steps to Leeds City Museum (which recently housed a performance of Ballet Lorent's 'Designer Bodies'). We had been there about 5 minutes and I was hanging over a hand rail, head down,feet in the air, when a woman from the museum told me 'this is not a playground. Please can you stop hanging on the bars'.
We moved on to space in front of the art gallery. It is very interesting to note the change of space completely changes the public's reaction. The museum is new, its grand, we should be proud and respectful to the building (and why playing isn't is another thing. But I get the feeling there distaste for us 'messing' about also comes from a fear of law suits..). Outside the art gallery people receive things much more openly. They tend to watch with an amused smile. Its a much more open environment.
At this point two of my friends from NSCD, Hayley and Becky, joined in the fun. I think at first there was the initial feeling of 'er, what do I do?' but after a few minutes they warmed in to it and Becky did say she had a lot of fun swinging round a lamppost.
Finally we headed to Briggate, the main pedestrian shopping street in Leeds. On the floor there is a diamond shaped pattern with bricks that are a different colour to the rest of the pavement. Dave, Dani's boyfriend and our trusty camera man, suggested that we follow this pattern the whole length of Briggate.
Four people doing pin steps along the edge of the diamond has a great effect. Not long after we started Becky piped up from the back of the line 'someone just called me a weirdo!'. We made it as a foursome about half way down, at which point Hayley and Becky left to refuel. Me and Dani carried on, trying to be inventive with our walks.
We had sweets thrown at us, chewing gum thrown at us, kids teenagers mimicking us (they quickly got bored) and a man flyering who shouted 'I like these girls' lets join them! and got some kids to funny walk with us. The kids spent their short participation with us saying 'what we doin? what we doin? what we doin?'.
All in all we had a good day in the city. On reflection I realised that 1. it makes people nervous to see adults playing. its not 'normal' therefore they are not sure how to respond. 2. using the space in such a different way really effects our response to it, well mine at least. As I mentioned, in my earlier playing in the city blog, I hate English town centers on a Saturday, but when I am playing I don't notice the shopping zombies. I think last week was the first time I left town on a Saturday feeling recharged rather than drained.
Footage coming soon!