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Plinth Plannings

One and OtherOn August 2nd, from 1600-1700, I’ll be standing alone on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. I’ll be there as part of Antony Gormley’s art project, which will see 2400 people inhabit the plinth for 100 straight days, an hour at a time. Once up there I can do anything I want, provided it’s legal. I’m quite excited.

I’m extremely lucky to have such a good slot – a Sunday afternoon is great, when it could just as easily be 0300-0400 on a Wednesday – and I want to make the most of it. I’ve been watching the live video feed, and I don’t want to be another guy-who-lols-about-for-an-hour (a lolplinther, presumably). But what to do?

I don’t know yet. I’d like it to be properly lovely – like arrange for the entire square to get a free balloon / fortune cookie / cuddly toy. Failing that, here’s what I have so far:

  1. Slowly assemble a bunch of mechanical parts, which turn out to be a jetpack, then fly off.
  2. Set up a tripod and take enough pictures to assemble an incredibly high-quality 360degree panorama of the square, which I could then put online somehow.
  3. Hand out origami paper cranes.
  4. Hold a ‘There’s probably no god, now stop worrying and enjoy your life’ sign.
  5. Attempt to lead the crowd in a mass ‘Thriller’.
  6. Use a camera, laptop and portable printer to take and print portraits of passing couples, and hand them over for free in return for their taking & emailing a picture of me. Then afterwards assemble all their shots into a collage.
  7. Stand there with a baton, pick out a ‘random’ guy below, and begin conducting. ‘Random’ guy produces a flute, say, and plays a couple of tunes at my command. I then summon a nearby guitar player, etc., leading eventually to a full brass band marching into Trafalgar Square.
  8. Adopt the pose, in costume, with hired cheerleaders beneath.
  9. Blow enormous bubbles with some kind of awesome bubble-machine.
  10. Assemble a screen + projector, and lead the crowd in a T-mobile style singalong.
  11. Finally, as my mother put it, “Could you not use the opportunity to get yourself a woman?”. I twittered this ‘idea’, and it has been popular beyond all rational understanding. The initial concept was to hold a sign saying ‘Like what you see?’ and an email address. This was then extended to vetting possible women from the safety of an unassailable plinth – sure, I’d have to come down after an hour, but what an hour. Finally it was suggested I assemble an enormous calendar, detailing for the women of the world the days on which I’m free1, and try to fill it.

…some of which are ok, some of which are obviously over-ambitious, and some of which are actually impossible. Nothing’s quite grabbed me yet. I keep imagining David Copperfield style illusions: I reckon the ultimate plinther is the one who makes themselves vanish for an hour. Or levitate.

Hmmmm. Hmm. Do feel free to leave brainwaves in the comments.

  1. shut up []


  1. Stand perfectly still for 40 minutes then burst into 'Never Gonna Give You Up'.

  2. You jammy git!
    I was watching some of this today, came home and signed up for the draw – and then saw that you had got chosen.
    Can't you do some magic tricks?
    How about selling advertising space on your clothes?

    • I did consider magic tricks, but I'm not sure I have an hour's worth…Maybe I could try to repopulate the square with pigeons by producing one every minute.

      Advertising space on clothes is inspired. Or maybe I could pick some random bakery in Hertfordshire, spend an hour promoting them, and see if they notice.

      • You could be like Barcelona, who promote Unicef for free on their shirts. Or just wear a 'Vote for Skuds in Horsham' shirt :)

        How about putting up a banner with your mobile number on it so anyone down below can call you for a chat? (Using a cheap pay-as-you-go SIM for the day) It might even help acheive your mother's not-so-hidden agenda!

        Or.. dress up as Doctor Who with the brown suit and Converse All-Stars. Could fool a few people from a distance.

        • I'd like to see someone on a plinth in full Doctor getup pointing a sonic screwdriver at the sky and making cryptic remarks about some ship that's meant to be up there.

          • Like it. And deflect the occasional Cyberman invasion of the square, while one of those frozen street-entertainers creeps closer every time I'm not looking.

        • Bribes gladly accepted.

          A guy last week did that and got quite a few phone calls. Mainly to ask why he was dressed as a panda, mind.

  3. what about organising a flashmob or three? One every 15 mins?

  4. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



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