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This was my 2005 Cross Stitching Blog. I've now moved the current entries to http://seasidestitcher.blogspot.com
Here's me at Santacon which was held in London on Saturday 17th December!
Because I got asked this so many times during the day, I've prepared the following FAQ. Seems a good way to start off this blog entry:
The Santacon FAQ
The day started by meeting at the Shakespear's Head which is a Weatherspoon's Pub in Holborn at 12:00 noon. I arrived at the meeting point early (incognito with my Santa costume in a carrier bag) with the intention of eating something to line my stomach before the consumption of any alcohol. As I was ordering my food, the first two Santas arrived and had the same idea - Santa had a fried breakfast.
In the next hour or so the Santas trickled in individually or in small groups and this created bemused looks from the other patrons - they realised something was up - but couldn't quite figure out just what was going on. Eventually the sea of red grew and I figured it was now time to don my own santa suit. It was only a santa hat, santa jacket, skirt and a belt. The skirt didn't seem very substantial so I kept my black dress on underneath which later on resulted in me being called "Goth Santa". A big "Hi" to Ruth Santa with the camera whom I met in the ladies.
The sea of red grew even bigger. Soon the "normal" pub goers were much in the minority and to be honest there wasn't anywhere for them to sit or even stand even if they had wanted to brave the santa-infested pub. I got out my camera to take some pictures, but to my dismay found that the rechargable batteries were flat, BUM! but so many other people were taking pictures that there was going to be plenty posted on the net so I didn't worry too much. All the pics that I've posted on here are from other Santa's online photo albums.
The Santas left the Shakespear's head at approximately 1:15 and stopping traffic as they crossed the road headed off down the street to the Grand Lodge of the Freemasons. They wouldn't let us in the door!
We next walked down "Drury Lane" (there was no muffin man) and to the Skating Rink set up inside the grounds of Somerset House. Some of the Santa's vaulted over the barrier and did "Santa on Ice" impersonations before being escorted off the ice by the ice marshalls. Then approx a third of the santas (including me) did an impromptu conga around the rink and into the cafe until a spoil sport security guard close the door and refused to let any more into the cafe area.
After leaving the ice rink, and stopping of at a few pubs on the Strand the Santa procession headed towards Trafalgar Square and Nelson's Column (see picture at the top of this blog entry). It was a really surreal experience being a part of the santa-throng. People's reactions were strange, when they first spotted the first couple of santas they would stare at your strange costume as if you were nuts, then when they realised just how many Santas there were they would spontaneously emote, smiling, laughing or grabbing for the camera phones or digital cameras. The number of people we passed talking on their mobiles about the amazing Santa invasion was beyond count.
I arrived at Trafalgar Square towards the tail end of the Santas and was atonished to see so many already climbing up Nelson's column. The pedestal base was already a sea of red. I went and stood in front of the column like many of the other lady santa's were doing. I didn't want to climb up on the bottom plinth as this was as tall as my head. Thousands of people were taking pictures of the spectacle. I'm very surprised that none of those pictures made the news as we did have reporters following us around all day too.
After singing several carols on Nelson's Column the Santa's started to disperse the square, heading towards Picadilly Circus where we posed for more pictures and sung more carols on the steps of Eros.
We invaded the Virgin Megastore at Picadilly. The tall black security guard really didn't want to let us in, but 300+ Santas changed his mind and he just stood there in the door talking into his walkie talkie and shaking his head in disbelief as we filed in past him. The Santas went up the stairs and did a conga around the CD section (some asshole santas deliberately knocking CDs off the shelves). As we left Virgin, there was a police van parked outside and the police dogged our tales around London for the following several hours to ensure that there was no further trouble.
Next we headed up to Leicester Square and were delighted to find a small fairground therein. The santas went on all the rides, I rode the carousel. There was a flying swing ride, and that was very fun to watch with Super Santa flying around on a swing in the classic superman pose with his red cape billowing behind him.
From Leicester Square, pausing at the Hog's Head where the Santa's refueled on yet more alcohol - a lot of us stayed out on the pavement here as the pub wasn't big enough for all of us, there was quite a bit of horseplay outside the pub, I can remember a Michael Jackson santa moonwalking in front of a black cab in the street!
New Santas were joining us now as the original crew dimished from over-indulgence in alcohol. We approached Soho and walked along the market street. We came across an animatronic santa outside one of the shops, and all of the santas bowed down to him when he danced and then sung carols at him. The shop owner was in tears of laughter.
We left Soho and stopped at a nearby eatery that sold Pork BBQ Ribs, it sounded very tasty, and the management claimed that they could serve 300 people in less than an hour, I didn't believe this claim though because they only had 75 seats in their downstairs restaurant! So I skipped the ribs, and made a small detour around the corner into Oxford Street proper and visited the Macdonalds that was there. During the course of the day I'd forgotten that I was wearing the Santa suit, it had just become a normal part of my clothes, but that few minutes of exposure as a lone santa brought so many stares from the Oxford Street shoppers. In MacDonalds this old man approached me and said "you're dressed like Father Christmas", yeah! Duh!...... I didn't bother answering him, just thinking that he didn't realise there were another 300-400 of us just around the corner. Imagine the shock he'd get when he saw that lot!
After finding food, the Santas then proceeded to invade Oxford Street. Yes, on the last Saturday before Christmas you can imagine how busy it was, and there we were 400 Santas walking up the middle of the street. There were piles of horse crap in the road (from the police horses that were trying to marshall us up the street), everyone was walking past pointing out the "Rudolph Poo".
As we walked up the street, Yomas (the guy we were following around the town because he had the loud hailer that was keeping us all together), stopped at a bus stop. We all crowded around to see what he was staring at. On the floor were two abandoned Santa suits. "Man Down", he yelled into the hailer.
We then left the Oxford Street area and proceeded to get on Tubes to St Paul's Cathedral. Even the underground driver got into the spirit and came across the tannoy saying "I hear there's a good chance you might see Santa tonight!".
We left the tube system with some Santas running up the down escalators as we left the underground at St Pauls and assembled on the steps of St Pauls to sing yet more carols. I remember seeing a passed out Santa on the steps at this point.
From St Paul's we proceeded down over the Millenium Bridge (which I'd never seen before), to assemble outside the Tate Modern Art Gallery. It was quite a spectacle when I looked back over the bridge to see the hundreds of Santas proceeding over the bridge behind me, with the lit-up spectable of St Paul's Cathedral in the background behind them all.
There was a little riverside fete going on outside the Tate Modern, and a small stage with a team of chorists singing as we arrived over the bridge.
Suddenly they found themselves in the late stages of "crack up" and struggling to carry on singing as about 30-40 santas were dancing right in front of them. Then we kind of hijacked the choir and made them sing our own carols. I think my favourite one was the "Twelve Days of Christmas", which went like this:
The Twelve Days of Christmas
(remembering to emphasise 5 double gins, as in 5 golden rings)
On the first day of Christmas my true love bought for me:A lager for 99p
On the second day of Christmas my true love bought for me:2 rum and cokesand a lager for 99p
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love bought for me:
Next we entered the Tate Modern and the Santas explored the ice-like art exhibit that was in the basement as well as sliding on the sloping floor. A few Santas climbed up the art, fell of it and broke some of it and at that point we were asked to leave. Yep, we trashed the Tate! lol
We went along the river bank to the Founders Arms and had a couple of drinks in there. Next we left and got back on the tube to a place called Olds Street where aparently there was a pub called The Foundry. Whilst we were waiting at the tube station a load of Santas sat on the tube platform - most were not capable of standing by then - sitting there singing the bawderised version of the Twelve Days of Christmas [above]. Some members of the public were taking photos of us and giving us looks of disgust probably thinking that if we'd drunk all that we were singing about, it would probably explain our condition.
When we got to the Foundry, I was one of the first in there as I was desperate for the toilet at that point, but it was already packed out with "normal" pub goers. The place looked a bit of a dive, so I left the rest of the Santas at this point in the evening and crossed the road to get what I thought was an amazingly cheap chinese takeout. £2.70 for a box of food, and I could pick what I wanted, they even had seaweed. I next hailed a cab and went back to my B&B. The next day after I sobered up I realised that that cheap chinese had actually cost me nearer to £20 when I included the cab fair back to the hotel, but it was probably safer than trying to find my way back to Paddington on the underground. I get lost on there when I'm sober!
All in all a great day was had by all!
I'd like to say hello to Ruth Santa, Green Faced Santa with Tentacles, Biker Santa, Santa Chris from Brighton, Glitter spreading Santa, Chuckie Santa and finally Barbary Santa!