29 May 2010

London elephants

I've not being paying much attention to the recent arrival of decorated elephants across London but they are rather hard to ignore and I have found around a dozen this week without trying to.

They are pretty and charming and quirky in a very English way and, being elephants, there is a strong call back to our colonial days when the map of the world was pink and only mad dogs and Englishmen went out in the midday sun.

Many of the elephants are in areas popular with tourists, such as the two outside of St Paul's, which means they are decked with people smiling widely at their friends taking photos of them. I don't like taking pictures of people so I left those elephants well alone.

Venturing to Soho Square and the story is different. Here the busy square is full of locals who are used to seeing the exotic and the unusual and are equally used to paying little attention to it. This is London, it has everything and so nothing can be said to be truly unusual here.

So here the colourful elephant sits almost unnoticed and only I am uncool enough to play the tourist and to take a picture of it. But having been a tourist for just a minute, the camera goes back into my pocket and I slide into Oxford Street and become a Londoner again.

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