Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Greenwich en Fête and the red giraffes
Curiosity got the better of me on Sunday morning (good job I'm not a cat) and I headed for Greenwich, where the first stage of the Tour de France would depart from. Having stood around the streets of London for a few hours the day before, I felt I'd seen enough men in lycra to last me another few years, by which time the Tour de France might return to London anyway. Then I thought, perhaps it won't, or perhaps next time it will be pouring with rain or freezing cold, so I'd better enjoy it now when the weather's glorious - a minor miracle, as we've not had two days as lovely as last weekend for over a month.
What I didn't know (and would have sped up the decision process no end if I had known) was that Greenwich was attempting to inject some real Tour de France flavour into the day by hosting Greenwich en Fête, an event with street performers and an open-air picnic with a French twist. As I got out of the train station, I came face-to-face with this:
No, we'd not been taken over by funny-shaped aliens. The red giraffes are the trademark of street-theatre group Compagnie Off, which combines circus and opera to create stunning street performances. This one is an animal operetta aptly named Les Girafes.
The performance certainly is spectacular, but what's most impressive is that the giant giraffes and the revolving stand are all manually operated by the troupe. Quite literally, they were pulling the strings that made it all happen.
I know I often complain that my job sucks, but there is worse out there. I mean, really, would you like to be them? I know I wouldn't.
Particularly when I saw what happens if a giraffe topples over. Thankfully, I don't think anyone was hurt, but what a bump that must have been!