Two interesting developments have occurred in London in the past few days. The first is the Sultan’s Elephant. I haven’t been able to see the three-storey mechanical moving Elephant myself, since I’m in Oxford, but I intend to come back early on Sunday to see it off. The Sultan’s Elephant is performance art of the highest quality – a story told over three days by an expert theatrical company, where a time-travelling elephant is looking for a girl who crashlanded in a spaceship. It roves all across London, and makes absolutely no attempt to explain itself. It has no adverts and no visible sponsorship (although its website does list some). It’s just a part of London.
I’m not going to bother making the obvious ARG comparisons here. I will say that one of the reasons I love it is because it’s a piece of art and story that exists purely to inspire wonder and surprise, and change people’s lives a little bit. It invades our normal shared spaces and us out of our daily rhythm. It’s not for sale, it’s not promoting anything, it just is.
The other development is that the movie of 24 is going to be shot in London. 24 is one of my favourite shows at the moment and I get a lot of dramatic inspiration from it. I’m already concocting a plan to become an extra on the set…
(24 is a constant reminder to me of the inferior nature of British action dramas. There’s nothing in the UK that can even approach the quality of 24’s story and action, and it’s not just because we don’t have as much money as US dramas. It’s because commissioners don’t appreciate good writing and think that a bunch of guys sitting in an office looking moody constitutes good drama.)