Giant Blue Rooster In Trafalgar Square Leaves Londoners Bemused And Befuddled


Trafalgar Square in London has a new statue — a giant blue cockerel. It’s the latest work of art to adorn the Fourth Plinth, a nineteenth-century base flanking Nelson’s Column. The other three plinths all have statues but the Fourth Plinth never got one, and so in recent years it’s become home to a series of temporary sculptures.

The giant blue cock, as the British media can’t resist calling it, has caused a bit of a stir. The cockerel and the color blue are both symbols of France, and this is a square dedicated to one of the British Empire’s greatest victories over Napoleon. German artist Katharina Fritsch, who created the sculpture, said she wasn’t aware of the symbolism. As London Mayor Boris Johnson says (he’s the blond guy with the awful haircut in this video) it could mean a lot of things, such as the British victory in the Tour de France. At the very least, the royal blue hue ties into London’s recent baby boy mania.

The Huffington Post has more photos of the giant rooster.

Video Of The Day: London Landmarks Seen Through Time-Lapse

“When I first moved to London, I was struck by the number of people living in this great city and the speed at which they move from one place to another,” writes filmmaker Lucas Veuve, who created the time-lapse film above that showcases many of London’s most famous landmarks, from Tower Bridge to Piccadilly Circus.

“I wanted to capture how I saw London when I first moved here,” he continued. We think he did a great job. Watch the video and see how many recognizable places you can spot: Big Ben, the London Eye, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Gherkin and Trafalgar Square, just to name a few. Even more mesmerizing is the way people move through the city when you view them in this way; Veuve explained he took photos every three-to-five seconds to get the time-lapse effect perfect.

Thanks to Visit London for bringing the video to our attention.

Child on rocking horse is the latest statue on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth

Trafalgar Square
The Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square has gotten its latest adornment–a giant bronze kid on a rocking horse.

Trafalgar Square is one of London’s most visited spots. In fact, it’s hard not to go there since it’s right in front of the National Gallery and is a nexus of several important roads. Three plinths flanking Nelson’s Column support statues of a king and two generals, and a fourth plinth, originally constructed to carry a statue of King William IV, is now used as a space for temporary installations.

This latest statue is called “Powerless Structures, Fig. 101” and is meant to reflect a different take on the heroic equestrian statue. You can read the full artist’s statement here.

Trafalgar SquareAs a regular visitor to London I’ve always enjoyed seeing what’s coming next to the Fourth Plinth. Personally, though, I don’t think any of the statues have been as good as the very first, put up in 2005.

“Alison Lapper Pregnant” showed an English artist born with no arms and shortened legs. The giant marble statue, seen here in a photo courtesy Vards Uzvards, showed her nude and pregnant. It caused quite a stir when it went up, with some people saying Lapper’s condition was being exploited for shock value. I didn’t think so and, more importantly, neither did Lapper. Instead, it showed a brave woman who wasn’t afraid to get on with her life despite a terrible birth defect. That’s much more impressive than a cute kid on a rocking horse.

No public domain image of the statue was available at press time. This photo of a model is courtesy Loz Pycock.

10 places to celebrate Chinese New Year

Chinese New YearChinese New Year occurs in the early months of our calendar year, typically January or February and this year falls on January 23rd. This is the first of 15 days of celebration and the start of the Year of the Dragon.

Chinese New Year (also called the Lunar New Year) is the longest and most important festivity in the Chinese calendar and a time to welcome longevity, wealth and prosperity and to eliminate any negative chi from the past.

The origin of Chinese New Year taps several myths and traditions and is officially celebrated in countries and territories such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and also in Chinatowns elsewhere. Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the lunar new year celebrations of its geographic neighbors.

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Chinese New Year is also celebrated just about anywhere there are significant Chinese populations too.

In the UK, many shops, bars and restaurants in London will be participating in the celebrations, with big events held in Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and most importantly, Chinatown.

In the United States, the San Francisco Chinese New Year celebration is now the largest Asian event in North America as well as the largest general market event in Northern California. The celebration includes two major fairs, the Chinese New Year Flower Fair and Chinatown Community Street Fair. All the festivities culminate with Chinese New Year Parade.

Flickr photo by xiquinhosilva


Chinese New Year in Bangkok

Virgin Holidays gets ‘cheeky’ with burlesque show

Virgin HolidaysButtoned-up Brits in London‘s Trafalgar Square were loosening up their ties yesterday as Virgin Holidays launched a flash-mob style burlesque dance on the steps of the National Gallery as part of a play to break the world record for the world’s largest burlesque dance.

More than 100 dancers, many of whom are Virgin Holiday employees, participated in the routine.

Virgin Holidays marketing director Andrew Shelton said: “What better way to raise a smile on a cold January morning than to see a huge number of beautiful burlesque dancers?”

Hmm, we wonder if the stunt will be repeated in the U.S.?