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Everyone Loves a Mob

Posted by Margot / September 20, 2009

20090920-lovemob.JPGThis author's request for next time: more flash, less mob

If you were downtown this afternoon, let's say Jeanne-Mance and Ste-Catherine at 3:30pm, you probably saw dozens of people running in slowmo through a concrete jungle of fountains, and then waltzing in time with silent music. If so, you witnessed our city's most recent MP3 experiment, something its organizers called a "Love Mob." But coordinated movements, synced animal-call outbursts, and pink, red, and white shirts aside, the whole thing smacked of hot ham water - could the flash have been stolen from this mob?

On this week's Montreal Weekend Playlist podcast, our very own Jeremy Morris spoke with the Mob's organizer about today's sonic event, and the ins and outs of planning something more intricate than people just "spontaneously" dancing to the same song. The project involved a pre-recorded MP3 (in both languages, no less) that participants put on their respective iDevices, and then at the pre-arranged moment, pressed play and followed the instructions. I'll admit that I cheated: I went along with the plan until just after pressing play. I wanted to see this from the outside (I also forgot my pink shirt at home).

In going with the event's theme, most of the MP3 was dominated by the Fab Four's All You Need is Love, with some Vangelis and Strauss thrown in, too. Participants were encouraged to engage the non-participant onlookers (I had fair warning from my own iPlayer) as they frolicked around the fountained area. Of course, this is where I raise one eyebrow and forgo mentioning this area's name - might the event have been a marketing ruse to get the city's newest concrete playground in the public eye and caught in the Interweb? I'm no SEO expert, but the waltz was in time with the fountain bursts. Coincidence? I'll leave it for you to decide.

Marketing cahoots aside, I was hoping for a bit more aloofness on the part of the participants, who at 3:29 were chomping at the bit on the stairs of Place des Arts. The organizers conceded that there's a bit of spontaneity lost when the whole thing is organized (and publicized) over the Internet - it's the price of getting a hundred people to do one thing at one time. Maybe I just wanted to see some old guy wearing a ratty coat covered in newspapers emerging from under a park bench, or a uniformed officer tossing off his hat, to join in the song-and-dance (didn't you guys see Newsies?)

This isn't a complaint, mind you: I didn't initiate a successful flash mob centered on love, or even participate (though I've often contemplated re-enacting the best commercial from 1976 on our metro system). I love love, really, I do. Instead, read this as a call to arms to our city's potential flash mobbers. I'm looking for something impressive, something flashy, something cinematically mob-like. Let me know when it goes down, and I'll be there in a flash.



Jay Watts III / September 21, 2009 at 03:51 pm
For all of the talk about being a Montreal capital, it seems whenever there's an effort by civic types to promote it as such, it's almost like they're seeing just how far they can push it before people start suspecting they're fucking around. Flash mobs? Youth choirs covering Coldplay? Contemporary slow-dance set to Mike Oldfield?
scottwgray / September 22, 2009 at 01:51 pm
Any word on whether this was a marketing idea / SEO mindwarp, or just kidz having fun? I'd like to know....
Maryse / September 22, 2009 at 09:24 pm
As a participant, I felt this was a fun event. People around us, not involved in the Love Mob, enjoyed watching us and our sillyness. This was not a marketing initiative sponsored by T-Mobile featuring Black Eyed Peas and Oprah like last week in Chicago, it was a community effort to show our appreciation to the city we love, Montreal.

In today's individualist society where nobody talks to each other or acknowledge the presence of someone else in the metro or sidewalk, it was refreshing to waltz and hold hands with strangers. It's easy to criticize The Love Mob but instead I'd like to congratulate the organizers for investing time into our city. Maybe next time there will be 400 of us instead of 150 and we will need everyone's help and good faith to help create a buzz for Montreal.

So Margot, if you have some crazy impressive & flashy ideas, don't keep them for yourself and do something about it. I would LOVE to participate in it!
Scott Baker / September 24, 2009 at 03:42 pm
Il fait beau dans l'metro remake is a shared goal.

Email me and lets make this happen.
Abhi / February 5, 2015 at 12:36 am
Karen looks great in all the shots, but my favorite one of her is with the corlufol dress (top right), the full figured shot. I just love her!! I hope that one day she comes to Los Angeles so that I can get her autograph. I bought her book, but it's on my Nook, hence, an autograph will have to do. Oh, and I just ordered the magazines of Karen and Renee. Can't wait to read the stories inside.

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