diamond geezer

 Sunday, July 20, 2008

Back in 2002, central London was filled with fibreglass cows. More than 100 bovine sculptures were scattered around the capital, each decorated with a different (often humorous) colourful design. Well now it's elephants.

Hefty-LumpLight Construction
The AngelParallelephant

There are more than 50 be-trunked creatures dotted around the city, in streets and parks and shopping malls. One's on a theatre balcony, one's in the corner of a restaurant and one's in a department store doubling up as a very-pink nailbar. The designs are as weird and wacky as ever, including a brick-painted Camouflagephant hiding up an alleyway, a Go-Green Elephant with three bottlebank holes for recycling, and a Buzzophalant which looks distinctly like a bee. Or you might prefer the double decker bus, the one in football kit or the one with a Tardis on its back.

I spent much of yesterday afternoon, inbetween the showers, tracking down the elephants with the aid of a downloaded map. Some were hard to find, others rather easier, often because they were surrounded by grinning children. It was clear I wasn't alone - a number of families and tourists were out following the trail too, leaflet in hand. The most popular elephant was probably the mirrored specimen in the Royal Arcade (bottom left), which was forever being stroked and photographed. I rather liked the bright yellow elephant in St Giles (top right), and also the more abstract 'Parallelephant' in Theatreland (bottom right), the latter recently restored after vandals made off with its plastic ears.

If you're interested in seeing the menagerie for yourself, you'll find all the details on the Go Elephants! website. Quick, before they sell them all off for charity at the end of August. Or you could investigate pictures of the entire herd here, most of the herd here, or quite a lot of the herd here. Oh, and one other thing. The city in question isn't London, it's Norwich. Because not everything that's great and arty happens in the capital (but I bet some of you wish it did).

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