Passive aggressive: flashmob pillowfighting in London 2011

Posted on April 4, 2011


The bell struck 3 o’clock. All at once hundreds of people all stripped off clothing revealing pyjamas, tore open their bags to grab their pillow and began assaulting each other in one big massed mosh pit – minus the music.

The frenzied arm swinging, chanting and pushing might have looked much more violent than it did had it not been for the big white, fluffy pillows, occaisionally exploding into a big cloud of feathers and foam.

People of all ages had come together through the spontaneous organisation of Facebook groups and Twitter updates for a flashmob – a large collection of strangers meeting in one place at the same time.

The seed for this flash mob was planted only a few weeks before, but through word of mouth and social media the momentum of interest grew and grew over the preceeding days.

Children, adults, students, monks and anarchists entered into the spirit of the occaision, set up to promote many of the charitable relief efforts for Japan.

Most, though, took part for nothing more than the pleasure gained from giving someone a giant whack over the head with a harmless pillow.

Dressed to kill

Some had even dressed up in fancy clothing for the event. I caught fleeting glimpses of a man dressed totally in blue lycra, another wore a bunny rabbit outfit, and some poor sod dressed as an elephant disappeared under a sustained flurry of blows, surrounded by attackers.

The mood of those locked in battle matched that of the crowd forming a large circle around the ‘fight’ – everyone had big smiles across their faces.

It was difficult to tell who was having more fun, spectators or contributors.

A puzzled few on their way to the National Portrait Gallery must have watched on and thought us Brits totally barmy.

Can’t help myself

No doubt a few hundred holiday albums will now contain pictures of frizzy haired individuals covered in sweat and fluff in between their photos of the Houses of Parliament and Nelson’s Collumn.

I heard about the event and decided to head down with my camera to capture footage. However, despite my best efforts, I couldn’t help but pick up a pillow and join the fray…

Photo by Stefanie Soehnchen


Peter Jackson, any space for a pillow fight ending to The Hobbit?

Posted in: The Odd Box