Time Freezes in Central London

The flash mobbing fraternity strikes again, this time in London.


LONDON, April 30, 2008 — -- At 6 p.m. Wednesday evening, all was normal at the Liverpool Street train station in London. Commuters streamed in and out of the station, oblivious to what was about to happen.

But interspersed among the suited and booted office workers were some rogue elements intent on interrupting the daily commute. As soon as the clock struck 6:24 p.m., the hustle and bustle of the Liverpool station was disrupted by a "statuesque" stillness.

The station had become the latest target of flash mobbing, an organized routine in which dozens of mostly young people struck and held a pose in absolute silence for four minutes.

Office workers keen to get home were forced to weave their way through these living statues.

"I just love this kind of mischief," Peter Salinger, a 32-year-old property investor and flash mobber, told ABC News.

"It's just innocent fun — no agenda, no political objective, just people having fun."

Some mobbers posed with umbrellas as if they were about to be carried away by the wind.

Several flash mobbing couples held a passionate embrace, their lips locked for four minutes.

Many went for the classic "reading the paper" pose, and one couple sat frozen on bikes at the risk of being jostled by hurrying commuters.

The flash mob fraternity spreads the word through cyberspace. News of an upcoming event arrives via e-mail, messages sent to social networking sites or by text messages.

"Well, it's how fast information spreads. I got one e-mail, then another and another," said Gabriela Bdeing, explaining that she was keen to experience the scene as she had watched an Internet video posting of a previous flash mobbing.

Other flash mobbers ABC News approached were less forthcoming, preferring that the flash mobbing scene remain somewhat shrouded in mystery.

None wanted to divulge the identity of the organizers. "It's supposed to be secret," a young girl giggled when asked.

Flash mobs have been extremely popular at English train stations. For instance, more than 3,500 people congregated for a "silent disco" at London's Paddington statio on Nov. 30, 2006.

In January 2008, a video showing hundreds of people "frozen in time" at New York's Grand Central Terminal was posted on YouTube, becoming one of the site's most popular videos.

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