My fair city witnessed its first _flash mob_ on Saturday evening. A large crowd of people filed into Clarks shoe store on O’Connell Street and chanted _’We like cheese!’_ in unison before dispersing in a matter of moments. Queue surprise and bemusement on the faces of innocent bystanders, mutterings along the lines of “those crazy kids with their wacky stunts”, et cetera, et cetera.
Thing is, though, it wasn’t much of a surprise. The mainstream media has had reports of flash mobs planned throughout Europe since last week. In fact, it seems that it’s taken only ten days — since The Guardian (probably) first reported on the phenomenon on this side of the Atlantic — for an ambitious, exciting example of the power of modern mass communication to become a tired cliché.
Without the media hype, the first flash mobs earlier this summer where incredible incidences of improvised street theatre, bringing people together for no reason other than the possibility. But now, how long will it be before someone starts printing ‘Flash Mobber’ t-shirts, or organising flash pub crawls?
It was a good idea while it lasted but like all memes, it’s already dead, a victim of its own infectiousness.
And besides, no one invited me.