Music and pranks

On 23rd March 2009, the commuters in Belgium’s Grand Central metro station suddenly got to hear Julie Andrews “Do Re Mi” on the announcement system. Soon it broke out into something they will remember for their lives.

A musical prank played by VTM – a 200 strong flash mob dance stunt to announce their newest reality television program “Op zoek naar Maria”. The idea was to search for an actress who would play the leading role in the The Sound of Music. See the video below to know what happen. Be prepared to be enthralled.

Earlier this year in January, T-Mobile in the UK launched an advertising campaign that had a similar flash mob dancing in London’s Liverpool Street Station. 350 dancers made the day for commuters passing through the railway station. That was an advertising campaign aired on TV later in the same month.

I am not anyone’s idea of a good dancer, but there is something about well choreographed dances that just make you feel GOOD. Real good.

On a related note, it’s not news to anyone that I absolutely love pranks. I love pranks made on public like the above few examples – not the ones that are for slapstick fun though. I am talking of those that deliver a tiny message – take a deep breath, and appreciate what’s around you. A while ago, I wrote about Prangstgrup, a group based in Columbia University that did simply amazing things – a musical in the middle of a lecture, in a library, teaching architecture to absolute strangers in the metro – 17 masterpieces since I checked!

Have you seen the one where about 200 people in the Grand Central subway, New York just froze in their steps? Or when in a book store, about 60 cellphones in bags outside the store started to ring simultaneously? Surprise a random couple who just got married in the city hall with a complete wedding reception? Visit Improv Everywhere and you will be surprised at the things they have done. 🙂

Early in 2007, the Washington Post decided to conduct an experiment. A man dressed ordinarily in jeans, t-shirt and a baseball cap took out his violin and played music on a street during the morning rush hour. He played six classical pieces in 43 minutes, and a total of 1097 people crossed him at that time. 7 people stopped what they were doing to listen to him for a minute. A total of 27 people dropped in change amounting to a total of $32 or so. The rest 1070 people were too busy to pay attention. Probably irritated with poor people who present an unbecoming look to them every morning. This nondescript fiddler was Joshua Bell, who is a child prodigy when it comes to playing the violin. People pay hundreds of dollars to see him play at concerts. A man who earns $1,000 a minute. Why does beauty such as this need to be set up for us to appreciate it? [Source]

Edited to add: Bollywood Heroes did a similar thing to promote their own show. Last week on August 4th, 2009, dozens of Bollywood dancers suddenly began to dance in the middle of Times Square, New York. Nice low budget advertising, I would say. Oh and I ABSOLUTELY ADORE the girl in the yellow dress! Via Indiequill

Related Posts

  1. Harmless office pranks
  2. Paying for music: As you like it
  3. Harmless Office Pranks – Part 2
  4. Perception of beauty

Filed under Amused, Pranks


24 Responses to “Music and pranks”
  1. Archana says:

    Haha the grand central one is hilarious. Wish I was there to see some on these happen in real life! And there is something that’s extremely feel good about synchronized dancing. But it’s one thing to see it on stage at a musical, but a totally different thing to experience it in a day to day setting. 🙂
    Archana´s latest post – My 5 Five’s

  2. Neelima says:

    WoW! i am totally in love with those prangstgrup guys! I have seen the grand central musical before but the frozen people were the best..some people were seriously freaked out.. LOL

    Wish these kind of things happened in front of me. or maybe i should do it.. 😀
    Nice post.. spent half an hour watching all the videos.. 🙂
    Neelima´s latest post – Chitrakote falls and Kanger Ghati National Park

  3. Sayontan says:

    Interesting that you and I should both write about third party pranks on the same day!
    Sayontan´s latest post – The Yes Men Fix the World – Pranks with a Twist

  4. Ashwathy says:

    nice post… and nice compilation 🙂
    love these innovative ways of performing…. and getting the msg across!

    yes i’ve see the one where they freeze in Central Subway and then get up and walk like nothing ever happened. that was awesome… loved it!
    these 2 are new for me… the Liverpool Street in London and the one Belgium one. both are lovely!

    that Prangstgrup is awesome… i m enjoying watching their videos one after the other! 🙂
    Ashwathy´s latest post – A friend in need…

  5. Nikita says:

    i have spent the last couple of hrs chekin our all the links u gave….n then some more. next time i hav a cold and am in bed wid nuthin to do, i know who to request for a post 😛
    lovely vidoes…i so wish ppl wd start dancing sometime when i take the metro! better still, i tell me theater group to pull a stunt 😀
    Nikita´s latest post – Celebrating Bhai-giri

  6. Put the right comment in the wrong link – goofy me!! I love watching synchronized dance too and if it happens in a place least expected, what fun!! Had a ball going through the links which led me to some more!! Thanks so much for so much entertainment! 🙂
    TheThoughtfulTrain´s latest post – There’s Something About A Sleeping Child …

  7. Indyeah says:

    A beautiful, beautiful thing to watch!
    Made my heart smile with happiness!!! 😀

    Another blogger has shared something along smiliar lines sometime back(she is a beautiful writer btw)

    now I am off to check the other links in your post:) coz I want to smile some more:)
    Indyeah´s latest post – A nation forgets?

  8. Grayquill says:

    Fun stuff – I want something like that to happen when I am around.
    Your question about beauty and the setup. I haven’t a clue. Maybe the mind is stuck in the rush of the day and is unable to do the acrobatic flip it takes to stop and see or hear the passing beauty.
    Grayquill´s latest post – Mr. E

  9. Gauri says:

    Such a nicely written post. I also read the very long article you have linked and immesely liked it.. surprises, and even frightens you, of a place and people who can get so busy..

  10. Archana says:

    I just went on Koke overdoes at my blog commenting back at your insightful & entertaining comments. Lol. We should have gone to college together. 🙂
    Archana´s latest post – Be the life of your party!

  11. Archana says:

    Oops *overdose! Not overdoes.
    Archana´s latest post – Be the life of your party!

  12. oh. super duper post. i love this sort of thing. as do a lot of people i suspect. there is something about being a part of something that’s so much larger than you, and soooo surprising.

    check out the dance troup BOUNCE’s work. they got works all over the world to collect as flash mobs in public places and dance to michael jackson’s number as a sort of a tribute. i really want to do this is mumbai.

    check out
    agentgreenglass´s latest post – forever in blue jeans

  13. adisha says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this … I just LOVEDDD The video … and it’s so true that some of the best talents are found in the most mundane places
    adisha´s latest post – Surrender

  14. Archana says:

    And it’s videos like that, that make me wonder why I left the East Coast! Their performance was awesome at Times Square!!!

    PS – You have something to pick up at my blog. 🙂
    Archana´s latest post – Ray of Sunshine

  15. Deepika says:

    Awesome post. 🙂 Hadn’t seen the bollywood dance on times square before.

    • Kokonad says:

      ~1~ Yeah… ever since I had seen one of these, I have always dreamed of setting up one myself… there are so many places it can be done. Unfortunately, it requires a high number of people, and that’s exactly where I lose out! 🙁
      ~2~ It’s such a pleasure to comment on your posts! It’s fun seeing yourself in ways you haven’t seen before and I always end up doing that when I read your posts! And oh yes! We should have gone to college together! I completely concur. Incidentally I have been doing that a lot lately – wish that so and so should have been in school with me, so and so should be at work with me etc! 🙂 Overdose, eh? 😛
      ~3~ Yeah, why DID you leave the east coast? (I myself am on the east) 😛 We should have a bloggers meet and I don’t know where to start. Sigh.
      Hey and thanks so much for the blog thing! 🙂 Yay! I feel honored! I will go over there in a while and comment.

      I loved the frozen thing too! People must have been really motivated to do something like that for such a long period! Of course, I am sure it is important to choose a pose that you are comfortable in, heh heh! I am glad you liked it!

      Yup, that is strange!

      You should check out the New York Bollywood heroes one! They performed last week! (added later at the end of the post)

      Hmmm, sardi gayi aur chale gaye peene! 😛 heh heh
      Ooh, and you are in a theater group? (Me too!) Professional drama queen eh? 😛 Just kidding!
      You know, that metro thing made me imagine a scene… where a whole group decides to dance in the train and everyone except one bails out… 😉

      🙂 I am glad you liked it!

      Indyeahji, I loved that link you sent me! And I now subscribe to her content. Thank you so much. I am glad these made you smile, didi!

      I echo your thoughts sir! It’s unfortunate that one has to do an acrobatic flip or see beauty that lies everywhere.

      Exactly! It was mildly depressing to see that this is what the pace of life has come to! Thanks for commenting, Gauri! 🙂

      I LOVED BOUNCE! Forwarded to a few my friends who are MJ fans. Loved the ones in which there were just kids… and a policeman comes to stop them, only to join them!

      I am glad you liked it, Adisha! 🙂 I used to like grups that used to go talent hunting… unfortunately they are so controlled by politics and the mafia now! 🙁

      D, that was only last week. 🙂 August 4th.

  16. Ashwathy says:

    awesome!! loved it!! just saw it now…
    it cant get more Bollywood than that, i say! 🙂
    Ashwathy´s latest post – Cross-Border-Terrorism – Part IV – THE CRISIS!

  17. Archana says:

    It cracks me up that you had to number the replies targeted to my comments, haha. I kinda took over this comment box. Oops. And yes, I wish I was back on the East Coast for about some 69529 reasons, lol. A bloggers meet with the sane people (yourself included) would be nice! Though honestly, I feel like bumping into sane people out on blogosphere is rare. Especially sane men. Good for you that you fall under the sane category! 🙂

    So for the sake of ODing, let me say sane again. 😛
    Archana´s latest post – 5 sure-fire signs that…

  18. mentalie says:

    kokonad! i’m in LOVE with the improv everywhere people. what an amazing lot they are. i wonder how they pull it off…
    mentalie´s latest post – childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies

  19. Rads says:

    WOW this is totally freakin! wish I was there to join the gang…
    Rads´s latest post – Tag Alphabetically

  20. verby says:

    you do come up with interesting stuff!! the central station incident was quite funny!! couldnt watch the gangs stuff frm office..shud check from home
    verby´s latest post – Pregnany & men 😛

  21. Sriram says:

    this is awesome 😀

    ive tagged you.

  22. The first prank in Belgium should have been quite very difficult to coordinate – with so many dancers! The song was also good! The second one had a lovely song but the dance was quite average.

    Recently in Bangalore too something like this happened, but not as a prank! They kept some wonderful photographs on some of the street walls and let people enjoy art amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life. Yes, people did stop for a second glance, especially as the photographs were quite stunning!

    BTW you have been tagged on the topic ‘Fast Furious and Danceable songs’.

    Destination Infinity
    Destination Infinity´s latest post – Fast Furious and Danceable Songs

  23. Kokonad says:

    Heh heh! That is true! I wished that the guys didn’t wear those chiffon shirts, though!

    Well, I look forward to your comments! Always. Btw, are you trying to say that I am sane? 😛 😛

    Long time NO SEE! (I know, look who’s talking. But seriously, long time no see!)
    These people are amazing, I agree! And I am glad you liked them! I feel connected 😀

    I know! I feel my life is so lackluster!

    I hope you saw the videos finally! 🙂 I am glad you liked it! I have been hit with a severe case of writer’s block and my workload hasn’t helped either. Only one post in August 🙁

    Thanks Sriram! I appreciate it! I will head over shortly and see what it’s all about 🙂

    #Destination Infinity:
    Wow, I wish I were there! But how many people actually stopped to look? I feel that beauty needs to be rubbed in our face for us to notice it. I know we live in fast times, but…
    Thanks for the tag! Over the weekend I plan to catch up on the 200 unread items in my reader! The tag sounds very nice! I am making my list already! Will shortly put it up on your blog as a comment 🙂

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