As ’tis the season to be jolly, I bring to you “SantaCon London 2012“, a job that was designed purely by camera testers, with the aim of seeing just how far you can blow the red channel of your camera.

The alternative "Christmas Carol" ghosts

Having started the day with a much more serious story, it was quite an about-turn to end my shift dodging incoming sprouts from a herd of Santi in Trafalgar Square.

Rabid Santas travel in packs
Live-testing of the new "Naughty or Nice" app

SantaCon is an annual mass gathering of people dressed in Father Christmas costumes, getting hammered in cities around the world. While it’s essentially a giant pub crawl, many of those involved like to get in the spirit and carry bags of sweets around to dish out to the confused kids that they pass in the streets.  It’s not that hard to see why some of the kids were confused with beardless, pimp, orthodox jew, semi-naked and even chicken Santas taking part.

Six, in case you were wondering.
The new Newsnight team really were a cause for concern

On the day itself, three twitter accounts went live, directing three separate groups of Santas to various locations and pubs throughout the day.  The downside to this is that while the idea is to be spontaneous, as more alcohol is consumed, the tweets become more sporadic and less informative.  This makes life a little harder for the sober photographer who’s trying to track these elusive scarlet pimpernels.  The best bet seems to be to loiter in Trafalgar Square, and wait for them to descend on you.

Santa gets lucky
Looks like rain, dear...

While scurrying between groups, I also found the Santa schism.  It seems the hardcore FCs that have been doing the SantaCon for years look down on the sprout hurling newbies that gather in Trafalgar Square.  To be fair, it wasn’t that much fun covering the Trafalgar sprout onslaught as, uncooked, they’re essentially as hard as stones.  It was like being back in the West Bank!

Ride 'em, Santa!

So all that leaves me to say is Happy Christmas!  I hope 2013 brings you all accurate light readings, dust-free sensors and top-notch personal projects!

Santa goes to Parliament

10 Responses to “The Human Santapede”

  1. Merry Christmas, my liege!

    Posted by pixpilgrim
  2. Cheers bud! You’ll be pleased to know we’ll be neighbours soon. AFP is moving to London Wall in the new year!

    Posted by tabascokid
  3. Ho Ho Ho!

    Happy Christmas to you and your’s Leon.
    My mate Ed was there somewhere, you can’t have missed him, he was dressed as Santa Claus…


    Posted by Jim
  4. A santa with a Honey Monster head PERFECT x

    Posted by rebecca michael
  5. @Jim – Cheers captain! You’d have made a cracking Santa…

    @Rebecca – Yup, he was one of my faves, along with the Orthodox Jew.

    Posted by tabascokid
  6. Could have done without all those speedos but looks like a lot of fun! Why do I never know about events like this?!? This is what comes of leaving the city for the country. Boredom.

    Have a merry [insert appropriate-to-beliefs generic holiday greeting here]!

    Posted by Miles
  7. @Miles – To be honest, I didn’t know about it myself until that morning. It’s been going for years apparently. Next year, I’ll have anti-sprout body armour…

    @Sandeha – Ha! I’m sure a few of the Santas were feeling like that by the evening!

    Posted by tabascokid
  8. This finally makes sense! We drove past this gathering and my 3yr old Granddaughters face was a picture as she gazed out of the car window. Perhaps next year I’ll be more prepared.

    Posted by Harrisonaphotos
  9. Ha! Yeah, it would be quite a sight if you weren’t expecting it! :)

    Posted by tabascokid

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