Ashmob – a great idea perfectly executed
Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 10:00
Simon Clark

Loved the concept, loved the execution.

On July 1, 2007, Metro reported:

In London’s Covent Garden, dozens of smokers held an Ashmob – based on flash mobbing where hundreds of people create a seemingly spontaneous event.

The smokers all lit up simultaneously at 2pm and waved placards reading ‘Roll up, Roll up’ and ‘Sex, Cigs and Rock & Roll’.

See Smoking revolt smouldering on.

Ashmob wasn’t just an event. It was a group with a website and a MySpace page. It even had a 'president'.

The website featured some stunning photographs taken in Regent’s Park by a professional photographer.

The founder and president had previously interviewed me for a now defunct publication called Total:Spec.

Two years later, in 2009, I asked what had happened to Ashmob. He told me:

I'm still very much behind the principle we stood for but sadly not really in possession of enough time to make it all work properly, so probably need to accept that it's time to move on. Shame, really.

I won't publish his name because he's gone on to have a good career as a freelance journalist, writing for the Guardian among others, and may not appreciate it.

I’m pleased to report however that Forest has just acquired the rights to use these and other Ashmob photos for as long as we want.

We'll use them sparingly but the aim is to keep both the memory and the idea alive.

PS. On Saturday I’m addressing a European Students for Liberty leadership forum. I’m tempted to include one or two of these images in my presentation.

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