Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dressed like an Emu

I've been thinking about the anti-stalker vending machine outfit I mentioned the other day, and it's not quite as bizarre as I first thought. It's just a different type of 'camouflage technique' so you could say that it's got a respectable precedent.

The military use it in various forms, as was seen in the recent exhibition at the Imperial War Museum.*

There's also a chapter in 'Scouting for Boys' by Robert Baden-Powell that teaches boys how to stalk (animals or people - all good clean fun). For urban stalking, he emphasises the importance of choosing your outfit carefully, to blend in with the environment. Co-ordinate your clothes with the walls and foliage you're planning to lurk near. Very subtle... designed to prevent your 'target' from getting annoyed by being openly stared at.

He has more 'exotic' examples of camouflage, such as the Australian aborigine stalking emus, dressed in an emu skin, walking with body bent and one hand held up to represent the bird's head and neck. It looks a bit Rod Hull, but still rather ingenious... you can barely spot the difference from the real thing, apart from the slightly un-birdlike muscular legs and neck, so what chance do the emus have?

Unfortunately, I seemed to be a weirdo magnet today, but I don't think dressing like an emu, or being disguised as a vending machine, would have helped *sigh*. A manically smiling man with an oversized bandaged finger sidled up to me at the bus-stop, with his beady bloodshot eyes fixed on my bag. Creepy. I think it was a junkie thing. And the little foreign man who'd been staring at me on the way home and rushed upstairs to sit near me on the bus, gabbling in a strange attempt at conversation.... "The time? Leicester Square? Nice arse. Nice hair." Cheers mate, how very flattering. He only went one stop and leapt off, waving and grinning at me from the pavement. Weirdo. What did he expect me to do...? I think it was a height thing with him.

I wonder if I would have less unwelcome encounters with annoying people if I blended in with bus-stops a bit better? No, I don't think I could do it. Sorry, camouflage gurus.

* The exhibition at the Imperial War Museum was about camouflage, warfare and popular culture, but as they seem to be a bit strange about unauthorised people linking to their website, I won't.

Oh yes, and I'll just add the usual disclaimer that I'm absolutely not encouraging stalking or similar anti-social behaviour in any way, despite what was considered a healthy past-time for boy scouts in the 1960s.

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