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  Santacon 2005 @ Santacon 2005 Route, Zone 1, London, UK Saturday 17th December 2005 
Today was my 3rd annual Santacon, and probably the best I've attended. The first was obviously awesome as it was all new, the second wasn't as good because we all got lost and it ended around 6, but today's route I think was the best.

Over the years I've told people about Santacon and even those who've seen my pictures and videos still just don't seem to quite get it. Essentially Santacon is a fancy dress pub crawl, where everyone comes as Santa. It's more than that thou, it's something which is hard to explain to someone who has never experienced something similar. When you're in a large group of people who all look the same you can do things and act differently to what you normally would, with a degree of anonymity. I'm not talking illegal things, but just act be generally more merry, carefree, hyperactive. It's kind of like being on a high. With everyone drinking too people get giggly and because the majority are on a high; really friendly. Everyone knows everyone else (Santa), and everyone talks to everyone else like they're old pals. Smiles and hugs galore! You do get the odd Santa who is a bit of an antisocial Santa, but a far less percentage than on your average night out with a bunch of strangers. The person who came up with the idea of doing it themed as Santa was a genius. Santa is known for being a bit overweight, partial to drinking alcohol on the job, eating pies and being a bit of an enigma. At Christmas time the streets of London are packed with miserable shoppers who need cheering up and 99% of those we encounter find it amusing (there's always 1% of stuck up annoying people who find everything in the world incredibly childish and immature - Santa Abi was told she spoils Christmas for young children last year). Imagine: you're walking down the road, and round the corner comes 400 singing Santas - it's not something you see everyday (if you do you should see a doctor). The interesting thing is that when you take off your costume you not only cease to be Santa but you loose your whole Santa identity too. When I left this evening I got out of costume before saying goodbye to people I'd spent hours with today with. Most didn't recognise me at all. They had absolutely no idea who I was! I was going to say, but thought I'd leave it at that and leave it to next year. No one likes to have magic spoilt, even Santa :)

This year I travelled down to London on my own and met Santa Ben (ex housemate of 2 years) in the first pub. Santa Polythene was meant to be in attendance but couldn't make it. I was one of the first to arrive, there were only 3 Santas when I did, but this grew to about 400 (at a guess - there were a *lot* of Santas this year!). Despite the size it went well and Santa chose pubs which had another pub a few doors down, so all could get served. I was cunning of course and bought some bottles of vegan friendly vintage cider in Sainsburys. There was no splitting into groups and some Santas (including front and back) had radios - very high tech! In the first pub I met up with several Santas I recognised and some I didn't, but sat and shared a drink with them anyway. I was wearing my 'naughty or nice?' judge's wig this year and acquired a sprig of mistletoe with i tucked in under my hat so it was hovering an inch in front of my face. I hade my kisses from random strangers in one day than I think I've had in the rest of my life combined! I also got dry humped by Chav Santa, which was quite an experience! Santa Ben disappeared at about 5 after Nelson's column, but I stayed on till about 7.30 when I had to leave to get the second to last train (if I aim for the last I'd never get it!). Actually I made the 3rd to last train in the end and got home by 10.30, but was absolutely knackered and had had an amazing day :)

The meet point was the Shakespeare's Head on Kingsway in Holborn. A very large and rather dull pub, but a good choice given the amount of Santas, the cheapness of drinks and lack of cheesy music. From here we crossed over the road and decided to visit the Freemason's Grand Lodge, who claim you can view their grand hall. They weren't having any of it thou, so we sung the security guys some carols in the foyer instead. They were very nice and claimed we could go in their grand hall next year (careful what you promise!). After that we progressed down Drury Lane towards the big ice skating ring just off the strand. Some Santas decided to try and get on the ice (including this one!), but our trip was cut short by security guards (I think I managed amount 10 seconds worth of skating max!). Next was a pub on the Strand, followed by Trafalgar Square - the first time I've been with Santa and we've made it in daylight. After our yearly carol singing session for the tourists we went up towards Piccadilly and visited Virgin Megastores looking for some virgins. I spoke to the stock manager thou and apparently they don't have any virgins! Trade Description Act! Leicester square was next for some singing with a brass band and funfair rides, followed by a pub just on the edge of Soho(hoho). A few Santas made it into sex shops after this pub, but I was way more intent on putting my camera away and going to Beatroute on Berwick Street for a large vegan takeaway box of hot mush and sausage rolls. A pub round the corner was next, where I met some Mrs Santas from Colchester (where I used to live for 4 years). One kind lady Santa offered to take my photo, but dropped my camera! It's the first time it's been dropped and I would have probably cried a few years ago when it was new, but it bounced and appart from a minor stract seems to be fine. I was going to let her try again, but she then told me how under a week ago she'd knocked a laptop off a desk! :-O Oxford Street was next (where I had tourists/shoppers queuing to have their photo taken with me!) and a little wander around a side street after being told off by the police who were worried about overcrowding (and then kindly closed the street for us!), before Bond Street tube station, taking the central line to St Paul's. I did think that 400 drunk Santas trying to take the tube would all end in tears with either an accident or us all being detained by Mi5, but it went quite well actually. I'm glad that at St Paul's we just walked around the outside and didn't try to go in, instead making our way over the Millennium Bridge to the Southbank. We did a few numbers with some real carol singers who had a stage, sound system and everything. They very kindly agreed to use our words, then insisted on singing us a traditional song - quick Santa, run away! We all piled into the Tate Modern, where this year they have a very uninspiring display of white plastic blocks in their turbine hall. Modern Art? If this is how you can make money I need a career change! Security weren't too happy about Santa viewing the display, after Santa Dumbass tried knocking one of the towers down. Finally was the Founder's Arms - the pub where we stared Santacon 2003. I had to make an exit here for my train, no idea what happened afterwards. I met a few lost Santas on my way back to St Paul's tube station, who didn't recognise me at all out of costume :)

My thanks go to Santa, for a wicked day out and best Santacon on record!
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Other 'Santacon' photos: London Santacon 2006, My 2006 Santa Suit, Santacon 2005, My 2005 Santa Suit, Santacon 2004, My Santacon 2004 Suit, A couple of Santacon newspaper articles, Santacon 2003, My Santacon 2003 Suit

Other 'Drinking' photos: London Santacon 2006, My 2006 Santa Suit, Santacon 2005, Santacon 2004, The Summer Ball, THE END!, Santacon 2003, Human Rights Day 2003, Bowling XMas Dinner 2003, Human Rights Week, National Student Tenpin Bowling Tornament in Nottingham, Halloween 2003, Bowling Wivenhoe Run, Random Bowling Night, My 22nd Birthday, Bowling Summer BBQ, BBQ and first evening of drinking outside of the year, The birthday of Cork, Flaky gets waxed, Easter Holiday Bonfire, Another Bowling Wivenhoe Run, Valentines Party, Bowling Wivenhoe Run, Bowling Christmas Dinner, Human Rights Day, Anatidaephobia, Bonfire Night, A Belated Bonfire Night, Beer and Cybersex!

Other 'Christmas' photos: London Santacon 2006, My 2006 Santa Suit, Santacon 2005, My 2005 Santa Suit, Santacon 2004, My Santacon 2004 Suit, Santacon 2003, Bowling XMas Dinner 2003, My Santacon 2003 Suit, Xmas Tree, Barr Humbug! How Zoe Stole Christmas, Christmas Tree Decoration