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  London Santacon 2006 @ Santacon 2006 Route, Zone 1, London, UK Saturday 16th December 2006 
My 4th Santacon (03, 04, 05) and this time in green!

I somehow managed to prise myself out of bed at 6.40am to catch the 7.22am train to London (having woken up no less than 4 times in the night convinced it was time to get up!). I finally arrived at the Tate Modern at 9.40 when there were only about 20 other Santas. Got changed, had and shared a few swigs of homemade Sloe Gin, waited for some familiar faces and the doors to open at 10. As the queue formed quicker than my brain could cope with that early in the morning I bribed the people at the front with Gin and got tickets for the 3 slides almost immediately after the doors opened. Having been a few weeks ago with Santa undercover and experienced the slides already I only went on Level 4 - not as high as 5 but the fastest (it starts with a drop!) with more twists and turns. I then gave my 2 other tickets away and socialised with other Santas as they arrived. We knew from server logs that the Tate had been expecting us which after last year when a couple of dumbass Santas decided to try and mount the main exhibit we did fear may be a bad. The security were waiting for us but didn't stop us having fun and we all super nice in return! :)

We left the Tate with approx 100 Santas around 11am (slightly ahead of schedule(!)) and headed through Borough Market on the way to London Bridge Tube. Here we discovered that quite a few Santas seem to have a bizarre obsession with curdled cow puss; I opted for a breakfast of sloe gin and dried fruit instead. From London Bridge we made our way to Camden tube and up the highstreet to the Ice Wharf (Lloyds) by the Camden Lock where there were several hundred Santas already amassed. I moved onto my recent Xmas cocktail creation - 300ml vodka (infused with cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, coriander, cranberries and sugar), 300ml Noilly Prat red vermouth and 400ml orange juice - think 23% strong cold mulled wine. At about 1pm we took the bridge into the stables and darted straight to Cyberdog. Surprisingly they actually let most Santas in, but only played one song before turfing us all out. Potentially due to us being a security risk, potentially because they thought we might have been taking the piss somewhat by making the wall shake with the chanting of "ho ho, HO HO, ho ho, HO HO, ho ho, HO HO. there's no Christmas!" and potentially because we were scaring the customers ;)

On the way down to the World's End (another excellent choice of pub) we somehow managed to successfully completely take over the whole of Camden Highstreet. The even more bizarre thing than hundreds of Santas walking straight down the middle of the road on a Saturday lunchtime was that the police didn't seem to care. I took the opportunity to grab lunch at one of the vegan Chinese buffets just round the corner. Left the pub and made our way down to Mornington Crescent and onto Charing Cross. I successfully managed to get the attendant at Mornington Crescent to announce over the tannoy "All Santas to Charing Cross!" and after thinking we'd never all fit down the stairs we somehow managed (it was like an all Santa rush hour!). Didn't take many pics on the tube train, I was too busy carriage hopping at each station.

We got to Charing Cross and onto Trafalgar Square ahead of schedule and still most definitely in the day light. Santas were all meant to congregate at the top of the steps in front of the National Gallery before descending on Nelson, but that much choreography with that many pissed Santas was probably asking a bit too much! As we mounted Nelson another tube train had come loaded with Santas and there was a constant stream of Santas bound for Nelson from the road next to St Martin In The Fields. 2 Santas yanked me up by my arms onto Nelson which really did quite hurt more than I hoped (I'm currently plastered in deep heat the following morning), I'll update in 6 months if I'm still in pain! There was also a crunching sound as I landed on my camera, but it seems to be quite happy still (having been dropped last at last year's Santacon). We stayed at Trafalgar for quite a while singing carols (5 double gins etc) before we had a (I believe London Santacon's first) wedding proposal! Apologies to whomever you are about the blurriness of the pic, I was a bit slow of the mark and before i got near (even thou starting off about 3 metres away) random tourists had already leapt in with their camera phones.

The Bell and Compass was next (nice pub, completely inadequate amount of loos thou for that many Santas - long queues for the men's!), whilst Santa Yoms and DonKing Santa went to get the BBQ going. 30 mins later we were crossing Hungerford bridge (still in the daylight!) and over to Jubilee Gardens. Another complete success - we stayed for a couple of hours and weren't asked to move on. I ran out of Santa alcohol at this time, so had to find an off license to buy more. The only vegan spirit they had a vaguely sensible price was Captain Morgan's dark rum, which is pretty intense to drink straight out of the bottle! It went dark as Santa danced and chatted to and hugged scores of other Santas. There weren't any Santa games, but it was a bit muddy so it's potentially just as well!

It all went a bit skew whiff after this point, Santa was a bit slow in leaving and got a bit lost on the way to Leicester Square (mainly owing to the fact that no one seems to know that's where we were going). I and about 100 other lost Santas stood around for a while (I was so drunk by the point and really didn't mind), then did a tour around Covent Garden before we found DonKing's lost band of Santas and made our collective way to Leicester Square. I got chatting with Random Santa, who I'd met a couple of times before (see the end of the 04 video for some pint glass juggling 'skills' ;)) and turned out to know someone I know so we promptly got on the phone.

From here we were meant to go and explore Soho, but ended up walking straight up to Oxford Street (arriving around 7pm) and pile onto buses to the Foundry afterparty. I made an exit at this point to get a train home, having spent over 9 hours drinking and partying with Santa. All in all it was a fantastic year, things went pretty smoothly and there were a LOT of Santas. I don't know the official number (if there was one), but it was quite a few more than the previous biggest (still under 1000 though). We actually only did 3 pubs in the end (a few people did an extra pub in Covent Garden whilst lost), but this Santa was prepared and drank only spirits with minimum amounts of mixer. Cheap, nice (apart from the Morgans!) and very kind on the bladder (I think for my first Santacon (or for that matter drinking session) ever I didn't have a single moment where I felt like I was going to explode!

Looking forward to next year and hooking up with Santas again. I met some fantastic Santas this year - new and old. Every year is special for a different reason but the Santa vibe is most definitely still alive and evolving in the right direction!

Anyway, this is meant to be a picture site not a blog, so here they are. The quality isn't as fantastic as some pics that will appear on the web, but this Santa knows better than to take his SLR to Santacon!!! ;)
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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