Giant baubles hurtle through London’s Tottenham Court Road


LONDON — “It was the month before Christmas.

All over the city revelers mingled; the lights were beautiful.

Then suddenly, out of nowhere – a huge ornament bounced near Soho Square.

The scene looked straight out of a dystopian holiday film as two huge, silvery orbs hurtled towards people on one of the UK capital’s busiest streets, propelled by howling winds and torrential rain. Cars and bicycles swerved off the road.

The spheres gradually dislodged from the reflection until a white core remained, according to videos taken by onlookers and shared on social media.

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While many thought the balls were giant Christmas baubles that had somehow escaped Storm Claudio, which hit France and the UK this week, they were part of a temporary art installation set up in central London to promote a new album by a musical duo.

The installation, called “Four World Set” and created by American artist Tom Shannon, was installed on Sunday evening and was scheduled to be on display until Saturday at St. Giles’s Square, near Tottenham Court Road.

Online, the footage drew reactions ranging from obvious joy to utter disbelief, as some did wrote songs and poems that balls running amok.

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For some, the orbs brought back memories of the 1960s British TV series “The Prisoner,” which featured a large white sphere named Rover with the power to block people’s movements. Others joked that the scene reminded them of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” when Harrison Ford, who plays Indiana Jones, is chased down a tunnel by a giant rock.

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“Imagine going home and telling yourself how you almost got run over by a giant bubble, Indiana Jones style, and no one believed you until this video,” wrote a Twitter user. “Life is very strange right now,” wrote another simply.

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For those responsible for the installation, the news came hard. Musician Kai Campos, one half of electronic music duo Mount Kimbie, said he was “heartbroken” after wind caused at least two of the globes to come loose.

He said the team responsible for this had “prepared for bad weather and strong winds but just got really unlucky.”


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