No Pants Subway Ride London
“When told to by your group leader, remove your trousers, and put them into your backpack.” These were the instructions for trouser-less tube riders last year, for the London version of America’s No Pants Subway Ride.
This Sunday January 10 will mark the seventh annual flashmob – or fleshmob, rather – to take place on the London Underground, which is expected to attract a thousand people who just want a nice bit of fresh air around their undercarriage.
It’s nothing to get your knickers in a twist over, it’s simple: groups of passengers board a tube carriage at various tube stops in the city, in the middle of winter. Participants act as if they don’t know each other, and that everything is totally normal. And it is, apart from the goose-pimpled legs and lower bum cheeks sticking out of puffer jackets.
The tradition was started in New York in 2002 by pranksters Improv Everywhere. The mastermind behind the group, Charlie Todd, and his “undercover agents” have carried out hundreds of “missions” with titles such as “The Mannequin Mob” and “I Love Lunch! The Musical”.
Improv Everywhere’s website says: “The mission started as a small prank with seven guys and has grown into an international celebration of silliness, with dozens of cities around the world participating each year.”
Since the craze went global in 2008, the No Pants Subway Ride has seen extreme weather conditions and run-ins with the authorities. Just last year, officials allegedly tried to ban it in Latvia, but gave up when the media sniffed out the story. Before that, in 2012, Improv Everywhere claims that disrobed deviants were arrested in Istanbul. And in 2009, a particularly zealous bunch went ahead with the ride in a snow storm in New York.
The biggest scandal was in 2006, when eight nude (ish) New Yorkers were allegedly handcuffed in their underwear and taken into custody. The charges were dropped, though, as it’s not illegal to wear your underwear in public in New York.
To join in, meet the scantily clad riders at 3pm at Pagoda, Newport Place, WC2H 2JR on Sunday.
Just remember, the UK version is no trousers not no pants, so don’t confuse the lingo and turn up with nothing on at all.
And as per the advice in 2015: “Be nice and friendly and normal… Don’t wear a thong or anything else that might offend people.”
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