Paying Tribute

I don’t know if you’ve ever watched this particular webcam. I don’t like watching webcams in general: the ones overlooking an anonymous mass of people are ok but more intimate ones give me an uncomfortable feeling of voyeurism. I also worry about the amount of surveillance we are subjected to in our everyday lives; if I so much as walk 500 yards to the shops I may be caught on as many as half a dozen cameras. I don’t like it. (Mind you, when I’m watching one of those true crime stories and they lose the suspect I bang the table and ask, why don’t they have CCTV in that remote field? But that’s another story.)

Be that as it may, I don’t know if you’ve ever watched the feed from the camera overlooking Abbey Road – yes, the zebra crossing on the front of the Beatles album. It’s quite shocking. You might expect the odd group of people to reenact the album cover but in fact people do so roughly every 2-3 minutes. Since this involves stopping on the crossing for someone to take a picture – for without a picture the whole thing is worthless – it must be infuriating for the locals.

We seem to live in an age of tributes and re-enactments, where people gain some extra value or kudos for performing a famous act or reproducing someone else’s songs and there’s barely a famous band that doesn’t have a slew of tribute acts. Why? What do people get out of reproducing a spontaneous photo of four men crossing the road half a century ago? Have we lost the power to be spontaneously creative?

I think we should be told.

Kirk out