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Tonight was the annual Regent Street Xmas lights switch on and there were many festivities. Jodie Whittaker was present to turn on the lights. I didn’t actually see the switch on, my intent was to cover today’s launch of the new exhibition Spectacles and Half a Millennia. However the organisers had foiled my honourable intents by putting on a musical concert in the exhibition space itself – a concert which was of absolutely no interest to me! I had prepared my post in part prior to today to save time but it was obvious I was going to have to defer it.

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A nice concert for some at St James’ – but one that definitely upset my plans….

Therefore I had a problem.. do I miss a publication date or find something else at short notice? Luckily for me, just round the corner there was the Regent Street lights switch on. Actually the switch on was over – but there was more fun yet to be had, the evening was still young – so I dutifully joined the throngs of people heading there. Instead of Spectacles and Half a Millennia, which I have deferred for a couple of days, here’s my coverage of tonight’s events in Regent Street.

By the way these are last year’s Xmas lights. They have been reused in the Central area this year (with some subtle changes however.) In fact these lights hark back to 1954 when angels were used in the street’s first ever Xmas decorations. Its been said that last years lights are being used in deference to the news Crossrail is a year late. It was very good of the Crossrail guys to let London know they were in a bit of a shit and give the City’s planners time enough to decide there was no need for a huge celebration and last year’s offerings would simply be sufficient!

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The Regent Street Xmas lights switch on line-up with Dreamgirls and Jodie Whittaker, our current Doctor Who! Source: Twitter

The only real change within this area in 2018 is Carnaby Street with its fantastic Bohemian Rhapsody theme. Carnaby Street always does something so very different, and re-using last year’s xmas lights just wasn’t what they wanted! Huge crowds spilled off Regent Street into Carnaby just to see their absolutely great Xmas tribute to Freddie Mercury and Queen. I may do a post on this!

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The entrance to Regent Street, this is the set up that’s always presented when they close off the famous street for some festival.

I have been to these Xmas light switch ons and other major events in the area too but don’t usually report on these – I sort of find them somewhat difficult to put together – that is apart from a quite brief write up I did on the Seven Dials switch on last year as part of a bigger post on Xmas lights around the capital. I’ve written several times on festivals in Regent Street but never the Xmas ones. If one really think about it, I still haven’t reported on a London Xmas lights switch on because this post is actually about what went on after the switch on itself.

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A sax quartet. According to Regent Street’s website this was More is More. I had wondered if they might be playing Air on a G Street? (Yeah I know its actually Air on a G String.)

I arrived at Regent Street just as the switch on celebrations itself had finished and work was actually underway to take down the main stage. The celebrations extended until 9pm so there were many other things going on, which is usually the norm in such events.

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Cleaners waiting for the big sweep to begin. Additional workers brought in, not the council’s usual contractors, Veolia.

What you will see here is a selection of photographs I took, just a handful of picks from nearly 500 photographs, mainly in chronological order from when I arrived to when I left…

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The 2018 Xmas lights (actually the 2017 lights brought back for another year.)

It seem appropriate that Jodie Whittaker (aka Doctor Who) was invited to switch on the lights. The lights themselves were brought from the past so she could switch them on in 2018! Talk about time travel eh?

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A short while before ‘Doctor Who’ had stood on this stage to launch the Regent Street 2018 Xmas lights!

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Three attractive ladies – and they seemed soooo tall too….

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Another view of our tall ladies! How could they be so tall? Special genes perhaps….

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Dad and daughter viewing the Hamley’s window whilst another dad films the Xmas window for his family back home.

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Molton Brown’s Giant Advent Calendar of Surprises. Someone’s just won a major prize! Monty Hall eat your hat!

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Angels in the sky above Regent Street and angels on the ground too! Ballet dancers showing their pirouette skills.

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One of the dancers in graceful pose.

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Lots were queuing up to have their photos/selfies with the dancers. This guy obviously looks very pleased with himself!

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A couple with their very smartly dressed dogs outside the Apple store.

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Oompah  Brass is the name of these guys. Their hashtag is #ivebeenoomped 🙂

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Meanwhile at the other end of Regent Street the tent and stage for the lights’ launch is nearly gone. The traffic’ll be coming round soon!

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Those ladies again and now we now why they are tall! Talk about stilts! They’re known as the Lightwalkers.

The fashionista is very well known, his name is Kala Kala and I see him quite a lot in town! He even has a car decorated with all sorts of stuff. This is the second or third time I have seen him since London Fashion Week in September just gone. London Fashion Week is one place where one’s guaranteed to spot him. I haven’t missed any London Fashion Weeks in the past six or seven years and at each one he is certainly about, usually with the likes of Sophie Chochevelou or Florent Bidois, the sort of crowd who are forever wearing frequently amazing and sometimes quite outrageous designs.

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I just popped into Michael Kors very briefly to take photographs of these singers. Have never set foot in here before!

Although I dont know what the event was in aid of, clearly Michael Kors wasn’t the only bag retailers having celebrations this evening. Kipling’s, just a few doors away, also specialise in bags and they had a large do outside their store with dancers. Again I wasn’t really sure what it was meant to be about bar the fact it was an advert for their wares! They were inviting people to snap and share their pictures. Hence I had a look at @kiplingglobal and #kiplingstoreuk but it seems no-one was snapping nor sharing on Twitter or Instagram, apart from this one somewhat dire photo!

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Kipling’s Snap and Share catwalk (or whatever they call it!)

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A Kipling’s dancer posing for my camera.

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They had four dancers, two female and two male, the men were of course doing the more strenuous, macho sort of dancing.

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Nice pose! Thank you!

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Even the Hare Krishna were down here! They however had a somewhat smaller entourage than is usual.

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A lovely lady! She did briefly speak about her unusual clothes but I didn’t get the gist. Was also in a rush but did a nice twirl for me!

Clearly there was a lot of fun to be had this evening, and I think perhaps any best fun award of the night would have gone to Hamley’s. You know, they would have beat anyone else hands down! They had zany activities and whatever, like singing too outside the famous toy store. I missed a bit before I got there, one cant be like Doctor Who and be in two places at the same time!

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Mad Hamley’s staff having a sort of sing along! Can I have a job at Hamley’s please? I’d love to be silly all day!

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Everyone loves the Hamley’s staff. They have a lucky job – one where they always let their hair down lol!

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Bubble gun guy shooting bubbles at me (I asked him to do it actually!)

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Great pose from the Hamley’s crew as bubbles fly past! Shutter speed was 1/80th, just enough to freeze faces but allow blur for the bubbles.

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Some people have very lucky jobs. They get paid to basically be off their heads! No worries, no stress whatever.

I don’t know what the guy was going with a balloon on his head but this is Hamley’s and anything goes apparently! There is nearly always some activity of some sort on the pavement outside so one doesn’t have to be in the store to see their humorous staff at work. This is the FIRST time I’ve ever set foot inside the store! And that was just inside. I’ll have to take a proper look around some other time and see what other zany activities they get up to lol!

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Molton Brown’s getting ready to pack their stuff and go home. Cue – its time for me to go home too and start on my latest blog post!

It’ll take me probably FIVE HOURS non stop work just to get this post written and published. Its not an easy job at all. Some posts take days.

P.S. It actually took me four and three quarter hours 🙂 Writing up stuff is the biggest struggle I have.

(And that wasnt without some additions to the text I did a few hours later.)

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