Londonist Interviews… Frosty!

Dave Haste
By Dave Haste Last edited 143 months ago
Londonist Interviews… Frosty!

Today’s snow made us feel quite festive, even though it’s the wrong time of year for all that. But with all the unpredictability of our modern changing climate, we need to enjoy these sorts of things when we can. So instead of contributing to the rising tide of dissatisfaction with how poorly equipped our services are to deal with a small amount of snow these days, we thought we would turn our thoughts to the more enjoyable aspects of snowfall, such as snowmen for example…

So that gives us a reasonably good excuse to talk about Frosty. Don’t tell us you don’t know who Frosty is! Well, for the uninitiated, Frosty is the massive illuminated snowman who brightened up our lives last December, before almost meeting a soggy end when he was nearly blown into West India Dock last month.

Well we caught up with our old friend Frosty a couple of days ago, to see how he was doing…

First-up, a few stats. How old are you? And what’s your height and weight, if that’s not too personal a question?

Believe it or not, I’m younger than I look. I was born in October 2006, and to be honest my life expectancy does not look that great if I keep getting blown over! I’m 12 metres tall (including my hat). I’m not as heavy as I look, but I tend to travel around with ballast weights, which ups my weight to about 2.5 tonnes.

Who looks after you?

I’m looked after by a company called Merlin Lighting, who work for several clients specialising in bespoke and high quality outdoor lighting. They also look after the rest of my family – six big snowmen like me, and 29 smaller ones.

Do they also look after any other seasonal creatures, such as Easter Bunnies?

Not really. Most of their seasonal projects are around Christmas, leaving the rest of the year for them to design them and bring them to life.

Do you have any brothers or sisters? Where do they live?

As I mentioned earlier, I come from a big family. There are six other big snowmen that live on leisure sites in Manchester, Birmingham, Brighton, Cambridge, Norwich and Finchley Road (at the O2 centre). They are mostly the same size as me, apart from my brother who lives at the O2 centre – he’s a bit of a short-arse and is about two metres shorter than me.

I’ve also got 29 smaller brothers, but they didn’t get out much last year.

What were you doing at West India Quay last Christmas?

It was great fun. I was part of a huge display for one of my owners’ clients (X Leisure), who want to have the best Christmas displays every year. I reckon my brothers and I helped them achieve this!

What do you do during the rest of the year?

Not much. I spend most of my time lounging around in two 40 foot containers. I do get cleaned and repaired during the summer though, and any of my lights that are faulty are replaced.

Do you consider it cannibalism if a snowman eats an ice lolly?

I think it’s healthy for snowmen to eat ice products, as this is after all what they are made of, and without snow and ice they would simply melt. Of course, I’m personally made of aluminium, so I don’t have particularly strong opinions on the matter.

What is your favourite thing about London?

I enjoy the non-stop nightlife, after all I want to be seen! It would be boring if I was stuck in someone’s back-garden in the middle of nowhere, like so many ‘real’ snowmen.

Have you ever been sick on the tube?

I’m not aware of any tube stations with 12 metre height clearance, and my head is about the size of a tunnel! So I prefer to travel by articulated lorry.

Do you have any advice for Ken Livingstone?

I’m actually from France, so my grip of English politics is quite poor. So I feel it would be unwise to give my opinions on ho much I dislike the congestion charge.

Are you a new model, or are you ‘end-of-the-line’? And what happens to obsolete snowmen?

I’m a new model – I was only designed at the end of last year! However, every year brings a new and exciting challenge for my owners, so I’m not sure that I’ll be used much in future. Apparently I’m ‘high-maintenance’, with more than 45,000 LEDs lighting me up and a lightweight sectional aluminium frame, needing cranes and access equipment to install me.

Also, I won’t lie to you, I was very badly hurt when I was blown over last year. It’s quite possible that I’ll have to go into retirement now and not be used again.

So won’t we see you again in Christmas 2007?

Probably not, but it’s my understanding that you’ll see some other big snowmen, and maybe some of my smaller siblings as well.

Many thanks to Cheryl and James from Merlin Lighting (01243 855550). Photo taken from King Coyote’s Flickr photostream under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Licence.

Last Updated 08 February 2007