There has been a lot of speculation and innuendo over the past few months about London’s legendary liggers, and the enhanced interest in these serial gatecrashers has spawned several anonymous blogs, as well as interest from both niche and mainstream media. Separately, there has been much head shaking and finger pointing amongst the liggers themselves over the fact that some of their own have apparently outed them so publicly. Add that to the spate of heated, colourful, email exchanges doing the rounds and it’s been a whirlwind six months for the arts and events industry.
But things are about to get worse, much worse. Liggers of London, watch out, your time is up. In her book Liggers & Dreamers: Tales from the London Art Scene, Josie Demuth chronicles the freeloading antics of London’s most picaresque, outrageous characters. The cover art by Jason Gibilaro is undoubtedly inspired by the legendary David Pun, whose exploits have been well documented for many years.
Many pages have been devoted to him, particularly in the Steeple Times. There’s even a dedicated Twitter account “Where’s the Pun?” where people post their David Pun sightings, and though at the time of writing it hadn’t been updated since March 2014, Mr Pun or his fan seems to have returned to Twitter with a flurry of updates in recent days. So I suppose the saying is true: There’s no party without the Pun.
By way of an introduction, this short story by Demuth follows the extraordinary lengths a trio of con artists go to in order to crash an exclusive art gallery event. Posing as somebody else is a known ruse often employed to blag entry into high profile events. It happens several times a day across the City. From art galleries to air shows, product launches to press junkets, lecture theatres to libraries, no event or industry is immune to the lure of leeching liggers. And as for Peter, Mac, and Debbie, you know who you are!
For those unfamiliar to the art of ligging, here a primer, some general background, and a semi-humorous how to guide. Perhaps in direct response to the Guardian article, eventbrite published this guidance on how to avoid liggers at your event. And maybe this was worth writing, as strange as it might seem, there are in fact people whose lives revolve around lukewarm Lambrusco, crusty crudité, and soggy vol-au-vents and you can read about many of them here.
Victoria Coren-Mitchell was somewhat of a pioneer in this field and since then, people like Matthew Steeples of the Steeple Times, Phoebe Hurst at Vice, and the Secret London Agent have taken the baton and run with it.
And now there’s Josie Demuth’s brilliant roman à clef detailing the serial liggers of the London art scene. Funny, evocative, and with more clues than Cluedo, readers will be guessing the identities of the characters; a veritable garden of Hieronymus Bosch. We all know who you are and it’s only a matter of time before your kind are permanently banished from all events. Let the true account of how the Jolly Gang’s very own gatecrasher Alan Macdonald choked to death on a canapé at the Dorchester be a lesson to you all!
Finally, for those needing a little help identifying these trolls, here are a few mug shots to get you going. Liggers, super liggers and even turbo liggers!