Norway road officials veto Monty Python / News / The Foreigner

Norway road officials veto Monty Python. The Ministry of Silly Walks is in possible trouble with bureaucratic ‘colleagues’ the Norwegian Public Roads Directorate over a street sign in an eastern Norway village. The pedestrian crossing in Marker municipality’s Ørje, Østfold County, is adorned with a Ministry of Silly Walks-like man. He replaces the standard road-crossing male depicted against the blue and white background template. Art-educated Reidar Johannes Søby tells The Foreigner the aim behind it is “to bring a gleam of comedy into an otherwise grey every day.”

johncleese, montypython, norwayroads



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Norway road officials veto Monty Python

Published on Thursday, 27th March, 2014 at 13:20 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last Updated on 30th March 2014 at 11:49.

The Ministry of Silly Walks is in possible trouble with bureaucratic ‘colleagues’ the Norwegian Public Roads Directorate over a street sign in an eastern Norway village.

The pedestrian crossing sign
This can be found on a 19mph road in the centre of a small village with a speed bump.The pedestrian crossing sign
Photo: With kind permission of Kreativiteket


The pedestrian crossing in Marker municipality’s Ørje, Østfold County, is adorned with a Ministry of Silly Walks-like man. He replaces the standard road-crossing male depicted against the blue and white background template.

Art-educated Reidar Johannes Søby tells The Foreigner the aim behind it is “to bring a gleam of comedy into an otherwise grey every day.”

“We in voluntary creative group ‘Kreativiteket’ got the idea about some six months ago – nothing moves quickly here, you understand. I don’t know how the idea came about, I just see things and they pop up. So I thought ‘why not’?”

Mr Søby, a supply teacher in Art at the local Secondary school and who works on a chicken farm, adds he was inspired by a Silly Walks silhouette on a poster. British actor John Cleese CBE is the man who appears in the Monty Python sketch.

“We composed the layout and asked a sign-maker to produce it. He replied he couldn’t, as ‘it wasn’t allowed’. We then talked to the municipality who subsequently gave the go-ahead,” says Mr Søby, surprised at the national media attention “this very minor thing has attracted.”

According to him, local reactions to what he calls “street art” have just been positive. Moreover, “John Cleese is very welcome to come and see it. I’ll walk with him if he does.”

Bureaucrats do not officially share the humour, however.

“The municipality has authority over the sign, generally-speaking,” explains Elisabeth Bechmann, head of section for the Eastern Norway Region at the Public Roads Administration (NRPA).

“Nevertheless, it’s up to the Directorate of Public Roads (Vegdirektoratet) to make a decision on what to do in this matter as superior authority. We would not have accepted this type of sign on roads we are responsible for, and the Directorate can ask us to remove it if they so wish,” she also remarks.

“We think it’s a fun twist to a pedestrian crossing sign. At the same time, we refer to events and expect that it be replaced with a public sign within reasonable time,” states head of department Ivar Christiansen at the Directorate.

“I can’t see the point in removing it”, remarks Marker Mayor Kjersti Nythe Nilsen, “it looks just like an ordinary sign; it’s just the man that’s different. Moreover, it’s located in a small street in the centre at a very large speed bump with a 30 km/h (almost 19 mph) limit. People will just be cheered when they see it.”

The NRPA may have to take the sign away.

“I haven’t talked to them, but we’re not removing it. They can come and take it down themselves.”

“I think officials’ job is not to be pleased,” concludes Reidar Johannes Søby, commenting that the group has other stunts planned.

Norway's Ministry of Transport has not responded to The Foreigner's request for comment.

The Monty Python video can be found here.




Published on Thursday, 27th March, 2014 at 13:20 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson   .
Last updated on 30th March 2014 at 11:49.

This post has the following tags: johncleese, montypython, norwayroads.





  
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