|Other GLF Info:|
|PARIS, April 10 (Reuters) - The dormant Garden Gnome Liberation Front has sprung back to life, stealing around 20 gnomes during a night-time raid on a Paris exhibition. |
"We demand...that garden gnomes are no longer ridiculed and that they be released into their natural habitat," the Front's Paris wing said in a statement following its weekend strike.
France's first garden gnome exhibition in the exclusive Bagatelle park on the outskirts of the capital opened last month and has been a hit with the public as chic Parisians develop a taste for kitsch culture.
The Garden Gnome Liberation Front vanished from the public eye in 1997 after a northern French court handed its ringleader a suspended prison sentence and fined him for his part in the disappearance of around 150 gnomes.
The only suspected sighting of the organisation since then was a mass suicide of gnomes at Briey in eastern France in September 1998, when 11 of them were found dangling by their necks under a bridge.
A letter found nearby said: "When you read these few words we will no longer be part of your selfish world, where we serve merely as pretty decoration."
Now, the sight of 2,000 of the gaudy, colourful creatures dotted around the Bagatelle gardens has clearly proved too big a temptation for the group to avoid.
It warned that it would strike again unless the show was closed and all the gnomes released.
Organisers told the daily Le Parisien that they had no intention of bowing to the Front's demands.
|Gnome Where? |
by Louise Rosen, Newsweek
TUESDAY, August 3, 1999 - Gnome today, gone tomorrow. How did 143 of those pointy-bearded little garden statues—long considered good luck by some, the ultimate in kitsch by others—end up dumped on the lawn of France's Sarrebourg town hall on Monday? Nobody's saying. But those in the know suspect the Garden Gnome Liberation Front (FLNJ) could have the answer. The not-so-tongue-in-cheek group has spent the last three years "liberating" the little cement statues from French gardens to return them to their "natural" rural habitat. "How long, fellow Gnomes, how long have we listened to the smooth whispers of the man-species as they pick among our friends at the local garden center, praising one, rejecting another," proclaims the FLNJ. "Rise up and break the bonds of slavery!"
The Sarrebourg mystery is less sinister than the last major gnome 'napping incident, in which French officials last year found 11 gnomes hanging by their necks and a note saying they were, "leaving this cruel world...to join the temple of oppressed gnomes." Nonetheless, it has shocked the gnome-loving community. "I don't understand why some people think they should be in the countryside," said Ann Atkins, founder of the Gnome Reserve in England. "In your own head a flower box can be the countryside." As for the latest incident: "I just don't like to talk about it," Atkins told Newsweek.com. "It might give people ideas."
Other Liberation Fronts of Interest:
|Gnome expense spared |
BBC News Online: UK Wednesday, December 3, 1997 - A garden gnome, believed to be the oldest in the world, has been insured for £1 million. "Lampy", the father of the most ridiculed of garden ornaments, is the only survivor of a set of 21 gnomes imported into Britain in the 1840s.
Lampy's home for the last 115 years has been the palatial Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire. He was brought over from Germany in 1847 by the eccentric spiritualist Sir Charles Isham who was besotted by these little terracotta people.
But Lampy's survival in a garden crevice all these years owes more to good fortune than to his owner's admiration.
Sir Charles' daughters disliked the diminutive figures and had them removed - all except Lampy who remained hidden in the grounds.
Lampy has a lot to answer for. His quirky descendants through the decades have inspired devotion and loathing in equal measure having acquired almost unrivalled reputations for cheeriness or garishness depending on your taste.
But as the 21st century approaches, with organisations like the direct action Gnome Liberation Front in existence - and Lampy travelling the world to attend international gnome conventions - there is no evidence at all of the stone goblin's demise.