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French Spiderman
October 18, 2002 2:12 AM   Subscribe

French Spiderman does it again! Alain Robert has just sucessfully made it two-thirds of the way up the 50 storey 1 Canada Sq in London's Canary Wharf before being arrested by police in a window-cleaning cart. It's like a war zone down there. As soon as any news links appear i'll post them here.
posted by andyHollister (39 comments total)

 
Just asking, but what does he hope achieve by climbing buildings (besides amassing crimial records on various continents). Is it a "because it's there" (to quote Edmund Hillary) kind of thing?

Also, maybe he wouldn't get arreseted if he asked permission first!
posted by PenDevil at 2:26 AM on October 18, 2002


[anecdote]

I climbed onto the roof of a one-story building today to get a frisbee down. I had to cling to to the window frames and such, and it was plenty scary just being ten feet off the ground.

Much less 100.

This is awesome, and I wish the guy the best.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:30 AM on October 18, 2002


My sister was watching him from her office. She thought he was cool, I thought he was a dork. The weather here is wet and windy.
posted by Frasermoo at 3:32 AM on October 18, 2002


has just successfully made it two-thirds of the way up the 50 storey 1 Canada Sq in London's Canary Wharf before being arrested by police...
Successfully? Two-thirds is successful?
We are the quasi-champions, my friend,
And we'll keep on fighting
Until one-third from the end...

The answer is yes, I have issues.
posted by planetkyoto at 3:44 AM on October 18, 2002


Yes, planetkyoto, managing to climb even one storey up Europe's tallest building could be regarded as successful - especially clinging onto a metal surface in the pouring rain (I saw it first-had and I was pretty impressed). In any case, my play on successful was that he got all that way without falling the 30-odd storeys, coming to a gory end - that would, in my book, be regarded as successful.

Anyway, for the less-pedantic amongst you who're interested in the actual item rather than pulling my grammar to bits (this was supposed to be a light-hearted post after all), here's the full story.
posted by andyHollister at 4:09 AM on October 18, 2002


Hmmm...altho' I admire his bravery, maybe climbing up a building that has previously been the target of a terrorist attack ain't the greatest idea at the moment..?
posted by i_cola at 4:40 AM on October 18, 2002


"Modern people are only willing to believe in their computers, while I believe in myself," he said

No fair. I believe in plenty of things other than my computer, like not climbing tall buildings and not bungee jumping. Don't they count?
posted by Onanist at 4:49 AM on October 18, 2002


Just asking, but what does he hope achieve by climbing buildings
I thought he was a dork


Hmmm. I've never known what to label that kind of attitude. I'm talking about the over-skepticism of someone doing something dramatic/dangerous/whatever. I can't help but get the feeling that there's a hint of jealousy in there somewhere. Yeah, it's very easy to shout "jealous!" at someone, but I'm not just being opportunist. There's the whole "he's just showing off" aspect as well. If a band preforms on stage you don't think "Look at them standing up there, getting all the attention. I shall forcefully fail to respect what they're doing as a matter of principle. In fact, I'll go further. I'll publicly denounce it." So I don't see why people adopt that attitude towards things like this.

I get this a lot because I skateboard. Some passers-by seem to think, or pretend to think that I spend all my overcast Wednesday afternoons in a supermarket car park showing off to shoppers, desperate for applause and that they're gleefully failing to humour me by looking-all-unimpressed. They don't realise that I really couldn't give a cat's arse what they think.

Anyway. That's my take. A bit of contrariness mixed with a little jealousy, maybe.
posted by ed\26h at 4:58 AM on October 18, 2002


Whatever your views, it can't be denied that this chap is an awsome climber. More pictures of M.Robert in action here.
posted by andyHollister at 5:48 AM on October 18, 2002


However silly or stupid you think he was - at least he chased a dream. Rather than just sitting there and doing nothing about it. Good skills, I say.
posted by ralawrence at 5:49 AM on October 18, 2002


i'm impressed with the guy. neat.

however, the people who wrote the linked article should do better research: PEOPLE were not too concerned for Tom Cruise's life when he as hanging from a cliff by one hand in "Mission Impossible II," because they all knew that it was the magic of computer graphics.

actually, that's not true. cruise did the climbing himself, in real conditions--no cgi, no body double. it's documented on the outtakes of the dvd.
posted by dobbs at 5:51 AM on October 18, 2002


Hey I've got nothing against the dude, just maybe he should ask the builing owner/manager's position. I don't think I'd like to come home one day to find a Frenchman (or any Otherman for that matter) scaling up the side of my house.
posted by PenDevil at 6:00 AM on October 18, 2002


Urgh sorry about my previous post. That first sentence should read :
"... builing owner/managers before putting them in a tight position"
posted by PenDevil at 6:04 AM on October 18, 2002


Pen: Heheheh. That made me laugh a lot more than it strictly should have.
posted by ed\26h at 6:07 AM on October 18, 2002


"building owners" *repeatedly smacks keyboard*
I need to go home...
posted by PenDevil at 6:10 AM on October 18, 2002


Thanks for the pictures. I'm getting sweaty palms just looking at them (so I guess I'd fall off if I tried it).*1
posted by carter at 6:20 AM on October 18, 2002


---
cruise did the climbing himself, in real conditions--no cgi, no body double.
---

Yeah. but Cruise did his parts harnessed on cables - which were edited out using CGI - and he still had a stunt double for one part. More about that here.

Alain Robert climbs all these tall, flat, slippy buildings unharnessed without the aid of doubles or CGI to do the hard parts for him. I think that's what they were trying to get at.

What about that French roof-jumping guy - David Belle (as seen on ads for the BBC) - was he ever mentioned on Mefi? Perhaps not as scary comparatively, but impressive nonetheless.
posted by digiboy at 6:24 AM on October 18, 2002


dobbs, digiboy:
A long time ago, during the MI2 hype period, I got so sick of hearing about it that I swore that I would vomit all over the next person who told me that Tom Cruise did his own stunts. Somehow I stopped hearing about it right after that, and never had to follow up on my promise. I figured that by now I was safely out of the woods. So, imagine my dismay upon reading this thread. I hate to do it, but I swore I would, so consider yourselves vomited on. Now I have to go get a towel to clean my monitor.

I was talking to a firefighter after the unsuccessful scaling of the CN Tower in Toronto and his take was that these guys are total asses because they put his life in danger for no good reason.

posted by Fabulon7 at 6:35 AM on October 18, 2002


My sister has just emailed me some fantastic jpegs of the climb which if anyone wants to host I can email them before I go home in a couple of hours. Not sure where she got them from, may be from a site somewhere.
posted by Frasermoo at 6:42 AM on October 18, 2002


It looks like Alain's wearing something under his shirt (harness? rope?) in the China Daily link.
posted by xiffix at 6:55 AM on October 18, 2002


It looks like Alain's wearing something under his shirt (harness? rope?)

Yeah it is a harness. A harness to keep them big balls in check.
posted by ed\26h at 7:04 AM on October 18, 2002


Ed: Maybe it's possible that some of those shoppers were legitimately unimpressed with your skateboarding. Not everyone aspires to be the living embodiment of a Gatorade commercial.

Spiderman's climbs are an intriguing freak show and an amazing demonstration of courage and physical skill, but I've never seen the appeal of pointless thrill-seeking. Also, I think it's selfish for a parent to risk leaving behind children because of an incredibly dangerous hobby.

Give me a life of quiet desperation any day over one in which I jump out of a perfectly good plane to get a cheap thrill.
posted by rcade at 7:11 AM on October 18, 2002


The story states that the bag contains "powder fastened around his waist to add friction."
posted by rcade at 7:13 AM on October 18, 2002


Yeah Yeah. Typical Frenchmen, get's part way there, then surrenders.

/sarcastic-cheese-eating-surrender-monkey-comment
posted by Plunge at 7:15 AM on October 18, 2002


Part way there? Not bad for a frenchman.

*ducks to avoid onions...*
posted by Frasermoo at 7:18 AM on October 18, 2002


"powder to aid friction" - or chalk, as we'd normally term it.
posted by jackelder at 7:21 AM on October 18, 2002


Hmmm...altho' I admire his bravery, maybe climbing up a building that has previously been the target of a terrorist attack ain't the greatest idea at the moment..?

Harrods was hit by a terrorist bomb when I was a boy, shopping there with my parents, would you consider it unwise to shop at Harrods (leaving aside the fact it's part of Al Fayed's empire)? Christ on a bike, if all Londoners were to avoid sites which had previously been the site of a terroist bomb, it's be a quiet city.....
Perspective, please!
posted by Markb at 7:27 AM on October 18, 2002


rcade:

Maybe it's possible that some of those shoppers were legitimately unimpressed with your skateboarding.

Very possible, but it's their over-eagerness to show this in a facial expression or comment that leads me to think otherwise. The genuinely unimpressed, I imagine are the ones who take no notice at all.

Not everyone aspires to be the living embodiment of a Gatorade commercial.

I'm afraid I don't know what Gatoraide is.

I think you hit the point with the words "cheap thrill". I dislike cheap thrill seeking as much as anyone. Base jumping, rolling down the side of a hill in a plastic ball and all that silly nonsense. The thing that makes it cheap is the lack of skill. Anyone can take a stupid risk. Not everyone can climb up a fucking great building like that bloke did.

Give me a life of quiet desperation any day over one in which I jump out of a perfectly good plane to get a cheap thrill.

Yeah sign me up for that too please.
posted by ed\26h at 7:55 AM on October 18, 2002


In the good old English tradition, Mr Robert was not arrested, he was "treated to a hot cup of tea - and a stern talking to from police" (This is London). I'm sure that'll make him think twice next time (although actually this was the next time, ...)

Certainly an exceptional display of skill, but maybe not much smarts!

Photos of some of his climbs (accompanying article is interesting, but in Spanish)
posted by daveg at 7:56 AM on October 18, 2002


ed\26h: Not many BASE jumpers around without skill, they tend to rapidly convert into corpses.
posted by daveg at 7:59 AM on October 18, 2002


Sorry to any base jumpers offended by my ignorance, I thought it was a case of "jump off something and quite soon after that, pull on a piece of string"

:)
posted by ed\26h at 8:08 AM on October 18, 2002


Yeah Yeah. Typical Frenchmen, get's part way there, then surrenders.

Not anything like starting 2/3 of the way up, getting to the top and claiming to be the greatest climber in the world, then? *weg*
posted by digiboy at 8:17 AM on October 18, 2002


MetaTalk.
posted by timeistight at 8:32 AM on October 18, 2002


digiboy. I very nearly didn't get that.

Not bad, son.
posted by ed\26h at 8:37 AM on October 18, 2002


Markb: Thanks for the chuckle ;-) The perspective is not that it ain't safe to go near the place, it's that an unannounced stranger crawling up the side of a major building might raise a few security questions...
posted by i_cola at 8:48 AM on October 18, 2002


Gatorade is an American sports drink with commercials in which tiresomely athletic people are shown oozing droplets of the drink from their sweat glands, eyes, nostrils, open wounds, and any other portion of the body that can produce liquid.
posted by rcade at 10:02 AM on October 18, 2002


Yes skill and over developed hubris. Just like this woman who free dived to over 500 ft on one breath. Then drowned.
posted by marvin at 11:23 AM on October 18, 2002


A friend of mine who works in One Canada Square sent me some pictures of the French Spiderman taken from her office. If anyone would like to see them, email me at essexjan@homechoice.co.uk and I'll send you a zip file of 'em. Sorry, I don't have a web page I can upload them onto.
posted by essexjan at 12:05 PM on October 18, 2002


Any other portion of the body -- ?!
posted by webmutant at 2:32 AM on October 20, 2002


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