Pablo Woodward gave up his conventional life to become the Disco Bunny: a free spirit aiming to bring positive feelings to Londoners…
‘When I was about six years old, I was adopted from an orphanage in Brazil by an English family and my life really changed. We moved to Luxembourg where they showed me what it was like to have options in life: What am I going to eat? What am I going to wear? It was a real fairground ride which – like many fairground rides – became quite sickly. I wasn’t used to having so much choice.
As I got older, I tried doing every job. I was an English teacher, a tennis coach… I once spent my birthday standing in the rain with a sign that said “Car park this way”. I travelled to 50 countries, fell in and out of love and became a father of two children. Eventually I found myself living in a big house in Leeds where I had a phone bill, a flat-screen TV and a spare room – but my house was like my prison.
I think this was the pinnacle: the moment when I decided things had to change. I was an angry little man and I wanted to be emotionally free. So I started sleeping in my car and doing star jumps for a living. I became the Disco Bunny.
When I first started dancing in the streets, I think people thought I was a freak. In London, people have seen everything – but they don’t necessarily want to go near it. But now I have a sign that says “The Disco Bunny” and I put glitter on my face and flowers in my hair and it always makes people smile or laugh.
When you see the emotion that you’ve generated in someone, it has a positive effect on you. Sometimes I see someone diss me out loud but then smile afterwards: the “frown turned upside-down”. Each day I go out, the aim is for one person to share that positive feeling with me. If I make one person’s day, then it’s mission accomplished.
I’ve just finished a project that I’ve called “39 Steps”. My aim is that if I go out and shake it and spread positive vibes across London for 39 days, I will have left my mark on the city. I’ve danced all over and, although I do have a donations tin, I don’t do it to make money. I was in Camberwell the other day and I made £19.11. Then I went to Shoreditch and made £90 – which is a huge amount! But did I go back there the next day? No, because I want to take the Disco Bunny to as many different places as possible.
At the moment I wake up and just decide where in the city I want to go to from there. But if somebody said to me on social media, “Disco Bunny, I’m working here and when I finish work at 6pm I would love for you to be on this bridge when I cross it,” then I would go there. That would make my day.
I feel that I am some kind of freedom-loving, peace-loving, positive-energy fighter, taking a stance against the system and people’s desire to walk with their heads firmly buried in their phones. I fight that by going: Pah! I’m gonna wear spangly outfits and dance.
People say, “Oh, you must have so much confidence”, but every day I’m nervous. I believe that it’s only by stepping out of your comfort zone that you grow and learn – and that’s what the Disco Bunny is all about.’
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