Train services from Liverpool Street were severely disrupted last night by the unprecedented absence of gangs of would-be anarchist Facebook users engaging in some organised activity in an attempt to look 'crazy'.
The "flashmob" phenomenon has become an integral part of daily commuter life in the capital, a tradition going back seemingly hundreds of years. Yesterday however, for the first time in living memory, no mob 'descended' on the station. Some New Media experts believe the reason may be the recent profile changes to Facebook, which have made it slightly harder to organise events, others suggest that the recent cold weather has exacerbated 'flashmob fatigue', where even the wackiest, most out-there behaviour eventually becomes less exciting.
Whatever the cause, the effect was devastating, with commuters, tourists and station staff on the verge of panic, faced with an orderly, unmobbed station concourse. Many passengers were simply unable to find their way to platforms without working their way through crowds of pillow-fighting students, arty Hoxton types dressed as Father Christmas or sad losers dancing silently to their iPods.
"It was awful," sobbed one IT executive from Upminster. "The station was an empty wasteland, people were just milling around nervously, hoping against hope that it was all part of a new flashmob twist, and that loads of these 'wild' people would just pop out of nowhere. But eventually we realised that no-one was coming, and all there was left to do was buy a Cornish pastie and catch the train. I'm not sure I could cope if it happened again."
In breaking news from the station this morning, it seems that the despair may have been premature. One breathless commuter recounted his experience to journalists outside: "We got off the train, it was very tense. Walking across the concourse I was almost at breaking point, just willing something unusual to happen like it always used to. Then suddenly, I mean it was out of nowhere, this bunch of people started singing Christmas carols!"
"On my life, it's true. There was a small group of them, standing round a hat, carrying pieces of paper with words and music on. Then, as if by some prearranged signal, they all broke into "Good King Wenceslas". People were crying with relief, marvelling at the sheer craziness of the idea. Soon, the whole station was watching, people were joining in, it was amazing. I tell you, you wouldn't get this sort of thing anywhere else but Britain!"