If you thought Flatkidz were that vaguely atonal indie trio with the vintage Moog synth and the Roland TR-909, then think again!

Apparently some people in the Isle of Man drive a bit fast. This is clearly not a good thing and has duly prompted urgent calls for something to be done. The latest thing being done is quite an unusual thing, which is why we are telling you about it.

It is, to be specific, tying life size effigies of children with distorted faces to various trees, lamp posts and such like vertical protuberances alongside some of the island’s more rapidly driven roads.

The move follows the success of a previous initiative in which life size effigies of a policeman brandishing a speed gun (known affectionately as PC Flat) were deployed around the island, and of a parallel scheme in Canada in which trompe l’oeil stickers of (for example) little people stooping to pick up their balls etc. were stuck to the surface of danger-spot roads.

The success of the latter scheme, it must be noted was somewhat qualified by complaints about drivers veering onto sidewalks, oncoming traffic, roadside undergrowth and the like in an attempt to avoid these illusory hazards.

But to rejoin the main Manx thrust of our narrative, the tree-tied blur-faced children are intended, not to scare the wits out of unsuspecting motorists negotiating the notoriously eerie twilight Mists of Man, but “to help drivers keep their wits about them and watch out for children”.

“I wanted to try something different,” confesses Douglas Police spokesman PC Flat, and – with the nights drawing in – tie something to trees that would “appeal to the better nature of motorists”. The cardboard effigies being used all depict actual local children, but with their faces artfully smudged out of all recognition to protect the innocent.

A local businessman known to the children of Douglas simply as Mr Sweetman, described the initiative as “a great idea” which he was happy to support, adding ruefully “from time to time we all need a little reminder to slow down.”

How true!

Andy Sweetman with PC Flat and his Flat Kidz

Andy Sweetman with PC Flat and his Flat Kidz


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