The Handbook
The Handbook

“Christmas slime, mistletoe and wine”… Yes, the least Christmassy thing since flip flops just showed up at Tate Britain. Two giant illuminated slugs (yes, slugs) are now sliming their way up the Tate Britain and, to be totally honest, they’re possibly the coolest Christmas illumination in London right now.

The art installation, which has all the hallmarks of a text autocorrect gone very wrong, was created by Monster Chetwynd, the artist previously known as Spartacus Chetwynd, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd and, originally, Alalia Chetwynd. Chetwynd took her festive inspiration from Sir David Attenborough’s 2005 nature series Life in the Undergrowth (The Snowman, presumably, wasn’t available) and says that she aims to “use them to raise serious ecological concerns, as well as to show that even supposedly repulsive creatures can be transformed into something wondrous”.

And wondrous they certainly are. Attenborough’s documentary tells of slugs’ mating rituals. Attenborough (and I bet you didn’t expect to be reading this on The Handbook today) explains that slugs who are ‘up for it’ leave a slime trail that has a special “come and get me” flavour. If another slug decides they’re feeling a bit sexy too, then they’ll follow the trail.

The installation features two giant 33-foot slugs are illuminated and leave behind an LED-lit trail of slime across the iconic front of Tate Britain.

Is this any less Christmassy than rampant consumerism, than over-indulgence or family feuds? We’re not sure, but we’re rather warming to these enormous horny snails.