Wednesday, 6 April 2011
Shark Week revisited + Andrew Weatherall & Ewan Pearson live 'back 2 back' @ The Tunnel in Milan.
More truths, rumours and the probable historical facts behind Englands oldest and favourite public holiday. Shark Week!! Shark Week is aways an exciting time in Newcastle, and an exciting time all around the world – but have you ever asked yourself how Shark Week began? As you and your loved ones celebrate Shark Week in your local parks, city centers, mosques, hobo jungles and shopping malls, and as you enjoy such traditional Shark Week food fare as gummi remoras and kosher chum, have you ever stopped to consider how long people have been celebrating the Shark, and for that matter, a whole week of sharks? Have you ever asked yourself where this fun family festival first originated? From what dark, insidious rituals did our celebrations arise? What terrifying forces have guided the hand – or dare I say 'fin' – of destiny, scrying a sinister tattoo across the canvas of humanity’s very fate? And where did the traditional jaunty Shark Week ceremonial dance, 'The Mako Knuckler' originate? Well, we don’t know, but what follows is much of what historians suggest is the history of what we know today as Shark Week!
Years Ago. There are not yet any sharks, and therefore no Shark Week.
4,540,000,000 Years Ago. NOW there are sharks, but not any weeks yet. Give it time.
420 Million Years BC. Predating by several hundred million years the arrival of so-called “dinosaurs” (which, translated from the Latin, means literally “Holy Shit, That Thing’s Going To Kill Us”), sharks populate every corner of the Earth and literally rule the oceans. Specifically, they rule with a mix of representative parliamentary democracy and Socialism, often called a 'Sharkocracy'. Truly, this is a golden age, when every week is shark week (by parliamentary Sharkocratic decree).
26,000 BC. Crude cave paintings dating back to this era have recently been discovered in central Europe. Depicting scenes of everyday life, the paintings show Neolithic hunters tracking and killing wild sharks, as well as taming them and riding them like ponies. This has led many paleontologists and historians to decry Neolithic Man as “A bunch of making things up liars.”
5,000 Years Ago. This is when God actually created the Earth (and thus all sharks, and weeks), so ignore everything that’s come before now.
0 AD. A shark is born in Jerusalem, Hosanna in the highest!
1560 AD. Pope Pius IV declares the first known festival which most closely resembles what we understand today as “Shark Week”, largely appropriating a pagan fertility celebration which ran at the same time of year. Protestant reformers decry the holiday for its heathen overtones, but are thankfully slaughtered by papal authorities well before they can harsh anyone’s buzz too bad.
1601 AD. In honor of Shark Week (“Ye Weeke Os The Sharketh”, in Elizabethan English), Shakespeare stages his controversial “Hamlet Versus the Megalodon”. The “Coelecanth Monologue” continues to be rated as one of the greatest pieces of stagecraft in the history of modern drama.
1879. Sharks are officially patented on this date by prolific inventor Thomas Alva Edison, following groundbreaking research conducted at his Menlo Park laboratories in which alternating sharks were successfully sent to a surprised household in Great Neck (There were no survivors). A curious side effect of this document is that, legally speaking, sharks are considered to never have existed before this date. In order to avoid a lawsuit, you should once again ignore everything that’s come before now.
1941. Shark Week is officially declared a federal holiday, largely owing to the popularity of the idea as generated by American novelist Sarah Josepha Hale, and as a stopgap measure to appease ravenous gangs of hungry sharks which had terrorized the expanse of the United States ever since Edison started making them pop out of telephone wires for a laugh.
1954. Following the landmark court case, Sharks vs The Board of Education (there were no survivors), The United States federal government steps in to eradicate segregation in its public school system. A program is instituted which busses sharks from outlying districts to schools which were traditionally attended solely by white and human students. The initiative meets fierce resistance from every branch of society. Strom Thurmond stages a legendary record-breaking filibuster on the Senate floor, stopping only to be violently consumed by a longfin mako which had been masquerading as a Senate page. The radical measure is met with mixed success; sharks are successfully integrated into human schools, but most of them suffocate. Only in an experimental, partially submerged high school in Cookeville, Tennessee did the sharks fare much better, but it goes without saying that the existing student body has paid a price of their own (There were no survivors). The long-standing cartilaginous fish/vertebrate primate barrier on television is shattered when William Shatner, as Starship Captain James T.Kirk, shares a passionate kiss with a tropical bullhead on an episode of Star Trek.
1978. Congressman Jim Walsh of New York recognizes the tireless efforts of Hermine B.Beckett Hanna of North Syracuse, by helping establishing on her behalf a national observance of “Grandparents Day”, joining the holiday ranks of “Fathers Day” and “Mothers Day”. When children inevitably ask their elders “When do SHARKS get a day of their own?”, they are told “Oh, sweetheart, every day is Shark Day … during Shark Week, anyway.”
Some Point Between 1996-2005. Your girlfriend dumps you right around Shark Week, leaving you to face all the happy couples celebrating Shark Week, and all the Shark Week decorations at your local department stores. Even when you decide to sulk at home, you can’t avoid the television commercials just shoving Shark Week in your face over and over again. You start bitching to your friends about how Shark Week is just an excuse made up by Hallmark to sell greeting cards. They humor you.
2007. Right-wing pundits draw attention to a so-called secular “War on Shark Week”. Particularly adamant in her defense of a return to Shark Week values is columnist Gary Bushell, which is understandable as she is, after all, one-quarter shark (on her mother’s side of the family). The Present Day. Shark Week is universally embraced as a choice time to kick some ass and hang loose. There are no survivors.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR SHARK WEEK?
2012. Shark Week’s popularity only continues to grow, and by this date is effectively the most popular holiday in the Western Hemisphere, unseating Christmas, the Fourth of July, and a bunch of bullshit holidays like Kwanzaa, Arbor Day and Rosh Hoshannah.
(This is an edited version of the original 'Shark Week' piece which was written specially by Adrien Childs & Steadman from '5 Star' for the 'Tourist' blog.)
Reet then, music time! A mix now thats been doing the rounds for a bit now and has pretty much been on repeat almost non-stop here at Tourist HQ for the last couple of months, two of our very favourite record jockeys, Andrew Weatherall and Ewan Pearson kick the fire exits in with a mammoth 4 hr + back to back set in Milan. Anyway, enough of our stanky patter and over to Ewan to give you a swift background check on the night in question. "We played two records each all night, Andrew first then me, until the last half an hour of part two where it’s one each. I travelled by train with a kidney infection and without a passport for 13 hours each-way to make this one and I’m glad I did. It was a fantastic night, so thanks to Andrew, Diego, Lele and everyone who was there dancing like a mad thing."
Weatherall & Pearson, live at Tunnel Club, Milan, Pt 1.
Weatherall & Pearson, live at Tunnel Club, Milan, Pt 2.
Till next time.
Big love. Tourist. X