Some Rough Music …

its hour come round again …*

The Chaps, aware as we are of a long cultural heritage,  were impressed to see this account of a recent protest. The organizers’ call was “Get in the streets with us! March with us. Bring pots, pans, drums, whistles anything noisey!” Among many other responses, this one was recorded in Tucson, Arizona, protesting an appearance by Steve Bannon.

Yes, the Chaps’ interest was piqued partly by the topic and the person protested, but significantly by the style of the protest — specifically, a community using cacophonous noise and chanting to show its disapproval of unacceptable behavior, and to shame someone for it.  (Note the actual cries of “Shame!”)

Whether they realized it or not, the protestors were continuing a very long and honored tradition. This type of popular protest goes by many names, and goes back a long way. “Charivari” seems to be the oldest recorded name.

Depiction of charivari, early 14th century (from the Roman de Fauvel) — Wikipedia

The origin of the word charivari is likely from the Vulgar Latin caribaria, plural of caribarium, already referring to the custom of rattling kitchenware with an iron rod, itself probably from the Greek καρηβαρία (karēbaría), literally “heaviness in the head” but also used to mean “headache”, from κάρα “head” and βαρύς “heavy”.


In England it was often termed “rough music,” or “Skimmington ride,” and in the United States, “Shivaree.”

Hudibras Encounters The Skimmington, by William Hogarth

[A] folk custom in which the community gives a noisy, discordant mock serenade, frequently with pounding on pots and pans, also known as rough music. The loud, public ritual evolved to a form of social coercion, for instance, to force an as-yet-unmarried couple to wed… To “ride such a person skimmington” involved exposing them or their effigy to ridicule on a cart, or on the back of a horse or donkey. Some accounts describe the participants as carrying ladles and spoons with which to beat each other, at least in the case of skimmingtons prompted by marital discord.


It is even possible the “Skimmington Ride” developed into the great old American custom of “Running out of town on a rail.” After all …

During a rough music performance, the victim could be displayed upon a pole or donkey… Charivari was sometimes called “riding the ‘stang“, when the target was a man who had been subject to scolding, beating, or other abuse from his wife. The man was made to “ride the ‘stang”, which meant that he was placed backwards on a horse, mule or ladder and paraded through town to be mocked, while people banged pots and pans.

… and here’s the purported US version, from George Clooney’s “O Brother Where Art Thou”:

Pretty close, we’d say. And how happy the Chaps are to see such an appropriate revival of the old customs.

One last side note — or, as the Chaps like to say, “And Another Thing…”

Le Charivari was the name given to a French satirical magazine first published in 1832. Its British counterpart, established in 1841, was entitled Punch, or The London Charivari.

So the great tradition of robust British satire — often scabrous, scatological, and even vicious, and including Monty Python and Spitting Image, even through to the Chaps themselves — owes its existence to a Middle Ages form of folk protest. A proud and venerable heritage indeed.

*P.S: Yes, we probably should apologize to Yeats.

When the other chap says ‘probably’, this chap thinks he means we absolutely should.

Generally true. But notice that while the word “should” was used, we actually did not. Take that, Yeats!

More Perspective

This chap wonders if there is ‘something in the air’.

…. other than oxygen you mean?

well yes – other than oxygen.

First there was this.

here’s the question – are you inside the cage looking out, or outside the cage looking in?

and then I just spotted this over at Futility Closet … nice little piece.

So – how did the air fit in … I’m guessing it’s nothing to do with Thunderclap?

Ok. I know you’ve been hanging elsewhere recently – but I thought you would at least be reading our publication. Follow the links – love might have been in the air 50 years ago – but these days it is perspective!

See Things Differently

This chap is actually very taken with a discipline in art that uses context, perspective and position before it makes sense .

For example in a recent article over on Biz Catalyst, he referenced the Apple video ‘Seen Things Differently’ – and great example of that work. He even referenced the debate as to whether Apple really did borrow OK Go’s creative ideas for their video.

Then of course there is the guy who pained signage inside a Melbourne Garage that only makes sense JUST at the moment you need to know what to do …

Scenes form inside Melbourne’s Eureka Tower Car Park

Continue reading “See Things Differently”

Mashing Up The Mashups

The Chaps are no stranger to mashups

… indeed, they are rather fond of them. But the term, as we understand it, typically refers to examples, even exemplifiers, of the same medium being melded together. And we do agree — just because one can does not mean one should.

However — that’s not what we’re talking about here. Rather, we note the illumination that may be gained through looking at one medium through the lens of another.

You mean like this?

Continue reading “Mashing Up The Mashups”

Two Hundred

no not ‘180’…

for our American readers, that’s an English reference that the chaps can explain if there is interest. Meanwhile – back to the plot.

Two hundred.

that is how many posts the chaps have delivered since we launched with number one on The 20th December 2016. That is a lot … we can barely keep up! Not sure how you all are doing it.

More than 1 a day, then. A little obsessive.?


Continue reading “Two Hundred”

All Our Yesterdays

… trust me they aren’t as good – or innocent – as we think.

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.

Tom Robbins – Still Life with Woodpecker

“Happy,” maybe — but what about “scary” …

… this Chap wondered?

Because in a casual cruise through the wilds of Imgur,

Cough – you dont often read ‘casual cruise’ and ‘imgur’ in the same sentence!

… this Chap came across this discussion — on that most innocent and friendly of childhood story characters, Thomas The Tank Engine.

This young innocent seems very close…

Continue reading “All Our Yesterdays”

Worried About Water

.. Graham is concerned…

… that xkcd, witty though it is, has some strange wiring into the Zeitgeist.

xkcd #1561: Water Phase Diagram

Which is all well and good, most informative. Except that today, we came across this article from the Smithsonian, with its suggestion that water has more states (phases) than simply solid, liquid, and gas, predictably dependent on temperature and pressure.

There’s more to H20 than meets the eye. (Yegor Larin / Alamy)

Why should that be troubling? Continue reading “Worried About Water”