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The nearest thing to being alive
August 26, 2008 3:50 PM   Subscribe

The Wall of Death is a great song by venerable British folkie Richard Thompson (covered by REM among others) concerning a carnival sideshow attraction involving a large wooden cylinder and at least one motorcycle (previously on metafilter). The Wall of Death is also the latest permutation in mosh pit chaosity.
posted by philip-random (23 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
When Fall Out Boyfans are doing it I think it's past the ol' sell by date.
posted by PenDevil at 4:15 PM on August 26, 2008


Interesting, but the Brazilians were way out front on this one (search for 'corredor').
posted by scrump at 4:19 PM on August 26, 2008


I'm not sure about this mosh stuff, but "Wall of Death" done by REM is friggin' great.
What a job they do with Richard's song.
posted by cccorlew at 4:31 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


That mosh pit wall of death - my teenage boys wouldn't, couldn't... - have they???
posted by Jody Tresidder at 4:31 PM on August 26, 2008


What the hell is the point of that? Doing this "wall of death" thing at metal shows?
posted by Flashman at 4:34 PM on August 26, 2008


Any post about Richard Thompson is a good post.
posted by caddis at 4:38 PM on August 26, 2008 [2 favorites]


This comment exists solely to link to this pic, which is not all that on-topic, but is very, very cool.

Also, I like the Bob Mould cover of "Wall of Death".
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:44 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


BitterOldPunk: That lion in the sidecar picture blew me away when I first saw it a while back (on riotclitshave?). It's one of those images where I can't think of a single change that would improve it.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:51 PM on August 26, 2008


It was long after the long awaited Fall, with the remnants and tatters of western civilization settling into the mould and compost of history. I was an aged and tired and well satisfied old man, sitting on my porch with the BFG and the Mk-10, playing Fallout with the muties and teenage raiders trying to get at my gasoline and food stores. Thinking back on old times, playing MDC and Subhumans on my crank powered CD players, when it struck me:

"Jesus baby-burning Christ! Those kids with me in the pit weren't having fun dancing?!?! They were just getting off on having a mob riot and a socially sanctioned fight - with a soundtrack!? Fucking hell! Why did it take me 50 years to realize - can it be true? God damn."
posted by freebird at 4:51 PM on August 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Jesus baby-burning Christ! Those kids with me in the pit weren't having fun dancing?!?! They were just getting off on having a mob riot and a socially sanctioned fight - with a soundtrack!? Fucking hell! Why did it take me 50 years to realize - can it be true? God damn."

Yes, it was a mob riot and socially sanctioned fight (with a soundtrack), and I was having fun dancing. These things are not mutually exclusive. In fact, their fusion is one of things that makes this ongoing apocalypse so darned engaging.
posted by philip-random at 4:58 PM on August 26, 2008


"Jesus baby-burning Christ! Those kids with me in the pit weren't having fun dancing?!?! They were just getting off on having a mob riot and a socially sanctioned fight - with a soundtrack!? Fucking hell! Why did it take me 50 years to realize - can it be true? God damn."

Yes, it was a mob riot and socially sanctioned fight (with a soundtrack), and I was having fun dancing. These things are not mutually exclusive. In fact, their fusion is one of things that makes this ongoing apocalypse so darned engaging.
posted by philip-random at 4:58 PM on August 26, 2008


Seems that the evolution of mosh pits recapitulates the evolution of military strategy:

(1) Old school moshpit <> Braveheart-esque chaos of disorganized battle.

(2) "Wall of death" <> Napoleonic-era firing lines of musketeers shooting at each other.

What does the future of mosh-pittery hold? Trench moshing? Guerilla moshing? Unconventional moshfare?
posted by googly at 5:18 PM on August 26, 2008 [5 favorites]


Philly crustcore band R.A.M.B.O. released an album called "Wall of Death the System" in 2001, which means that this had already been around long enough at that point to be used sardonically in the punk realm. I think RAMBO deserves credit for really having taken the moshpit to the next level with the moshpit LARP. Footage of cardboard sword, shield and box helmeted warriors here.

More warriors ready for battle:

MOSH

LARP
posted by The Straightener at 5:18 PM on August 26, 2008


I directed Hamlet a couple of years ago. I wanted to end with this song, but we couldn't get the rights quickly enough,. Alas.
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:29 PM on August 26, 2008


Thanks for the tip -o' the hat. I was about to cry "double," but I haven' heard of this mosh pit thingy. Sounds... "fun." I've seen Thompson before, but only solo acoustic. I sure wish he'd come through here with a band.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:34 PM on August 26, 2008


Thanks philip-random, this is a Thompson song I hadn't heard. He's one of the great, great songwriters walking the planet right now, IMO. Not to mention one of the most consistently interesting and satisfying guitarists around. Quite the talented fellow.

Here's an FPP I made on him a while back: full of good-quality (live in a TV studio) videos.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:07 PM on August 26, 2008


I've been somewhat sad all day. Now I'm not.

I don't really know why, but the change happened somewhere in the middle of Richard Thompson's guitar solo there.

Thanks, philip-random.
posted by koeselitz at 6:28 PM on August 26, 2008


I've been somewhat sad all day. Now I'm not.

Hard to feel sad when you're riding the wall of death. I figure this applies to motorcycles, mosh pits and whatever current Mr. Thompson was channeling in that particular performance.
posted by philip-random at 6:52 PM on August 26, 2008


Richard Thompson -10
REM -30
MOSH! +10
Lion riding sidecar photo +1000
fact that lion photo was posted by Astro Zombie previously -900

= uhhhh...good post?

Also: I saw Spiritualized on their Laser Guided Melodies tour thingamajig back in 1991 or 1992 or so and the second they started playing all the jocko homos in the crowd began to mosh (true). I was punched right in the face during the first 20 seconds or so and my glasses broke and fell off. This would have normally been a bummer, sure - except that I was ripped on acid at the time - so in fact it was extremely heinous.

Come to think of it, that was the second time I lost my glasses in a mosh. The first time was Body Count.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:01 PM on August 26, 2008


I wouldn't take my chances on that Wall of Death.
posted by LSK at 7:05 PM on August 26, 2008


That lion in the sidecar picture blew me away when I first saw it a while back (on riotclitshave?).

Perhaps on MeFi, in an Astro Zombie post.
posted by A dead Quaker at 7:46 PM on August 26, 2008


Any post about Richard Thompson is a good post.

This.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:56 AM on August 27, 2008


Old enough to remember the Wall of Death (and freak shows!) on the southern carnival circuit. The barker would warn us that if the wheels of the motorcycle crossed over the blood-red line painted two feet below the rim of the barrel that carnage & catastrophe would occur. The girl riding sidesaddle behind the cyclist would grab dangled dollar bills from our hands as we leaned over, the wheels going over the red line of doom every time. Real thrills.
posted by squalor at 2:53 PM on August 27, 2008


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