Join 3,372 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


They Cut the Cheese (Roll)!
March 14, 2010 6:35 PM   Subscribe

After 200 years, The Annual Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake at Cooper's Hill, near Gloucester in England has been canceled due to health and safety fears. (Official site.) The BBC devotes a section of their site to the event, and both ESPN and The Big Picture covered it last year. Previously

Wikipedia. More photos.

Videos of the event: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

Can You Give It? is a music video starring Chris Anderson, winner of Two Cheeses in the 2009 cheese rolling.

The Daily Mail blamed "health and safety killjoys" and the Anorak has a rebuttal.
posted by zarq (31 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
The BBC article explains that they're going to try and rework the event so it can return in 2011.
posted by zarq at 6:38 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's heartening that it seems to be more about concern for the spectators (and ambulance access) than Nanny-ing the participants that is causing the issue. When you have that many people showing up you have to be responsible, I guess.
posted by Brockles at 6:41 PM on March 14, 2010


Another troubling case of fun canceled by a possibility of danger.
posted by Doug Stewart at 6:57 PM on March 14, 2010


Although the Metafilter moderators have let through quite a few comments which point out the headline and article are wrong, there are still plenty of mindless, frothing, ignorant outbursts.

‘Best’ of the lot? This cracker:

Another troubling case of fun canceled by a possibility of danger.
posted by SpringAquifer at 7:01 PM on March 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Tetilla would be safe and fun to roll.
posted by tellurian at 7:06 PM on March 14, 2010


.


After re-watching last year's video and counting the number of people hauled away on stretchers, I guess this makes sense. But I'll miss it.
posted by mmoncur at 7:07 PM on March 14, 2010


maybe they just go back to the traditional fish-slapping dance.
posted by The Whelk at 7:18 PM on March 14, 2010


Another troubling case of fun canceled by a possibility of danger.

After re-watching last year's video and counting the number of people hauled away on stretchers, I guess this makes sense. But I'll miss it.

Whee! Just to restate: people are free to throw themselves down hills in pursuit of cheese, but not to obstruct a highway. Indeed, there are no laws against caseocursorily declining yourself anytime you wish, especially if you choose to do it in the absence of a 15,000 strong crowd.
posted by Sova at 7:26 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another troubling case of fun canceled by a possibility of danger.

I wish there was a 10 square mile area inside the US which was 100% safety free. Just a nice, spacious are where you could do whatever you want, but you sign away all liability upon voluntarily entrance to the area. No rescue, no police, no nothing. You chose to be there, it's your own damn fault. Want to try out that unlicensed jetpack? 'The Man' won't let you test your rocket-powered 1976 Gremlin that also turns to a fire/acid/chlorine gas breathing robot? Just want to play a game of Lawn Darts? Come on down to Funtown: Where Danger is King!

Too much? Just have progressively less safe zones, so you could play your lawn darts without having to worry about being killed by a 400-pound laser guided hot dog launched from a catapult on the neighboring hilltop by a bunch of MIT guys on both crystal meth and spring break.

And it's all broadcast on the web, and highlights would be on TV. Scissor races every Tuesday at midnight in the woods.

In a society that is becoming progressively more regulated, this would be one day, vicarious or not, a logical safety valve system for an extremely ordered, controlled, and safe society.
posted by chambers at 7:31 PM on March 14, 2010 [18 favorites]


You buy it, and I'll promote The Great Outdoor Fight.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:32 PM on March 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


wow that cheese just flies down the hill
posted by idiopath at 7:34 PM on March 14, 2010


> In a society that is becoming progressively more regulated, this would be one day, vicarious or not, a logical safety valve system for an extremely ordered, controlled, and safe society.

I thought that was what Rollerball was for.
posted by ardgedee at 7:34 PM on March 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


wow that cheese just flies down the hill

Well, it's very runny, actually, sir.
posted by hal9k at 7:40 PM on March 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


I took part in 2003. I was living in London and got a bus down there with a bunch of other people while the driver made cheesy jokes (literally: What cheese is not yours? Nacho cheese, etc.) and handed out mini cheese wheels to anyone who made puns on cheese (it was a bries).

As we drove into town, a large sign declared "CHEESE ROLLING CANCELLED". There had been an earthquake in Turkey the week before, and the local emergency crews had volunteered some members to go and help out, leaving them with too few people to staff the roll. Without them, there was no insurance. Without insurance, there was no roll. Somewhat disheartened, we decided to carry on regardless; to eat our cheese at the hill, even if there was to be no rolling.

We arrived to find a small crowd of fifty or so locals who'd decided that, officially or not, there would be a roll that year. Instead of organised races and proper Double Gloucester cheese, each race started as soon as enough people had made their way to the top. Instead of cheese they would chase a mango, or tennis ball, or a banana. The banana rolled all the way to the bottom.

I seem to recall having some ingenious plan as I stood at the top of the hill, and at the time I was quite confident that I'd be able to make it down faster and more safely than anyone else. What I realised the moment I started was that parts of the run are less 'hill' and more 'grassed cliff'. Within two strides I was arse over tit, accelerating downhill, and had the wherewithal only to protect my face from being smeared against a rock. I came to a rest at the bottom, having been battered and thoroughly tenderised, and as the rush of adrenelin subsided I came to realise that the bottom of the hill was carpeted in stinging nettles.

The rest of the day was spent on another run or two, nursing my numerous bruises, patching my torn clothes, and admiring those who had clearly done this before. Instead of trying to run like foolish little me, they would take one or two leaping steps then hurl themselves skyward and twist in the air so they were now horizontal and perpendicular to the direction of the run, and land with arms and legs outstretched as if they were holding a giant ball. This gave them a kind of barrel shaped that allowed them to bounce down the hill at great speed and at a great physical cost.

It was a grand day. The world will be poorer without it.
posted by twirlypen at 8:05 PM on March 14, 2010 [15 favorites]


"Behold, the power of cheese."
posted by johnj at 8:17 PM on March 14, 2010


feta filter?
posted by device55 at 8:25 PM on March 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


So basically it's just too dangerous to watch people throw themselves down headlong down a hill breaking bones and bursting internal organs.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 8:56 PM on March 14, 2010


Those bone chips and hemorrhaging organs can leave a mark.
posted by device55 at 9:17 PM on March 14, 2010


The Tintern-ists have won.
posted by total warfare frown at 9:44 PM on March 14, 2010


An especially dangerous event if you happen to be lactose intolerant.
posted by robotot at 9:49 PM on March 14, 2010


I blame the internet.
posted by Phanx at 12:14 AM on March 15, 2010


"I blame the internet."

Which probably does have a lot to do with it. When I last went (which would have been 25 years ago now) the crowds would have numbered in the hundreds not the thousands.

Incidentally the 200 year old figure is somewhat misleading. I have heard claims of written references that go much further back, and I have heard claims that some elements of the wider tradition (in particular a garlanded pole used in the games that took place at the top of the hill) can be traced back to remnants of a pre-christian tradition.

My mother's family grew up in a village close by and one of my uncles was (supposedly) a champion cheese roller in the years after the second world war.
posted by tallus at 2:14 AM on March 15, 2010


I'm surprised they didn't blame "political correctness gone mad". Couldn't the Daily Mail's writers imagine some hypothetical minority groups who'd be offended by rolling a cheese down a hill? In their world, that's enough for the Brussels bureaucracy to kick in, overrule thousands of years of Anglo-Saxon justice and put the kibosh on the whole thing.
posted by acb at 3:42 AM on March 15, 2010


I am now making it my aim to fit "caseocursory declination" into a serious document.
posted by Electric Dragon at 4:45 AM on March 15, 2010


I came to a rest at the bottom, having been battered and thoroughly tenderised, and as the rush of adrenelin subsided I came to realise that the bottom of the hill was carpeted in stinging nettles.

It's at this point in the tale my chortling turns to barely suppressed guffaws and hoots.
posted by loquacious at 7:48 AM on March 15, 2010


I wish there was a 10 square mile area...which was 100% safety free. Just a nice, spacious are where you could do whatever you want, but you sign away all liability upon voluntarily entrance to the area. No rescue, no police, no nothing.

Got a passport? You've just described a large chunk of Non-Anglophone Earth.

Me, climbing astride large Romanian horse: Don't they want me to wear a helmet?
Guide: [dismissive Romanian]
Translator: He says, if you fall off, is your fault.
Me: Giddyup!
posted by stuck on an island at 9:04 AM on March 15, 2010


This radio station is named Kowalski.
posted by Babblesort at 9:52 AM on March 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Got a passport? You've just described a large chunk of Non-Anglophone Earth.

Ah, but since the mid 90's (at least) a US citizen could be tried for crimes(I don't remember if it's just federal laws or not) outside US territory. So, just going leaving the borders would not get you fully in the clear of the law. This would a legally sanctioned, 100% no-jurisdiction area. Besides, it needs to be conveniently located to the populace to be effective, in this theoretical plan. It has to be a reasonably easy destination to get to on a road trip. Access into and out of the area would have to be controlled, to ensure that entrance is absolutely voluntary, to keep someone from just taking someone by force into the zone, and shooting them, and getting away with it. To have that kind of access control, you would need an infrastructure that is already there to support it.

Think of it like NYC in Escape from New York, but a national park rather than a prison.
posted by chambers at 1:16 PM on March 15, 2010


I only knew what this was because of Mason & Dixon.

God that was a good book.
posted by clarknova at 1:35 PM on March 15, 2010


Clarknova, Pynchon is actually describing the cheese rolling at Randwick at the annual Randwick Wap. Randwick is a few miles away. It is a good book though.
posted by tallus at 4:48 PM on March 15, 2010


Ah, but since the mid 90's (at least) a US citizen could be tried for crimes(I don't remember if it's just federal laws or not) outside US territory.

What sorts of crimes? Are we talking genocide or smoking a joint in Amsterdam here?
posted by acb at 5:38 AM on March 17, 2010


« Older Digital: A Love Story...  |  The etheric, tectonic tones of... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments