...this symmetric aperture is called the "fenetre de breeze", roughly translated meaning the "zephyr window".
April 24, 2012 8:05 PM   Subscribe

The Great Crepitation Contest of 1946 [mp3 at bottom] lingers on in the memories of record collectors, radio historians, and a generation of post-war vulgarians from Dr. Demento to Howard Stern. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's vivid recording of the contest (conceived at a company stag party) inspired legions of LP cover artists: an early public airing was encased in a sleeve designed by one of the earliest proponents of the illustrated album cover. Later editions were adorned with shockingly detailed renditions of the Great Contest, created by a variety of anonymous geniuses. (Speaking of art, it was also a rumored favorite of Salvador Dali). Though it has inspired various lurid myths, we've learned a little bit about the deepest roots of the contest right here on Metafilter.

If that's not enough for you, a rematch was held in 1976.

This post is in memory of my grandfather, who owned an original copy of the record and refused to let my father listen to it until his 21st birthday.
posted by bubukaba (14 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
That was one of a half dozen records of varying levels of naughtiness that ruled the Doctor Demento Show in the early-to-mid 70s, when it first caught on in L.A. and started getting syndicated across the country. Every college radio station in L.A. started its own "Demento Clone" show then and, having a personal collection of comedy and novelty records, I did it at mine. But it was one of the few things the Clone Shows couldn't get... unless they recorded it off Dr. D's show. Which I did not do. Honest. Fortunately, I didn't get too many requests for it. Still, I have used the alias "Lord Windesmear" online a couple times.
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:24 PM on April 24, 2012

I was really hoping it was a joint cracking contest. I could have been a contender!
posted by The Tensor at 8:30 PM on April 24, 2012

"Captain Billy" Hergonson Says:
November 9th, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I first heard this in the late ’60’s at Ithaca College in the Radio/TV department. I haven’t heard it again until today. It is even FUNNIER, if that is possible. The the posters who thought it was offensive, let me refer you to any “Run DMC” recording to straighten you out on “offensive”. Classic? This DEFINES classic!

posted by drjimmy11 at 8:35 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

What a satisfying dump of information. I stumbled onto a copy (the Laff version in your "anonymous" link) a few months ago, listened to a few minutes and had no idea what the hell was going on between the obvious 70s cover and the obviously much older material. You have cleared out a particularly obstructed segment of my mental colon and I thank you for that.
posted by mediareport at 8:44 PM on April 24, 2012

I would like to mention, as The Tensor linked above, that crepitation is something that I associate with grevious bodily injury. During my Wilderness EMT training, we were trained to listen for "crepitus", i.e. the sound of two shards of broken bone rubbing together, when assessing victims of physical trauma. It is a word that makes me cringe inside and I can't figure out what it is doing in the title of that LP. If there is some meaning to it that I missing, I cannot find it because all I can hear in my head is the soft, rice-krispies sound of someone's broken shin moving around in ways that a shin should never move.
posted by Scientist at 8:53 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Run-DMC is offensive?
posted by koeselitz at 9:02 PM on April 24, 2012

It now seems that Paul Moth belongs to a long tradition. Cool post.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 9:11 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Scientist: I believe they are using "crepitation" as a euphemism for farting, or making fart-like sounds. It is actually not used improperly, since "crepitus" technically can refer to the sound produced by any body parts or surfaces rubbing against each other (although it's frequently used to refer to the sound made by skeletal fractures). The word comes, so sayeth Wikipedia, from the Roman god of flatulence.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:39 PM on April 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Farting makes sense, based on the line at the top of the post:

>..this symmetric aperture is called the "fenetre de breeze", roughly translated meaning the "zephyr window".
posted by Listener at 9:45 PM on April 24, 2012

Somewhere in the boxes of records that I've been meaning to get rid of, I've got a white label 10" edition of this, picked up at a thrift store. IIRC, it's labeled by hand, simply "The Contest." A little after I found it, a friend brought over a pair of unlabeled acetate discs, also thrifted. He hadn't heard them since he couldn't play 78s. Same thing. They were likely homemade copies cut on a record lathe.

It seems like you'd really need to know the right people if you wanted to hear a somewhat dirty record back then.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:13 PM on April 24, 2012

My older relatives were talking about this a few years ago, which inspired us to hunt up the full recording online. They set it up playing for the full room, and they just cracked up. The older and more proper they were, the harder they laughed, tears streaming down their faces, as it went on and on.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:42 PM on April 24, 2012

Christmas classic in my family. "Ohhhhhhh, he shits!"
posted by fleacircus at 11:53 PM on April 24, 2012

I'm impressed by the "Down with this sort of filth" comments in the Rand's Esoteric blog post. Even before considering the Run DMC recordings they're allowed to play on the radio these days.
posted by ardgedee at 2:42 AM on April 25, 2012

not_that_epiphanius Awsome find!!! Score!!! Love the Great Eastern. Thanks so much for the link. I've wanted to find these for a long time.
posted by Trochanter at 10:37 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

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