Author Topic: Pre-internet social contagions  (Read 5416 times)

touchingcloth

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Pre-internet social contagions
« on: August 07, 2019, 11:08:29 PM »
The dance routine performed to Whigfield's "Saturday Night" wasn't included in its music video, yet it spread to every discotheque in the land.

Every person of my generation from all corners of these isles seems to have heard the entirely false rumour that Kel from Keenan and Kel had died in a car crash.

How did these things spread? Telepathy? A ridiculous, absurd suggestion, of course, yet somehow more reasonable than thinking about two blokes from different towns meeting in a pub and one of them going "here, you know that Whigfield? This one weird dance will blow your mind."

Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2019, 11:41:25 PM »
The dance routine performed to Whigfield's "Saturday Night" wasn't included in its music video, yet it spread to every discotheque in the land.

Every person of my generation from all corners of these isles seems to have heard the entirely false rumour that Kel from Keenan and Kel had died in a car crash.

How did these things spread? Telepathy? A ridiculous, absurd suggestion, of course, yet somehow more reasonable than thinking about two blokes from different towns meeting in a pub and one of them going "here, you know that Whigfield? This one weird dance will blow your mind."

The Whigfield one is relatively easy, she didn't do the dance in the video but some dancers did it as a routine behind her when she was on Top of the Pops.

In my day it was Ade Edmondson dying in a car crash - no idea where it came from though.  I guess it's just classed as one of those urban myths which does the rounds but nobody knows how it starts.  Even pre-Internet (yes, I remember pre-Internet) people had phones and would talk to family/friends in other parts of the country.

I remember about 1991, a classmate telling me a story about a friend of his biting into a KFC burger in Ashford and yellow stuff coming out, which he took to be mayonnaise but actually turned out to be an abscess in the chicken.  Then six months later at university, a new friend told me the identical story, which now was meant to have happened to a friend of his in Manchester. The thing that really struck me at the time was how similar the two tellings were, and they both ended with 'and now he always orders his KFC burgers without mayonnaise!'.

Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2019, 11:45:39 PM »
The usual kfc one is someone getting facial herpes 'cos some dirty bugger was wanking in them.

touchingcloth

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2019, 11:50:24 PM »
I get the phones thing, but the Kel one has always struck me as odd because it's hard to imagine the crossover between the people who would know or care who he was enough to want to tell someone else on the one hand and the people who have any need to make phone calls - much less long distance ones - on the other.

"Hello, grandad. How are things over there 100 miles away? By the way, Kel's dead. Kel. Car crash. Kel. Ask the next child my age you see."

I can't see it.

Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2019, 11:57:00 PM »
I get the phones thing, but the Kel one has always struck me as odd because it's hard to imagine the crossover between the people who would know or care who he was enough to want to tell someone else on the one hand and the people who have any need to make phone calls - much less long distance ones - on the other.

"Hello, grandad. How are things over there 100 miles away? By the way, Kel's dead. Kel. Car crash. Kel. Ask the next child my age you see."

I can't see it.

There you have me, quite see your point. 

However, unless telepathy was involved, there must have been some transmission - could it just be explained by some children spending time with family/friends in the next town along?  Obviously loads of people knew the rumour, but did they all necessarily know it at the same time - it might just have organically spread over a few months in the way that any urban myth does.

Alternatively, was there any hoax or mistake that started it off?

Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2019, 12:09:58 AM »
I remember it being some lads working in mcdonalds jizzed in a burger and a woman eating it got aids.

touchingcloth

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2019, 12:11:26 AM »
Yeah the prosaic answer is kids meeting each other on holidays, cousins coming together at gatherings, moving between schools when their parents' jobs uproot the family.

But it's fun to imagine the less prosaic things, innit, and to list all of the things which fall into the category.

LIST THEM CUNTS LIST THEM ALL IMMEDIAFUCKINGATELY

Zetetic

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2019, 12:11:51 AM »
The idea of the death of Kel Kimble in a motor vehicle collision between Evanston and Winnetka in the early hours of June 2nd 2001 emerges from Kenan & Kel itself.

Obviously it isn't communicated by the series in the same way that, for example, The Chicago Witch Trials (S03E04) communicated "Kenan suspects that the new girl in school is a witch, so he and Kel investigate the truth". It produces the understanding, rather than expressing the idea.

Nevertheless it would have been more odd had the concept not unfolded across the UK in the early 2000s. There is no need for any invention of some kind of 'transmission' or 'contagion' - outside of the shared experience of Keenan & Kel.

touchingcloth

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2019, 12:15:00 AM »
I remember it being some lads working in mcdonalds jizzed in a burger and a woman eating it got aids.

There was a documentary on when I was in school about a branch of Burger King where hidden cameras had revealed pattie tampering. We realised it was filmed in the service station which was across a field from our playing fields, so we broke out and snuck off there for lunch.

Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2019, 12:15:38 AM »
it was all over icq and that

Rizla

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2019, 12:18:45 AM »
Well back in the olden days when jokes about things like the Zeebrugge ferry disaster or the space shuttle Challenger (Need Another Seven Astronauts!)  went pre-internet-viral, it was cos of lorry drivers swapping funnies at the services. FACT

touchingcloth

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2019, 12:20:41 AM »
I remember when you had to do icq by postcard.

The Lurker

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2019, 02:09:55 AM »
Every person of my generation from all corners of these isles seems to have heard the entirely false rumour that Kel from Keenan and Kel had died in a car crash.

I remember that one. The one at my school was the kid from the Frosties they're going to taste great advert had killed himself due to the bullying he received following the ad. This rumour did come around in the internet and MSN age though - so, to answer your question, I don't know. Hope that helps.

JesusAndYourBush

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2019, 02:12:14 AM »
Talking of silly dances, in an episode of Derry Girls they all do a silly 'dance' (not a dance, they all sit in a line and do rowing motions) to the song "Rock The Boat".  Can anyone tell me if that was ever a real 'thing' or did the makers if the tv show invent it?

Well back in the olden days when jokes about things like the Zeebrugge ferry disaster or the space shuttle Challenger

Reminds me of the time I was on holiday and didn't see the news all week and a few days after I got back someone said to me "Do you want to hear a joke about the Martianess" and I say "Ok" and I'd had some beers and had a silly grin on my face and they just said "You sick bastard" and walked away.  That left me confused.  I was expecting a joke about a female martian.  Weeks or even months later I learned of the Marchioness disaster.  I never did find out what the joke was, or even if there was a joke.

touchingcloth

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2019, 04:37:46 AM »
I remember that one. The one at my school was the kid from the Frosties they're going to taste great advert had killed himself due to the bullying he received following the ad. This rumour did come around in the internet and MSN age though - so, to answer your question, I don't know. Hope that helps.

What method of suicide did he opt for when you heard that rumour?

zomgmouse

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #15 on: August 08, 2019, 04:55:31 AM »
In primary school someone spread the rumour that Steve from Blue's Clues died from overdosing on heroin which he shot into his balls.

Jockice

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #16 on: August 08, 2019, 08:27:35 AM »
Tag: Marc Almond leaves thread in a huff muttering about dirty old bollocks: Tag.

non capisco

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #17 on: August 08, 2019, 08:37:35 AM »
I remember that one. The one at my school was the kid from the Frosties they're going to taste great advert had killed himself due to the bullying he received following the ad. This rumour did come around in the internet and MSN age though - so, to answer your question, I don't know. Hope that helps.

The other one was that he was already suffering from a terminal illness and his dying wish was to star in a Frosties advert. The bit at the end where there's a rising camera angle was supposed to represent him ascending to heaven. I think he was supposed to have written the song as well, "that's why it's so shit."

Zetetic

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2019, 08:40:50 AM »
Which serves as a further demonstration that there's no need to imagine that these things spread - they arise in multiple places at the same time, with a little variation, as young minds try to make sense of the world.

Why is the Frosties ad song so shit? What is a credible future for Kel?

pigamus

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2019, 08:41:43 AM »
Surprising how many of them seemed to revolve around Philippa Forrester.

Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2019, 08:43:39 AM »
The tragic tale of Billy and his ten-foot willy.

Jockice

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2019, 08:44:36 AM »
Talking of silly dances, in an episode of Derry Girls they all do a silly 'dance' (not a dance, they all sit in a line and do rowing motions) to the song "Rock The Boat".  Can anyone tell me if that was ever a real 'thing' or did the makers if the tv show invent it?

that was the Oops Upside Your Head dance wasn't it? People have been doing that since the early 80s. And still doing it to this very day. Well this January anyway at a party I was at. Not me obviously. Far too cool. And I wouldn't be able to get up.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2019, 09:05:45 AM by Jockice »

Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #22 on: August 08, 2019, 08:47:08 AM »
Talking of silly dances, in an episode of Derry Girls they all do a silly 'dance' (not a dance, they all sit in a line and do rowing motions) to the song "Rock The Boat".  Can anyone tell me if that was ever a real 'thing' or did the makers if the tv show invent it?


Isn't that something people did to Oops Upside your Head? Ah, Jockie beat me to it.

Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #23 on: August 08, 2019, 08:49:35 AM »
The tragic tale of Billy and his ten-foot willy.

He got off lightly, these days he'd have been cancelled to fuck and adopted by free-speech ambulance chasers and his neighbour would've got a Medium column out of it.

Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2019, 09:08:51 AM »
He got off lightly, these days he'd have been cancelled to fuck and adopted by free-speech ambulance chasers and his neighbour would've got a Medium column out of it.
when you think about it it is essentially a parable about the consequences of not obtaining consent. however big your willy is.

Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2019, 09:13:44 AM »
The tragic tale of Billy and his ten-foot willy.
In West Cumbria, he was called "Ikon/Icon Billy" - so now I'm wondering if there was regional variations.

Better Midlands

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2019, 09:34:39 AM »
There was a documentary on when I was in school about a branch of Burger King where hidden cameras had revealed pattie tampering. We realised it was filmed in the service station which was across a field from our playing fields, so we broke out and snuck off there for lunch.

Number 15 Burger King foot lettuce

Jockice

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2019, 09:38:58 AM »

I remember about 1991, a classmate telling me a story about a friend of his biting into a KFC burger in Ashford and yellow stuff coming out, which he took to be mayonnaise but actually turned out to be an abscess in the chicken.  Then six months later at university, a new friend told me the identical story, which now was meant to have happened to a friend of his in Manchester. The thing that really struck me at the time was how similar the two tellings were, and they both ended with 'and now he always orders his KFC burgers without mayonnaise!'.

I doubt very much if a single person alive in the 80s and 90s hasn't heard that one at least twice.

BlodwynPig

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2019, 09:39:51 AM »
bed, wanking, mum, cup of tea

but this actually happened to me

Jockice

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Re: Pre-internet social contagions
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2019, 09:52:58 AM »
bed, wanking, mum, cup of tea

but this actually happened to me

I never actually got a cup of tea (I don't drink tea anyway and didn't drink coffee either in those days) but I once did have a wank and then a nap in my bedroom without realising until I'd woken up that I'd left my bedroom door open. If either of my parents had gone to the toilet during those times they'd have either seen me in action or asleep with my flies down and a wet hankie next to me.

28 I was. Etc.

(Incidentally, my first proper wank happened in the middle of the night after a school trip to Alton Towers, when I woke up with a strange urge caused by a couple of girls I'd seen that day. Not really knowing what happened I just used part of the bed sheets.  I continued doing that until a friend pointed out that it would leave a stain. Or in the case of my bed multiple stains. I'd never even considered it until that point. I genuinely thought it was just like water. My poor mum having to clean and change my bedsheets.)