A society of people who have perfected falling down?
June 18, 2005 6:02 PM   Subscribe

A colleague was trying to explain to me about a group of people based in the UK who have mastered the art of falling flat on their faces without injuring themselves, and practise this art in public. Does such a group really exist?

My colleague was sketchy on details, and uncertain herself as to whether the group actually existed. She had heard that John Cleese was a member of the group.

The purpose behind falling flat on your face on a public street was unclear, although it was definitely not connected to those petty con-artists that 'slip' in stores and shopping malls in order to sue the management. Apparently the reason behind it is simply to see what people will do when someone right in front of them takes a seemingly-nasty spill.

It sounds a little absurd, but not outside the realms of possibility. Does such a group exist, or has it ever existed? Is John Cleese a member?
posted by Ritchie to Society & Culture (8 answers total)
I know joke answers are frowned upon quite severely in AskMe, but I just can't resist!
posted by wendell at 6:39 PM on June 18, 2005

I think if such a club it existed, its first rule would be that you don't talk about it.

Sounds to me like someone has misinterpreted a sentence like "Cleese is a member of that elite group of UK comedians who have mastered the art of the pratfall". I'm always doing stuff like that, and blame the internet. Misinterpreting, not falling over.
posted by cogat at 7:46 PM on June 18, 2005

Perhaps: > Alf Bridges, a renowned [mountain] climber in 1930's Derbyshire would practice the art of falling off gritstone. His jumps got higher and higher, and he managed to learn how to fall from 40ft without getting hurt.
posted by dhartung at 9:52 PM on June 18, 2005

i used to do this all the time. I attribute it to my overall sillyness and my need for attention. Although I was never in a group nor would i consider myself a professional. i did this mostly as a form of entertainment for myself and friends but for 8th grade and high school graduation I did it in front of some pretty large audiences (the high school one was the best, a huge collective intake of breath from the stands followed by confused laughter "did he fake it, did he trip?"). I'm quite weird though I suppose hehe.

It involved me stubbing one foot on the heel of the other and falling straight forward softening the blow with my forearms mostly. (tip: remember to exhale)

I haven't recieved my card in the mail yet...I think you have to be in the union though.
posted by freudianslipper at 10:47 PM on June 18, 2005

or is this a misinterpretation of the end of H2G2? throwing yourself at the floor and failing to connect ;-)

it's certainly something i'd love to be able to do!
posted by anadem at 11:44 PM on June 18, 2005

Did your friend mention that these people usually wake up several hours later, head in a pool of crusty vomit, and clutching a half-eaten kebab? If so, your friend may have been referring to lager louts.
posted by veedubya at 3:38 AM on June 19, 2005

It's not a group, and it's in the USA, but I know these twin brothers. One of them would drive around a parking lot to the entrance of a building, the other one would get hit by the car. They worked themselves up to 25-30 miles per hour impacts. They eventually stopped, because one time he went through the windshield. Unharmed, but windshields are expensive.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:22 PM on June 19, 2005

Not in the UK, but STREB does this, and well, and frequently.
posted by jennyjenny at 4:22 PM on June 19, 2005

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