Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Shoey and the origins of drinking games

Formula 1 champion , Daniel Ricciardo likes to celebrate his victories by drinking Champagne from his shoe. Now dubbed a 'Shoey celebration, the owners of Formula One (F1) have trademarked the term, ‘Shoey’ as the podium celebration of drinking champagne from a shoe. Daniel Ricciardo is an Australian and has got his celebrity friends, Sir Patrick Stewart and Gerard Butler to join him for a shoe full of champagne after winning races.

According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), F1’s branding department Formula One Licensing was granted a trademark registration to the word ‘Shoey’ in 2017, in 25 countries including the United States, Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom . The registration is only for one category but does cover flasks, glasses, bottles, mugs, sculptures and figurines. Many expect ‘licenced’ shoe-shaped beer steins and drinking trophies to be on sale over the coming months.

Daniel Ricciardo is not the first sportsman to celebrate by driking from his shoe, and that accolade goes to fellow Australian, Supercar rider, David Reynolds when he won the first non-endurance race of his career in 2015. Another Aussie, MotoGP rider Jack Miller was clearly impressed and he too celebrated his first premier class victory in 2016 by drinking champagne out of his shoe at the Dutch circuit of Assen.

Downunder, drinking beer out of your shoe is a ritual party trick known colloquially as, a "shoey", and the boys from the Big Brownland have taken it to a new high on the victor’s podium. To do it right. the shoe needs to be full beer, usually the contents of a tinny (can). Tipping the shoe up to the mouth and with head tilted back he throat open, a quick half breath before quickly swigging the grog to the back of the throat. Just before the beer hits swallow then gravity takes over. The alcohol essentially pours down your throat.

The shoey gained widespread popularity in Australia, after celebrity twin surfers, Dean and Shaun Harrington were seen drinking 'Shoeys, The pair were associated with the surfing and fishing brand, The Mad Hueys, and as the brand increased in popularity more and more young people began to emulate the twins.

Shoey and other scoling pranks however, are not a new phenomenon nor just the prerogative of larrikins and adolescents, but have been practiced by many civilisations.

In Ancient Greece, most Athenian houses had a symposium, an annexed, circular room, which held a number of upholstered podiums set against the walls where guests lay prone and played kottabos. The floors were sloped to make cleaning easier. The most common variant had recumbent players attempt to topple a precariously balanced cup (or plastinx) by filling it with wine. They had to do this by flinging wine from their own cups, using their right hand only. Players would call out the name of an intended paramour and the outcome would foretell their pursuit of love.

During the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century BC - 771 BC), in Ancient China, jiuling (drinking games) were initially introduced to regulate social drinking by providing alternative behaviours or etiquettes to accompany consumption of alcohol. These included simple games like dice, finger guessing and a variant of rock, paper, scissors called tiger, chicken, worm, board. Each could be readily adapted to incorporate alcohol and this led inevitably, to the social toast we have today. However, it also had the opposite affect and more indulgent drinking games like ‘spin the bottle,’ was played until no one could stand up. Often the consequence of more sophisticated jiuling by the intellectual classes, was dire.

By the Middle Ages, beer drinking games in Europe were sometimes used to settle disputes and provided a safer alternative to duelling. Special drinking cups, i.e. puzzle jugs were sometimes conjoined, and had numerous spouts which forced the players to work out which holes they had to cover to successfully drink from the vessel. The forfeit for getting it wrong was to be drenched in small amount beer much to the the amusement of on-lookers. With increased urbanisation and the development of tavern culture new variations such as ‘passatella,’ had players armed with knives, sit opposite each other consuming alcohol, pausing only to exchange verbal insults. This frequently let to fights sometimes with fatal consequences.

By the late 19th Century drinking champagne from a lady's slipper was the height of decadence and sophistication and a practice most often seen in high class brothels. It was reported in 1902, at the Everleigh Club, in Chicago, after a dancer's slipper fell to the floor, a member of Prince Henry of Prussia's entourage picked it up and used it to drink champagne.

The Bierstiefel is a German boot-shaped beer glass said to have been created by a Prussian general in an unnamed war who promised his troops if they were victorious in an upcoming battle, he would drink beer from his own boot. Instead , after seconds thoughts, the prudent general ordered a glass imitation to be made and they celebrated their victory drinking for a Bierstiefel. Boot shaped drinking vessels have been discovered to date from antiquity and drinking from a soldier’s boot has become a traditional initiation ceremony (or hazing) which is still practised to this day. During the First World War, in the trenches and prior to engagement, soldiers passed around a leather boot filled with beer and shared a drink for luck. The soldiers would also flicked the boot before and after taking a drink from it. The Bierstiefel is closely related to the English “yard of ale. ” Former Australian Prime Minister, Bob Hawke held briefly the world record in 1953 for the fastest consumed yard of ale when he was at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.

In more modern times, skolling, a term from the Scandinavian ‘Skol’ to toast, describes binge consumption of alcohol, usually beer, but not always. This is seen by many as part of a ‘coming of age ritual,’ and holding your drink is widely regarded as the mark of an adult. Consequently, it is practised universally among adolescents and younger adults. In no short measure (sic no pun intended) it was post-Push Australians in 60s London which gave the world the vocabulary of binge drinking. After Barry Humphries created the characters Buster Thompson, then Barry McKenzie in his comic strip about a "randy, boozy Australian rampaging through Swinging London" in the satirical magazine, Private Eye, the cult following of the film version ensured the modern lexicon of binge drinking was born.

No comments: