Hobbies or horrors?
Isobel Cuddigan looks at some of the more outlandish ways that the world gets its kicks.
From the weird to the wonderful there are many different pastimes all over the world. Films, books, and music being the most popular however, tucked in the pockets of society are some which are much more unusual than others! What makes people decide to start these hobbies? Who even thought them up in the beginning? I set out to find out.
When I searched for “unusual hob- bies” I expected to hear about ghost hunting, UFO fanatics, but while I did find all these things I also found hobbies completely un- known to me and anyone I spoke to since. Have you heard of tree shaping? I certainly hadn’t. It is where living trees are trained to grow into fantastic shapes. This unusual hobby has only about eighteen or twenty tree shapers worldwide. It is unlike anything I have ever seen before. The trees become pieces of art in my eyes and undeniable by anyone the fin- ished product is truly remarkable. I’m afraid, however, that if you are planning on growing your own shaped chair it will take you up to ten years to grow to full size!
I’m going to go from the unusual to the creepy. Do you have a pas- sion and enjoyment of cemeteries? If you do then there is a name for it! Taphophilia involves epitaphs, gravestone rubbing, photography, art, and history of (famous) deaths. These graveyard enthusiasts even have numerous websites with a myriad of creepy but relevant in- formation; one that I found partic- ularly strange was “how to rub a gravestone”!
As regards ghost hunting, I could ramble on about all the information I found out but I decided against that. We all, after all, have at one point on a Saturday afternoon watched one of those many TV
shows about it. Is it no longer con- sidered unusual because so many people do it? How do we decide if something is unusual or not? I found it very hard to even begin justifying any possible answer to this. Perhaps it is a conservative mindset which brands such hob- bies as unusual, yet with some I was quite confident in establishing that they were indeed weird and it wasn’t just down to narrow-mind- edness.
Heading to Asia supplies the per- fect example now where I am quite simply not sure if these can even be consider hobbies or just being completely crazy! Reverse driving and glass eating. These sound like torture to me not hobbies. I despise reversing and will do almost any- thing other than having to reverse park! And glass eating? That can- not be safe for you!
Then there is the whole American phenomenon of eating contests. I know that they are not particularly unusual or unknown but I decided they still needed a mention even if only for the shock factor! A Cali- fornian currently holds the world record by eating fifty nine hot dogs in twelve minutes!
The real outcome from this re- search was the highlighting of in- dividuality and how the world can offer such variety, which, having just started college is something that has become more apparent to me over the last couple of weeks. Whilst respecting the fact that no two people are the same, I’d still choose a book or a good film any day.
September 28th 2010
Which College Legend Are You?
1) Back to college, your summer stories for your classmates are: A; flippin mental; no longer bound to Cork, you made the most of the world being your oys- ter. B; productive; three months to save a few bob, add a few things to the CV – time well spent. C; uneventful; sure you’ve got a highlight or two but the summer months were generally spent kicking back and relaxing, noth- ing special.
2) You were out the last couple of nights and had a wicked time too, but your mates want to hit the city again tonight, do you: A; head out – you’re hardcore! B; stay in – you’re not proving anything by going out and you’re still tired. C; deliberate – say yes, say no, then let your mates influence your decision.
3) A friend asks to meet for coffee at 12, do you: A; suggest they come over to yours because you’re broke but you have tea bags and custard creams. B; relish the opportunity to meet up with them for chats – as long as ye get the comfy chairs. C; think ‘c’mon, I’m a student, I need a lie-in until at least 13.30’, and politely decline saying you’ve got an essay to do.
4) Clash. No not pink and red, much worse, your so- cial schedule. Do you choose: A; the UV party man – everyone is going and those crazy colours are deadly! B; to go to the gig – this band rarely play in Cork. C; you’ve got class council tonight – it’s your moral obliga- tion to be there and you love your morals you do.
5) Essay is due soon; A; do it ... tomorrow... B; consider it done, just to check it for typos and unnecessary rep- etition. C; you’ve thought about it and planned your answer (kind of) so
once you start typing there’s no stopping you.
6) Wake up in the morn- ing; A; feeling like P-Diddy. B; shower, throw on something weather appropriate, and clean, grab a granola bar and go about your day. C; brood, tea and toast, Dr. Phil, wake up mentally and then adopt a positive attitude to the day ahead.
7) It’s the weekend: A; earn some cash, party hard. B; after your week of shenanigans a weekend at home is just what is needed. C; meet up with your mates back home, head down to the skate park and go home for dinner – proper food.
8) Money is tight; choices are going to have to be made: A; forget food, nights out are a higher priority. B; drinking in moderation for one week won’t hurt, pick up Heat magazine and a DVD and you’ve got a couple of cheap nights in sorted. C; treat yourself to that jacket, you’ll feel well cool for the rest of the week, that’ll get you by.
9) At the UCC open day if your mates were looking for you they would look: A; in the New Bar. B; at the front of the library, you’ll be there with the Live Music Soc and your flute. C; what friends? They all dis- owned you the moment you said you’d dress up as a wiener to pro- mote some entirely unrelated soci- ety.
Van Wilder No dog (interpret that as you like) is safe with you around, you party animal you. Your apparent need to base your university life on a sloppy foundation of alcohol demonstrates a complete lack of responsibility, without the slightest sense of maturity. However, as a very good friend of mine often says, ‘ah sure fuck it sure’.
Michelle Flaherty, Ameri- can Pie You think you’ve got it all sussed, but a flute doesn’t solve all prob- lems. Although if you did decide to go wild, beyond the confines of the rules of Charades, then I hear you’re guaranteed the shift in Mangans so there’s hope for you yet. Until you do decide to play to the tune of societal norms I guess all that I can say is ‘play that funky music white boy’ (or girl), if you get my drift; we’ve all got needs.
Franc Ricard, Old School Heard of the phrase ‘too cool for school’? Well that’s in no way re- ferring to you. You’ve reached a good balance between work and play, but even you can cross the lines separating cool from arro- gant as well as on the opposite side between chic and geek. You’ll never be the ring-leader, but equally there is no chance of you slipping in the background unnoticed. You may call yourself unique; others (your mum) would call you special.
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