With the word “history” in the title of this blog, I feel a certain responsibility to deliver some historical content. But. I hate history. I’m allergic. This sounds so terrible, but it just bores me. Judge as you will–I’ve always preferred sentence structure quizzes and vocabulary tests to questions like “Who won the War of 1812?”
I read once that, before you go to a cocktail party, you should read (skim?) three daily newspapers to brush up on your knowledge of current events. It’s intended to make conversation more lively and meaningful. Well, what about some notable non-current events? Wouldn’t you find those interesting, too? That’s where I come in. I’m going to provide some fun facts about an historical event, person, place (you get the idea) each week. This way, we’ll all become amazingly entertaining party guests, people will want to be friends with us, people will want to be us, Oprah will hear about it, and we’ll TAKE OVER THE WORLD!
So, this blows my mind. On October 17, 1814, in a small district outside of London, a local brewery’s gigantic beer vats literally exploded due to pressure build up, and gallons upon gallons (over 320,000) of cold brewski flooded the district of St. Giles. The London Beer Flood, as it’s been aptly named, took out two homes and killed eight people. There are reports that people rushed into the streets with pots and buckets–fearing all this yummy beer would go to waste! Rumor has it that a ninth person died due to alcohol poisoning. Very sorry for partying.
The craziest part? The courts determined that this was an “Act of God”, and therefore, the brewery responsible was spared any punishment.
So–now that I’ve dropped the knowledge, I charge you to go forth and dazzle with it! I bet somebody at happy hour will think it’s cool when you say “Did you know today is the 198th anniversary of the London Beer Flood? How have you never heard of this? Grab your beer and pull up a chair…” Dazzling, I tell you.
Library print by Tatsuro Kiuchi, available here.