Episode 77: The Lean

Friday, April 20th, 2018

“We sink, we swim, we rise, we fall. We meet our fate together.”   (Morgan Freeman as Joe Clark in Lean On Me (1989) screenplay by Michael Schaffer). Welcome to Histories of the Unexpected where you will discover the history of things that you may not know even had a history, like the history of historians, or the history of smoke.

For this episode let us join the cabin boy of curiosities, Dr Sam Willis, and the inventor of the dab, Professor James Daybell, as they show a penchant, a propensity, even a partiality towards the unexpected history of the lean.

Our two historical adventurers lead us down a slippery slope of historical bends from the first mention in the Domesday Book of the York Shambles in 1086 to the fourteenth-century Tudor built “The House That Moved” in Exeter, from the boulevards of Paris built after the Revolution to the feud between Sir John Cornwall and Lord Grey of Ruthin in 1439, from the sixteenth-century recusant hunter and government enforcer Richard Topcliffe to the prostitutes and ‘Greenwich Geese’ of Georgian England, before coming to a rest in 1605 in the English church courts, and the accusation of ‘showing her privities’ against Joane Cranckland.

Sam and James discover that this unexpected history is actually all about; development and regeneration, extortion and intimidation, coercion and pressure, defiance and compliance, age and disability, the fatigue and battle weariness of war, control and deportment, functionality and practicality, ceremony and fashion, cads and gentlemen, violence and swagger, pop culture and rebellion, etiquette and perfection.

Listen out as James gives detailed instructions for delivering a deadly pay load from a stick and Sam worries for his toes!

“We know that there’s always tomorrow” (Lean On Me by Bill Withers)


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