Where: All over Edinburgh
When: Right now
They do it in playgrounds. They do it in festival campsites and nursing homes. They do it in drug dens and behind the bike sheds and sometimes on top of the bike sheds. Some say they’ve even tried to do it in church. To the youth of today, it’s seen as just a bit of harmless fun, yet to the outraged moral majority – mostly five-oh and traffic wardens – it is an evil that blights our society. I’m talking of course about planking. If you don’t know what this cultural phenomenon is, prepare to have your life tipped upside down and inside out, but mostly to have it tipped forward 90 degrees.
Anyone who’s been hiding under a rock for the past six months in a fixed horizontal position will already know what planking is. For everyone else, it’s time to invoke the infallible fountain of knowledge that is Wikipedia: “Planking is an activity, popular in various parts of the world, consisting of lying face down in an unusual or incongruous location. The hands must touch the sides of the body, and having a photograph of the participant taken and posted on the internet is an integral part of the game. Players compete to find the most unusual and original location in which to play. The location should also be as public as possible, and as many people as possible should be involved.”
Apart from bob-sleighing, there are not many extreme sports whose participants have to do nothing more than lie still, but then planking’s not really about the orgasmic rush that accompanies a successful attempt – the excitement is in the build-up, in the extraordinary lengths you have to go to in order to achieve such a moment of dazzling inertia. When planking is your game, the whole world becomes your adventure playground. The garden bench is no longer just the garden bench – it’s now a cunning spot from which to startle old Mrs Higgins when she pops out to collect the milk. Planking is the fun game that all the family can play – expectant mums can plank in the back of the ambulance as they’re going into labour; infants can plank in their cribs, briefly shocking parents into thinking they’ve suffered a cot death, only to spring to life at the last moment, cue much parent-child hilarity.
Planking may be great, but becoming a victim of planking is not so pleasant. I’m not talking about the risk of death – that always came with the territory, as one Australian recently discovered to his peril. No, I’m talking of a fate far worse than death – I’m talking about the pain of being planked on. Imagine the scene: you’re sitting around the table with your mates, comparing photos of your planking exploits, in the same way that Patrick Bateman and his buddies compare business cards in American Psycho. Your mate is pretty chuffed with the high speed skateboard plank he managed to pull off in his driveway, but then you trump him by whipping out a shot of you planking the pull-up bar in his bedroom…with your balls planked inside his girlfriend’s mouth. Just as you’re preparing your gloating victory speech however, your other mate taps you on the arm. You turn round in time to see him swipe a finger across the screen of his mobi and glibly reveal an image that makes you cower in terror. Your mum is planking naked on top of your best mate…who is planking on top of your sister. Your so-called mate is effectively the meat in their fleshy sandwich. The image is perfect – the composition of the shot; the angle of the plank; the startling originality. Seething with rage, you ball your own Polaroid shot inside your fist and let it crumple to the floor. You’ve just been planked on. Or to give it its proper name, you’ve become plankton. You’re basically fish food, and the only hope you have of regaining your crown involves convincing your mate’s grandma and the special needs kid from next door to conceive a breathtaking planking masterpiece – on top of the chimney pot.
Is planking a crime? In itself, no, although if you’re going to attempt extreme planking then the answer is almost certainly. Extreme planking works in the same way as normal planking, only it has a sexual element to it, thereby increasing the thrill but also increasing the danger of getting caught. Imagine two naked partners planking on top of each other outside a McDonalds. In fact, make it a kindergarten. In extreme planking, there are no wrongs – only rights. Until you get it fatally wrong of course, at which point it all becomes a tragic mistake. Such a calamity would certainly bring new meaning to the phrase ‘as thick as two short plankers’. Could planking be the new porn? That quick rush of adrenaline; the need to relive the joy of that first fix by performing it in increasingly risky places.
Ever ones to lead by example, the staff at EU (i.e. me and two other stoned idiots who had nothing better to do on a Monday night) took it upon ourselves to investigate what Edinburgh has to offer the modern-day planker. (The plankers of yore – the original pioneers – started this craze way back in the mists of 2010, history fans.) The results, as you can see from the array of prone corpses littering this page, are commendable enough, but we know that we – and more importantly you – can do a whole lot better. We’ve set the bar, but we’ve not set it unreasonably high; get your planking caps on and you’ve every chance of rendering us as plankton. This week, Edinburgh Uncovered encourages its readers not just to share this blog on Facebook as per usual, but also to share your own planking efforts on our wall. If you die in the process however, you assent not to sue us from beyond the grave. In return, we assent to have exclusive rights to publish your pre-death shots. It’s what you would have wanted.
With so many beautiful buildings dotted about the city, it seems criminal not to temporarily deface them. The possibilities for planking Auld Reekie are endless – you could sit on the wall beside Starbucks Haymarket, wait for the 16.40 from Inverkeithing to pass, jump on the back of that bitch and plank it all the way to Waverley. You could lie in front of the tram that’s permanently affixed to Princes Street and plank the shit out of it till the cows come home, cos that ship ain’t sailing any time soon. Plank the castle, plank Calton Hill – plank your boss’s desk if you dare. And if you’re not from Edinburgh, then hell – hit us up with your plankage anyway. We’re always looking for inspiration to help us refine our own adroit techniques. The best entries will feature in next week’s blog, whereupon you will be assured of legendary status, at least until your boss logs on here at lunchtime and you’re shortly summoned to receive your P45.
What would be the ultimate Edinburgh plank, incidentally? To land a plank on the top of the castle itself would take some doing – that’s basically like tea-bagging the Queen. With planking however, you don’t even have to get your hairy sack out in order to cause Her Majesty alarm – unless you really want to, that is. The police simply aren’t equipped to deal with the modern day terror threat that is planking. How do you predict where the next outbreak’s coming from? One minute they’re haranguing some poor student for having the audacity to blaze a one-skinner in The Meadows, the next they’re cowering in fear as the park’s 3,000 revellers have hit the deck in unison and are planking in that synchronous style that only flash-mobbers can master.
Today we plank Edinburgh – tomorrow we take over the world. Then on Friday, we can all get bored of it and go to the pub. That’s usually how it works with these fads, isn’t it?
The best efforts will be uploaded in our album and featured in a future blog.
Good luck and may the horizontal force be with you.
Try: If you have a death wish
Avoid: If you’re a little scaredy cat
Typical prices: Success – Legendary status
Failure – Your life
Inspiration: The One Month Plank Challenge