It seems that fairly recently 'Planking' has exploded in popularity almost out of nowhere and is now the new "cool thing" to do for a laugh or just to get some attention. But what you may not know is that Planking is not a new thing at all; it has, in fact, existed for over a decade. Here is all you need to know about the very brief history of planking.
Originally invented by two British guys (Gary Clarkson and Christian Langdom), the 'Lying Down Game' consisted of lying face down in the most obscure and difficult place possible, while also being viewed by as many people as possible. The Lying-Down game took off in the north-east of Britain first but by 2009 had covered all of Britain, to the point that it was described in 2010 to be 'sweeping the country'. Many other take-off's of the Lying-Down game have branched off in different countries in this time with South Korea popularising 'Playing dead' in 2003, France with 'a plat ventre' ("On one's belly") in 2004 and in 2008 it hit Australian shores under the banner of 'Extreme Lying Down' allegedly 'invented' by a New Zealand guy named Paul Carran.
'Extreme Lying Down' maintained a cult following for the next few years with players of the game mostly sharing their experiences in an underground fashion, never really cracking into the mainstream. And here we are in 2011, where a new following has risen and the game has been re-branded as 'Planking'. Planking is still the same premise, with a person having to lie face down with their arms by their side in the most obscure and unusual place as possible. however, instead of a focus on large public spaces, it has shifted to photo evidence shared through social media outlets such as "The official Planking facebook page" which has been rapidly been gaining members for the last month. This move to a larger viewership of planking has lead to people pushing the limits of the game, seeking more dangerous and sometimes stupid places to plank, in hope of attention. Just last week saw the first death to the game, after a Brisbane man attempted to Plank on a seventh story balcony. Along with this a string of arrests are being made as people mistake unusual and funny places to plank with foolish and illegal places, raising concern among police and the general public. Even Prime Minister Gillard found time to mention it, advising that people focus on keeping themselves safe.
Personally I think it was/is funny albeit as pointless as it is, but since hitting the mainstream in the last month or so, it has just lost its initial appeal. People are planking on every second thing they see for a quick laugh, or trying to photograph themselves doing it on the back of a police car. These people are stupid. Done well, I have a lot of respect for a good Plank, because it does require a good sense of balance and core body strength and I will admit the concept just makes me laugh. So whether you see it as a good time or the lowest point of our generation, if you are going to Plank, do it in good taste. Don't over use it and don't do anything stupid. Instead aim for technically difficult Planks, or Planks based off puns like 'walking the Planker' and ' The ShawPlank Redemption'.
Read more by Brayden
Read more by Brayden