On this day in music history: October 10, 2007 - “In Rainbows”, the seventh album by Radiohead is released. Produced by Nigel Godrich, it is recorded at Canned Applause in Didcot, Oxfordshire, UK, Tottenham House in Marlborough, Wiltshire, UK, Halswell House in Taunton, Somerset, UK and Hospital Studios in Covent Garden, Westminster, UK in from February 2005 - June 2007. Fulfilling their contract with EMI Records in 2003 with “Hail To The Thief”, Radiohead follow it with a world tour. The band then take an extended hiatus to rest and tend to their growing families. Re-grouping in early 2005, it is without their long time producer Nigel Godrich who is busy at the time working with Beck. The band then hire producer Mark “Spike” Stent, best known for his work with U2 and Björk. After a year in the studio, the producer goes over the material, and bluntly tells them the songs “aren’t good enough”. The band break ties with Stent and work on the project stops. They then embark on their first tour in over two years, also using the shows to test new material written during this time. In October of 2006, the band reconnect with Godrich and work resumes on their seventh album, quickly putting them back on the right path. Feeling that “Hail To The Thief” was over long, they pare the work in progress down to the best ten songs for the main release. When recording wraps in the late Spring of 2007, there comes the task of how to release their new album. Titled “In Rainbows”, Radiohead take the unprecedented step of issuing it as a “pay what your want” MP3 digital download for exactly two months prior to the physical release. Though receiving some criticism for the move, it is enthusiastically received by the public, selling over 1.2 million digital downloads. Along side the standard single CD and vinyl LP release, the album is made available as a mail order only limited box set that contains the standard ten song CD, a bonus CD with eight additional tracks, and enhanced content with artwork, photos and song lyrics. The lavish “discbox” package also includes a double vinyl LP set mastered at 45 RPM. Issued in the UK through XL Recordings and in the US on TBD Records through Red Distribution in early December of 2007, It enters the UK and US album charts at #1, making it only the tenth indie distributed album to top the charts in the US. It receives seven Grammy nominations in 2009, winning two awards for Best Alternative Album and Best Special Limited Edition Package for the limited release. It makes history and proves to be a game changer, showing an album can be successfully marketed and promoted without major record label support. The Eagles also follow suit, issuing their album “Long Road Out Of Eden” through mass market retailer Wal-Mart, rather than through a major label with similar success. “In Rainbows” spends one week at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
Kind of like werewolves, but not actually werewolves. Kinda like shapeshiftesr, but not actually a shapeshifter. Also kind of like Koh the Face Stealer, from Avatar the Last Airbender, but again not Koh. We’re talking of course about Skinwalkers.
Skinwalkers, like many of the monsters we’ve explored on this blog, have a Native American origin, specifically Navajo. Similar to the more traditional sort of werewolf, many reports of Skinwalkers tend to focus on coyote-like or wolf-like hybrids. However unlike the werewolf, Skinwalkers are not confined to canines. There have been stories of Skinwalkers imitating rams, sheep, bears, foxes, ravens, eagles, owls, crows, and cougars.
Skinwalker origins maintain a striking resemblance to the European tales of werewolves, in that a person or persons discover that they can morph into an animal at night, and their actions as said animal are almost exclusively evil. The major difference between the two, besides that they Skinwalkers have a range of animals to choose from, is that the the curse of a Skinwalker is desired and sought after by some. You don’t just fall into the hands of misfortune and get bitten, you have to want and be willing to perform evil tasks to achieve the form.
There are multiple origins to this sort of legend, ranging from witchcraft, to Skinwalkers being a form of defense again relocation and persecution by European colonists, but the most talked about history of Skinwalkers involves a type of Navajo witch, ánt’įįhnii (pronounced ayee naaldlooshii, not that thats better, or really helps, but its something).
Ánt’įįhnii, which most easily translates to, “with it, he goes on all fours,” is a type of medicine man or priest who’s obtained the supernatural power of transfiguration by breaking a cultural taboo. This taboo could be anything from murder to seduction, or just breaking up a family. Once this dark form of magic is accepted by the person, they are ultimately banished from the tribe for eternity. Again unlike the westernized werewolves, Skinwalkers must physically possess the pelt of the animal they wish to transform into, but they can transform into any animal they wish. Many pelts are forbidden to keep in Navajo tribes because of this reason.
Skinwalkers are described to be hideous hybrids of human and animal, but considered to be extremely powerful. They are fast and agile, and filled with a type of vengeful hatred most people could never understand. Not only mischievous, they’re dangerous and have been known to reek havoc on homes and drivers alike. Skinwalkers have even been known to body-snatch, taking possession of another person’s body if they manage to maintain eye contact for long enough.
In a lot of Navajo stories, Skinwalkers have been tracked down only to reveal the home of a relative. If the Skinwalker is shot, the next day a Navajo will be found with the exact same wound in the exact same place, revealing them as a ánt’įįhnii. The Navajo say that the only way to certainly kill a Skinwalker is with a bullet dipped in white ash.
(As always sites we used to help us write this piece can be found under our references tab)
grave robbing and 19th century medicine, especially anatomy, are inseparable. grave robbing is an undercurrent through all of dr lindsey fitzharris’s work with the Under the Knife youtube series (and also presumably in her new book The Butchering Art, which I am so fucking stoked to get my hands on). this is the most relevant episode!
this documentary on how the victorians viewed death, grave robbing, and burial, and particularly why it was seen as so horrible to be used bodysnatched for dissection.
in the same vein, Sawbones, excellent as always, has a graverobbing episode. also, listening to more of Sawbones gives you a healthy appreciation for just how fucking weird medicine got at the time, which is not unrelated.
mortsafes and the other many weird ways people came up with to stop the resurrectionists (i’m serious about this, i would probably be a grave robber if people would call me a ‘resurrectionist’)
if you find death and burial customs interesting then everything on the Ask a Mortician youtube channel will probably seem cool but theseepisodesare especially relevant to fucked up things people have wanted corpses for! also they discuss the Romantics, who are a good chunk of the reason why I’m so interested in this
a lot of the need for grave robbing went away after the 1832 Anatomy Act, which was great, except that it did so by allowing doctors to claim and dissect the bodies of the poor, which was not great, and really didn’t do any positive things for the public’s already-strained feelings about anatomists.
(to explain my specific interest: I personally believe that fears of grave robbing are closely tied to the complicated feelings about science and scientific ethics present in Frankenstein, and especially to the creation of the creature himself. It’s fascinating that it’s never actually stated directly in the book that Frankenstein builds it from corpses (although it is very clear that he’s been grave-robbing for his anatomy studies), but readers have assumed that since its first publication. Medical history, man. it’s fucked up.)
This was the first time Mitch and Deb had been to New York City. But they didn’t want to give themselves away as tourists so easily. That’s why they were both wearing tie-dyed Yankees baseball caps and matching sweatshirts that read “DON’T HASSLE ME, I’M A LOCAL.” It helped them blend in.
They had studied up on all the best ways to take in the city like real Manhattanites, so they became well-versed in all the rules: Before eating a slice of pizza, fold it lengthways. Don’t stop in the middle of the sidewalk to look up at the buildings. Don’t let anyone see you referring to a map. And under no circumstances should you be seen carrying a shopping bag from the M&M store.
Mitch was much better at following these rules than Deb, who had requested a knife and fork for her pizza and was currently carrying around no less than three M&M store shopping bags, brimming with merchandise for “the gals back home.”
Now they were sitting on the Q train as it zoomed in the exact opposite direction of their destination.
When the door to the adjoining car slid open, a pair of teenagers in bright clothing energetically dove in and cried out “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WHAT TIME IS IT? SHOWTIIIIIIME!” before pumping up their portable speaker with a pulsing remix to “Call Me Maybe.”
Every passenger avoided eye contact, including Mitch, who was well aware that only tourists watched subway performers. Deb, however, was having the time of her life.
“WOW,” she marveled, as one of the boys did a backflip over the other. “THEY’RE SO TALENTED! LOOK HOW AGILE THEY ARE! MITCH DON’T THEY SEEM FUN??”
Mitch elbowed her and whispered sharply “Quiet down. You’re drawing attention to yourself.”
Deb ignored him and bounced to the music as she sang an almost correct version of the lyrics “…AND ALL THE OTHER GUYS, TRY TO KISS ME BUT HERE’S MY NUMBER, I’M NOT A BABY.”
At this point, the performers were catering their act solely to Deb, clearly expecting a tip as generous as her reaction. A couple passengers even started staring at her.
“Please stop,” Mitch hissed desperately, “People are looking at you.”
“THEY SHOULD BE LOOKING AT THEM,” she exclaimed in euphoria, gesturing to the boys as they started doing the robot. “AH! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?? HOW DO THEY DO IT?? THAT IS HOW ROBOTS WOULD DANCE!”
Mortified, Mitch covered his face.
Finally the song ended, and after thanking Deb for her standing ovation, the young men extended their hats to her.
“What’s this?” She asked eagerly, preparing for another amazing stunt.
“They want payment for the performance they gave you,” Mitch grumbled from his seat.
“Oh CERTAINLY!” Deb laughed. “I’m afraid I don’t have any money, but…”
Then she handed the boys her three bags from the M&M store.
“Deb no!” Mitch panicked, “Those are field samples for the gals back home!”
“Oh, not to worry, Mitch!” Deb chirped, winking impishly at her partner. “I just think they seem like so much fun!”
That very moment, an inch-long leech-like thing slithered out of Deb’s mouth, leaving her body slumped on the bench. As it squirmed up one of the teen’s arms and into his ear, another identical creature popped out of Mitch’s mouth, causing his body to go limp and fall to the ground, while it darted up the other teen’s nostril.
Distracted by the suddenly lifeless bodies of two middle-aged tourists in the center of the train car, no one noticed the Showtime performers spasm while Mitch and Deb inserted their proboscises into their new hosts’ brainstems.
After a moment, the spasms stopped and the two looked at each other calmly.
“We can’t keep doing this,” Mitch said in his new voice, picking up the M&M bags and walking onto the next car.
“I know, I know. I just thought they seemed fun,” Deb responded following him out, giggling as she analyzed the portable speaker’s primitive human technology. “This is the last time, I promise.”