The Bizarre Art of Gurning

Oh my god, someone call an ambulance quickly, that man is having a stroke! No madam, don’t worry, he is just participating in the great British pastime of gurning!
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Oh my god, someone call an ambulance quickly, that man is having a stroke! No madam, don’t worry, he is just participating in the great British pastime of gurning!

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Oh my god, someone call an ambulance quickly, that man is having a stroke! No madam, don’t worry, he is just participating in the great British pastime of gurning.

Gurning is the manipulation of a particularly rubbery face into all manner of ghastly expressions for the amusement and light pity of others. During summer fetes, country fairs or the grand opening of a new furniture superstore, gurning competitions are held. Men and women stick their heads through a horse collar, jut out their lower jaw, cross their eyes in an attempt to look as horrifying as possible.

Gurning is the manipulation of a particularly rubbery face into all manner of ghastly expressions

Many notable gurners have gone on to massive international success, including Colin Farrell, Nigel Havers and Sisqo, none of whom have ever forgotten their gurning roots.

No one is quite sure where gurning came from or why it takes place. Some think it was an attempt by people from the British north to scare off the Viking hordes attempting to take their sheep and cabbages. Others think it was some kind of mistake. Either way, we Brits can be proud of our gurners and their atrocious faces.

Writes Dale Shaw

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