17 September 2012


Every September, the town of Egremont in Cumberland holds its annual "Crab Fair". One of the highlights of this ancient festival - that can trace its origins back to the thirteenth century - is the annual "gurning" competition. In this event, contestants have to put their heads through a horse's collar and "gurn" - which means to pull an ugly face without assistance. This year, for the eleventh time, the winner was local man Tommy Mattinson who looks as if he often practised his winning face while sitting on the lavatory.
Below we see bloggers Shooting Parrots and kiwi Katherine de Chevalle giving gurning a go in a Manchester pub a few years ago. Of course none of the pub regulars gave them a second glance. 
This evening - before you go to bed - why not look in your bathroom mirror and gurn to your heart's content? Gurning tones up the facial muscles and who knows - if you keep practising, you could be at the Crab Fair in Egremont next September ready to depose the current champion.


  1. I think I'd need about ten pints of that heavy and a decent Vindaloo in advance of pulling a championship winning face. Either that or a swift kick in the pills.

  2. I am already in training for Rio 2016 where gurning is making its first appearance as a demonstration event.

    I should stress that the match against Katherine you featured was a friendly international and did not compromise our amateur status.

  3. Ah, happy times, happy times, eh Ian?

  4. you and shirley have let yourselves go a little have you not?

  5. HIPPO Just put on your normal expression and you're sure to be a favourite.
    SHOOTING PARROTS I'm backing you for gold in Rio! Katherine just isn't ugly enough to make it through to the final.
    KATHERINE You must keep practising if you're going to get on the medal rostrum at Rio.
    EARL GRAY Well we may have let ourselves go but that was not a photo of us! It was - as clearly stated - Cecil Rhodes of Stockport and Agnes de Chevalle of Taurangs-on-Sea, NZ.

  6. Les Dawson could always pull a mean gurn!


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