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The Grand and Loyal Order of Mudsharks

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The term 'Mudshark' refers to a member of The Grand and Loyal Order of Mudsharks (and Associated Boneless Fish...) and has absolutely no sexual connotations, despite references in the lyrics of the Frank Zappa song, 'The Mudshark'.

The Grand and Loyal Order of Mudsharks began life in the late 1970s as a student charities organisation, collecting for local causes in the Aberdeen area. After some barbecues for famine relief in the late 1980s/early 1990s, they bowed to the inevitable and became a fully-fledged drinking club1.

A beaver2 of Mudsharks meets three times a year at the Triannual Binge. Membership is strictly by invitation of an existing member and each potential new member is voted in (or not) by a majority of the attendees of the first Binge to which they are brought. A Mudshark is obliged to meet with other members of their beaver three times a year, in order to drink, eat3, drink some more, chant a little, vote on awards for subjects as diverse as malpractice to carpets (The Malpractice du Carpet award) and sexual impropriety (an award known as the Fama Clamosa) and continue drinking. Only unlikely excuses for non-attendance are accepted. New members (or extremely inebriate veterans) may be talked into inviting everyone to take a carry-out back to their place for an Apr├ęs-Binge, where the drinking continues until supplies run out.

There are three main levels of Mudsharkdom; the Ordinary Mudshark who carries one vote in all proceedings, the Raspberry Picker4 with two, and Founder Members who hold three votes. Within the ranks of Raspberry Pickers there are office-holders such as Scribe and Junior Scribe5, whose tasks include the peeling of the sacred beer mats in order to record the results of the evening's voting.

People and places with a tenuous connection to strange drinking experiences can be accepted by majority vote as honorary Mudsharks - Douglas Adams was an honorary Mudshark of many years standing (lurching, slouching...) as is Stonehenge.

The Mudsharks started out in Aberdeen, Scotland, but have spread out a little since then, with members emigrating to several different continents and spawning their own beavers6. One aspect of this internationalisation which has crept in over the past decade is the Superbinge Saving Scheme, where Mudsharks who choose to can put a little away in a communal bank account every month by standing order and when enough has collected they either go for a short drinking holiday in an exotic location (one recent example at the time of writing being four days in Prague) or a longer holiday in less exotic (cheaper) climes. Another recent example being eight days in and around Normandy, in a brave attempt to drink the region dry of cider!

For further details, check out the official web presence at http://www.Mudsharks.org - tell them 'Peep sent you'...!

1The organisation spawned its own official publication, Shark, Strangeness and Charm, which appears sporadically, often with gaps of several years between issues. The next issue is approaching a decade overdue...2'Beaver' as a collective noun was agreed upon by majority vote; 'lodge' was considered too boring. Other suggestions included 'shoal' and 'heffalump'.3Food is a major part of the ritual. Once a strict rotation of Indian, Chinese, European, the advent of more adventurous cuisine has meant that it's now impossible to predict what variety of comestibles to expect at the next Binge before the invitation arrives.4A rank originally limited to a core group of Mudsharks who braved heavy rain to pick raspberries, with only the distant promise of raspberry wine as a reward. The resultant wine was bottled and labelled 'Raspberry Clodburst'. Don't ask. The status of Raspberry Picker has come to be conferred on any member who can demonstrate some sort of service to Mudsharkdom above and beyond the call of duty.5The Researcher of this entry is a Junior Scribe.6When asked, in the course of researching this entry, how many Mudsharks there were at the moment, the response of the High Priest in true Mudshark style was 'Must be a couple of hundred by now; I haven't kept records in years...'

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