Category Archives: Shipwreck culture

New Show: Shipwreck Men

We try to range widely here at Ships on the Shore, from our last post on the Annual Reports of the Secretary of Treasury to today’s post on a new reality TV show. Shipwreck Men, which premiere’s on the Discovery Channel on Monday (1/14) at 9PM EST, promises to “venture into the cutthroat world of marine salvage.” The show goes to one of the most storied haunts of wreckers, southern Florida, and it banks on a gaggle of associations linking salvage, piracy, and heroic feats of daring-do that I’ve been studying in my dissertation. Stories of wreckers have fascinated Americans since the 1830s, so I suspect Discovery will have a hit on their hands. I’m certainly excited to tune in. What self-respecting shipwreck enthusiast can resist a trailer with a lines like: “I’m a barnacle … I’m a wrecker baby. We can wreck some #!&%!.”

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‘Life of Pi’ hits the big screen

There are a whole lot of shipwreck books out there, fiction and nonfiction. A select few have been read by “everyone” — think: Ship of Gold. Another is Life of Pi. I’ll admit to not having read Yann Martel’s 2001 novel, but it might be time to crack it open. Next month, Ang Lee’s adaptation of the book hits the theaters next month. Early reviews have been quite favorable. Here’s a bit from one:

Based on the best-selling book by Yann Martel, “Pi” has become a critic and Oscar favorite since its premiere at the New York Film Festival last month. “‘Life of Pi’ is gorgeous and engaging and often thrilling. Ending is a whiff, just like the book, but when it works… Wow,” tweeted CinemaBlend’s Katey Rich. “‘Life of Pi’ is an unusual example of anything-is-possible technology put at the service of a humanistic and intimate story rather than something that smacks of a manufactured product,” wrote the Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy.

Looks like this flick might actually be worth watching in the theater.


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We’re Back!

Well that sabbatical lasted a few months longer than expected but it comes to an end today. It’s been a productive period–two chapters cleared by my dissertation adviser, the last chapter drafted and an article published in Wreck & Rescue, the journal of the U.S. Life-Saving Heritage Association. With luck the next few months will be just as productive. I’ve got a hell of a bucket list: get last three chapters cleared, put together and defend the entire dissertation, find a job (know of any?), and, of course, maintain Ships on the Shore. Wish me luck! (And if you come across any good shipwreck “stuff” please pass it along.)

I thought posting a new shipwreck tune would be an appropriate way to get things rolling again. Sent by good a good friend of Ships on the Shore, smallerandsmaller, this track reminds us that shipwrecks remain resonate metaphors, even in our digital age. Enjoy~


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‘Shipwrecked Commotion’ by Paul Starling

It’s been a busy summer for shipwreck-themed music. A few weeks ago California-based Paul Starling released his newest ablum Shipwrecked Commotion. Starling is that rare breed of musician: an” independent folk-nautical-rock artist.” For a full (glowing) review of Shipwrecked Commostion click here. And be sure to check out Starling’s fantastic blog.


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Canadian Shipwreck Play: ‘Oil and Water’

Trolling through old shipwreck news this morning I cam across this review of Oil & Water, “a stylish, music-filled melodrama” recently performed at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Calgary. Written by Robert Chafe and directed by Jillian Keiley, Oil &Water apparetly memorized audiences at the festival.

Here’s the description from the play’s website:

Oil and Water is Artistic Fraud’s theatrical retelling of the incredible true story of Lanier Phillips. Shipwrecked aboard the USS Truxton in 1942, Mr. Phillips was the only African-American survivor. What happened to this son of the racially segregated south at the hands of the residents of the nearby town of St. Lawrence, NL forever altered his world. Featuring an a capella score that blends the Newfoundland folk tradition with African-American gospel, this legendary story still resonates powerfully almost 70 years later.

Here’s a bit more about the shipwreck scene:

Let’s look at the shipwreck sequence itself. Phillips and his crew, being tossed around amidst the chaos on his sinking ship, is intercut with Violet in Newfoundland, calmly doing the laundry in the washtub. All the while, the chorus in the back sings an ever-mounting a capella rendition of “Wade in the Water”.

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