The War of the Worlds
“ No one would have believed, in the last years of the 19th century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space. No one could have dreamed that we were being scrutinized as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. Few men even considered the possibility of life on other planets. And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us…”
- Not to be confused with War of the Worlds which is something completely different, and mad.
By the technical definition, The War of the Worlds isn’t a war, more of an ongoing battle royal series as (currently) sponsored by Coca-Cola. Each series is divided into a season of approximately one Earth year. Each entrant enters into the War for a nominated World, in recent years the proliferation of adopted worlds has led to vast increase in the number of Wars and accusations that the series has lost its way.
Commencing in 1886, the progressive-disco concept war between worlds has been raging continuously to this day. Although, it has spread into numerous other musical and social genres through the use of carrier pigeons and the internet.
The current league table of the 119 seasons that have been run, is as follows:
|World||Championships||Wars Won||Wars Lost||Last Championship||Notes|
|Earth||48||7,816||2,412||2001||One of the founding members of The War of the Worlds an impressive series of victories throughout the 119 years has ensured it the top spot in the chart.|
|Mars||47||7,649||2,855||1984||The other founding member of The War of the Worlds, Mars has been struggling in recent years to find its early form.|
|Vulcan||7||2,042||5,798||2004||Comedy entrant for 1969, this World has grown beyond its unpopular science fiction image to become one of the biggest forces in The War of the Worlds.|
|Tatooine||6||997||7,544||1981||Those damned crazy Star Wars fans petitioned to have Tatooine entered in 1976, they were successful, and a run of 6 consecutive victories began to worry the more established Worlds. However, due to internal politics in the organising committee, they’ve won toss-all since.|
|Yavin||2||358||9,322||1983||Many of the original Tatooine players defected to the new World of Yavin in 1982 due to the fall-out of the political crisis facing that World. This ensured a continued series of 2 impressive victories. However, Star Wars fever was over by 1983 and most of the major players deserted for more cushy positions in other Worlds. As with Tatooine a number of high profile players rejoined at the time of the release of the prequels, but they never managed to recapture their former glory.|
|Venus||2||332||9,427||1963||Breaking away from the major Worlds, Zsa Zsa Gabor led a small band of mostly useless players to a pair of victories in the earlier 1960s.|
|Zog||2||306||2,778||1994||Formed by the delusional mind of Terry Wogan, Zog has occasional success, and is petitioning to be entered into the Eurovision Song Contest.|
|Earth 2||2||305||2,210||1980||Stylistic funk World formed in the early years of the Solar System, this is a popular world with players reaching the end of their careers.|
|The Moon||1||42||47||1924||Disqualified after 1924 for not technically being a World.|
|Jupiter||1||40||85||1927||Disqualified after 1927 for being a gas giant.|
|Gunglefunk||1||38||1,045||2005||One of the newest Worlds in the series, it initially attracted a lot of keen players who had become disillusioned with the major Worlds and scored an impressive series of victories in 2005 and took the championship.|
Traditionally the The War of the Worlds has been split into two main ages, these being The Coming of the Martians and The Earth under the Martians. This was done to differentiate between the early domination by Mars, and the latter domination by Earth. Ulla! In recent years it has been argued that a third age should be added, as neither is dominating currently.
Some people mistakenly believe the split of ages was when the contests were first broadcast in colour. Nutters, the lot of them.
The Coming Of The Martians
In the early years of the The War of the Worlds, Mars dominated the championship, with their terrifying death rays and tripod crafts, year after year they easily defeated Earth’s paltry players.
The Eve Of The War (1883 – 1885)
“Dum-Dum-Dum, Badala-Badala, Dum-Dum-Daa, Badala-Badala, Dum-Dum-Dum, Badala-Badala, Dum-Daa-Daa, Douee ”
Preparations began two years before the first The War of the Worlds, an interplanetary committee had to be convened, the rules of the game need to be formalised, and participants found.
The IWWC (Interplanetary War (of the) Worlds Committee) was formed in August 1883, headed up by Dr Agulbup Wippletan and Zang III as joint chairperson. Both were expert banjo players. Ulla! The committee consisted of 6 officers, who had varying tasks:
- provision and maintenance of the laws of The War of the Worlds.
- upholding the laws of The War of the Worlds.
- scheduling the dates and location of each War for the upcoming season.
- maintaining a high-class of player (this was subsequently dropped in the 1983 IWWC Accord).
- provision of support services pertaining to each War.
- media reporting and communications.
The laws were formalised, and the IWWC concluded it would be ready to hold its first championship season in 1886.
Horsell Common And The Heat Ray (1886 – 1899)
“Their scones were an odd shade of green.”
The first War was held on the 15th June 1886, on Horsell Common, Surrey. On the night the first ship approached Earth. It was thought to be an ordinary falling star, but next day there was a huge crater in the middle of the common. A cylinder, thirty yards across, glowing hot, with faint sounds of movement coming from within. The realisation dawned upon the Earth players that these were their opponents.
A crowd gathered on the common, hypnotized by the cylinder. Suddenly, the lid opened and two Martians, with a look of evil intent, slowly rose out of the capsule. Ulla! A few of Earth’s players crept closer to the pit. A tall, dark, funnel rose and an invisible ray of heat leapt from player to player, and there was a bright glare as each was instantly turned to fire. Every tree and bush became a mass of flames at the touch of this savage, unearthly heat. The Martians then stopped for tea and scones, and were declared victors by the presiding referee.
This set the pattern for the next 13 years of Wars, Earth was in need of a saviour if it was ever to win a championship.
The Artilleryman And The Fighting Machine (1900 – 1913)
“I never rode in Carrie, I always preferred Wilfred.”
In early 1895 the Earth team started work on a new defence system to eventually try and win a War. By 1900 it was ready, named Carrie, they were monstrous tripods, higher than the tallest steeple, striding over the pine trees and smashing them, walking tripods of glittering metal. Each carried a huge funnel and a large metal hood with an operator positioned within. The primary firepower of the fighting machine was the electric death ray, which had proved most effective by destroying several trains at King’s Cross.
On the 17th June 1900 Horsell Common was once again crowded with on-lookers as the Martians descended. They lined up on the south side of the common awaiting the approach of Earth’s paltry line-up. Ulla! Four of the Carrie’s rose up, towering over everything, from behind the mounds to the north side of the common. Once they had reached the extent of their height they started to move towards the Martians, firing the electric death ray in their direction. With the second volley one of the Martians was decapitated and the others badly injured, but the surviving Martians stood their ground and prepared their heat ray. Some moments passed as the hideous tripods approached, charging their death ray for another round. Ulla! The Martians fired their heat ray which nicely toasted some muffins attached to the legs of the tripods, and realised they would be unable to defeat the Earth team and they were utterly spent. For the first time ever in the history of The War of the Worlds Earth was victorious.
Forever Autumn (1914 – 1924)
“The dropping of leaves, and mass destruction up at the common just went hand-in-hand.”
Due to calendar pressures it was decided to move the Wars from June to October to coincide with autumn. Ulla! The IWWC also decided to limit the weapons and armour available to each side to add to the interest of battles. This effectively outlawed the much-loved Carrie, and they went into retirement in Wales.
“Carrie doesn't live here anymore,
Carrie used to room on the second floor.
Sorry that she left no forwarding address, that was known to me.
Carrie doesn't live here anymore.
You could always ask at the corner store.
Carrie had a date with her own kind of fate, it's plain to see.”
In the first War of 1914, fire from the Martians leapt from house to house. The population panicked and ran, Earth’s team was swept along with them, aimless and lost without Carrie. Finally, they headed eastward for the ocean and their only hope of survival: a boat out of England. Ulla! It was noted that for subsequent Wars they would need somewhat better tactics to avoid returning to the days of Martian domination.
By 1920 the Wars had evened out between Earth and Mars, with little difference between the two sides. The IWWC decided to allow the introduction of new Worlds adopted by any eligible player. Ulla! The first such world was The Moon, introduced in 1922, a large number of complaints and long series of legal battles meant that The Moon had to be disqualified for not actually being a planetary body, and in fact being a satellite. Zang III decided to resign over this affair after some allegations of bribery and corruption in his office to allow The Moon to participate initially. Zang III was succeeded by Zorb II.
Thunder Child (1925 – 1945)
“We used to dodge the dropping bombs just to get choice seats at the common.”
More and more Worlds joined The War of the Worlds, and the seasons increased vastly in their complexity. The original premise of being based on disco fighting was nearing its natural conclusion, and the IWWC decided to open the competition up to other genres of musical diversion. Ulla! The classic rock wars between some of the new Worlds became known as Thunder Child as the extensive use of electric guitars and drums gave a thunderous effect to proceedings, and that these Wars were perceived to be the children of the classic Earth Vs Mars Wars. This period marks the most expansive growth of The War of the Worlds, and some mark it as the truly golden age of the sport. It is notable as the longest period of time without any changes to the rules, however it did not pass off without controversy as several gas giants had to be disqualified as not being suitable habitats to support humanoid life.
The general public, hungry for The War of the Worlds, took to the new battles with great enthusiasm. Ulla! Many cheeky cockneys were even reported as suggesting it was the only thing that kept them going during the Blitz.
The IWWC noted soon after the completion of the 1936 season that Horsell common was now far too small for the needs of the competition. Numerous ideas were tabled as to possible solutions, some included:
- home-and-away match legs – discounted due to travel restrictions imposed by various governments of the time.
- purchasing a purpose built battlefield – discounted due to lack of available space near to any centres of populations likely to be interested in the sport.
- construction of a giant space craft for battles – discounted due to the lack of a ready supply of coal to fuel the craft.
Eventually several commons, in and around the Greater London area were rented to provide the necessary space for the Wars.
The Earth Under The Martians
The Red Weed (Part 1) (1946 – 1956)
“Red, red, red, red, red. It was so vulgar.”
In 1946 the first colour broadcasts of The War of the Worlds were made, unfortunately due to a technical restriction, the broadcast was entirely in red, although few would have noticed due to the extremely bloody nature of the Wars. Each day, the broadcast was a brilliant, fiery red and the camera focus wandered through the weird and lurid landscape of what appeared to be another planet, for the vegetation that gives Mars its red appearance had taken root on earth and was affecting the cameras. Ulla! As man had succumbed to the Martians, so our cameras now succumbed to the red hue.
This period was noted for the reduction in the classic Rock Battles and the introduction of new dances and dangerous elements such as Rock and Roll, with mesmerising hypnotic gyrations. Ulla! Numerous players were berated by various religious figures as being devil-like. Traditional fans of the Wars felt this vulgar new form to be out of keeping with the long-held traditions of which they had grown accustomed. As they left in their droves, thousands of easily influenced young people joined the throngs of fans, hoping to glimpse a gyration or two.
The Spirit Of Man (1957 – 1966)
“I’ve been known to partake in the spirit of man, on the odd occasion.”
The experimentation with colour broadcasts was temporarily suspended whilst attempts were made to correct the overly red broadcasts. The return to the old black-and-white broadcasts added a certain level of nostalgia to the Wars, and many of the long term fans put off by the antics of certain players slowly returned to their beloved sport.
People felt it was another golden age for The War of the Worlds, the rules became more progressive for the rock genre. Ulla! And pop music started to be accepted more widely in the premier league.
Discussions began in 1960 for a commercial sponsor for The War of the Worlds, and this was followed in 1963 by discussions for commercial sponsorship of individual worlds. The first sponsor of The War of the Worlds championship was BarrySoft the world’s first commercial software house, run by Barry. BarrySoft folded in 1987 as it was revealed they’d never produced a single line of code despite billions of dollars of investment by major companies. This single act was seen as typical as the spirit of man, and so this era was named after it.
The Red Weed (Part 2) (1967 – 1976)
“I never inhaled, ok, well maybe once or twice, but hey we were all hippies.”
By the late 1960s The War of the Worlds was reaching a bizarre zenith of conflicting musical genres. Progressive rock groups would stage vast set pieces to attempt to defeat the popular beat combo groups. The popular beat combos in turn would use their influence with young girls to drown out the progressive rock groups. Ulla! This meant that more and more Wars were ending in stalemate. Eventually the ICCW was taken over by hippies who used their newfound power to encourage the fans of the sport to indulge in a Martian drug known as The Red Weed. Although it had no discernable effect on humans, it kept the Martians happy, as they hadn’t won a season in many years.
Unhampered by the complex systems which make up man, the hippies made and used different bodies according to their needs. They never tired, never slept, and never suffered, having long since eliminated from their bodies the bacteria which cause all fevers and other morbidities.
Brave New World (1977 – 1978)
“Brave new world? My arse!”
After the hippies were rounded up and shot, the ICCW asked David Essex to lead all the singing at the next War. This proved to be one of the worst decisions of all time, as he took up the challenge with relish, and started to reveal his megalomaniac tendencies with bold plans for his new civilisation. Viewing figures from the broadcast dwindled to a mere handful of devotees.
He was going to build a whole new world for himself. You'd clap eyes on him and he’s dead. So, he wanted to make a new life where you’ll never find him. You know where? Underground. You should see it down there, hundreds of miles of drains, sweet and clean now after the rain, dark, quiet, safe. He can build houses and everything, start again from scratch. And what's so bad about living underground, eh? It's not been so great living up here, if you want his opinion.
Take a look around you at the world you've come to know, does it seem to be much more than a crazy circus show, maybe from the madness, something beautiful will grow. In a brave new world, with just a handful of men, he'll start... he'll start all over again! All over again! All over again! All over again!
He'll build shops and hospitals and barracks, right under your noses, right under your feet. Everything he needs: banks, prisons and schools. He'll send scouting parties to collect books and stuff, and then he'll teach the kids. Not poems and rubbish; science, so he can get everything working! He'll build villages and towns, and... and he'll play others at cricket! Listen, maybe one day he'll capture a fighting machine, and learn how to make one for himself, and then: WALLOP! His turn to do some wiping out! WHOOSH! With his heat ray! Whoosh! And you running and dying, beaten at your own game, him on top again! Ulla!
Dead London (1979 – 1986)
“It was always dead from the waste down after dark.”
An underground movement began, using what small developments David Essex had achieved for his Brave New World. Many of the players huddled in the dark under London’s streets, occasionally emerging to scavenge for food and partake in the occasional War. Ulla! They became known as The Naszma, almost taking on a mythical status within the wider world. The BBC regularly broadcast scenes from alleged Naszma atrocities, but most of these were later found to be sets used for Crossroads.
Eventually Thatcher was struggling under the burden of such ferocious industrial action within Britain, which demanded the return of The War of the Worlds, that she performed the only U-turn of her career and allowed the Wars to resume. Albeit with full commercial sponsorship, and worldwide television rights.
Epilogue (Part 1) (1987 – 1996)
“Big box, little box, put it on the shelf.”
1987 saw the official return of The War of the Worlds in a primetime slot. It now covered an ever widening multitude of musical genres, the latest additions were Rap and Acid House, which started clawing away victories from more traditional Worlds.
The IWWC also started a tour for The War of the Worlds, visiting many strange and varied locations in an attempt to make the championship look fresh and exciting.
Various techniques were employed to try and persuade young children to become interested in the sport. Ulla! These often involved Wombles driving around in various crafts, such as:
- dune buggies
- stealth bombers
- a Ford Sierra
- a milk float
Some of these techniques were successful, others weren’t, and some were just downright rude.
Safety campaigners joined with religious figures to condemn The War of the Worlds out right, and petitioned for its complete banning. Ulla! Most commentators have felt these campaigners miss the very essence of The War of the Worlds.
Epilogue (Part 2) (1997 – Present Day)
Slowly but surely since 1997 The War of the Worlds has been rebuilding itself, and regaining some of its once great popularity. The IWWC has recently taken to employing unpopular celebrities like Tom Cruise to participate in The War of the Worlds. Where this will lead the sport, nobody knows, but for once the future looks red. Ulla!