I saw something that disturbed me a little on my cab ride home in the early hours of this morning. We were driving along the north bank of the Thames, just opposite the Oxo tower and I was looking at dark sky and the black river and enjoying the lights and sights of late night London. My reverie may have been assisted by a couple of pints of Guinness, but the world looked pretty good. I love London town.
As the cab slowed I looked to my left and saw some statues I had never noticed before of some dragons holding some shields. As I viewed one of the dragons from behind I was rather surprised to see a rather hefty pair of testicles coming out from between its legs. They were part of the statue - a strange man hadn't somehow become entwined with the representation of the mythical figure. Now I don't want you to think I am obsessed with statue based depictions of gonads (it's over four years since I last wrote extensively about anything like this
), but surely there is something off about this. It wasn't just that it seemed rather gratuitous and unnecessary to put ballbags on a statue of a fantastical creature, but I wasn't sure that a dragon would have testicles like that. I don't know too much about testes - my expertise is the human penis - but I was pretty sure that reptiles (which surely dragons must be most closely related to) do not have external plums and wasn't convinced they had testicles at all (subsequently I discover that reptiles have internal testicles, at least this is what the internet tells me). Of course it's possible to argue that a dragon probably does not fall into traditional biological classifications, but what kind of person would even think - "well I've been commissioned to make a load of statues of dragons. Obviously I'd better make sure they've got testicles, that's the first thing anyone will be looking for."
I couldn't quite believe I had seen what I had seen. In a world so concerned with shielding sex and naughtiness, how did the sculptor get away with these hanging monstrosities? It's like drawing a cock on a smurf. There would be an outcry if that happened or if an art gallery hangs a picture up that might or might not be pornographic. Yet on the banks of the river Thames, presumably for a good few years at least, dragons with balls are on full display to any child who happens to walk passed. And who likes dragon more than kids? How many of them have been confused and crying and scared by these awful apparitions?
Today I checked the web to see if I was the only person to have seen these magical bollocks. Maybe I had imagined it all. But no, I am not the first. One of the first results for "dragon testicles" brought me to this blog, written by someone who was similarly perturbed over a year ago
. There are some pictures on there so you can see what all the fuss is about, which is probably lucky as I was thinking I might have to take a day off to travel back there to confirm and document what I had seen. I still can't quite believe it though.