back to article Penis pothole protester: Cambridge's 'Wanksy' art shows feted

A Cambridge-based protester has been heralded for daubing penises around potholes - the latest in a rising trend of phallic crater painters. On the Facebook page created in the prankster's honour, one local described the hazardous cavities as "an absolute disgrace". She said: "I put an official complaint in at least 3 months …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some people say this is vandalism, but I say that's a phallusy

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Agreed; it's bringing a lot of 'a-penis' to the area...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        willy did do it for a good reason.

  2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    "a semi at 69 Cock Lane"

    Only a semi?

    1. Callam McMillan
      Coat

      Re: "a semi at 69 Cock Lane"

      Better than a detached in this case!

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: "a semi at 69 Cock Lane"

        "Better than a detached "

        I'm not so sure about that. At least you can leave it in the bathroom cabinet if you think it's going to get you into trouble: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byDiILrNbM4

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "a semi at 69 Cock Lane"

        I understand that if your coming from down south it is a hard right.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "a semi at 69 Cock Lane"

      "Only a semi?"

      In need of some TLC and structural support.

      1. AceRimmer1980
        IT Angle

        Re: "a semi at 69 Cock Lane"

        Or a DIY enthusiast.

        1. Scroticus Canis
          Devil

          Re: "Or a DIY enthusiast"

          Given the handle it prompts the question - just how flexible are you?

    3. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

      Re: "a semi at 69 Cock Lane"

      At least it wasn't a one up, one down....

  3. lafnlab
    Childcatcher

    Obscene? Nah.

    "Has this person, for just one second, considered how families with young children must feel when they are confronted with these obscene symbols as they walk to school?"

    Did that person go to school in the Georgian Era? Children won't know it's obscene unless someone tells them and parents will likely roll their eyes when asked by the kids. There's a big difference between painting peckers around potholes and producing pornographic pictures.

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Obscene? Nah.

      I hope they never take their kids anywhere near here

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obscene? Nah.

      "Has this person, for just one second, considered how families with young children must feel when their cars are noisy and repeatedly damaged and their children are shaken up as they drive over our crappy roads we cannot be arsed to maintain to anything beyond third world or even Manhattan standards!" was what the idiot spokesman meant to say, I'm sure.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Obscene? Nah.

      "Children won't know it's obscene unless someone tells them"

      Half the population has got one and around 80% of the rest of the population can legally have access to one* (based on an average life expectancy around 80), so it really is time we started to grow up a bit.

      *I stole this one from Punch, sometime in the 1960s and a play review, so it's hardly new.

      1. Colabroad

        Re: Obscene? Nah.

        Has this spokesvegetable ever seen a schoolboy's exercise book? I can assure you they've seen crudely drawn cocks before!

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      WTF?

      Hey. Councillor dumbass. Fix the f**king pothole and you won't have to clean the c**k

      That is all.

    5. Grant Fromage

      Re: Obscene? Nah.

      If you keep a a straight face and don`t make a big fuss then kids will never twig that something is up and will not ask about it.

      If you fail and they ask and you start prevaricating, they will get that something mysterious and grown up is going on. They will almost certainly ask gran or grandad who have a different take and undermine the parents , but mostly in a good way from a distance of years and very don`t panic.

      I wish i could remember who said " A thing has within it that which the observer has means to see". Keep them in the dark and you will be fine

      It is known as a CDC-crudely drawn cock with Journo`s I know. I believe It goes back to b3ta.com as a meme 10+ years ago.

      I may do the same on potholes I find as wheel eaters need sorting. If only lorries paid the correct portion of road tax as the damage they cause. It is the 4th power of axle loading.

      This will give most things and links to original papers, But the uk TRRL and their military precedents are not mentioned and their stuff is late 40`s, perhaps what tanks do to a road is still classified.

      nvfnorden.org/lisalib/getfile.aspx?itemid=261

      You need to blame Winston Churchill for putting road tax into the common tax purse rather than funding road improvement.

    6. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: Obscene? Nah.

      > Children won't know it's obscene unless someone tells them

      Just like the "rude dolphins" picture. I'm sure you can "bing" it (granted, that doesn't sound right; it kind of sucks).

    7. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Obscene? Nah.

      But... but... but... THINK OF THE CHILDREN! (*in a shrill Mary Whitehouse voice*)

    8. MrXavia

      Re: Obscene? Nah.

      I would laugh with my kids if we saw this on the street

  4. hplasm Silver badge
    Stop

    A council wonk said:...

    "“Every penny that we have to spend cleaning off this graffiti is a penny less that we have to spend on actually repairing the potholes.” "

    I say Bollocks. Just do the bloody work.

    Oh - and stop thinking about kids...

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: A council wonk said:...

      Spending a penny to clean off grafitti? Maybe weeing on it will be of some use, but personally I'd recommend some sort of detergent or spirit-based solvent

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: A council wonk said:...

      First of all - do they have the pennies?

      The amount of potholes at the moment reminds me of the worst years of Eastern Europe recession in the late 90-es and the failing local municipalities post-recession in the 2000-2007 or thereabouts.

      The situation screams "no money" with a loudhailer.

      All we need is to make the cars produce the same clouds of acrid fumes as the Mad Max rusty abominations Germany, Austria and France dumped into Eastern Europe during the same 1995-2005 period instead of recycling. Just do that and the picture will be complete.

      Now, why there is no money and who is lying about it - you just need to listen to PM questions a couple of times.

    3. kain preacher Silver badge

      Re: A council wonk said:...

      "“Every penny that we have to spend cleaning off this graffiti is a penny less that we have to spend on actually repairing the potholes.” "

      Um wouldn't paving the damn pot holes get rid of the graffiti or am I missing some thing ?

    4. GIRZiM

      Re: A council wonk said:...

      Are you sure that's how you spell it?

      'Oi, wonker!'

      Are you sure sure you haven't been mishearing it?

  5. tiggity Silver badge

    Might try it

    Pothole central near me, council do zilch.

    If a bit of naughty graffiti gets them quickly coming to fix it then bonus for local vehicles.

  6. Korev Silver badge
    Coat

    Yep, we should erect something to stop it happening

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Unfortunately the graffiti will be coming quicker than the pothole fillers.

      Paris, because she seems to have no problems getting her potholes filled on a regular basis.

    2. AceRimmer1980
      Pint

      Or pass a members-only bill.

    3. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      It's *so* hard!

      Yep, we should erect something to stop it happening

      No, you are onto something here. If a simple patch has an limited lifespan, then increasing the length and hardness of the patch will extend that, allowing it to stay up and working it for months. I propose shoving a 10 foot steel pole right into each hole. This will have the practical effect of plugging the holes and extending the length of time the patch will be effective. Bigger is better!

  7. wolfetone Silver badge

    "However, the authorities were less than impressed. A spokesman from Bury council said:

    “Has this person, for just one second, considered how families with young children must feel when they are confronted with these obscene symbols as they walk to school? Not only is this vandalism, but it’s also counter-productive."

    What about said family who's vehicle is damaged because of a pothole that hasn't been fixed, which could result in their parents either not getting to work or falling in to debt to fix the car?

    Every penny that we have to spend cleaning off this graffiti is a penny less that we have to spend on actually repairing the potholes."

    Well you didn't have the graffiti on the road in the first place but you chose not to fix the potholes, so away with you dickhead.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well you didn't have the graffiti on the road in the first place but you chose not to fix the potholes, so away with you dickhead.

      I've a lot of time for the labourers in dayglo coats who do the actual work of road maintenance, but when it comes to the white collar council whiners always bleating on about "services" and not having enough money, I suggest that they be pulped, the pulp mixed with a two part resin to make a new, long life, easy pour pothole filler. "Council red" would be cheap to make, raw materials are evidently abundant, and so quick to apply that all the potholes. Maybe we should have each "contributor's" name stencilled by the potholes their residue fills - and then we could spray paint a cock over it as well.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Maybe we should have each "contributor's" name stencilled by the potholes their residue fills

        Applause.

        However, on a more serious note - it is an indicator that the council has f*** all money. It does not matter how many times the government robs Peter to pay Paul or how many pound notes undergo a pocket tennis movement from one pocket to the other. The economy does not look good and the potholes are one of the best indicators I know. I have survived through some seriously deep recessions outside Britain and you could literally get the real (not fictional presented by the government) economic metrics by the pothole size and more importantly depth.

    2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      400 miles.

      That is how long I had the suspension lasted in good condition las time. Four coils in three years, plus three bearings. Unacceptable.

      Holes a foot deep taking a week to get badly repaired.. on a main internal road of the city... and holes that I reported A YEAR ago unfixed.. what was a surface repair is now structural repair.

      1. Julian 8

        Get a couple of cans of spray and spray the biggest cock ever, preferable in a luminous spray so it is easy to see at night

      2. LucreLout Silver badge

        That is how long I had the suspension lasted in good condition las time. Four coils in three years, plus three bearings. Unacceptable.

        And yet the very people whose job it is to keep the roads passable moan and whine like stuck pigs about people buying offroaders, seemingly wihtout irony.

        (I don't have one myself, but given the scale of damage the poster is talking about, I can see why they might get one next time)

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hills Road

    Hills Road in Cambridge (A main road to Addenbrooke's hospital) has some horrible road conditions. The council filled in the absolute worst pot hole after several months, but they ignored all the others that were within 10 yards.

    1. caffeine addict Silver badge

      Re: Hills Road

      The entire city is a mess. Madingley Road is a traffic hazard.

      Maybe the govt should give the whole lot to highways and take the relevant chunk of money from the local council.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: Hills Road

        Maybe the govt should give the whole lot to highways and take the relevant chunk of money from the local council.

        Hahaha, I'm guessing they won't do that because:

        a) Highways England wouldn't get any funding to do it, or that funding would have to come from the treasury

        and

        b) The councils probably don't get any money from central government to fix them in the first place, and are now expected to get those funds from council tax, whilst at the same time not being permitted to raise council taxes by more than an amount which is less than inflation.

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Hills Road

          " The councils probably don't get any money from central government to fix them in the first place"

          Virtually all potholes are a result of failure to do minor work like cleaning drains. They're a symptom that your council's been corner cutting for a long time.

          Around these parts (not a million miles from Cock Lane) I filmed a drains contractor driving down the road, stopping at each one for 60-90 seconds, not bothering to get out and inspect, let alone clean 'em, then drive on to the next one. He noticed he was being filmed, got out of his truck and started being pretty aggressive (including demands to not be filmed etc), but also denied working under contract for the council. Unfortunately for him the logs showed that the company he was working for signed off the drains as cleaned, they were still blocked+flooding the next day and the youtube videos of his (lack of) work plus denials ended up in the hands of local councillors.

          We (councillors and a couple of council auditors) suspected that particular rort was going on for a while, but it was nice to actually document it. Not that it mattered as the council refuses to do anything about the dodgy contractor - too many family hands in the cookie jar (and yes, this is in the SE of the UK)

          On the subject of Cock Lane - the Crusader's work resulted in the council there closing the road to do resurfacing, estimating it to be closed for 4-6 days at a cost of about £50k. It actually took closer to 6 months and £350k because the roadbed was so badly damaged due to lack of drainage that it had to be completely rebuilt from scratch in a lot of places. Whilst rebuilding the lane the council also found that 3/4 of the roadside gullies had been paved over - which meant that water had built up, soaked into the roadbed and effectively destroyed it. So yes, the Cock Lane Crusader had a bloody good point.

          1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Hills Road

            Virtually all potholes are a result of failure to do minor work like cleaning drains

            Um.. no. Potholes at this time of year happen when water gets into the road surface (and it doesn't take much at the right time) and then freezes. The ice expansion then breaks the tarmac, creating more pocks for the water to settle in (and where it can't drain away). Next frost or snow does more damage. The broken tarmac gets displaced by vehicle tyres and a hole forms (and gets deepened by futrher tyre impacts).

            Poor quality road tarmac or repairs don't help - more small voids for water to get trapped in, more chances for ice pockets to form.

            Improper drainage might have been the cause in your particular instance, but it isn't the case round here.

        2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

          Re: Hills Road

          My council has a huge surplus of employees... with no budget for them to be productive. Ridiculous.

    2. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Hills Road

      We had some potholes near us and the council were forced to put out to tender for the work. A few months later a 10' by 7' pothole had a 1'*2' patch put in the bottom as that was what the contractor had tendered for.

      I've had to put a set of cheap wheels on my car after I lost one (and some suspension) in a hole that wasnt there the week before, I reckon for every pound the tories save me in council tax costs me about 50 as a result. Thanks.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Hills Road

        Sue the council. If everyone does that they'll learn that fixing the holes is cheaper.

      2. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Hills Road

        "I've had to put a set of cheap wheels on my car after I lost one (and some suspension) in a hole that wasnt there the week before"

        You can claim damage costs from your council - and oif they try to weasel out of it by claiming "noone had reported it", a small claims filing will change that tune very quickly.

        One council had to pay out almost £1million for ONE pothole incident.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hills Road

      The council filled in the absolute worst pot hole after several months, but they ignored all the others that were within 10 yards.

      Fill them in yourself with a few bags of postcrete one night. Then report to the council that you believe somebody other than the council has done a DIY bodge on potholes. The jobsworths will have a truck on site in hours, fearful that their monopoly is under threat from pothole fillers without the right paperwork.

  9. Aaiieeee
    Meh

    Ok so there are now 2 issues: potholes and graffiti. They are saying the graffiti is reducing their ability to address the potholes; surely addressing the potholes will have a direct impact on grafitti incidence and they will both be reduced?

    As for the kids, its not ideal but its better they see graffiti than suffer a car incident due to a ruptured tyre or something.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      better they see graffiti than suffer a car incident due to a ruptured tyre or something.

      You mean like them going over the handlebars of their bike under the car overtaking them?

      This is Cambridge(shire) we are talking about. 95% of households have at least one cyclist. It is a location where kids cycle and most of the potholes are exactly within what is considered cycle lane.

      Whoever draws it should add an obscenity addressing the council to every pothole in fluorescent yellow for good measure.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If they did that round my way it would be like being in a sausage factory. Nothing but a sprawling sea of cocks as far as the eye could see.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A sprawling sea of cocks as far as the eye can see?

      That's your mum's dream that is.

  11. caffeine addict Silver badge

    Whoa now...

    That's Haverhill with it's porksword painter, not Cambridge. Don't go tarring us with that brush. ;)

  12. jh27

    > “Has this person, for just one second, considered how families with young children must feel when they are confronted with these obscene symbols as they walk to school? Not only is this vandalism, but it’s also counter-productive.

    > “Every penny that we have to spend cleaning off this graffiti is a penny less that we have to spend on actually repairing the potholes.”

    So the council have a single budget that covers both road mainentance and graffiti removal? The cock and balls, make the pot holes more visible to cyclists, so should result in fewer hospitalisations, which in turn will save some money. So perhaps not all that counter productive. What is counter productive is the council spokesperson - every penny they are paid could be spent on highway maintenance.

  13. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    “Every penny that we have to spend cleaning off this graffiti is a penny less that we have to spend on actually repairing the potholes.”

    I think they may have missed the point somewhat. If the council is steadfastly ignoring the potholes and not fixing them, and some wag comes along and draws a phallus around it, they have a choice - spend a certain amount to remove the offending artwork, or spend what is likely a similar amount on removing that section of road and replacing it with fresh tarmac. Like they should have done in the first place.

    Of course, the root of the problem isn't really that councils are lazy spendthrifts that don't want to do road maintenance, it's that they have had their budgets from central government slashed by an unsustainable amount, and have to make the choice between fixing things that may not be a critical problem, and keeping libraries and public toilets open, or spending on social care. Follow the money to see the root of the problem (with their taxpayer subsidised meals and second homes).

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "spend a certain amount to remove the offending artwork, or spend what is likely a similar amount on removing that section of road and replacing it with fresh tarmac."

      Or just tarmac over the offending road knob and pothole.

      Problem solved.

    2. Julian 8

      If they stopped putting speed bumps in, the same staff / contractors would have both the time and the resources to fill in a lot of pot holes.

  14. Alister Silver badge

    after a semi at 69 Cock Lane was up for sale.

    Well, half-way up, anyway...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BD21 1QF

    Can anyone confirm what the road surface is like there?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: BD21 1QF

      Bit of a cock up really...

  16. Bucky 2

    Lock 'em up

    Who looks at a picture of a penis and then immediately thinks of children?

  17. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    might be a great idea over there

    but if we started that trend here, people would be deliberately creating potholes so they can get their phallus painting done and demand more attention.

  18. kain preacher Silver badge

    There was a chap in the Netherlands that went around planting flowers in the pot holes. On bloke in NYC started planting trees. Here in the US i've been on some roads that were so bad the best options were to turn them in to dirt roads . These roads could not simple be repaved. You need to remove the crumbling roads and level the road bed.

  19. MK_E

    Over in Edinburgh the more cynical among us have guessed that the reason for the new 20mph limits is because it's easier than making the roads suitable to actually drive at 30.

  20. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    My best Basel, Beg your pardon?

    “Every penny that we have to spend cleaning off this graffiti is a penny less that we have to spend on actually repairing the potholes.”

    The cart ahead of the horse thinking...

  21. EveryTime

    Somewhat off-topic, I love the stock photo.

    What's it titled?

    Douchy (douchey?) Art Admirers?

    Smug Cognoscenti?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Somewhat off-topic, I love the stock photo

      I think the woman's thinking "what a dick", so it's highly appropriate.

  22. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    A simple solution...

    Hovercraft for everyone!

    Mine is full of eels.

    =-D

    1. Alister Silver badge

      Re: A simple solution...

      Mine is full of eels.

      That's one elver problem...

  23. handleoclast

    The dog that didn't bark in the night

    Unless I missed it, not a single commentard (so far) remarked upon this paragraph in the story:

    Another resident, Sarah Hobbs, commented to Cambridge News: "We can see those potholes coming now."

    So not just graffiti of cocks, but graffiti of cocks spurting jizz.

  24. GIRZiM

    Do They Know It's Christmas though?

    (Probably) NSFW

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCgV-FnEcGQ

  25. VikiAi Silver badge
    Trollface

    Why penises?

    Wouldn't holes be more suited to vulvas? And since female genitalia are several orders of magnitude more offensive than male ones (apparently) it should be even more effective!

    1. ukgnome

      Re: Why penises?

      They are much harder to draw though.

  26. Blake St. Claire

    One F35's worth

    I'd wager that for the price of one F35 on HMS Queen Elizabeth you could fix every pothole in the UK; twice.

    But over on this side of the pond, here in the pothole capital of the US, I've replaced bushings, and struts, but I've never broken springs or wheel bearings. What do they make springs out of over there that they're so fragile?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: One F35's worth

      The road surfaces in the UK in towns are built on roads from, in some cases, 5000 years ago. As such, once the waterproof tarmac or concrete is breached then, on a rainy day, the hole deepens at a rate the average oil driller would be pleased with. In dense traffic and everyone in a rush people drive nose to tail and by the time they notice the pothole emerging from underneath the car their only option is to drive into it (left here is dead pedestrians and on the right other vehicles coming the other way). As potholes can be very deep wheel rims are bent, suspension is badly rattled and the springs can be bashed against parts of the car they were not expected to hit. a small crack on one soon leads to its imminent destruction by another pothole.

      1. Blake St. Claire

        Re: One F35's worth

        Yes, a small crack soon leads to its destruction.

        Say what you want about what your roads are built on top of, but you don't have a monopoly on deep potholes. We too get bent rims too from deep holes. Broken springs though, not so much of those.

  27. Julian 8

    Spokesmen : We don't know what you are all talking about. we have just looked at the roads on [insert preferred provider]'s satellite and road images and they all look good to us.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Or.....

    just fix the pothole PROPERLY.

    I see so many that have a bit of cold rolled tarmac chucked in them and surprise, surprise a year later (if you are lucky) they are back.

    The people fixing them should be forced to fix any pothole (or within 10cm of that pothole) that comes back in less than 2 years for free.

    See how many we have in 5 years time.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Or.....

      In one of those deja-fuck moments I took the dog for a walk last evening to discover the road at the end of our lane had been resurfaced - 6 months after all the potholes had been covered over (half road repairs etc not just tipping a bit of tarmac in each). Lots of signs saying 'No Road Markings' - when we dont have any on these country lanes. Lots of 20MPH signs too. Which were obviously being ignored as there are, in around the mile I hobbled about 20 new proto-potholes where drivers have braked hard leaving holes in the new tarmac that will, by summer be deep potholes if we get the rain we've been having lately.

      Life is wasted on the living.

  29. Roj Blake Silver badge

    Blame the Tories (and Lib Dems)

    Since 2010 they've basically halved the amount of central government money given to councils while capping the amount of money that councils can raise themselves.

    Crappy roads are an all too predictable consequence of that.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Blame the Tories (and Lib Dems)

      I'll let them off a 1/2 inch of the mile of crap they've caused - a farmer round here pointed out we've not had more than 4 dry days since September. Water in potholes causes them to grow 1000 of times faster than when they are dry.

  30. Another Brick

    London Boroughs of Havering and Barking both seem to suffer with the installation of an excessive number of huge speed bumps. I'm sure a little forethought and some of the tarmac used for these could have been applied to the increasingly numerous and dangerous potholes on those routes.

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Speed Bumps

      If you think about it, speed bumps are basically reverse potholes.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bury Council should consider "how obscene" it's potholes are - if they filled them in, there would not be penises to waste money on in the first place. Talk aboiut local government stupidity!

  32. NXM

    Boost to the economy

    I'm pretty sure some clever government economist sees potholes as a good thing. Reduced spending on road maintenance causes increased economic activity in car repairs, which is clearly good for everyone!

  33. ArtFart

    End of an era?????

    Could this be the first ever article herein that makes references to male anatomy without using the term "todger"?

    1. ShadowDragon8685

      Re: End of an era?????

      Good lord, you're right.

      Quick! The El Reg corrections desk must be contacted at once!

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