Saturday, 10 February 2007

Cuckoo Corner

What a load of snowbollox!

POLICE fined a Cambridge student £80 - for making a 4ft phallus in yesterday (Thursday, 08 February)'s snow.

John Knowles built a snow penis in his lunch-break on Parker's Piece yesterday (Thursday, 08 February) and was pleased when crowds gathered to admire his handiwork and passing motorists beeped their horns in appreciation.

But, despite good humoured onlookers laughing at the cheeky sculpture, a police officer pulled up in a patrol car and asked the student to accompany him to the nearby Parkside station.

He then booked the 18-year old for a public order offence, warning him his statue could have offended members of the public, and handed him an £80 fine which he must pay within two weeks.

John was also ordered to knock the statue down.

The hard-up student, who is reading history at Anglia Ruskin University, said: "My mates and I built a 4ft phallic symbol in the snow, just to make people laugh.

"Quite a few people were stopping and having a laugh, then this police officer came over and told me I would have to pay him £80.

"He said I had to be fined because I could have offended someone, but in all honesty I did not see anyone who was offended - they were all having a laugh."

The wording on the fine cites Mr Knowles for "making a 4ft phallic symbol out of snow" and says the penalty was issued under section five of the Public Order Act, which bans the display of any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting.

The 18-year-old, who lives at the YMCA, added: "I don't have a job and to me £80 is a lot of money, so although the officer may have just been doing his job, I'm not particularly happy about it."

A police spokesman said:

"The police officer was driving past Parker's Piece when he noticed the snow sculpture, which was very intricately made and attracting attention from passers-by, many of whom were children.

"He stopped and spoke to the sculptor about his creation and he agreed that it could cause offence in such a prominent position.

"The officer was not trying to spoil anyone's enjoyment of the snow, but was concerned people in the area could be offended by the structure."

[From Cambridge Evening News, 9th February 2007]


trousers said...

Hmm my comment didn't seem to register. In brief, I was saying that I and a friend sculpted a similar such object in the snow in th emidst of Birmingham's last significant fall of snow, around 1991 - guess what, no one was offended, no one appeared to give a damn.

It might be a little less silly if the police had acted on a complaint - but as far as I can glean from the post, this was not the case. There are all sorts of situations in which one "might be offended" which do not merit £80 fines being given out on the spot.

It would be more refreshing (marginally) if the police had merely kicked said snow phallus over, thereby removing the source of potential offence - or where they worried that its creator might sue?

Jose said...

I agree 100% with you, trousers. By the way isn't a penis one of the most natural traits in a man? Don't children know what "is" the difference? Let alone adults.

anticant said...

I think you are both far too relaxed about this utterly preposterous police behaviour. The Public Order Act, under which this unfortunate young man was fined by the prattish policeman, is intended to prevent the display of threatening, abusive or insulting placards likely to stir up public disorder. It should be used against seriously mischievous people carrying placards saying "Kill Jews, Infidels, etc." but of course rarely is.

In any case, being offended is a matter of taste, and should not be protected by the law. Thanks to Blair's new "anti-terrorist" laws, we in this supposedly "free" country can no longer speak our minds in case what we say might "offend" someone else. This is outrageous.

Poor John Knowles must be rueing the most expensive erection he's likely to have during his student days. Let's hope some friendly lawyer helps him to make a successful appeal against this utterly ridiculous piece of heavy-handed policeing.

trousers said...

I'd had a glass of decent ale or two (well a few) last night, hence my rather relaxed outlook (and unforgivable use of "where" instead of "were").

I share your sense that this is outrageous, I think you're rather better at communicating it coherently. I recall an £80 fine being given out by a police officer on hearing someone using the word "f**k". This lad wasn't swearing AT anyone, being threatening or any such bad behaviour: he was using the word in conversation with a friend and this police officer, having overheard, saw fit to fine him.

I believe the fine was repealed - I hope so, and would also hope that sense would prevail in the end in the snow-phallus scenario.

trousers said...

A quick technical note, it seems as though my comments disappear unless I preview them first: if this is deliberate then fair enough but I thought I'd draw your attention to it.

anticant said...

This is what comes of forgetting England's long history of contemptuous defiance to tyranny, both large and petty, and allowing all these busybody laws to be made by nannyish politicans and enforced by jumped-up lickspittles. It's time to say Enough is Enough.

Re your technical point, it isn't my doing - I don't censor anyone and stopped previewing comments here for trolls and spam because it caused such an uproar in the burrow that I almost gave up blogging altogether. I always preview my own comments for spelling, anyway.

trousers said...

I wasn't worried about any censorship, it just caused me some befuddlement in my ale-influenced stupor in last night's late hour - and I would hope to spare others the same (ie befuddlement, not ale).

Back to the snow-phallus - a slightly tangential point perhaps: during the same winter that my friend and I constructed our own (or committed the same offence, you might say), another couple of friends used the snow to sculpt a huge reclining nude (based on a Matisse I seem to recall) in the city centre. The only complaints were from disgruntled motorists who said it was blocking access - as one of the snow-sculptors pointed out though, it wasn't as if the snow wasn't blocking access in the first place.
The police WERE called, but this was only to enforce the street being blocked off while Central News came and did some filming for that night's "and finally" spot.
Now is a reclining nude more tasteful/ less offensive than a phallus? Who decides? If that had been this winter rather than that of 1990/1, would the police be doling out fines rather than assisting, I wonder?

zola said...

Come on get to the crotch of the matter.
The police had small penises.
Offending it was.

anticant said...

Ho, Hum. Mrs Grundy [or PC Grundy] is - as always - alive and well....

I've got Suzon on the Cambridge lad's case, so watch this space for developments!

tyger said...

I have to admit to being outraged. I mean, have you ever seen anything quite like it.

trousers said...

Heheheh I was thinking about that as well tyger. Must we fling this filth at our kids?

Must confess as well I was on holiday abroad once and there was this bloke sunbathing by a river - WITH NO CLOTHES ON! Wonder which jail he is languishing in.

Jose said...

Did I sound relaxed, Anticant? In actual fact I was using irony on this unfortunate incident that shows that still it seems difficult to differentiate good from evil today full into the XXIst century. I had thought prudery was something of the past.

I wonder what this policeman thinks of the war with Iraq. Or how he will behave in the case he should have to confront a murderer. Or real threats.

I don't think there are many of his ilk in Britain.

lavenderblue said...

Well, I suggest that the very next time there is a significant amount of snow, a lot of Statues are created in the form of the filth with their Uniform trousers round their ankles.
A friend of mine has something similar is his garden. do you know about the penises of the police ?
Apparently it is an offence to be naked in one's own back garden.
Hey ! Lets get busted !

anticant said...

I fear you are too sanguine, Jose. When absurd Nanny-ist laws such as this are multiplied by our over-protective government, there will be no shortage of petty Hitlers eager to enforce them.

lavenderblue said...

And another thing.....
If filthy unmade beds can be entered for the Turner Prize, why can't snow-statues be 'works-of-art'?
And you are correct, Anticant.
It can and will get worse.

lavenderblue said...

As there is no longer a minimum height for Police Officers, maybe they should have stuck a helmet on top and put it on point duty.

anticant said...

The excellent Ken Frost, in his "Nanny Knows Best" blog, has reproduced the "Sun's" splash picture of the naughty object.

Anonymous said...

Typical of the british nanny 'fascist' state we live in now with the humourless exploitation of laws that make no sense..just to make fine revenue

how are these idiot woodentops trained in handling human situations? - this is the result?

one prick trying to stop people viewing another .. how pathetic