I have a thing for statues. I love the blue cockerel currently doodle-dooing in London’s Trafalgar Square. And this time of year will often see me gazing blankly at the sad names chiselled beneath granite effigies of gallant Tommies standing at eternal attention.
While I assumed this fixation with shaped stone was unique to me, it might just be a Scottish thing. Glasgow, my home town, is experiencing a stand-off between the city council and its citizens over a statue of the Duke of Wellington. The Iron Duke is represented astride his charger, but for as long as anyone can remember, there has been a traffic cone on Wellington’s head. Naturally, whenever it’s removed by The Man, come the following dawn, some brave Weegie will have climbed up to replace the impromptu wizard’s hat.
Apart from official wailing about the risk of public injury due to the fact that the anonymous perpetrator of each re-coning is often completely wasted, the council says it costs the city £100 every time it has to remove the cone, creating an annual bill of £10,000.
Back in the day, when my mates and I were out in town, the cone wasn’t the funniest thing about that statue. For that, you had to stand at a specific spot behind and to the right of it, where the angle meant that Wellington’s sword protruded downwards to such an extent that his horse appeared, eh, in the mood for love. Maybe they should use the cone to cover THAT up…
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