Londoners look back on their funniest (mis)adventures in the city. This week: comedian Adam Riches suffers a circumcision-related setback at the Barbican…
The Barbican is famous for its modernist concrete architecture. But my first visit there was more brutal than brutalist.
I had just turned 13 and was attending a concert for teddy bears (look, I’m not getting into it, all right? I just was) with my mother, my grandmother and my little brother. The whole day was a treat of sorts for what had been a difficult arrival into teenagehood. I had recently been circumcised. On my birthday. Thanks, NHS.
Now without going into too much detail, the placement of my stitches ‘down there’ meant I couldn’t go with the usual tried-and-tested jeans/pants combo. An element of ‘give’ was now required, so boxers and tracksuit were called up from the bench.
Everything was fine right up until the interval, when a quick trip to the toilet revealed that the way I’d been sitting and the looseness of my attire had resulted in the tail-end of my stitches poking through the gap in my boxers and attaching themselves to the inside of my tracky bottoms. That meant that when I tried to pull the bottoms down, I couldn’t, and when I tried to raise them up, I couldn’t. I was now stitched into my tracksuit, via my penis.
I’m not sure who I expected to come and save the day. My mother? God? Thunderbirds 1 through 4? Alas, it was my no-nonsense, Celtic granny, who flung open the toilet door and, in one fluid motion, yanked my trousers down so fast that all the stitches ripped out like sticklebricks.
It was mind-bogglingly painful. I had experienced a second circumcision, on top of the first, minus any form of anaesthetic. I screamed like I have never screamed before or since, and I say that as a man who has seen ‘Magic Mike Live’.
I sometimes go back there, to that same old toilet, just to look at it – to pay my respects. Does it remember? Does my penis? Should there be a little blue plaque with the top shaved off mounted on the wall outside? London, I shall leave that potential crowdfunding conundrum up to you.