Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Do all men become their scrotums?

When David Hockney met WH Auden he remarked "if his face is like that, imagine what his scrotum is like". It's an apocryphal tale. Hockney's not denying it. The story was in Alan Bennett's play The Habit Of Art and it's repeated in Paul Johnson's "Brief Lives", which I've just been reading.

Johnson adds that the lines on Auden's face were connected with his smoking. I've never heard this one before, though I do know that line of George Orwell's about a man at fifty having the face he deserves.

The late George Melly remarked on the wrinkles on the face of Mick Jagger, possibly in this famous picture by Jane Bown, prompting somebody to say they were "just laughter lines".

"Laughter lines?" said George. "Nothing's that funny."

P.S. In Viv Stanshall's Sir Henry At Rawlinson End the hero is attended by Scrotum The Wrinkled Retainer. This is still a good joke.


  1. The "Nothing's that funny" quote is more generally attributed to Jack Sheldon, commenting on Chet Baker.

  2. I think Auden's skin was due to a rare disease, so unless you succumb to the same condition your visage will remain resolutely unscrotum-like.