A little-known benefit of travel . . .

. . . is that quite often foreign place names and identifiers enable you to get in touch with your inner Beavis and Butt-head. I first realized this when, after spending some quality time at Samuel Johnson’s house in Gough Square, I returned to the streets of London and rudesaw a sign for Balls Brothers. Hurrr hurrr, I thought to myself, I bet there’s two of them. I bet they really like to hang out together, they’re a couple of swingers, hurr hurr hurrr. So much for any lingering high-flown literary thoughts.

Little did I know that within my lowbrow lapse were the seeds of an article for the New York Times, and  now somebody’s gone and written it ahead of me. It doesn’t mention Balls Brothers but it does offer a rundown of U.K. place names like Crapstone, Tumbledown Dick Road, Butt Hole Road, Penistone, Wetwang, Spanker Lane, Crotch Crescent, Titty Ho, Slutshole Lane, Thong and Pratts Bottom. There are plenty others — enough, in fact, to fill a guidebook called Rude UK and companion volumes.

Guess I know what I’ll be getting for stocking-stuffers at the end of the year.

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