Can I Have My Ball Back?
‘Very funny, moving and heartwarming’ BOB MORTIMER
‘A bollockbuster!’ ADAM BUXTON
If we are cowardly, we are told to grow some
If we’re brave, we’re said to have huge ones
If it’s cold, they are liable to fall off – even if you’re a brass monkey
If we’re in trouble, someone will threaten to break them
If we have to work hard, we might very well bust them
If we’re in somebody’s thrall, then they’ve got us by them
About fifteen years ago, Richard Herring first took part in a campaign to encourage men to have a little (non-sexual) feel of their balls every now and again. But it was embarrassing and weird, and if there was something wrong, he didn’t want to know about it.
Anyway, that kind of stuff only happens to other people, doesn’t it?
At the start of 2021 Richard Herring was diagnosed with testicular cancer. For a man whose output includes a stand-up tour titled Talking Cock and who regularly interrogates our attitudes towards masculinity, it was a diagnosis that came with additional layers of complexity.
Telling Rich’s personal story alongside an exploration of what defines masculinity and ‘maleness’ in society, Can I Have My Ball Back? is not your typical cancer memoir. Whether they’re nuts, bollocks, gonads or family jewels; from the phrase ‘grow some balls’ to infamous WWII songs about Hitler; Rich unpicks the tangle of emotions around his own testing times.
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