Why do gargoyles exist? Who came up with the idea of perching a creepy stone figure precariously on an overhanging corner of a building to stare at passers-by, leaving them with a sense of being stalked, or judged, and uncomfortably aware that if the overhanging, incredibly heavy piece of masonry were to fall it would kill them in a messy and painful manner? Hmmn? Who was responsible for that?
Well, a little bit of internet research has turned up the idea that they may actually be rather useful. Gargoyles have ben around for ages, although most commonly associated with medieval times (Is it creepy, could it kill you? Of course it was popular in the medieval era.) but there are gargoyles dating back to Ancient Egypt and Greece. The idea behind them is that the gargoyles contain a long pipe that carries rain water away from the stone walls which would otherwise be eroded by streams of water over years.
They really did build things to last in the olden days. I keep watching all these house fixer upper programs (they’re on all day long, a quick and easy distraction from the things I’m supposed to be doing, it’s a healthier form of distraction than I would normally choose), houses that were built 30 years ago are already crumbling and threatening to crash to the ground.
Anyhoo, the spout juts out to project the water away from the wall, and therefore the gargoyle juts out. Usually gargoyles take the form of animals with the pipe exiting the mouth thus giving the impression that the gargoyle is vomiting. Nice.. really nice.
Occasionally, and particularly with more modern buildings, you get stone figures that are called gargoyles but don’t serve any purpose other than ornamentation. Technically they are not gargoyles, they are grotesques, in every sense of the word. To be a true gargoyle , you’ve got to have a pipe down your gullet.
All this brings me to a building in North Hollywood, which I suspect used to be a dairy, but is now some sort of industrial arty space. I’ve no idea what they do, or how they make their money but it seems very cool and hipster, so somebody somewhere is saying, “Yes, you possible old dairy inhabiting hipsters, I would like you to make me an enigmatic creation that involves welding. I will pay you beaucoup de bucks and then I will hide it away so no-one else can ever see it and it will forever be the mysterious, expensive thing kept in a steel vault with booby traps.”
The building has its original gargoyles. They could be grotesques I suppose, I’ve never actually seen the water spouts in action because it doesn’t fucking rain in Los Angeles.
These gargoyles are why I suspect it was a dairy, since they come in the form of brightly coloured cow heads. It’s a bit trippy, and sinister, like being in the house of mirrors at a rundown funfair with a bunch of clowns. That’s not fun, that’s the stuff of childhood trauma.
Although this conclusion seems logical, there is another part of me that says, “No. No, this is someone’s warped sense of decor, not a dairy, because who in their right mind would think ‘Ooh must go there for some yummy fresh milk, they’ve got vomiting cows on their roof.’?”