Monday, 17 April 2017

An Australian Oddyssey

Procrastination, in our view, is the driving force of human civilisation. The feats that have been achieved through procrastination! The letters written, the cakes baked, the floors cleaned, the books perused, the views regarded, the music composed, the political maxims created, the sheer mass of intellectual activity expended on doing things other than that which one is supposed to do. Somebody should do a clever essay on this, exploring procrastination-enabled productivity, taking perhaps a historical perspective via the Hellfire Club, Samuel Johnson, Bertrand Russell and the Idler.

This whole blog is basically the result of rampant procrastination. Right now, for instance, we're sitting here thinking about the marking we should be doing, while lustily leafing through the pictures Audiologist Friend has sent us from Australia. Yes! Audiologist Friend is Down Under! As far as we understand, that worthy hearing specialist is entirely occupied with taking toilet pictures and chatting to random dudes in bars, with brief interludes of engaging in audiology business.

We seague here into epistolary mode, recordning our own reactions to Audiologist Friend's pictures. SENSITIVE READERS BEWARE: The following transcript is from an entirely social-media-based conversation. Ordinary rules of punctuation and grammar are not always adhered to, and emoticons do occur. You have been warned. A translation of the original colloquial Swedish is provided.

We begin with Audiologist Friend's plane journey.



Privy Counsellor: 
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!
Vilket flygbolag?


(
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!

Which airline?)

Audiologist Friend:
Lite besviken över att det inte fanns handlotion på toaletten! Istället fanns eau de toilette - alltså vem använder sånt? Jag kan inte ens stava till det
Qatar Airwaves
Nej airways
(Slightly diappointed that there was no hand lotion in the toilet! Instead there was eau de toilette - honestly, who uses that stuff? I can't even spell it
Quatar Airwaves
No, Airways)

PC:
Uppenbarligen kan du stava till det 🙂
Nä, fy fasen - klart man vill ha handlotion!

(Evidently you can spell it
No, feck no - of course one wants hand lotion!)


AF:
Men jättebra kran - man slapp stå o hålla intryckt hela tiden!
Nu är jag i Doha
Det är jättehäftigt att vara här
Några har högklackat + slöja
Jättemånga män har vita långa dräkter

(But a great tap - one didn't have to keep pushing it in!
Now I'm in Doha
It's really cool to be here
Some people are wearing high heels + veil
A lot of men are wearing long white outfits)





AF:
Melbournes flygplats ÅNEJ tillbaka till landet med uppdelade kranar :(((

(Melbourne airport OH NO back to the country with separated taps)
 PC:
Åh nej! Australien har oftast ganska bra kranar, vad jag förstår! De är pionjärer när det gäller att spara vatten
(Oh no! Australia usually has quite good taps, from what I understand! They are pioneers when it comes to saving water)


AF:
Lägg märke till att det vid entrén även finns punktskrift! Studenttoaletterna på UQ

(Please note that the sign by the entrance uses Braille! The student toilets at UQ)

Woof! This looks like an excellent tap in every way!
An elegant ad informative sign, incorporating Braille.
We love this coat hook. It is an excellent coat hook. Possibly our favourite kind of coat hook.
The spray bottle indicates regular cleaning!
This looks like an excellent set-up. The bin appears to be at a comfortable distance from the toilet.
If you enjoy almost seeing people, check out the label Almost Seeing People!
A lovely composition, incorporating almost seeing Audiologist Friend, and a friendly sign informing the toilet user that the toilets are water-saving. Woof!

AF:
F ö var jag på baren The End ikväll och träffade en trevlig man, Daniel, som jag berättade om bloggen för. Han uppmanade mig att ta foton från toan där 🙂
... and so I did!
(In other news I was at the bar The End tonight and met a nice man, Daniel, who I told about the blog. He encouraged me to take pictures of the toilets there
...and so I did!)
A daring fusion of art and cleaning products at The End bar in Brisbane.


A very small and sad sink with a sad, lonely tap, but plus points for the festive soap dispenser.


A festive and informative sign!


Exuberant graffitti on what is possibly a paper-towel dispenser?


More innovative graffitti!
PC:

Det är det jag alltid har sagt - The Privy Counsel är en världsomspännande rörelse! 🙂Hälsa Daniel

(That's what I have always said - The Privy Counsel is a global movement!
Say hello to Daniel)

We congratulate Audiologist Friend on kicking academic arse, taking entertaining toilet pictures and chatting to random dudes called Daniel!

The obvious Festive Video at this point would be Daniel by Elton John, but frankly we think this dude has had enough attention. We are instead going to delight you with a song recommended to us by a very dear friend who we have the good fortune of spending a lot of time with at the moment. We have been told that it is an Arabic song about the advantages of being single!
Festive Video - Samira Said, Mahassalsh Haga

Related Reading
All posts featuring Audiologist Friend
All posts featuring Almost Seeing People
All posts featuring Australia




Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Castles in the Air: Dreaming of Better Plumbing, or, Bitches Love Pemberleys, or, Bottling Up of Incomprehension and Rage

Woof! The world is still fucked, but we have been for a visit to York, scene of Viking rampage, terrible plumbing, and much drunkenness, and feel refreshed and bursting with joie de vivre! Because we are decidedly less young than we used to be, however, we contented ourselves with gently perving on the Roman statues and daffodils at Castle Howard, as opposed to going apeshit bananas in the city's public establishments. Safely chauffeured and chaperoned by Tudor Friend, we frolicked, capered and even cavorted through the halls and gardens of the eminent palace, and, when nature so indicated, visited the visitors' toilets.


Let's gently ease ourselves into reviewing mode, by contemplating this entirely inoffensive ad

This set-up is, apart from the disability-unfriendly flush, reasonably laudable, and displays linguistic clarity

What the yellow rubbery fuck is this, though? Why do the walls not go all the way down to the floor?
Jonny's interpretation reads as follows:
"Looks like you're being abducted by aliens. Also maybe a reference to stargate or teleportation? Does fully look like you're about to step into the year 3050."
The mind boggles.

At this point we are so distressed that we become incoherent and gibber unintelligibly. Why separated taps? Why, in God's name? Whyyyyy? (We refrain from mentioning the air dryers, for fear of upsetting sensitive readers.)

 The inside of Castle Howard was rather less distressing than the toilets, though the centuries-old interiors were not necessarily much more functional than the modern facilities.


Enjoy: a 19th-century face-washing contraption with a rude (in the original sense) tap.
Incidentally, does this remind us of something? Perhaps of the lavoire!

A view with a room. Washing paraphernalia in foreground.

As regular and perhaps even semi-regular readers are aware, the Privy Counsel is home to a gaggle of fans of Jonny, who appreciate that young man's rugged physique and rustic sense of humour. It will no doubt warm everyone's heart to learn that we met up with the hero of the Jonny Babe Parade while on our sojourn to York! Here is Jonny, with an anonymous hanger-on, engaging in vital rehydration activities.

Jonny, his bigger-than-formerly bike, and a medium-to-large amount of bottles. Arrrrrrr!

The hour is late and we have shit to do. We shall not leave you, however, without a Festive Video to sustain you until the next blog update. Although we don't even believe in Jebus, we happen to find this song rather fitting for the season.


Festive Video - Brandy Clark, Pray to Jesus

Related Reading
A rather nifty summary of our views on religion: Why the Virgin Mary is Creepy
Intellectual Friend's classic musings on Easter and the name Jebus: Whether You Believe in Jebus Or Not: Unbelievably Rampant Linguistic Musings!
Another Easter classic: Cheese and Worcester
Yet another classic - our post pimping out Jonny to all and sundry: Jonny and a Public Toilet - A Treat for Single Ladies 
All posts featuring Easter

Saturday, 4 March 2017

No Man (Or Woman) Is an Island

So, what's new? At our end, nothing much. The weather's still terrible. The UK still largely lacks functioning plumbing. Rampant murderous Nazis are still in charge of the White House.

Shit weather and crap British plumbing are normal phenomena. Rampant murderous Nazis lording it over Capitol Hill, however, is not normal. The journalist Sarah Kendzior exhorts us, in an article in The Correspondent, to keep a record of what things were like before the regime, to help us remember what normality is like. Kendzior says:
Write down what you value; what standards you hold for yourself and for others. Write about your dreams for the future and your hopes for your children. Write about the struggle of your ancestors and how the hardship they overcame shaped the person you are today.

Write your biography, write down your memories. Because if you do not do it now, you may forget.

Write a list of things you would never do. Because it is possible that in the next year, you will do them.

Write a list of things you would never believe. Because it is possible that in the next year, you will either believe them or be forced to say you believe them.

It is increasingly clear, as Donald Trump appoints his cabinet of white supremacists and war-mongers, as hate crimes rise, as the institutions that are supposed to protect us cower, as international norms are shattered, that his ascendency to power is not normal.

Here is our contribution to the record of normality: Jonny contacting us on social media to express his frustration with British plumbing.


Normality: Friends ranting about things that upset them in a semi-respectful manner.
Let us also write about the struggle of our ancestors, and how the hardship they overcame shaped the people we are today. The words "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" have been quoted a lot in recent times. We absolutely appreciate these words, as representing the principle of offering asylum to refugees. We are all either refugees or the descendants of refugees, and we need to remember that it is not that long ago since Europeans emigrated en masse to the United States, seeking security, religious freedom, employment, and the ability to walk down the street without being shot in the head or tortured. The immigrants and refugees arriving in Europe and North America today are emigrating for the same reasons, and there is frankly no excuse not to treat them humanely.

We also need to remember, however, that the reason so many people were able to settle in the United States a hundred years ago was that Native Americans were driven away from their lands. Native Americans' struggle for survival is still going on; The Standing Rock camp was razed just the other week, apparently clearing the way for the Dakota Access Pipeline. It behoves us to remember that the reason some people are able to live a life of liberty and in pursuit of happiness is that other people were stripped of their human rights.

Frankly, being a decent human being can be a difficult task, and require some pretty rampant multitasking. A good starting point, however, that makes everything relatively simple, is Caitlin Moran's definition of feminism: 
The five rules of feminism: 1) Women are equal to men. 2) Don't be a dick. 3) That's it.

Let's try not to be dicks, everyone! Can we do that?

We actually received a message, semi-recently, from Ellis Island, the starting point of many an American dream, nightmare, and feverish fantasy. Shewee Fiend Friend went there to visit. She writes:

Today we went to see the statue of liberty and Ellis Island
Here you enter the migration processing


Here a brave migrant approaches the loos
Pictures of successful loo operators line the walls
(I don't know who that dude is, btw)
(it wasn't even that busy, I just couldn't be bothered to wait)


Imagine this is your first pee in America
You'd think you'd be careful to leave it clean behind you, look after your new home
Unwashed Europeans ruin everything


This was the cleanest one
The hook is uselessly placed right in the corner


As you can see, these same sinks have been in use since the centre opened in 1890


It was not the worst experience of my life
For a New York loo it was above average even 
 The German journalist Günter Wallraff has the honour of giving name to investigative journalism in the Swedish language; wallraffande. However, a woman pioneered investigative journalism in Sweden half a century before Wallraff. Her name was Ester Blenda Nordström, and she kicked arse in no uncertain manner! In 1914 she took work as a maid of all work on a farm, and wrote a piercing and humorous piece of social critique. In 1922 she travelled third class to the United States, publishing her sharp, witty observations, which were recently republished as a book called Amerikanskt: Ester Blenda Nordströms resa i USA 1922 (Lund: Bakhåll förlag, 2015). Ester Blenda Nordström, when she got to New York, was harassed by a mansplaining piece of human garbage disguised as a customs officer, and was refused entry and locked up, until her friends got her out. Here's what she has to say about the detention centre at Ellis Island:


We can't be arsed translating all of this, but basically the customs officer is described as a mansplaining, jumped-up bully with dirty hands.


Let's finish with a Festive Video about everything being just the same as usual.


Festive Video - Reba McEntire, The Day She Got Divorced

Related Reading
Are You British? Does Tap Sanity Elude You? 
A Note on Desperate Measures

Masha Gessen, Autocracy: Rules for Survival 
Alexey Kovalev, A Message to My Doomed Colleagues in the American Media
Sarah Kendzior, We’re heading into dark times. This is how to be your own light in the Age of Trump

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Rough and Tumble Escapism

Sometimes reality is so grim that one spends unreasonable time and energy constructing elaborate fantasies. This can be a productive strategy for many days or even weeks, but eventually, the whole thing will come tumbling down and one will have no choice but to get very drunk very quickly. We spent the other night imbibing fermented juices with enthusiasm, which turned out to be highly profitable, as evidenced by the following picture of a tumble dryer, taken by Audiologist Friend after we rather abruptly left the party:




Audiologist Friend sent us a message this morning, saying (a translation follows, for those too hungover to be able to read colloquial Swedish):

"Varför har jag bilder av torktumlare i min telefon? Ah det måste vara till [The Privy Counsellor]". Minns vårt telefonsamtal! Tydligen tog [vår andra kompis] typ samma bild (!) senare under kvällen, för att skicka till en annan kompis.
("Why do I have pictures of a tumble dryer on my phone? Ah, it must be for [The Privy Counsellor]". Remember our phone conversation! Apparently [our other friend] took basically the same picture (!) later in the evening, to send to another friend.)

We replied, soulfully, while gracefully clutching our head:

Haha, det var det du ringde om, va? Jag mindes samtalet, men inte vad det handlade om.
(Haha, that's what you rang us about, right? We remember the call, but not what it was about.)
Various members of the Privy Counsel enthusiastically escaping reality

Audiologist Friend retorted:

Hehe, jag ville ringa och kolla att du kommit hem OK. Berättade att jag hittat en tyst plats nämligen en toalett. Då sa du "Du tar väl bilder?" så då gjorde jag det.
När du gick vände sig [snubben vi pratade med] till mig och sa "Var det något jag sa?" varpå jag och [Meandering Friend] unisont förklarade "Nä, hon var bara trött, hon är lärare"

(Hehe, I wanted to check that you had got home ok. I told you that I had found a quiet place, namely the toilet. You then said, "You're taking pictures, right?", so I did.
When you left [the dude we were talking to] turned to me and said, "Was it something I said?" at which I and [Meandering Friend] explained in unison, "No, she's just tired; she's a teacher".

 As a last piece of escapism, let us share this picture of Jonny:

Jonny as a knight errant. WOOF!

As just one more piece of escapism, let's have this Festive Video featuring a band we listened to with enthusiasm in our youth. Now we're off to clutch our head some more, and maybe find some cheese.




Sunday, 29 January 2017

Rampant Murderous Nazis Are Taking Over the World, But Here Is a Picture of Jonny In a Toilet, for Your Convenience and Comfort

What to do, when the world is being taken over by rampant, murderous Nazis? Well, here are some things we've been doing lately:


* Reading Little Women (a feminist manifesto, if an annoyingly pious one, and containing distressing sentiments about women's natural knack for cleaning)

* Watching Jeeves and Wooster (Jeeves's competence is so reassuring)

* Marching (a toilet picture from the Women's March on Copenhagen follows below)

* Internet-stalking interesting people (the less said about our activities in this area the better)

* Admiring pictures of Justin Trudeau (woof!)

* Ranting (we find ourselves feeling thirsty a lot, which is either due to us developing diabetes, or because of all the ranting, or possibly because of panting induced by pictures of Justin Trudeau)

* Donating money to organisations supporting democracy and human rights

* Cheering on all our friends who do amazing things every day


Here is a picture from a toilet in a pub somewhere in Copenhagen, where we and our fellow marchers enjoyed a large amount of wine and an even larger amount of ranting after the march:


A sticker on this ad reads, "Sexism is still a problem - Don't ignore it, fight it". We couldn't agree more.

We are also quite pleased with the signs we made for the march, and were even more pleased when, the second we arrived at the site outside the US Embassy, kind Danish people offered to staple sticks to our signs so we could hold them up more effectively.

We were proud of our signs, which we thought were intellectual yet poignant. Our Mum, meanwhile, was very amused by pictures of signs she saw on the internet saying "Ikea has better cabinets", and "We shall overcomb".

Now to the main business of the day. We received a message from everyone's favourite biker boy, Jonny! It read:

Do you want a present?
We replied:
Wtf yes
Jonny continued:
Ok
A look into an executive office gent's toilet.
You even have the option to save the environment or dry your hands faster on dead trees.
I think my fans will appreciate the selfie too.

Oooh, that is a very tall erection, isn't it?

What a very shiny bin! Nothing but the best for the executive businessmen.

This looks very clean and comfortable. And the walls of the stall go all the way down to the floor!

WOOF!

 Many, many thanks to Jonny for this refreshing view into the world of executive gents' toilets! Now for a reassuring Festive Video, before we go back to frantically checking Twitter, and crying. What one needs, in times of murderous Nazi mayhem, is unapologetic '80s punk rock!



Festive Video - Asta Kask, Johnny Boy


 
Related Reading
The lonely hearts ad we wrote for Jonny back in 2013 
If you think you can handle it: A picture of Jonny on a cannon!
All posts featuring Jonny

Monday, 2 January 2017

Toilet Tale - War and Piss

A note of warning


For non-regular readers, or readers who haven't been regular long enough to have experienced a Toilet Tale: Brace yourselves.

Here's how the format works: We take a classic story, for instance Jane Eyre, or Terminator, and butcher abridge it, retelling the story with toilets. Sometimes we create original stories, like the lighthearted romp A Rootin', Tootin' Toilet Tale, or the bloodcurdling drama The Body in the Bathtub: A Poirot Mystery.

Most often we use these knitted figures and turn them into characters.

Say hello to Tubby the Bathtub, Flushie the Toilet, and Professor Plunger.
You can get the knitting patterns from Mochimochiland.

 Sometimes, though, we use other images of toilets as characters (as for instance in The Body in the Bathtub, or  Lady Chatterley's Lover).


A final warning

We tried to remember when we last read Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, and the best guess we could come up with was "probably sometime in high school? Or maybe at uni?". We have relied extensively, while creating the finely tuned drama of which you are about to partake, on Wikipedia, Spd Rdng, and Cliffsnotes. Because let's be honest - there's no way we can be arsed reading the damn thing again.

Without further preamble, let us begin!

War and Piss


Prince Andrei Bolkonsky feels like he is pissing his life away. His wife is beautiful, but all she wants is to party. Also she favours separate taps, because she considers them "more stylish". Andrei seethes, but suffers in silence.


Luckily, Napoleon Bonaparte decides to invade Russia. Finally, a chance to take action against those effeminate French and their poncy lavender soaps! Andrei joins the Hussars, the Russian cavalry.



Andrei is masculine, he is handsome, he is brave. He is also almost instantly wounded at the Battle of Austerlitz. As he lies gazing up at the sky and watching the thousands upon thousands of dead and dying soldiers, Andrei thinks that Napoleon seems petty and insignificant. Napoleon, riding past, asks him, "How do you feel, mon brave?"
"Piss off," replies Andrei irritably.




Andrei's friend Count Pierre Bezukhov, who is considered socially awkward until he inherits an absolutely gigantic pile of money, marries a woman called Hélène. A dude called Dolohov, who is rumoured to be having an affair with Hélène, makes an ungentlemanly remark about her in Pierre's hearing. Because he is trapped in a web of patriarchal notions of purity and pride, Pierre has to defend Hélène's, and thereby his own, honour. To everyone's surprise, not least his own, Pierre wounds Dolohov in a duel.


Andrei, meanwhile, returns home from the war to find his estranged wife about to give birth. She dies while engaged in this risky activity, which makes Andrei feel incredibly guilty. He pisses off and leaves his infant son to be cared for by others.



Luckily, Andrei soon finds comfort in the arms of the beautiful Countess Natasha Rostova, the sister of his friend Count Nikolai Rostov. However, Natasha is also being wooed by Prince Anatole Kuragin. Andrei is jealous, and decides he doesn't want Natasha anymore.


The war of 1812 kicks off, and Andrei goes to join the fighting again. He realises, as a grenade lands next to him, that he's been a dick. He wants to live, and marry Natasha. He promptly dies. (Though he gets to declare his love to Natasha very prettily on his deathbed first.)


Pierre marries Natasha. They live in the country, where Pierre enjoys haymaking. Most of Pierre's money is gone, and they haven't got a pot to piss in. However, they are blessed with several children.


Fin


Related Reading

Some of our best Toilet Tales:









Gone with the Wind - A Gastric Drama

By the way, if you ever fancy a competently performed piss-up in a brewery, we heartily recommend the brewery tour at the Egill Skallagrímsson brewery in Reykjavík
Another good brewery where one may enjoy a piss-up is the Sct. Clemens Brewery in Aarhus.
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