Tuesday, 25 June 2013

It Is Tolerable, We Suppose: A Privy Counsel Pick-Me-Up

In vain we have struggled! It will not do. Our feelings will not be repressed. You must allow us to show you this picture, which you have already seen a hundred times, but which we all ardently desire to feast our eyes upon again and again. After all, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a toilet blog in possession of a Privy Counsel Pin-Up label must be desirous of posting as many pictures of Mr Darcy in the bath as possible, right?
We know, we know, we've already done this Privy Counsel Pin-Up! We have faults enough, but we hope they are not of understanding, even if admittedly our judgement is questionable at times. A little sea-bathing, to calm the nerves, would most likely set us up forever.

Image from Fuckyeahdarcyandelizabeth.

Forgive us, mesdames and messieurs, for taking up so much of your time.

Related Reading
Pride and Prejudice and Plumbing
Privy Counsel Pin-Up - Colin Firth
Lucy Worsley and Jane Austen: Historical Toilet Etiquette

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Fun with Crayons, or, Sleepy in Seattle

Well, that's the summer solstice over and done with, and what with the increasing levels of sobriety and consciousness, we have come to realise that we're way overdue for a blog update! The Privy Counsel archive is, as ever, overflowing with a rich and nutritious mush of toilets we have visited, but we thought we'd show you something a bit more cultural and intellectual today. Let's revisit Seattle! Bogsley Hansson Friend sent us these festive pictures from, if we got it right, the Elliot Bay Bookstore! Apparently the people at this book shop are creative, festive types, for they have supplied their toilet with chalk in all manner of fun colours! Does it remind us of anything? Yes, of course it does! It reminds us of the bogs at the village inn in Österslöv!

Van Gogh-esque chair with crayons:
if ever we saw an instigation to artistic activity, this was it!

Hygeia has doubts. Grave doubts.

This window, which can be viewed in one of the toilets at the Nordic Heritage Museum
in Seattle, reminds us of the Red Lion pub in York!

Do you feel refreshed and artistically stimulated? Or just dog tired and hungover? We don't blame you.

Related Reading
Bykrogen: Rustic Cheer
The Red Lion: A Roaring Good Bog
How Long Do Bacteria Survive on Chalk? (Sorry, that's the best we could find)

Monday, 10 June 2013

On the Tiles

As our favourite linguist likes to say, "One mustn't be too hard on oneself". The pressure has been high at Privy Counsel HQ of late; we have been rushing not just hither, but also thither, in addition to numerous other directions. In a fit of escapism, we went in search of the subjunctive, in the sense "another possible world (of desires, dreams, etc.), as in main clause optatives and in counterfactual conditionals". In other words, we went out on the tiles! So vigorously did we carouse on the tiles, in fact, that at the end of the night there were no tiles left. The evidence is visible below.

Whoever decimated these tiles did a thorough job.

That's some hardcore ventilation, yo!
We can only assume that this apparatus was installed
to get rid of the alcoholic fumes.

This sturdy pipe is the only thing still standing.

A scene of carnage: a wild animal and what appears to be a dead rat.

We had a very enjoyable time on the tiles, dancing the night away and generally carousing and also, to a certain extent, cavorting. As the proprietor of this now tile-less toilet is prone to political spasms, we thought we might also present to our readers a bathroom-related political rant (because after all life is often a serious business, tile-decimating rioting notwithstanding):

Festive video - Not the Nine o'Clock News, Conservative Party Politics

Thought-provoking, wasn't it? This level of lunacy is, in our opinion, not surprising in a country where people deliberately, wantonly, install separated taps.

The tiles - get on them!!
Image from deliciousdance.
Related Reading
Academic Excesses
Snýrt, Snýrt: Landnámssýningin

What Goes Around Comes Around
We Receive a Postcard
Blogging Something Rotten
Mr Smith wielding a meat cleaver, in a manner not unlike that of the Conservative Party: Delirium Tremens - We Indulge in paranoid Halloween Horror

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Itinerant Tendencies

Recent far-from-unpleasant weather and intellectual strain make us inclined to wanderlust. As the man said, “We are much inclined to live from our rucksack, and let our trousers fray as they like”. Luckily for us, Australian Friend gathers no moss, and has been jet-setting about, kindly taking interesting pictures meanwhile!

Australian friend says: " I think this was Melbourne airport."
We do enjoy clear signage!

"That was the view of the toilet. The best part about it
was the yellow tiled wall. (Yellow brick wall?)"
Well, quite. Let us improvise!
Goodbye, yellow brick wall
Where the dogs of society howl
You can't plant us in your shithouse
We're going back to our blog

"This looks like a small sign but is actually a wall!
Changi Airport, Singapore."

As the other man said, "Not all who wander are lost". Or indeed, as Anne of Green Gables was wont to gabble, in bygone sentimental days, "When twilight drops her curtain down and pins it with a star, remember that you have a friend, though she may wander far".

Related Reading
Thai Toilet Chart
Toilet-Going for Dummies
A Fine Example of Practical Danish Design
Hygiene in the Fabled Orient

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

We Get on Our Soap Box and Rant for a Bit about Colonialism

We've been even more historically minded than usual recently, and have, in fact, had many clever and original thoughts on everything from the Berlin Conference to rubber ducks. However, we won't bother you with them; we've got much more intriguing material! What do colonisation, palm oil plantations and the drive to "civilise" the world's heathen savages have in common? Why, soap of course!
Stubbing our toes on some interesting vintage soap advertising, we thought we'd do a feature on this, for your edification and delight.

Rudyard Kipling published his poem The White Man's Burden in 1899.
It proved surprisingly useful for soap merchants, who used it
to imply that soap spreads civilisation. "Civilisation", in colonial-speak,
usually meant "sit tight while we take all your resources
and suck your country dry."
Image from wwnorton.

Caption says:
Pears' soap in the Soudan
Even if our invasion of the Soudan has done nothing else
it has at any rate left the Arab something to puzzle his fuzzy head over,
for the legend "Pears' soap is the best' inscribed in huge white
characters on the rock which marks the farthest point of our advance
towards Berber, will tax all the wits of the Dervishes of the desert
to translate." - Phil Robinson, war correspondent (in the Soudan)
of the Daily Telegraph in London, 1884.

Harrrumpf. Cucumber sandwich, anyone?
Image from ucsd.edu.

Caption says:
The birth of civilisation - a message from the sea.
"Consumption of soap is the measure of wealth, civilisation,
wealth, and purity of the people." - Liebig

Read Justus von Liebig's Familiar Letters on Chemistry here.
Interestingly, as well as having views on the civilising effects of soap,
von Liebig is also credited with being the father
of the fertiliser industry, meaning he paved the way
for unprecedented agricultural productivity and
a previously unimaginable increase in the human population.
Read more about it in this interesting book by Robert B. Marks.
Image from Ebay.

Caption says:
"I have found Pears' soap matchless for the hands and complexion."
Luckily, if you're thinkin' about my baby, it don't matter if you're black or white.
Image from kaufmann.

Soap ads verily took some very strange turns. This one is from 1899
and features a déshabillé witch on a broom, writing the name "Pears" in the sky.
We assume sales skyrocketed after this went public.
Image from sexywitch.wordpress.com.

An Australian man insists that Last Xmas I used Pears' soap.
Is this an early instance of choreplay?
Image from Museum Victoria.
Because hygiene and homoeroticism go so well together.
Not least of the pleasures of the game is the bath that follows it.

Hygeia lustily agrees!
Image from kaufmann.

Last but not least: Is your life plagued by drudgery?
Fear not - help is at hand!
(Just bloody well make sure you have a mixer tap, like this lucky woman.)
Image from vintageadbrowser.com.

Phew. That was quite a heavy post! Let's finish with an invigorating song!

Read more on the Victorian/Edwardian-era obsession with cleanliness in two of our favourite books, The Victorian House by Judith Flanders (read more about it here), and Chasing Dirt: The American Pursuit of Cleanliness, by Suellen Hoy.

Related Reading
Book Club: Cocoa and Corsets
Toilet Song: Soda Soap
Not Nearly Enough Monkey Business
The Privy Counsel Book Club: At Home
Victorian Servants Have Taken Over the Book Club

Saturday, 1 June 2013

"Not As Much Use As a Toilet" - An Afternoon Off

Finally, an afternoon off! What to do, what to do? How about something fun! There's been some very intellectual content lately, what with all the archaeological finds, feminist musings and French vocab exercises, and so we thought we might take the afternoon off and have some pure, unadulterated fun! And what's funnier than Not the Nine o'Clock News? Well, blame it on our overworked, fell-off-the-chain-so-long-ago-we-can't-even-remember-what-it-was-like-being-on-it state if you will, but we can't think of anything. Funnier than Not the Nine o'Clock News, that is.  Hence, let us have - wait for it - an amusing video!

Festive video - Not the Nine O'Clock News, Not As Much Use As a Toilet

A friend who we might call, for want of a better pseudonym, Obsessive Emmerdale Fan Friend, recently lent us a couple of DVDs of Not..., and it has been most refreshing, as well as intellectually stimulating! A whole arsenal of hurrahs going off let, right and centre!

Let's have a funny picture as well! (In case of blockage.)

You can't have too much of a good thing! Well, that pretty much used up our entire stock of edifying and amusing reflections on toilets! Toodle-oo! (Or, as we like to say at Privy Counsel HQ, Toode-loo.)
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