Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year's Musings

We seem to remember, last year, vowing to write more blog posts while drunk. (We may have imagined this.) However, it turns out that there are only two posts with our new "Posts written while drunk" label, though it could of course merely be that we were too drunk to remember to use the label (we can't remember).
Be that as it may, here's a brief but celebratory collection of pictures from our favourite museum ever, the Museum of London! Huzzah!!

Because everyone loves bog roll.

Victorian soap!

A morbid reminder of the importance of clean water.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas 2013: Shetland Shithouses Part II. Umm, Poetry in Motion?

Ho, ho, hope you're all having a magnificently bountiful Christmas, stuffed to bursting-point with Brussels sprouts, mulled wine, and the eccentricities of all your relatives, at once, in a confined space. (As you all of course know, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th in all civilised parts of the world. And that includes, we are informed by a reliable source, Colombia.)
You thought yesterday's exuberantly festive post was as much fun as it was going to get, didn't you? Well, you were wrong! We've got this splendiferously lovely post from Danish Friend to enjoy before we fall over drunk gracefully retire for the night!

(You may, if you wish, refresh your memory with Shetland Shithouses Part I before continuing.)

Our favourite Danish person writes:

I would like to dedicate this email to the Shetland Museum and Archives. This is a lovely museum situated on the old harbour front in Lerwick (just next to the Mareel - mentioned in my last email) and the toilets are a joy to behold (and use).
Another wash basin for smaller than average creatures. Also notice the seats hanging above - I am guessing they are aimed at the same demographic.
Lovely local soap.

I like how you can choose between the paper and the hand dryer, and the bin is discreetly enclosed in this set-up as well. And again, helpful implements are provided if you cannot reach by yourself.

As if all of this wasn't enough, the toilet booths hid another little treat.

They were always clean and well looked after, but that wasn't it. The secret was kept behind the door - in plain view only for those so fortunate as to use these facilities.... Bog poetry!!! And every booth had a different poem. Here is just a small selection, a teaser, for what can be expected from a visit to the Shetland Museum toilets:

Wasn't that stupendously festive? Many thanks to Danish Friend for this joyful contribution, which was certainly educational and edifying as well as entertaining, and as we all know, that's what the Privy Counsel is all about!

Stay tuned for Danish Friend's Danish Dad's contribution - coming soon!

How about a video? We honestly can't imagine anything more festive than Elvis, clad in black leather, at Christmas!

Festive video: Elvis Presley, Blue Christmas

Sod it, let's have another one. We're feeling pretty damn convivial!

Festive video: The Beach boys, Little Saint Nick

Related Reading
Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt: Shetland Shithouses Are Here!
The Spirit of Christmas: Mixer Tap, Urinals, Relief
A Calamitous and Inflammatory Blend of History and Toilet Paper
Orkney Outhouses
A Splendid Christmas Present: The Best Toilet in Iceland
A Christmas Story: Egils Saga
Rumours, a Teaser, and More Epistolary Action (With Useful Facts about Everyone's Favourite Toilet Country)

Monday, 23 December 2013

The Spirit of Christmas: Mixer Tap, Urinals, Relief

What? Christmas? When? How? Gaaah!
Once again, we find ourselves unprepared for the onslaught of seasonal festivity, due to our rather too vigorous academic pursuits. Luckily, our friends are on the ball - not only have we got some unbelievably thrilling pictures from Intellectual Friend, Danish Friend, and Danish Friend's Danish Dad to delight and amuse you with this holiday season, we have also got a spectacularly festive series of joyous Yuletide toilet photography from German Friend! Our esteemed Teutonic friend writes:

Hello there and ahoi,
Here is a little treat for Christmas, straight from that London. Mixer tap, urinals, relief, and... to while away the time during that epic pee, pictures of semi-nude belles of a an era gone by... *sigh*What more could a man wish for? Seriously! What? More?
Take care, god jul, and always have a spare urinal cake handy. You never know!

One is rather inclined to be feeling single, seeing double, again.

A bit rude, what?

Well goodness, that's a lot of nudity all in one toilet.

This is when it gets really exciting! L'Occitane soap and a mixer tap!


That was highly enjoyable! We feel spiritually invigorated, and ready to face another week of uninhibited festive drinking Christmas! Let's have an exuberant video to continue the celebrational mood!


Friday, 13 December 2013

Quickly, Before We Sober Up: Icelandic Nostalgia

We find ourselves strangely inebriated this morning. No reason, you understand, it's just one of those mornings. Elvis on the stereo, Captain Morgan in the coffee mug. You know how it is sometimes.

We're reminiscing fondly, in our plastered condition, about last year's trip to Iceland, that land of not quite milk and honey but certainly excellent plumbing and endless hot water. Our regular readers will remember that an anonymous benefactor sponsored a research trip to Iceland last year, which was hugely exciting and educational. (Read more here, here, here, here, here and here (bloody hell, that's a lot of Icelandic toilet pictures, actually).)

Let's get cracking before we sober up! Ho, ho, ho, here are the pictures from Þjóðdminjasafn Íslands (that is, the Icelandic National Museum) in Reykjavík!

Does one BARK with joy at the beauty and stylishness of these taps?
One does! WOOF!

If there's one thing Icelandic people know how to do well, it's rotten shark, pony schnapps, and toilets!
Three. That's three things. Let's continue.

Who're you gonna call?

Can't remember if we liked this or not. What do you think?

Well, wasn't that just spiffing! Hurrah for Iceland! And many thanks, again, to our generous benefactor! We give these toilets a hundred thousand points! Woof!

Related Reading
Power Trip: Hellisheiðarvirkjun
Fabulous Glamour at Fiskarmarkaðurinn

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Less Intellectualism, More Prurient Pictures!

People have been doing it again. Sending us pictures, that is! (What did you think?) We keep meaning to do a proper review (considering that we still insist that reviews are our raison d'être, we do woefully few of them these days), using the first-class toilet material lurking in our archives. However, with fabulous stuff like this, who CARES about reviews? Also, we've been working very hard recently, and this, in combination with the weekend's sleeplessness and Danish-  Intellectual- and Obsessive Emmerdale Fan Friend-related alcohol consumption, renders us momentarily rather sluggish of intellect. So let us drop all pretence at intellectualism and indulge, shamelessly, in amusing pictures!

First out are our Very Brave Friend's photos from Manchester, a city which seems full to the brim of fabulous toilets.

These ladies adorn the wall of a toilet in Manchester!

We think this particular lady is extra fabulous.

As ever, we are all in favour of clear signage!
Does this, however, remind one rather distressingly
of the dangerous taps which plague Britain? It does.

Very Brave Friend says: "It was a bit stingy
with the amount of soap that came out, and it was foam-based."

Apparently this jar is for emergencies of the sanitary kind.
Wasn't that refreshing!

Next up is a festive picture from Jonny, who says: "Only students would need this warning. Toilet spot at York St John."

York St John toilet. Note says, "Please don't put anything down the urinals."

Mr Smith delighted us with this beautiful picture from the Rockaway Bar in Shoreditch. This gladdens us because we might be spending some time there in the near future! Not to give too much away, but you know how Shewee generously sent us a barrage of shewees to rock the night away with? Well, the rocking the night away-ing might be happening in the very near vicinity of this place!

Finally, we have a quote from Tudor Friend, who amusingly says,

Anyway, musician humour from my mum's friends, discussing which historic musical figure they'd leave their husbands for: "Give Schubert a shot of penicillin and I'd run away with him. There has to be a reason he caught the syph."

Are you holding on to your nacho hats? There is more stuff like this coming! We have a rich supply of whimsical toilet photography from German Friend, which we hope to showcase very soon, and Intellectual Friend has rather incautiously promised to send us the promised photos from Norway - perhaps even before the year is over!  There is just NO END TO THE FABULOUSNESS!

Related Reading:
A Note on Desperate Measures

The Mysterious Forbidden Lavatories of Manchester
Dirty Toilets and Dirtier Minds - A Nautical Theme
Dread, Rage, and Out-of-Order Urinals

Saturday, 7 December 2013

So Much Fabulousness We Hardly Know Where to Begin

Tally-ho! Life is pretty fabulous at Privy Counsel HQ right now, so we're making the most of it while it lasts. One of many fabulous things that have happened is that Shewee have generously sent us a selection of shewees to make our New Year's party extra festive!  We anticipate this being a legendary occasion, considering it's going to involve Australian Friend, Shewee Fiend Friend, a fuckload of drink and a BARRAGE OF SHEWEES! There will obviously be a blog post recording the results, once the hangover clears. (So most likely the second week in March or thereabouts.)

New Year's is still some way away, though, and there is plenty of work to be done before then, so let us get back to business and, for instance, do a Privy Counsel Book Club post! It's been a long time, but a dear friend of ours recommended a fabulous book called The Crimson Petal and the White! As a consequence, we have some Doulton-related joy to share with you! Enjoy this fabulous description of a Victorian toilet:

The employees' latrine has a much more modern and streamlined appearance, in Sophie's and Sugar's eyes, than the rest of the soapworks. A row of identical white glazed stoneware pedestals, each attached to a brilliant metal cistern bracketed under the ceiling, exhibit themselves like a phalanx of futuristic mechanisms, all proudly engraved with the name of their maker. The seats are a rich brown, glossy with lacquer, brand new it seems; but then, according to the address inscribed on all the cisterns, the Doulton factory is only a few hundred yards down the road. 
(Faber, Michel. The Crimson Petal and the White. Edinburgh: Canon Books, 2002, p. 781.)
You will, obviously, be elated to learn that, following on last week's retro Twyfords nostalgia, we have some amazing pictures of some damn well fabulous Doulton porcelain! Yes, yes, we understand your impatience - let's get on with it!

This spectacular bathroom, dear readers,
can be found at Kronovall Castle,
which we have mentioned once or twice before.

Grand, eh? Handy with a chair, too.
 One can invite a friend to entertain one while one is in the bath.

Woof! Bog-standard, but still. Woof!

This is where it gets exciting:
Ain't it a beauty!

Posh soap. It smelled delicious!

The pièce de résistance:

Does one get all teary-eyed from contemplating such beauty? One does.

We simply can't recommend Kronovall enough - go forth and drink their wine and enjoy their sumptuous bathroom!

Related Reading
More Doulton fabulousness: A Toilet Mystery
A lovely old-fashioned toilet: Right Up Our Alley
More Victorian toilets: The Mysterious Forbidden Lavatories of Manchester
More retro porcelain beauty: Porcelain Porn and Historical Plumbing - We've Found a Soul-Mate
More Kronovall fabulousness: Kronovall - More Castle Shenanigans
For an example of Shewee Fiend Friend's fabulous antics: SISTERS STANDING UP FOR THEMSELVES
More Victorians

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Passing Through the Loo at Kalamazoo!

Christmas came early this year! We received this rampantly delightful missive from Tudor Friend, regaling us with tales of the loos at Kalamazoo!
The Western Michigan University hosts a medieval congress every year, and since a lot of our friends tend to veer towards the medieval in more ways than one, they can frequently be found stalking this event. Tudor Friend has been reflecting on the quality of the toilets at Kalamazoo for quite some years, and finally put her thoughts into words. There are quite a few words, actually, and although they're written in Tudor Friend's characteristic elegant hand, with charming green ink, not many of them are complimentary. They make for spiffingly entertaining reading, however!

Dear [Privy Counsellor], 
I have been meaning to send you these pictures forever. Here I present, for your amusement, The Most Dire and Tragic Loo on earth. (Editor's note: We're all for melodrama at the Counsel!) Behold, the dorms at Kalamazoo! Each bathroom is between two bedrooms (and remember that everyone has roommates in the U.S., so four people have to share the Crap Loo). Photo 1 is taken from the doorway of one of the bedrooms, looking towards t'other. (The rooms share the Alcatraz-brick-decor style.) The shower (3) is all the way down by the other door, behind the sinks. It's rough in texture, presumably so no part of you could ever slip; of course, this creates infinite attachment places for mould, mildew, and soap scum. I presume the oatmeal-gone-bad colour was chosen to hide this phenomenon. I'm not sure but think it's possible that the Biology Department finds this useful. The sinks, as you see (2) are utilitarian. Yah, okay, it's America so you do get to enjoy mixer taps. I figure this advantage is cancelled out by the fact that the shower head, although clearly designed to move, does not, and is pointed at such an awkward angle that, to actually get water to your head for such useful things as, say, washing your hair or rinsing it out, you have to hug the pebbly, mouldy walls (thereby negating any true feeling of showerly achievement). And it just gets better...

Tudor Friend's charming handwriting.
We hasten to add that the apparent lopsidedness
is due to the cantankerousness of our scanner.

Meet the Kalamazoo toilet. 
And note that, despite being shared by four total strangers for the prison term duration of a school year (September-June), THERE IS NO FUCKING DOOR ON THE STALL. We'll overlook the fact that you actually can't get the old roll off the holder without rupturing discs (hence the balancing act). And the fact that this toilet has no bin whatsoever, for anything. Not to mention that it can suck down about one square of bog roll and maybe, if you're lucky, some pee, without blocking up. All of that is nothing compared to the fact that THERE IS NO FUCKING DOOR. Every year, 2,000 + medievalists, many of them great and Terrible Eminences in their fields, spend a week in these dorms. Rumour hath it that steamy annual affairs are conducted (and if you saw, much less slept in one, or heard the cacophony it makes if you sneeze, you would wonder how romance, much less sex, much less good sex, could ever happen in a K'zoo bed!). All of this is a bit hard to fathom, and I say this after attending for something like six years. But the thought that undergrads have to live in this hole all year, breathing its stench (and contributing to it - the rooms reek of Unwashed Teen Boy Laundry), and having to crap practically in public... Let's just say that it makes me very grateful that I could afford to avoid the state-school experience.
One is rather reminded of the AbFab episode "Iso Tank":
"Takes you back. Testosterone mixed with cheap perfume."
Image from Stylebistro.
My theory is that, as medievalists, we put up with it because our work makes us aware of how bad 14th century toilets were: we can go to Kalamazoo and either be very grateful we weren't around then, or we can suffer the K'zoo loo and feel a kinship with them (minus the fun of the Black Death bits). Phew. I feel better now. It's been a slightly rough week, and I really needed to do something a bit inane, not to mention cleaning my C drive a bit. Sometimes when life sucks, you just need to share a shitty loo with someone who cares. (I need to put that on a sampler!)

The infamous Kalamazoo toilet

Let's finish with a rampantly festive video! We don't know about you, but we feel like we could certainly do with some more AbFab action in our life - in fact, we have a very amusing AbFab-esque orgy planned with Tudor Friend for the future!

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