Saturday, 9 September 2017

Girls Just Want to Have Fun(damental Human Rights)

As we never tire of pointing out, we are pretty lucky at the Privy Counsel, what with having friends liberally sprinkled all over the planet who are happy to send us toilet pictures. This thought consoles us when things get too grim. There is no shortage of misery either online or in the real world, and sometimes dealing with it all gets too much. As someone pointed out on Twitter the other day, it's ok to go offline because we aren't made to process human suffering on this scale.

We by no means claim to be experts at dealing with tragedy (we can frequently be found gibbering incoherently over a gin and tonic at midnight), but one approach that we have often found helpful is to try to do one thing. Just finding one tiny thing that you can improve can make an enormous difference, not just for your mood, but for the actual world.

Give someone a compliment, send a friend a postcard, smile at a stranger (unless of course you belong to the 50 % of people highly likely to be sexually harassed for simply existing in a public place; be careful with smiling if this is the case), volunteer at a women's shelter, encourage someone who doubts themselves, support your female colleague in her fight against mansplainers, call your political representative and tell them what you think. If you have an amazing aunt, cherish her. (Check out more things you can do at this really great site.)

Remember, also, to take care of yourself. Be kind to your body, nurture your mind. When at a great party, take photos of the toilets! Our favourite audiologist, Audiologist Friend, went to one a little while ago, and sent this greeting:

Var på bröllopsfest på galleri Verkligheten i Umeå! Spolningen blev överhettad pga mycket mat och dryck, 40 gäster och festen som varade 12 h!
Fantastisk fest  
(Was at wedding party at the Verkligheten gallery in Umeå! The flush got overheated due to much food and drink, 40 guests and the party, which lasted 12 hours!
Amazing party  )

A festive, art-poster-enriched toilet!

A helpful piece of freezer tape says "The flush may need time (to recover)". We totally identify with this.

We're not entirely sure what's going on here. There is possibly greenery (yallery, Verkligheten gallery), a mirror, and a cardigan hung up on a helpful coat hook?

 Well, wasn't that refreshing! We will now continue to lie down on our chaise-longue, and stay there until Sunday night, or until the world hardens the fuck up and stops breaching human rights left, right and centre; whichever comes first.

If you have access to a chaise-longue, we recommend you lie down on it IMMEDIATELY, preferably with a large supply of alcoholic beverages close at hand.


One final piece of unsolicited lecturing before we move on to the Festive Video:

Note that women's health is under threat everywhere. Accept that reproductive rights are human rights. Understand that women in control of their fertility are better able to access education, care for their families, and build stable communities. Remember that girls' education is the key to building a better, safer world.



Festive Video - The Oxford Belles, Girls Just Want to Have Fun(damental Human Rights)


Related Reading
All posts featuring Audiologist Friend
All posts featuring gender equality
Check out more things you can do at this really great site.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

"Let Them Eat Cake" - Could It Be Any More Obvious That a Man Designed These Toilets?

We would argue that most of us, however competent and organised we would like to appear in the eyes of the world, spend most of our lives lurching mindlessly in whatever direction we happen to be pushed by circumstances, eagerly grasping whatever alcoholic beverage is available come Friday night. However, even though we're happy, at the Privy Counsel, to take each day as it comes and live and let live, we appreciate the importance of some kind of guidelines to steer us straight. As regular readers will be aware, we defined two mottoes to live by a couple of years ago: PEOPLE SHOULD FUCK OFF MORE and FEMINISM NEEDS TO BE MORE MILITANT. These have stood us in good stead.

Last night, the beverage available happened to be the good kind of champagne, which was pleasant to a high degree, but more importantly, we formulated a new Privy Counsel rule of life! The third rule, now added to the canon, is ALWAYS GO TO THE TOILET TWICE.

"Hang on, hang on," you may be saying to yourself now, sitting up on your chaise-longue and agitatedly waving your tweed-clad arms about. "I'm perfectly happy going to the toilet just once. Why would I go twice just because some random toilet blogger with a record of showing poor judgement tells me to?" Your concerns, if this is you, are legitimate, and your logic infallible. However, hear us out - there is reason to our madness!

Say you're in a fancy seafood restaurant. For instance, to just grab an example at random, at Johan P in Malmö. Let's say you're throwing the good kind of champagne down your throat with chutzpah, and enjoying the feeling of it being Friday night and you not having to get up at the arse end of dawn the next day. Say you go to the toilet, and enjoy the fancy décor and well-appointed handwashing facilities. Say you snap a couple of pictures, feel pleased with your efforts, and go back to the table to continue guzzling champagne. Say someone with more life experience and less impaired reasoning skills points out that the toilet is, when you think about it, a unisex one. Say you laugh this statement off, arguing that you had a perfectly pleasant time during your visit to the toilet, entirely unharassed by bearded hipsters.

However, let's say that you, being trained in scientific methodology and critical thinking - even if your judgement has been temporarily clouded by vast amounts of the good kind of champagne - go back in some time later, for the sake of scientific enquiry and journalistic integrity. Let's say that, while washing your hands, no fewer than three persons of the male sex squeeze awkwardly past you.

THE HORROR!

We have always argued, and will continue to argue, that A SHIT TOILET IS ONE IN WHICH ONE IS FORCED TO WASH ONE'S HANDS IN THE COMPANY OF BEARDED HIPSTERS AGAINST ONE'S WILL.

In this case, the males in question were not so much bearded hipsters as bloated middle-aged men in unflattering trousers, but the tenet still stands. Only someone with very poor imagination would design a venue where a woman has to wash her hands in an enclosed space with random men twice her size, and not expect her to feel nervous and uncomfortable. We say this not because we dislike men, but because the statistics speak for themselves.

The majority of all reported sex crimes are committed by men, against women. When we say "the majority", we don't mean "something like two thirds", or even "something like three quarters", but "something like 98 %". Let that sink in. Now ponder the fact that sexual predators are opportunists, who harass, grope, and assault women when circumstances allow, and you will see that unisex toilets are a TERRIBLE IDEA.

To all restaurateurs out there who are considering putting in new toilets, we implore you: HARDEN THE FUCK UP AND GIVE THE WOMEN THEIR OWN FUCKING TOILET. Women-only spaces exist not because women are irrational creatures who insist on having several expensive square metres to themselves, but because toilets and changing rooms are not neutral spaces, and because the world is not safe for women.

Let us summarise our argument: Sex is biological reality. Gender is a social construct. No matter how dedicated we are to the struggle of crushing the patriarchy and pulverising gender norms, pretending that gender doesn't exist doesn't solve the problem of sexist abuse. Hence, until we're equal, and one sex isn't constantly subjected to sexual violence by the other sex, let there be segregated toilets.

PEOPLE SHOULD FUCK OFF MORE.
FEMINISM NEEDS TO BE MORE MILITANT.
Also, when writing a toilet review, ALWAYS GO TO THE TOILET TWICE. The first time may not show you every facet or even faucet (especially if you're off your head on the good kind of champagne).

Having ranted for a suitable amount of time, let us enjoy some photos from the well-equipped, but uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, toilets at Johan P:


We have no complaints about the toilet except that it has no coat hook. Could it be any more obvious that a man designed these toilets? The equivalent of Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake" is the male toilet designer's "Let them put their handbags on the floor". No person in their right mind wants to put their handbag on a toilet floor - BLOODY WELL GIVE WOMEN COAT HOOKS!

This is all very well, but we still don't understand why sinks must look like cattle troughs.


The soap and hand lotion was very nice, and smelled of lavender and thyme!

Another aspect of Johan P is the acoustics in the restaurant are terrible. There are times when you would give your right arm not to be forced to listen to the person next to you, but there are also times when you would quite like to hear what your company is saying, and Johan P is not a good place for hearing whatever conversational pyrotechnics may be going off around you. The question of acoustics technically falls outside the range of our blog, but we thought it worth mentioning. (Let us also note, however, in the interest of fairness, that the champagne at Johan P is excellent and the moules frites are to die for.) Speaking of acoustics, we have some exciting toilets from Audiologist Friend, and also from Australian Friend and Jonny (who counts as a friend for administrative reasons), in our vast cavern of an archive - something for you all to look forward to!

Now, for a Festive Video. This one appeals to us for several reasons.



Festive Video - Shannon McNally, Lonesome, Ornery and Mean


Related Reading

Lest we lose hope: An excellent example of a toilet designed by women, for women:
Caitlin Moran Really Does Make Everything Better

If you enjoy looking at pictures of sinks that look like cattle troughs (pervert!), this is for you:
The Hours and Minutes Ticking Away

A post in which we complain about the horrors of unisex toilets and sinks in the shape of cattle troughs, simultaneously:
Stockholm Central Station: The Trauma Is So Great We Are Brought To Quoting Cicero

A rant about the horrors of suddenly finding oneself washing one's hands in the company of fifteen bearded hipster dudes, all smiling awkwardly:
Hungover Ranting: Festschrift to Medievalist (With a Side-Interest in Roman Archaeology) Friend

All posts featuring unisex toilets

All posts featuring Malmö

Friday, 18 August 2017

Burning with a Low Blue Flame

It's when you find yourself having actual palpitations from frenziedly bidding on six stainless steel spoons in an online auction that you realise you need to get out more. As it happens, we haven't been anywhere more exciting, lately, than the local recycling centre. Our Mum, however, has! Visiting the clothes shop Danska kläder in the pulsating metropolis Linderöd, in southern Sweden, Our Mum managed to sneak into the customer toilet, and was awed and even dazzled by the splendour that awaited there:

Behold this piece of eclectic design and elaborate hygiene!
Speaking of palpitations, we had a rather fruitful conversation with Jonny, that sprightly young feller-me-lad, the other day. It went like this:

We know, we know. This awkward modern trend of referring to oneself in the first person is a nuisance and a botheration. However, we felt it incumbent to report that a colleague of ours is genuinely worried about the legality of our access to weird photos of Jonny. Upon being shown this screenshot, said colleague's fears were all, naturally, allayed.

We are actually not going to reproduce this image in full size, for fear of over-stimulating already excited readers

We know you're all frantic to know what role the old man in the photo played in this story. Don't worry, we have information! Jonny's thrilling tale continues:

He was quite friendly
Told me the soap wasn't working
#technology

Well. We never.

We actually have some rather splendid photos of historical toilets in our archive, and also a larger amount of toilet selfies from Jonny than our regular readers would perhaps credit, but we just don't have the energy to enthuse over them right now. The Nazis are too rampant. The world is too fucked up. The gin is too near running out, and we are sad.

The title of today's Festive Video, at any rate, is a given. You're welcome. (We'd quite happily launch into a rampantly feminist analysis of the lyrics, but we just don't trust ourselves not to go into a full-on nuclear rage, and reckon we'd best leave it till we have less gin in our bloodstream.)

Festive Video - Dolly Parton, Fuel to the Flame

Related Reading

All posts featuring Our Mum
All posts featuring Jonny

Many posts featuring rampant, murderous Nazis:
À la Recherche du Temps Perdu

The Hours and Minutes Ticking Away 

Nothing Is Certain But Death, Taxes, and Knees 

If You Are a Medievalist in Your Mid- to Late Thirties, and/or Want to Save the World, This Is for You

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

2016 in Summary: Holding on to Hope, or, We're Really Cunting Angry, or, Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! 

Good Times, Good Friends, Good People


If you, too, are feeling a bit down in the mouth, or perhaps other places, this helps:

We Cheer Ourselves Up, Again, Using Pictures of Caitlin Moran, and Greek Museums 

A toilet in the vicinity of Linderöd:

Perhaps Our Most Rampant Fit of Escapism Ever

Saturday, 12 August 2017

À la Recherce du Temps Perdu

Sometimes, we miss the nineties. At such times we recline pensively on our chaise-longue, stare wistfully out the window at the brick wall opposite, and feel an inescapable nostalgia for bootcut jeans, fax machines, and a time when Nazis were still considered bad guys.

Ah, the nineties. Remember Lauryn Hill's That Thing? Remember Ace of Base? Remember Indiana Jones? We would hate to be the age we were during the nineties again, and are supremely grateful for our current level of comparative maturity and relative wisdom, but some nineties phenomena, like the widely held stance that Hitler was insane and that a murderous government propagating a gibberish racist doctrine was about as welcome as herpes, are prone to make us feel ever so slightly maudlin after the third gin and tonic.

Let us enjoy some nostalgia-inducing toilets. We recently went to visit the church in Norra Åsum, in the south of Sweden, for perfectly sane and normal reasons. While there we snuck into the very hygienic toilet, and also enjoyed a casual runestone propped up against the wall.

Norra Åsums kyrka. Image from Wikipedia.

This stone insists that the very muscular Bishop Absalon had the church built, probably in the 1190s. The 1190s were, we imagine, like the 1990s, a time when the people were united in their conviction that psychos in uniform were, at best, comical, and, at worst, a threat to public safety.
Image from geshcichteskandinavien.de

We don't know about you, but we find this wallpaper - probably from the '80s, don't you think? - comforting. The soap is Bliw, one of our favourites (it is so very soothing - and environmentally friendly!). The functional and friendly mixer tap is everything that Nazis are not.

Paper towels, the very reassuring '80s wallpaper, and a comforting boiler of some kind.

Even more reassuring: a first-aid kit! And a sturdy coat-hook that makes us feel very safe indeed.

Our correspondent on this occasion was wearing a leather jacket from the late nineties. Woof!

This medieval grave monument is found in the porch of the church, on your right as you exit the toilet. It depicts two dudes, which is unusual on this kind of monument. We are unable to find any information about this, but if any of our rampantly intelligent readers know anything about it, you are hugely welcome to inform us, especially if you have information pertaining to the very stylish and woof-inducing codpieces.
While aware that one should not apply modern notions of sexuality onto the past, we are nonetheless imagining these two dudes to be rampantly homosexual, in the process of growing Village People-style handlebar moustaches, and spending their spare time pressing flowers while wearing glitter tank tops, just because we imagine that this vision of non-normative masculinity would make Nazi gobshites uncomfortable.

Today's Festive Video makes us truly nostalgic. It is from a time when you could joke about Nazis because the assumption was that everyone agreed they were evil. How things change. Fuck it. We're off to drink some more gin and maybe nibble a madeleine cake or four.

Festive Video - Father Ted, Father Ted visits Father Fitzpatrick

Related Reading


Another post featuring medieval stuff and a first-aid kit in the same area:
 An Antiquated Update

Posts about Nazis:

Nothing Is Certain But Death, Taxes, and Knees

If You Are a Medievalist in Your Mid- to Late Thirties, and/or Want to Save the World, This Is for You 

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

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The Hours and Minutes Ticking Away

You know how sometimes you're just kicking back, having a perfect orgy of feminist literature and throwing back gin and tonics like there's no tomorrow, and then suddenly tomorrow is right there, in front of you, staring at you with bleary eyes and giving off a really funny smell? And, to make things even worse, there's a tick sucking blood from your left knee (like that particular knee didn't have enough stuff going on already), and you realise you have to go back to work? In our neck of the woods, tick bites involve a real risk of getting Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis, both of which diseases indicate a severe reduction in alcohol consumption for the foreseeable future. Having to go back to work is a global affliction that affects people in all walks of life. There is no known cure.

This kind of situation requires nerves of steel and preferably a hip flask that is likewise made of sturdy, buckle-free steel. If you also happen to have friends who a) are happy to talk you through every single neurosis and crisis of confidence, and b) send you multitudes of toilet pictures, then you can count yourself lucky.

Continuing our work of using up old pictures from our archive, here's one from May last year. Thank you, Feisty French Friend, and may your mojito always be poured by a reckless bartender with a shifty eye and a grudge against the management.

This is probably in Cambodia. As regular readers are aware, we love clear signage!

We reserve a special kind of aversion to Instagram here at the Privy Counsel. We went on it once, and it was literally spewing out distasteful pictures of food, slimy babies and engagement rings, and simply preposterous gym selfies. It took us several days of earnest meditation, purification rites, and self-medication involving the really cheap, nasty kind of rum before we recovered. However, when Feisty French Friend sent us a toilet video via the afore-mentioned repulsive social media site, we of course ventured bravely out to retrieve it. Here it is. You're welcome. *shudder*


Ett inlägg delat av National Geographic (@natgeo)


Let us swiftly move on to these pictures from a special someone who counts as a friend for administrative reasons, namely that young stripling known downtown as Jonny. We have it on good authority that the following photos are from the Botanist restaurant in Leeds.


A sturdy, rustic door!

Oho! What is this? Some kind of branded toilet?

Jonny and a rustic selection of cocks and valves.

Did we mention that we adore clear signage? Binary-categorised toilets are not de rigeur in this day and age, but frankly, we can't fucking stand unisex toilets, and celebrate being able to shut the door on the male gaze. Hurrah!

If you enjoy almost seeing people, you can almost see Jonny in this air dryer!

Sometimes we wake up in the night and worry that the hipsterisation of the world's toilets will eventually lead to a bleak and uniform world where all sinks look like cattle troughs. Read more about sinks looking like cattle troughs here.

A festive duo of urinals.
Jonny says:

I tried to get a shot of the nice toilet seat but someone was waiting outside
It's in The Botanist - Leeds
Really nice inside and insane belly pork...

We don't even want to think about how the insanity of belly pork would manifest itself. Let us quickly move on. We reckon these rustic toilets require an equally rustic, countrified kind of Festive Video. A festive duo, perhaps? You're welcome!



Festive Video - Nashville, Ho Hey.
(Doesn't the chick with the glasses look a bit like Medievalist (With a Side Interest in Roman Archaeology) Friend? Yeah, we thought so too!)

Related Reading

All posts featuring Feisty French Friend
All posts featuring Jonny

Various posts where we explain why unisex toilets are the embodiment of screaming bloody horror, at least if you're a woman (an affliction that affects roughly 50 % of the population):

Stockholm Central Station: The Trauma Is So Great We Are Brought To Quoting Cicero  

Unisex Toilets - This Shit Gets Political 

Hungover Ranting: Festschrift to Medievalist (With a Side-Interest in Roman Archaeology) Friend

Examples of well-designed unisex toilets that we do like:

Unisex Toilets - This Shit Gets Political 

Shooting the Shit - Let Us Get Rid of Transgender Bathroom Bigotry

Monday, 31 July 2017

Nothing Is Certain But Death, Taxes, and Knees

Knees. You don't notice them till they stop working. Believe us, though - they are there, and they're not going anywhere, either literally or metaphorically. We spent a rather festive twenty-five minutes in the company of a physiotherapist today, for the purposes of improving our for the moment only semi-functioning left knee, and induce it to go somewhere, see the sights, and maybe strike up an interesting conversation with a stranger.

We have spent rather a lot of time with physios at the Privy Counsel, for various reasons. One time was when we had torn a ligament to bloody shreds while skiing, and tended to hang out at the physiotherapy department at York hospital quite often. (If you would like a full account of this dramatic injury, including a description of how we, after falling and feeling the actual ligament in the knee snap and, despite the excruciating pain, resolutely got up and bloody well skied down the mountain and proceeded, heroically, to use an allaturca toilet while wearing ski boots and navigating a wet floor; the lissom Swiss mountain guards who came to our aid; and the rather less lissom and rather more leering Italian mountain guards who gave us a snowmobile ride over the Italian border, we are happy to tell the tale over a beer or three any day.)

Skiing injuries are not to be sniffed at. Here is a still from the classic 1980s movie Sällskapsresan II, which, it has been universally agreed, is possibly the best film of all time.

Have we ever mentioned the fact that we love physiotherapists? We simply adore them! We are always urging our friends to go see a physiotherapist, whether they need to or not. This amazing breed of ligament-whisperers have the power to reduce pain and persuade one's joints and soft tissues to (metaphorically) knock back a stiff whisky and bloody well harden the fuck up! Woof!

Time whizzes past at an alarming rate, and age and decrepitude advance on us with firm, muscular strides. It's been five years since our injury, but we remember the excellence of the physiotherapists who treated us in York. Their patience was endless and their grip was firm, and they had our rattling bones fastened and our weakened muscles firmed in roughly the time it takes to write a BA thesis - a matter of mere months! The physio we saw today told us that she had seldom had the pleasure of coming across such a well-rehabilitated knee!

The Privy Counsel HQ is no longer situated in York (though we seem to be spending rather a lot of time drinking there lately, for instance on this occasion, and also this one), and we can unfortunately not remember the names of the physios who treated us. However, we are immensely grateful for their truly expert treatment. If any of our readers should happen to come across a physiotherapist who works at York Hospital, please give them our warmest regards!

Thinking of York Hospital, of course, makes us think of the NHS, which, with the gruesome inevitability of death, taxes, and knee problems, reminds us of the bleary bastardliness of Brexit. If you enjoy this blog, please be aware that it is a direct result of the EU. Without the EU, we wouldn't have been able to go and study, once upon a time when our cheeks were still rosy and our hair shiny, in the UK. Without the EU, we wouldn't have stayed in Britain, and paid taxes there, for ten years. Without the EU, we would never have met the majority of the amazing Friends who send us weird toilet pictures, cheer us up on dark winter evenings, and get us roaringly drunk on prosecco, rum, and weird Canadian liqueurs.

Most of our Privy Counsel Friends are from outside the UK; many from outside the EU, but we have met nearly all of them while studying or working in the misty, mixer-tap-deprived British Isles. Only a few are still living there. Some have had their work visas bungled by a xenophobic government; many are yet facing the stark reality of being kicked out of the country for being foreign; several have been exposed to racist abuse. The idiocy of it all threatens to engulf one's sanity in a vortex of searing flame. It's like the Tory government wants to take the country back to the year 1930, when tweed was still widely worn, there was no cure for syphilis, and the gold standard kept everyone warm at night. But what do we know? We're just a woman.

We do know that the Brexit promise of more money for the NHS was a lie. We know that NHS staff are really struggling due to Tory cuts to the national health service. We know that brave battles are fought under impossible circumstances in hospitals across Britain every day. As far as we can tell, most health services have basically been sold off to Richard Branson. The mean-spirited, ham-fisted and mind-bogglingly short-sighted privatisation of the NHS is deplorable and shameful, and there is fuck-all that we personally can do about it. Let us just express our deep admiration for the heroic NHS staff, and then swiftly take our minds off the Tories and move on. Let's have some toilet pictures.

Conceptually, our archive is, as regular readers are aware, basically the crypt from The Monk, with pheasants. In actual, humdrum reality, however, it consists of a) a folder on an aged computer, backed up to the gills, b) unsorted photos on the Privy Counsel phone (henceforth to be known as the Bog Phone?), and c) a proliferation of messages and comments from the arse ends of social media.

An accurate representation of our archive. Gif from Readingtheend.com
We decided, in a moment of despair at the vast amount of photos and the minuscule amount of storage left on the Bog Phone, to try to use old pictures for blog posts. Hence here is, for your delight and edification, a couple of photos from what is highly likely to be the Eagle pub in Hoxton! We had, if memory serves, some delicious mulled cider in this excellent establishment with a very dear friend, round about the time of the legendary New Year's Shewee party in the year of our Lord 2013.

How lush and lovely is this! Woof!

The combination of mixer taps, cool square sinks and magnificent tiled floor boggles our mind and is at great risk of addling our brain!
Remember when we expressed a hope that there would be a frenzied battle between Jonny and Shewee Fiend Friend, based on increasingly forced photos of cannons? Well, believe it or not, but when, the other day, we were dragging the putrid swamp that is one of the arse ends of the internet that we occasionally frequent, this photo came floating up to the surface! It is Shewee Fiend Friend! With a cannon! Jonny, consider yourself challenged! (Also, don't forget the fruit.)

We don't know about you, but we're scared.

Before moving on to the Festive Video, let us contemplate this pair of happy, hygienic knees, thoughtfully contemplating R. W. Connell's Gender and Power.

For some reason, pictures of privy counsellors in the bath is a thing. See more pictures for instance here, here, here, and here.


We ranted the other day, rather splendidly we thought, about Theresa May's proto-fascist government. Fascism is, it seems, everywhere these days. It behoves us to resist, resist, resist, and again resist! One excellent way of puncturing the pneumatic boasts of would-be or actual fascists is, of course, the age-old method of pisstaking.

Today's Festive Video is a clip from the simply spiffing 1990s ITV dramatisation of the Jeeves and Wooster series by P.G. Wodehouse. It features Roderick Spode ranting about the "bony, angular knee of the so-called intellectual". (The horror!) The character of Roderick Spode, first Earl of Sidcup, is famously based on Oswald Mosley, leader of a fascist group called the Blackshorts. We won't endlessly eulogise P. G. Wodehouse and his comic genius, even though we would quite like to, as we fear boring our readers (we are aware, believe it or not, that not everyone shares our foibles and passions), but will content ourselves with reproducing Bertie Wooster's frank appraisal of Spode:

The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you're someone. You hear them shouting "Heil, Spode!" and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: "Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?"
- P. G. Wodehouse, The Code of the Woosters


Festive Video - Roderick Spode's knee obsession

Related Reading

Another time when we were grateful:
Of Mixer-Taps and Spiritual Solace

That time when we asked deep, philosophical questions about the nature of our archive, and also enjoyed clearly signposted toilets in Italy:  
A Blog Post of Astonishing Clarity

The original account of our knee injury:
Italian Toilets: Mi Piace Servizi Igienici 

Another reference to our grievous knee injury, bravely born, can be found in
Shewees Are a Girl's Best Friend

Our review of 
The Disabled Toilet in the Physiotherapy Department at York Hospital

That time when we, in a brave feat of investigative journalism, pointed out that although the handwashing videos from the NHS feature mixer taps, their actual facilities - gasp! - don't

For information on how to help save the NHS: the Keep Our NHS Public site

A post about the absinthe soap that gave us tremendous comfort when we were in great pain

Monday, 24 July 2017

Nothing Short of a Long Memory

Remember when Semi-Intellectual Friend posited the idea that we were writing too many blog posts? We don't have a particularly good memory at the Privy Counsel, but what we do have is a very long memory, and we have not forgotten this inane comment from roughly August 2014.

The grind to earn one's daily crust in the sweat of one's brow, and sometimes many other places, often leaves us lacking the energy to churn out as many spirited blog posts as we would like, requiring us instead to lie panting on the chaise-longue, wiping sweat from some places you just wouldn't believe if we told you, and delicately sipping gin straight from the bottle.

However, even the most ardent drone gets to enjoy some time away from the busy hive now and then, leaving them free to buzz lazily among the herbaceous borders. If that time should happen to result in many blog posts being produced in a short space of time, then surely that is cause for celebration? Yes, we think so, too.

What better way to celebrate than by enjoying a picture of a hotel toilet in Albania? This one is courtesy of Our Favourite Aunt, who is enjoying a sojourn in that country. That queen among aunts writes:
Här i Albanien är det svårt att få tillgång till nätet vilket ger en viss abstinens
Här är mycket fattigt och mycket nya pengar
(Here in Albania it's hard to get internet access, which causes a certain abstinence
It is a very poor country, which much new money)

This unbridled squareness would undoubtedly thrill and delight Hercule Poirot!

Ooooh, even this vehicle has a square portation device! (We have discovered, to our sorrow, that there is no satisfying translation of the important Swedish word flakmoppe. Do get in touch if you can help fill this void in our lives.)

The term "new money", of course, inevitably reminds one of Gone with the Wind. Perhaps we should have a festive quote from that excellent novel? Bearing in mind that the zombie apocalypse appears imminent, enjoy these wise words from Rhett Butler:

I told you once before that there were two times for making big money, one in the up-building of a country and the other in its destruction. Slow money on the up-building, fast money in the crack-up. Remember my words. Perhaps they may be of use to you some day.

You're welcome. Now, let's quickly have an escapist Festive Video before we are overcome with sadness and anxiety! Today's Festive Video is a trailer for Magic Mike XXL, because although it turns out that we and Shewee Fiend Friend disagree on many things, if there is one topic where we are of one mind, it's Magic Mike. There is no doubt whatsoever that this is a splendid piece of cinema, that everyone should watch many times with their friends! Woof!


Festive video - trailer for Magic Mike XXL


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Saturday, 22 July 2017

If You Are a Medievalist in Your Mid- to Late Thirties, and/or Want to Save the World, This Is for You

Does the world terrify you? If not, it probably should.

We like to think of ourselves as the Rebecca Solnit of toilet blogs. Rebecca Solnit, as everyone knows who follows her on social media, is a voice of reason and a source of light in a very dark, very desolate wilderness. Her social media accounts also function as rallying points for people who want to do something to defend the values they believe in, but aren't sure what.

When you find yourself overcome with despair at the state of the world, have a lie-down on the chaise-longue for a bit, if it makes you feel better. Go on, clutch your head. Clutch it good. Roll your eyes and groan. Do not restrain yourself - groan good and loud! Good. Now get up, and make yourself a cup of tea. Or, if you fancy it, a good stiff whisky! Then stop despairing, and do one thing. If we all do just one thing, together we will have done many things, and it will really help!

In the spirit of Rebecca Solnit, we have compiled an officious list of things you can do to defend democracy, depending on where you live. Pick one, pick many - get roaringly drunk and do them all! You're welcome.

If you live in the US you can:



If you live in Poland you can:



If you live in the UK you can:

If you live in Australia you can:



If you live in Scandiwegia you can:



Wherever you live:


For more tips and resources, here is a really great site.


We reckon that's enough pontificating for now. How about some toilet pictures? We have some exciting pictures from Öland, a very pretty island in the Baltic, off the coast of Sweden. You may want to make sure you are sitting down - perhaps with a fortifying glass of whisky! - before reading any further, since we have some quite dirty pictures. Not dirty in the sense "depicting Jonny in the bath with only a toy battleship to cover his modesty", alas. We don't have any of those at the moment. However, we have to make do with what we've got, and we hope that you will enjoy our dirty pictures, despite the sad lack of Jonny-related nudity.


Let's start out in Gettlinge! This Iron Age burial site will be of interest to medievalists the world over, whether they are in their mid- to late thirties or even older, or (do they even exist?) younger. Kind people have helpfully installed a rudimentary public toilet in the vicinity of the burial site, so that one may satisfy one's soul and one's historical interest, and also, possibly simultaneously, heed one's physical needs.

A rude hut

Inside: a VERY rudimentary, and not very clean, toilet
The ceiling is also rudimentary

Ah, poetry! A festive piece of graffiti on the wall says:

Bovar och banditer
som kommer hit och skiter
Om ni något hjärta har
Lämna lite papper kvar

Our very rudimentary, non-rhyming translation goes as follows:

(Thieves and bandits
Who come here for a crap
If you have any heart
Leave some paper)


We can't remember exactly where we saw this festive flower pot, but it may have been in the village of Näsby. The sign says "Hundpiss - nej tack!" ("Dog piss - no thank you!").

In the interest of recording public toilets next to sites of public interest, here is a similarly rudimentary toilet by the side of the road, next to the Möckelmossen bog (yes, really).


A very rudimentary interior...

...belies the absolutely magnificent exterior! Woof!


Next, let's check out the toilets at Hotell Skansen. They are pretty bog-standard hotel toilets, really, but Skansen has a special place in our heart and not only because they make their own whisky.



Feel free to adore this mixer tap and hygienic towel arrangement in an unhealthy, heathenish manner.

An exemplary arrangement
Next, let's check out some church toilets. It's been a while! As we may have mentioned before, we are red-hot, stark raving atheists at the Privy Counsel, but we do enjoy a visit to a historically significant church now and then, especially if it has a good toilet (as churches in Sweden often, helpfully, do). We start with Gärdslösa kyrka, which we have already reviewed in the past.

Alas, readers, we have reached the age where we repeat ourselves! We have already posted a review of this toilet, many moons ago. We should perhaps have contented ourselves with noting that this bog hasn't changed at all since 2012 and left it at that, but we just couldn't resist the temptation to publish more pictures of it, no doubt for self-aggrandizing reasons of our own.


The charming hut housing the toilet at Gärdslösa church.


Feel free to celebrate the holy trinity of this sturdy and most excellent coat-hook.


Exciting wall paintings inside the church

Some 13th-century runes that casually got left on the wall


Have we got energy for one more church? Haha, of course we do! Let us, without further ado, admire pictures from Algutsrums kyrka, whose roots go back to the 10th century.

A very exciting, though we say so ourselves, grave stone, commemorating a parson by the name of Erlend, who died in Algutsrum in 1345. If you crave more information you can get it here and perhaps here. Maybe even here


The best thing about the church in Algutsrum - even better than the Latin inscription! - is the toilet. Here is the charming little door, just to your left as you enter.

A most hygienic and virtuous arrangement!

We would never advocate keeping toilet rolls on the floor, but then again who are we to judge?

A charming and helpful sign advising the hapless visitor on how to work the lock


Let's do one more toilet on Öland, then we promise we will stop! Here is the toilet in the lovely little hipster café at Prästgården, Smedby.


Whatever happens to you in this toilet, rest assured that you will never be bored!
We cannot praise this charming and hygienic arrangement enough! It's even got our favourite Bliw soap!

Well done for reading this far! As a reward, here is a picture of cake. This cake was made by a very festive relative of ours. It is the best cake we have ever eaten, and we are never flippant about cake.

Now, it's Saturday night. Go out dancing and carousing! Immediately!

But first, let us have a Festive Video. This one is intended to reflect a conversation we had with Shewee Fiend Friend about female-only spaces. Turns out there's not enough of them. Sometimes, that's due to misogynistic abuse happening even in supposedly women-friendly environments. It could be due to people taking de Beauvoir's tenet that gender is something that is made, not something one is born with, and using it as a basis of further oppression.

Sometimes, a female-only space is more fun and friendly than a mixed space. Sometimes, a woman needs a women-only space to catch her breath and put her brave face back on. If you get invited to one: respect the rules and have fun! Sometimes, however, dudes who haven't been invited try to force their way into women-only spaces. To those dudes we would like to say: back the fuck off. If you find that you are encroaching on a safe space women have created for themselves, or find that you are spending your time shouting abuse at women, whether in real life or online,  here is a list of things you could be doing instead - including, but not limited to, starting a men's shelter, founding a support group to talk about football, and throwing yourself out the window.


Festive video: Jonathan Richman, I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar
(The studio version of this song, though less whimsical, is decidedly more audible.)



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