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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