Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Post in Which We Finally Manage to Combine Our Two Favourite Topics Ever, Toilets and Syphilis!

Oriental toilets have been rearing their heads a fair amount recently. A chance remark made by Insane Lunatic Friend gave us food for thought. After spending some time in eastern Europe to watch some species of sports event, Insane Lunatic Friend wrote to us.

Dear Privy Counsellor, our most awesome and intelligent friend, the missive read. I saw this and thought of you. I was overcome by the frequency of 'French' toilets in the Ukraine; this would have actually helped.

And a very interesting and amusing article it was, too - read it here.

How to use a squat toilet. Note name: "Japanese-style toilet". Image from this site.

As interesting as the subject of squat toilets is, however, are we the only ones to have sudden, alarming thoughts of syphilis? We weren't aware that squat toilets were known as "French toilets" - we have been accustomed to referring to them as "Oriental", "Italian" or indeed, in Italy, "Alaturka" (i.e. "Turkish") toilets. Wikipedia, further illustrating the international unwillingness to take responsibility for having invented the squat toilet, informs us that it is also known as "an Arabic, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Iranian, Indian, Turkish or Natural-Position toilet".

Returning to the topic of syphilis, a certain academic tract which we got our (rather dirty) hands on says, on the topic of naming unpleasant diseases imported from abroad,

[Syphilis] broke out in Naples in 1494, when Charles VIII, the King of France, entered the city with his army, and ever since, it has been referred to by the French as ‘the Neapolitan disease’, and by the Italians as ‘the French disease’. It was to be given many other names as it made its way through Europe and the rest of the world; to France, Germany and Denmark in 1496, to England and Scotland in 1497, to India in 1498, and to Japan in 1512.

Bringing this back to Insane Lunatic Friend's unfortunate obsession with ball sports, our academic tract further tells us that,

Julian Barnes writes, ‘I recently discussed Daudet’s case with a friend who is a specialist in sexually transmitted diseases. “Syphilis has become boring since penicillin,” he told me. (Boring for the doctor, anyway.) Though the disease has been more or less eradicated domestically, mass air travel still brings him a few cases. A couple of years ago he treated a group of young men who all appeared to have something in common – apart from their infection, that is. They were, it turned out, England football supporters who had followed the national team to a friendly game in Moldova, and had been impressed by how much extra friendliness their money had bought. If any of them had read La Douleur, they might realize how great their historical luck had been.’

Let's hope Insane Lunatic Friend was very careful with the, er, French toilets.

Syphliis. Image from this awesome site

Related Reading
Syphilis, Bathing, and Dentures: You Know It Makes Sense

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Robin Hood - Taking Aim at Crappy Plumbing

 Turns out what the people wanted was a Toilet Tale starring our favourite medieval guerrilla fighter, Robin Hood! We've been monkeying around with a new image-monkeying-around program, so apologies if standards are even lower than usual. (N.b. Robin Hood is represented by a toilet lid.)

Robin of Locksley - a healthy, muscular Saxon - returns from his adventures in the Crusades.
He's well fed up with Oriental toilets, and can't wait to get back to his own comfy crapper.

Imagine Robin's dismay when he finds, on his return, that the evil Sheriff of Nottingham - henchman of that bastard Norman, King John - has appropriated his house and installed inferior plumbing in all the bathrooms.
Robin is pretty bloody miffed, actually.

To add insult to injury, Robin has been outlawed, and has to go live in the woods with a group of dirty, unwashed peasants. Hygiene facilities are primitive, to say the least, and Robin suffers agonies.

As if that wasn't enough, Robin then falls in love with Lady Marian, a high-maintenance kind of girl
with a fondness for exfoliation and bubble baths. He can hardly drag her back to Sherwood Forest
to live in a rude hut without even the most basic mod cons, can he?

Robin (who's taken on the alias Robbin' Hood) and his band of smelly outlaws start doing good deeds. Among other things, they lighten the load of Norman aristocrats by carrying their heavy money purses for them. Once they have enough cash for a coup d'état, they get rid of King John and put the brave, muscular,
Saxon-friendly Richard the Lionheart back on the throne.

Robin and Marian are married in Sherwood Forest by Friar Tuck, and move into Robin's house, where they renovate all the bathrooms and install mixer taps. They then live happily ever after, and have long, hot baths
without ever scalding their feet. They have lots of awesome parties with King Richard.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Explosive Cleaning

In view of our recent frivolous updates we thought we might as well share this amusing picture of a brand of toilet cleaner.
We're thinking of doing another Toilet Tale, but we're a bit low on inspiration, and would welcome suggestions. If there's a classic work of literature that you would like to see maimed and distorted, please leave a comment or email us at

A more interesting toilet cleaner. Image from this site

Sunday, 24 June 2012

More Novelty Toilet Brushes

Continuing our foray into the world of novelty toilet brushes, we found a website that lists a whole array of them!

Let's start with the skull brush. Ideal for the rock'n'roll-minded who spends a lot of time engaged in post-party spewing and wants a way to clean up the mess that fits in with their interests.

Skull is life-sized

Second, we have a more glittery version of the rock'n'roll toilet brush, for the lucky bastard who's got enough money not to have to clean their own toilet but still wants to know it's done in style. According to our sources, "designer Windisch Nameek plated an otherwise unremarkable toilet brush handle and cylindrical holder in 24-karat gold for the very commonsensical reason that pure gold won’t corrode, pit or tarnish".

This toilet brush is made of actual gold

And finally, the pièce de résistance, if you will, and our personal favourite - the 007 electric toilet brush!!! Designed by Francesco Castiglione Morelli with Annamaria Carelli. Don't confuse it with your toothbrush.

We'll spare you the shaken-and-stirred jokes

Always keep your gun loaded - this one takes two AA batteries.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

An Opportunity to Learn Seven Impossible Things before Breakfast

They say you learn something new every day. While we personally doubt that this applies to absolutely everyone, it is nonetheless probably true of many people. We assume that our readers, though doubtless mostly consisting of unwashed barbarians, are yet intelligent enough to learn something new and retain the knowledge. In a fit of unrivalled laziness, therefore, today's update consists of an article we found on Enlightened Friend's website, and nothing more.

Read it here.
You have the opportunity of learning up to seven new things.

Here's a completely unrelated picture, which we added for no other reason than that we really liked it.
Image from

Friday, 22 June 2012

Exploding Toilets!!!

Exploding toilets! You simply haven't lived till you've sat on one!
In certain parts of the world Midsummer is celebrated today. We'd like to add to the festivities by sharing an amusing tale about exploding toilets!

Read the story here.

For some reason it's never occurred to us to google the words "exploding toilet" before, but there is an endless amount of mirth-inducing anecdotes out there!
Read another amusing, if tragic, story here.
Here's another one.

Exploding toilets - an unexpectedly amusing phenomenon!

Many thanks to Driving Instructor Friend for the tip! (If you need a driving instructor in London with nerves of steel and a dry sense of humour, email us at, and we'll pass on his details!)

Plumbing can be dangerous. Image from this site

Happy midsummer, and be careful what you put in the toilet!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The All-Singing, All-Dancing, Bog Brush

Admit it - it's always been your dream to own a toilet brush that costs 40 quid! Well, if that's the case, your dream just came true. These babies do more than just clean your skanky old toilet - they dance and amuse you while they're at it!

It's the toilet brush that bloody dances

Ballo by Jozeph Forakis, for Normann Copenhagen

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A Note on Useful Gifts

Our last post was about a gift, and so is this one.
There are so many useful products out there - one of them turned up in our letter box! Our warmest thanks to Mr and Mrs Smith for this revolutionary, life-changing present! This is bound to do wonders for our OCD, and we will perhaps never be found cowering in fear in a public toilet ever again!

Our gratitude is inexpressible: A public toilet survival kit!

Such soothing instructions!
Hygeia sighs wistfully.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Fairytale Toilet

Intellectual Friend gave us this beautiful gift - a fairytale toilet! We have personally never seen a more charming bog - we bet you haven't either! (If you have, send us a bloody picture.)
Here are Intellectual Friend's musings on the subject:

"A Danish fairytale toilet house! A fairytoilet! In Aarhus, at the edge of the woods around Marselisborg. It was probably closed at the time, otherwise I'd have ventured in. Might need to be re-checked this summer!"

We can't wait to see what awaits inside! Although possibly there be dragons...!

Danish fairytale toilet

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Royal Flush

We are delighted with these Bond-themed toilet pictures not only because our very own Toilet Tales feature a Bond story, but because we have recently been nurturing a private Bond-themed obsession toiletally (sorry) unrelated to plumbing!
German Friend has been at it again, "chipping in with a broad loo-related smile [...] to keep [The Privy Counsel] ahem... afloat"! These pictures are from a ferry! In German Friend's own words,
"I feel a true monarch on this ferry between Singapore and the island of Bintan, Indonesia. Not in the picture: my pokerface."

A ferry between Singapore and the island of Bintan, Indonesia: Royal flush!
We ACHE to press this button!!

Oooh, we're quite flushed from all the excitement!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Tap-Hunting at Pitcher and Piano

Kind friends took us mixer-tap-hunting in York one memorable night. Lo and behold, we bagged ourselves all kinds of trophies! Like these babies, from Pitcher and Piano:

Large cattle-trough-type sink, with two different types of mixer-tap: Bingo!

The fiesta continues: Both soap and lotion!

A depressing air-dryer, but on the other hand the Privy Counsel-approved air-dryers aren't necessarily
all they're cracked up to be - more on this at a later date

Tally-ho: Covered bin and easy-to-use, water-saving flush!

Bij, morduj - we give these toilets 11 points!

Pitcher and Piano
Ebor Hall, Coney Street, York, YO1 9QL
01904 658 580

Friday, 8 June 2012

Ah ! well a-day !

According to Wikipedia (ever a source of inspiration for toilet bloggers!), "The word 'albatross' is sometimes used metaphorically to mean a psychological burden that feels like a curse. It is an allusion to Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798)[1]".  
This aspect was very far from our minds, however, when checking out the toilet of the favourite restaurant of some relatives of ours. Restaurang Albatross is situated in Malmö's West Harbour, and offers spiffing food, friendly staff and a simply corking toilet!

We like: Mixer-tap and soap!

Hygienic paper towels and bin!

Disability-friendly toilet, hygienically covered toilet roll and a supremely convenient and hygienic bin!

An aesthetically pleasing touch

There's no coat-hook, but according to Albatross veterans one can hang one's jacket on a hanger outside,
and one's handbag on the door handle! Also, thanks to the design, one can open this door using one's elbow (or other part of the body one doesn't regularly use for eating), thus saving oneself much OCD-related angst!

All appliances from Tork!

A close-up of the high-quality, disability-friendly mixer-tap!

 This supreme toilet gets eleven points, leading us to the inevitable conclusion that we need to revise our points system - it should be much more than that!

Västra hamnen
Barometergatan 58
211 17 Malmö

Sunday, 3 June 2012

A Suitable Gift for an OCD Hysteric

We had a lovely toilet conversation with a couple of lovely friends last night. Lovely Friend 1 told us about using squat toilets (read more about squat toilets here) while travelling in Asia, and how convenient and hygienic this is, especially after a dodgy curry. Lovely Friend 2 was not convinced, but reminisced about the toilets in the palace at Knossos. We'll write more about these 2,000-year-old technological marvels another time. For now, we'll content ourselves with showing our faithful readers what Lovely Friend 2 whipped out of her handbag:

Finally, we can relax on public toilets!
Toilet wipes! Hurrah!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Cowering in Copenhagen

Kind friends took us out on a bit of an adventure last night, to experience new bars and, subsequently, new toilets. It was epic: we found mixer taps and lovely soap! The pictures will have to wait, however, until such a time as we're not a) hungover, and b) rushing back and forth like idiots, trying to get important stuff done. (Be prepared to wait.) In the meantime, let's look at some Danish toilets! No, actually, let's go off on a tangent first.
For some reason every single Danish person we know is frighteningly intellectual. We don't know why that should be, but mentally cower a little bit in the face of their hideous intellectual powers and weird language. This is probably the reason why, according to Danish Friend (the same one, incidentally, who took the picture of the Mordor-esque public toilet in Finland - the one that's famous for its Finno-Ugric negative suffix), Danes are obsessed with toilets. Absolutely obsessed. So, here's an article on public toilets in Copenhagen, with lovely pictures. If you don't understand Danish, use Google translate or just find a comfortable position in which to cower in shame.

You might also find it interesting to know what Danish people do in public toilets. 3 per cent sleep, and 27 per cent use toilet paper to touch things. Fascinating.

We like copper pipes, and Danes do them well, it would seem

Related Reading
Sing If You're Glad to Be a Dane
Blogging Something Rotten
Waltzing around Amalienborg
Cowering in Copenhagen
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