Sunday, 27 July 2014

A Life-Affirming Experience

Hangovers, in our experience, are great for creativity. Nothing inspires rampant joie de vivre as much as the feeling of the vicious clog-dancing trolls departing from the inside of one's head, and the ability to actually hold down food. It is also, in our opinion, a meditative experience to lie in bed a whole day, thinking about nothing, and doing, crucially, absolutely fuck-all, lest one set off an avalanche of bodily fluids. It is a great exercise in remaining philosophical in the face of adversity: we should all do it more often. After all, as Lord Byron probably said, "There's naught, no doubt, so much the spirit calms as rum and true religion".

We developed, during our most recent hangover, a desire to share with the world the lovely toilet photo that a friend sent us from Iceland. This picture is called Diagonal toilet, and comes in two versions: "hipster bleak" and "artistic black and white". As usual we're publishing both, being fundamentally unable to make decisions.

As Bridget Jones so memorably said, "I don't want to be tortured. I want to lie on the bathroom floor with my head near the toilet bowl, like normal people". This looks like an excellent floor for being normal on.

Rarrr! Do you feel the artistic juices flowing?
Let's have a jolly festive video. Then we're off to bathe the burst blood vessels round our eyes with lavender water.

Festive video: Monty Python, Philosophers' Song

Related reading
Another memorable hangover: Tømmermænd at Café Jorden, or, Sleepless in Aarhus, or, Fear and Loathing in Jutland
One of Monkey's worst hangovers ever: The-Day-After-the-Night-Before Toilet Musings
Another instance of us being unable to choose between two photos: Arachne-Philia and German-Induced Euphoria
The German Existentialist Toilet is possibly our favourite toilet ever, and is also hangover-related: The German Existentialist Toilet Is, Perhaps, Here

Sunday, 20 July 2014

More Graffiti, and More Information Than Any Sane Person Can Reasonably Handle on Such a Hot Day

It's really too hot for any cerebral activity to be happening, at all, ever, but apparently there are some people still at it. Uncle Sean, for instance, has sent us more graffiti, Unreasonably Attractive Friend has shared Youtube material which he has unreasonably been withholding until now, and a relative of ours sent us a very interesting article indeed. 

Starting with Uncle Sean, that very, very, very old friend of ours, he says:
We remember this reflective urinal:

This festive graffiti featured in the post
Musings on Labels. Oooh, Hang on, "Label" - That's a Whisky, Right? back in June.

But the poignant lessons learned since:

"Go forth and die!" Don't you just love anarchic graffiti? We sure do.
You can just about glimpse Uncle Sean's handsome face in the mirror. If you enjoy almost looking at people in photos,
you may get a kick out of our classic post Celebrity Toilet Premiere.

This says, unless our intellectual capacity has abandoned us entirely, "Find it! Life[,] liberty and the pursuit of unhappiness". We seem to remember reading something interesting on the pursuit of (un)happiness recently, but we're buggered if we can remember what it was. Probably it was some random article being bandied about on Twitter - we'll let you know if we find it. In the meantime, have this philosophical reflection on material possession and personal fulfilment.

Unreasonably Attractive Friend informs us of this useful invention, which apparently ensures the pursuit of rampant amounts of happiness for incontinent golfers. We believe Unreasonably Attractive Friend intended a twinkle-in-the-eye comment on the Shewee, our favourite urinary device.

 (A note on editorial policy: Some of our friends choose their pseudonyms themselves. Others are ruthlessly assigned one by the Privy Counsel editorial team. We won't tell you which scenario resulted in the name "Unreasonably Attractive Friend".)

If you still have the energy, Unreasonably Attractive Friend also shared this information about the Roman sponge-on-a-stick bottom-cleaning device (read more about it here and here) being reincarnated in this disturbing American product.

A technologically-aware relative of ours, meanwhile, sent us this highly enjoyable article from Slate magazine, on why Californians will soon be drinking their own urine, prompting us to comment that drinking water is a piece of piss. (For information on other things that are a piece of piss, see this blog post from 2011.)

To paraphrase an author we admire to the point of unhealthy obsession, we're mongrel-bitch tired and really fancy a trip to the beach, so fuck off, darlings, and leave us alone.

Related reading
The Intellectual Streak Continues: Leeds university Library Bogs, or, Yorkshire Graffitti
More information on the same subject: The Finer Points of Roman Hygiene
Non-toilet graffiti can also, occasionally, be interesting: Mystery of medieval graffiti in England's churches (BBC)

Monday, 14 July 2014

Kicking Anglo-Saxon Arse: Festschrift to Shewee Fiend Friend

It suddenly struck us that we had missed a trick. We really, really needed to get off our arses and get to grips with the festschrift situation.

Remember the festschrift to Intellectual Friend, that we wrote to mark the occasion of him finishing his PhD and moving on to power and glory? Well, strike us pink with a stuffed flamingo, although Intellectual Friend is the proprietor of, probably, the keenest intellect this side of Hogwarts, actually all our friends are packing serious weight in the intellectual department, and Intellectual Friend is far from the only one to be boasting possession of a doctoral degree. Shewee Fiend Friend, for instance, that wonder of charm, strident feminism, shewee enthusiasm and cerebral excellence, has been consistently kicking Anglo-Saxon arse, and recently gained her PhD. Congratulations, Shewee Fiend Friend!

A suitable toilet to dedicate to Shewee Fiend Friend is the rather spiffing one in the social sciences faculty library at Lund University, the splendidly named Sambib. Here one can find authors such as de Beauvoir, Bland, Jackson, Pankhurst, Showalter, Walkowitz, and others, who tend to crop up in our hugely enjoyable conversations with Shewee Fiend Friend.

(Due to the sheer mindboggling awesomeness of Shewee Fiend Friend, these toilets have been struck sideways. Consider their horizontal position as an intellectual puzzle, to strengthen and fortify your mind. If you find the sideways perspective refreshing, there are more lateral loos here and here.)

The whole thing's a bit messy and the state of the bog roll is, obviously, wretched, but we actually really like these toilets. They have a friendly, intellectual atmosphere, and are usually very clean.
We have never encountered any urine on the floor here.

Using the mixer taps in this toilet is like going for a pint with Shewee Fiend Friend: a sheer bloody pleasure.
The soap is from Tork and is very nice.

Even if it's a rainy Tuesday in November and you have a) a hangover, b) a coat smelling of wet dog, and c) a rucksack full of books weighing approximately 18 kilos, you could still fit all your gear on this coat hook, be able to get on with your business, and enjoy washing your hands in the lovely sink TOTALLY WITHOUT WORRYING.
There is only one appropriate response here, and that response is HUBBA HUBBA.
May Shewee Fiend Friend's career be rich in helpful and functional coat hooks!

King Alfred the Great was handy with a sword, but he also enjoyed reading
and (probably) cosy dinners at home, long walks and pottery.

Have we got a festive video to celebrate Shewee Fiend Friend's achievement? You bet your Anglo-Saxon arse we do.

Festive video: Loretta Lynn, The Pill

Related Reading
Lund university Library: Festschrift to Intellectual Friend
In Which We Indulge in a Feminist Rant and, of Course, Incontinence
Shewee Fiend Friend on male incontinence: (Don't) Aim for the stars
All posts about Caitlin Moran
The Vagenda
The Everyday Sexism Project

Sunday, 13 July 2014

De Consolatio Philosophiae

Things tend to be rather hectic at the Privy Counsel. Moving through life at breakneck speed while being rampantly intellectual, we don't always have time to appreciate the thoughtfulness, kindness and intelligence of our friends, and often have to content ourselves with stuffing their generously proffered pictures into our archive (the pheasant situation has, by the way, still not been resolved), vowing to give them more attention the second things slow down. However - you may have noticed it too - life only rarely changes gears from "really fast and terrifying" to "slow and pleasant", and the amount of time left over for contemplating artistic toilet pictures remains deplorably small.
(Possibly it doesn't matter. As someone once said, "I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations - one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it - you will regret both".)
Today we celebrate having time to enjoy the finer things in life by posting German Friend's kind contribution from ages ago. As usual, German Friend offers a glorious blend of pithy prose and thought-provoking pictures. Thank you, German Friend!
Well, credit where it's brew... At Brauerei Ganter in Freiburg (Black Forest megalopolis). Beer, urine, the ying and yang. It's all one.

Another philosophical benefaction:
Mirror, mirror on the wall ... who (insert inappropriate object/action) of them all?!
Freiburg again. What a source of material...
Her citizens had never struck me as outright narcissists before - despite their city always boasting the best weather in the land - but this takes some beating: Full frontal, width and height mirror. A periodic flush in the form of a gentle waterfall down the looking-glass.We are impressed. And can't stop taking photos.

Let's finish with a philosophical video, which has the added attraction of being totally toilet-related.

Philosophical festive video: Miranda Lambert, Bathroom Sink

Related Reading
One of our favourite philosophical posts ever:
The German Existentialist Toilet Is, Perhaps, Here
More German Friend action from Freiburg, home of serious toilets:
Dread, Rage, and Out-of-Order Urinals

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

An Annoyingly Long, But Brilliantly Clever, Post, Including Shewees, Beer, and Some Other Stuff

For reasons we'd rather not go into, we ended up glugging, with wild, frenzied abandon, a sneaky pint with Shewee Fiend Friend recently. The venue for our frenzied abandonment was a charming place called the Toulouse Lautrec, which is blatantly not located in Elephant and Castle. We spent a very festive evening ranting about life, the patriarchy, and everything, and generally getting mildly shitfaced and heeding the call of nature, as one tends to do when in that condition. The most interesting feature of the toilet in this laudable establishment was the double lock on the door. We cannot applaud this detail enough. Nothing makes a girl feel safer than being able to securely lock the door when going to a pub bog!

Do you feel your heartrate slowing and your breathing becoming regular?
Yeah. Just looking at this dual lock arrangement is relaxing. 

Another feature we liked was the festively, indeed exuberantly, floral toilet and sink. (The separated taps, obviously, made us want to rip them out with our teeth and chew them into tiny pieces, but if there's one thing that age brings it's maturity, or if not maturity then at least hard-boiled cynicism and a profound lack of giving a fuck any more.)

A floral toilet bowl totally makes life more bearable, n'est-ce pas?

The simultaneous feelings of detached approval and raging vitriol make us confused
and inclined to roll our eyes while gibbering incoherently.
Another thing that made this toilet memorable was the interesting mould design on the wall.

We're assuming this is intended as an Art Noveau-esque decoration.

The pretty window above the door represents, we suppose, the higher plane inhabited by the fine arts - a place rich in lofty thoughts, vivid colours and rarefied air.

The coat-hook is broken, but hey, frenziedly holding onto your handbag while doing your business,
praying to deities you normally don't believe in that it won't fall on the toilet floor never killed anyone, right?

Since we're on the subject of Shewee Fiend Friend, we might as well mention the shewee again. We had the very great pleasure of attending a social occasion recently which involved a fair amount of beer, and at this delightful shindig, the age-old problem of where to do one's business when drinking in a public park reared, as it is wont to do, its ugly head.

We very nearly went to see a man about a dog in this public place once.
Read all about it here.

Even though the park we were in was rich in shrubberies, one hesitates to venture forth into the undergrowth. Not only is it (probably) illegal to do one's business in a public place, it can also cause a variety of unpleasantnesses. For instance, there could be all kinds of perverts lurking in the bushes, and if a lady has, for privacy's sake, ventured quite far from her friends, they might not hear her scream should she be molested by a vegetation-dwelling assailant. Another weighty concern is the severe discomfort of baring one's arse in insect-infested greenery.
The obvious solution is having a shewee with one, thus enabling one to heed the call of nature comfortably while in nature, for instance by standing next to a bush, as opposed to cowering inside it. Our beer-loving friends had never heard of the shewee, so we thought we'd enlighten them. You know who you are - now you know!
(In case you're wondering about the fate of the park and its insects, rest assured that our friends are both clever and resourceful and actually found a toilet.)

Our friends in this picture are valiantly resisting the urge to take a leak in the greenery behind them.

Talking about shewees and Shewee Fiend Friend brings to mind our fabulous New Year's Eve party, during which, you may remember, we tried out the urinal in Hoxton Square. This ties in nicely with a picture that Semi-Intellectual Friend sent us some time ago, of a charming urinal in an unknown location.

Pure class.

Nobody beats the Brits for sheer thoughtfulness.

Semi-Intellectual Friend's missive (which followed on an urgent bulletin from us saying we had done an internet test to find out what kind of dog we are, and that the answer was "Great Dane") read like this:

Oh god. I'm still far too hungover to type. Sorry.
That is the most pressing news bulletin I think I have ever seen, and I'm only sorry that I wasn't able to respond to it sooner on account of being, first, very drunk and then too hungover to press things or feel emotions without wanting to vomit.  A message that exciting? If I had read it again, I would have vomited for sure. Wow. A great Dane. I guess, from a purely physical perspective, that is probably the dog I would most associate you with. Also, the innate modesty that a Great Dane has fits you to a tee.

Sorry if they're a bit blurry - I was, as I mentioned before, a wee bit tipsy the other night so there was a lot of swaying from side to side going on, and I was going as fast I could. I got a few funny looks taking them.
I think, if you put a big red and white target at the bottom of a toilet and gave men points for aiming as close to the centre of the target as possible, men would feel patronized by it but still be unable not to try to hit the target. Toilet floors would immediately become cleaner. I think, if there was some way of recording high scores, it would be incredibly successful.
See how the finely-wrought narrative of Semi-intellectual Friend's epistle ties in with a theme from one of Shewee Fiend Friend's letters? Remember the "loo lament", bewailing the urine puddles on the floor, caused by her feckless, urinating flatmate? Well, Shewee Fiend Friend isn't living in that house anymore, and all is now well with the world.

On that note, we've been hardworking to the point of actual insanity lately, and deserve some rest and maybe a beer or eleven.

Related Reading
Shewee Fiend Friend's classic celebration of the shewee:
A story of mindboggling incontinence:
Shewees Are a Girl's Best Friend!
Shewee Fiend Friend's notorious flatmate who kept pissing on the floor:
(Don't) Aim for the Stars
A rallying-cry for more public toilets:
A Morally Improving Story for World Toilet Day
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