Thursday, 22 January 2015

Some Thoughts on Internet Vitriol. And a Gorgeous, Rose-Scented Toilet.

It's been a hectic week at the Privy Counsel. Stuff has been happening left and right, and also centre. There have been arguments defending gender equality, and heated discussions of the finer points of said gender equality. There has been Indian food. And a really bad hangover. We will spare you the details, but everyone should be grateful that your Privy Counsellor is made of stern stuff, and managed to not throw up on the floor despite having to listen to 47 people do a short presentation of themselves, not excluding what they like to do in their spare time.
We've been engaging in some pretty caustic critique of unisex toilets lately (for instance, here and here). There is more of this coming - including a spirited feminist diatribe on how unisex toilets set the cause of gender equality back a hundred years.

But today is not the day for feminist diatribes. Let us revel in a neutral topic - a totally lovely toilet! We went to Curry Republik in Malmö a little while ago, and stuffed our faces with delicious Indian food, brought to us by super-friendly staff. Imagine our exquisite happiness when, after a gobsmackingly excellent meal, we encountered a totally lovely toilet! That smelled of roses!

We hope it will refresh and invigorate you.

The sight that greets one on entry - a lovely sink with a lovely mirror!
And stylish black Tork dispensers - our favourite!

A close-up of our beloved, hygienic Tork dispensers 

The main event, so to speak: a great toilet with a water-saving flush, and lots of hygienically covered toilet roll.
As far as we're concerned, life doesn't get better than this!

That's what we call a coat hook! And also flowers! Woof!

We harbour a secret love for stylish doorhandles.

The conclusion we have come to this week is that the entire world needs to chill the fuck down. As anyone who has ever ventured online is aware, there is a lot of vitriol on the internet. Usually, we avoid comments fields like the plague, but of late we have happened to encounter some very disheartening opinions.

We all know what internet vitriol achieves - sweet bugger-all. Sometimes the world seems like a dark, hopeless place. One loses faith, and starts spewing abuse at well-meaning people in discussion forums, in the hope that this will boost one's flagging self-confidence. Unfortunately, by adopting this course of action, one ensures that nobody will listen to one's arguments, because all people can hear is a drawn-out, whingeing noise that sounds something like, I'm such a massive, massive loser that I have nothing better to do than be rude to people on the internet. If you have no constructive arguments to offer, then frankly, dudes, you will be much better off keeping silent.

If you are experiencing oppression, then do something about it. Let us know if we can help!
However, there are lots of problems out there, and nobody can solve all injustices. Not even Nelson Mandela - universally acknowledged to be an awesome dude who kicked serious arse - could right all wrongs! But, if you stop whining for a moment, you might be able to identify one thing that you can do, to help one person, or a group of people. Just one thing. Thinking about how you can achieve this one thing might make you feel better.

However, if you can't do anything about it right now, then we suggest you get a satsuma soap from the Body Shop. We're not being paid to say this (chance would be a fine thing). It's just that we've got one on the go right now, and it is wonderful - soothing and reviving all at once! Everyone likes the smell of citrus.  If you're feeling tired and down-in-the-mouth, rather than take your bad mood out on someone else, inhale some satsuma soap. Trust us on this one - you'll feel better!

We won't get preachy on your asses, but seriously - there are so many better things you could be doing with your time than being grumpy on the internet! Have a bath. Listen to some banjo music. Get a pet bunny and build it a fun maze to play in. Find a wilful child and teach it manners. Have tea with a lonely person. Eat curry.

The message of today's festive video is "chill the fuck down and have a beer".

Festive video - Pistol Annies, Damn Thing

Related Reading
All posts related to India
All posts about nice-smelling soap
All posts about things that smell of roses
All posts containing consolatory philosophy

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The Screaming Bloody Horror That Is Unisex Toilets, When Done Wrong

As we may have mentioned once or twice before, we at the Privy Counsel believe in the spiritual benefits of a good hangover. A hangover is an opportunity to reflect on your life, and - if you can remember them - the toilets in the bar where you drank your way to your current condition.

We had occasion to observe, the other night, that we are REALLY FUCKING FED UP WITH UNISEX TOILETS. On us pausing in our exuberant beer consumption to go off on a rant about the merits of toilet segregation, our crony of the evening smiled and said, "Honey, have you noticed your surroundings?"
Apparently we were in a gay bar. So fucking what? We are not blessed, at the Counsel, with a sensitive gaydar, being much more attuned to the finer points of bathroom fixtures than sexual orientation. However, we maintain our stance that toilets should be bloody well gender segregated, for everyone's comfort and hygiene. Segregation doesn't have to be based on biological gender. We don't care what a lady is packing under her dress - if she identifies as a woman, then we want to be sharing a toilet with her, and not with fifteen hipster dudes in beards and denim shirts, smiling awkwardly. We do not want to be burdened with bearded hipster dudes when going to the bog. We cannot stress this point enough.

We were too traumatised to photograph the offending unisex toilets, though we seem to remember them sporting some seriously festive graffiti. Instead, we will show you pictures of a really nice bog we came across a little while ago, at Kafé Charlotte in Åkarp. There were two separate toilets, and neither contained awkward hipster dudes, bearded or otherwise. We would also like to point out that the café staff were really, really lovely.

Here's a feast for the eyes: a superbly, wonderfully, joyously clean toilet, with a mixer tap

We love black tiles. Fucking love them. A young person of our acquaintance asked us recently what our favourite colour is. Not wanting to traumatise the child with our hopeless cynicism and misanthropy, we replied, "Errr... Red". The girl eyed us critically and said, "You sure wear a lot of black for someone who professes to like red". 

This, darlings, is a beautiful sink with a beautiful mixer tap, and a wonderful, empty bin.


Even the door handle and lock are stylish!

We're going to break here to make a trough of coffee, but we have a real treat in terms of festive videos! BECAUSE HELLZ YEAH.

Festive video: This Girl Can

Related Reading
A previous rant on the subject of unisex toilets: Hungover Ranting: Festschrift to Medievalist (With a Side-Interest in Roman Archaeology) Friend
A significant hangover in our life: A Life-Affirming Experience
More black tiles: Christmas, the Acropolis Museum, and an Academic Debate (And Some Very Festive Calypso Music)
A post on the perils of sharing a toilet with certain males: (Don't) Aim for the Stars

Thursday, 8 January 2015

A Pub Near the British Library

Back in roughly August we hit a productive streak which led Semi-Intellectual Friend to suggest, rudely (and unwisely - we will most likely never cease giving him shit about this), that we were writing too many blog posts. (Right? Preposterous!) We performed some simple statistical calculations, pointing out to Semi-Intellectual Friend, in an insufferably pompous manner, that we were nowhere near reaching the same number of posts as in for instance that prolific toilet-blogging year 2012, or even 2010, our first year of Counselling, when we produced a staggering 46 posts in three short months.

Considering that we published a post only yesterday, we imagine that Semi-Intellectual Friend might be feeling a little nervous right now, and not only due to his upcoming viva. However, dear Semi-Intellectual Friend, there is really no need to worry about this. If you knew how much rum-drinking dissipation we've got planned for 2015, you would be reassured that we will be far too fragile both mentally and physically to generate a staggering abundance of bog blog posts.

On that note, let's have some photos that Shewee Fiend Friend sent us recently! The message accompanying the pictures said, cryptically:
Purple and pink. The whole bathroom was these crazily aggressive pastel colours

Our reply went along the lines of, "But the graffiti - YES! YES! YES!", to which Shewee Fiend Friend replied, in a less exuberant vein, "In a pink bathroom! So incongruous!". On us asking where the photos are from, we were told they were "by the British Library".

We conjectured - correctly, as it turns out - that the photographs were from a pub. However, we like to have a bit more information to give our readers, so we asked if she might remember the name of the pub. Shewee Fiend Friend is a helpful, caring person, and accommodatingly sent us the following information:

Rising Sun

Might be that pub

Definitely a pub

I hoped the pictures would have GPS data

I was too drunk to know where we were

We reckon that's as much sense as we're going to get out of Shewee Fiend Friend for the moment.

These colours are emphatically not approved by Shewee Fiend Friend.

At Privy Counsel HQ, however, we find these colours agreeable, though the non-mixer taps, of course,
make us froth at the mouth and shout obscenities.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves.

Actually, we find this quite sweet - someone has actually made an effort with the décor,
even if it doesn't incorporate crazy dolls' eyes glued to the ceiling.

In other news, more than one person has alerted us to the fact that Bill Gates recently drank water extracted from human waste. (Impressive - but we will restrain our applause until the technology produces rum.) One of our informants chose to phrase the news thus: "Here is a droll story about a programmer who's gone all funny from sitting in front of a computer all day." Couldn't have put it better ourselves!

Let's have a festive video! We're pretty sure this one incorporates a lady using a Shewee:

Festive video - Toby Keith, I Love this Bar

Related Reading

This is what happened last time we went to the pub with Shewee Fiend Friend: An Annoyingly Long, But Brilliantly Clever, Post, Including Shewees, Beer, and Some Other Stuff

In light of the British Museum's laudable initiative to host an exhibition centred on Greek nudity, we find this a good moment to revisit this post, about when we had a long discussion with Shewee Fiend Friend about how there should totally be more male nudity everywhere: Stark Raving Nudity

Last year's festschrift to Shewee Fiend Friend, on the occasion of her gaining her PhD title: Kicking Anglo-Saxon Arse: Festschrift to Shewee Fiend Friend

Benefit from Shewee Fiend Friend's advice on how (not) to drink rum: Exuberant Archaeologist Friend Is Not Impressed with Italian Toilets Again

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

A Glorious French Manifestation of Intellect Combined with Stylishness

Well, strike us pink with a medium-sized bath towel if there isn't a lot of stuff happening! We thought things couldn't get any more exciting after Feisty French Friend sent us photos of her renovated bathroom, and Tudor Friend shared an article about what happens when you run out of toilet roll onboard a Virgin train - and then, whoosh! even more events occurred! Being protective of our readers' mental health, we won't overload you with everything all at once, but rest assured that there are lots of posts, full to the brim with rampant enthusiasm, vim, and brio, coming in the near future.

For now, let's quickly look at Feisty French Friend's renovated bathroom, before we get too distracted and/or our short-term memory deteriorates even further. France is in the news today, and we reckon French intellectualism could do with some solidarity.

We just learned a new French expression, and we're not afraid to use it:
Putain de bordel de merde, but that is a lovely toilet! Note the water-saving brilliance!
(See more examples of the indiscriminate use of French expressions here.)

We approve hugely of this shower, which has two shower heads! This arrangement gives one the option of using the stylish-but-impractical-for-people-wearing-glasses-or-not-wishing-their-hair-wet wall-mounted shower head, or the sane and normal attached-to-a-flexible-hose variety. (Get more ranting on this subject here.) 

We wonder if it takes a French person to renovate a bathroom into a glorious manifestation of intellect combined with stylishness? Perhaps we are confusing Feisty French Friend with her bathroom (for Feisty French Friend can, verily, be described as "a glorious manifestation of intellect combined with stylishness"), but this ability to achieve chicness fused with rampant intellectualism appears to us particularly French.

However, that's not to say that a similar design can't be achieved by other nations - does Feisty French Friend's bog remind us of something? Of course it does! It reminds us of a photo by Justin Townes Earle, that notorious American singer of songs, which we published back in the days before we ran out of songs we could denominate Toilet Songs, and write special posts about. This particular Toilet Song post was called Toilet Song - Harlem River Blues, and was pretty festive, as Toilet Song posts go. The toilet in the photo is, as you can see, remarkably similar to the French one above, with its practical yet beautiful tiles. However, its charm is perhaps best described as rugged, rather than intellectual.

That time when Justin Townes Earle posted a picture of a toilet on Twitter.

In other news, the inherent misogyny of toilet queues is finally being discussed in the international media (thanks, Tudor Friend!), and not merely in terms of examining the lunacy displayed at every level by those dirty old Victorians. We'd love to do a more in-depth analysis of this subject, which is both important and interesting, but we can't be arsed right now. Also, bad things tend to happen when our posts get too long.

Hastening towards the end of this blog post, therefore, we've got a festive video which we find corresponds well with reality, especially the bits about how beer is good and people are crazy (you know what we mean, you darling, fucked-up bitches).

Festive video - Billy Currington, People Are Crazy

Related Reading

A similar water-saving toilet from the Museum of Wine in Chinon, photographed by Quasi-Intellectual Friend: On the Nature of Academic Friendships
(This is rather a favourite post of ours, actually - it's the one in which we describe our friends as "fruitcakes". Because what's not to love about fruitcake!)

Another water-saving toilet, at the Arcola Theatre in London, kindly shared by Bogsley Hansson Friend: Let's Party Like It's World Toilet Day!

A gorgeous contribution from Feisty French Friend - an actual video! Of a toilet!
Musings on Labels. Oooh, Hang on, "Label" - That's a Whisky, Right?

That time when Australian Friend broke the toilet at Feisty French Friend's wedding:
Amie Australienne Va au Mariage, Casse Toilette (Australian Friend Goes to Wedding, Breaks Toilet)

More pictures from Feisty French Friend's wedding, and more misapplied French interjections: 
In Which We Indulge in Poetry and Out-of-Context French Expressions

Friday, 2 January 2015

A Moderately Cheerful Update

It got to the point where we considered starting one of those "good news" newspapers, just to get to hear something that didn't depress the hell out of us. You know, the kind that has articles reporting that "Edith, 83, successfully went to the supermarket without breaking her hip", or that "Arnold, 8, said something nice to his sister". But the universe saw fit to give us a break today, and so we thought we'd do a cheerful, celebratory update, to make up for all the ranting and doom.

So here, in all its glory, is Glimmingehus, a magnificent medieval manor outside Simrishamn.  We spent a delightful spring day here the other year, and were treated to an extra special guided tour, courtesy of our distinguished company from Lund University.

Glimmingehus in all its glory. Note the remains of the privies on the wall!

Close-up of the privies.

We can't remember quite what this is, but suspect that it is the fireplace in the kitchen,
the basis for the central heating system.

To be honest, babes, we don't remember why we took this photo.
No doubt we had our reasons.
Nope. No idea.

Woof! We assume that you now feel as furiously invigorated as we do!

In celebration of today's good news, we thought we'd treat you to our latest favourite song, which also functions as our new year's resolution.

Festive video - Brothers Osborne, Rum

Related Reading
All posts about castles
All posts about medieval plumbing
More information about Glimmingehus, from Riksantikvarieämbetet (in Swedish)
If you like medieval stuff, check out our friend Jane's rampantly intellectual blog, Temple of Janus

We also have a New Year's greeting to our female readers, from Jonny. This splendid if disgusting boy writes:
New Year, new girlfriend. I have spent many months crying myself to sleep but now I'm officially back on the market.
If you've got any hot mates show them this picture. I feel it shows I'm extreme but also still have a sensitive side. Look forward to banging all your mates. Happy New Year!!

This is not the first time we've published a glowing lonely hearts ad about Jonny, enumerating his many good qualities in no uncertain terms. Ladies! What are you doing?
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