Saturday, 31 December 2016

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

So that's 2016 over and done with. As has been universally agreed, it's not been a highlight in terms of human enlightenment. Still, one must remember to acknowledge the progress that has been made. For instance, there is now a vaccine against ebola. France has introduced a law that criminalises the act of buying sex. 650 political prisoners have been released worldwide, according to Amnesty International. And the manatee is reportedly no longer at risk of extinction.

We have to remember the good things, because otherwise we will succumb to despair. And we bloody well can't afford to succumb to despair. 2017 is the year when Donald Trump takes over as president of the United States, which means that, most likely, 2017 is the year when a shitstorm of racism, sexism, and every kind of -ism you can think of, including nazism, will be unleashed upon the world. If we want life to be worth living, we have to fight to make it so. Human rights are won through struggle and sacrifice, and once won, they have to be defended. We have to sodding well keep fighting for democracy.

We can't afford to sit on our arses and do nothing. As Caitlin Moran says, "If you have been complaining about something for three minutes, you should have done something about it two minutes ago". If you find yourself complaining about the state of the world, DO SOMETHING. If you have money to spare, donate it to an organisation fighting for civil liberties and human rights. If you don't have money to spare, consider whether you can instead give of your time; find an organisation that needs volunteers.

Human rights will only be breached if we let them. We can stand up for each other. We can organise protest marches. We can show solidarity. There are so many things we can do. Don't do nothing.

A rather incendiary call to arms, what? But who are we to tell people to roll up their sleeves and defend democracy? Who do we think we are? Do we imagine ourselves to be striding up the barricades, one tit hanging out, waving a fucking flag? Hardly. Actually, we spend rather a lot of our time bitching and moaning, and moodily grinding our teeth. In a dark moment recently, we thought to ourselves that we would be fine with the zombie apocalypse arriving round about now, and ending all the rape culture and the sexist bullshit. Zombies, after all, aren't interested in maintaining a toxic, patriarchal hegemony. They just want brains. When we posited this idea to Shewee Fiend Friend, however, she said, firmly: "Yeah, but I want equality first." This seems reasonable. First equality. Then zombie apocalypse. To find the strength to fight for equality, however, we need hope

Hope, according to the old parable about Pandora and her box, is the last thing to abandon humankind. Without hope, we'd all stop writing toilet blogs, or whatever activity we happen to find meaningful, lie down in a puddle, and die. We're not sure that this would be a negative development, considering the way the human race is pushing this planet to hell in a handcart, but let's work on the assumption that we want to keep humanity alive. So. Hope. What gives us hope? Well, mixer taps and good hygiene, for a start.

We have had the good fortune of spending the autumn at an amazing school in the south of Sweden. This school is filled to the rafters with wonderful staff and students, who make every day spent in their company a joy! This school also has exemplary toilets. Not only are they equipped with mixer taps, good-quality soap and paper towels, they also have these amazing signs:

This reminds us of a similar sign in a toilet in a building where we have spent some of the best times, and made some of the best friends, of our lives: the King's Manor in York.

The sign says (a translation will follow for those whose linguistic skills do not quite stretch to reading toilet signs in Swedish):

Råd för att förhindra smittpsridning
För att minska allmän smittpsridning så rekommenderas:
- Noggrann handhygien - tvätta händer ofta och alltid före mat, efter toa-besök och efter man snutit näsan
- Vid nysningar: nys i en pappersnäsduk (som sedan slängs) eller i armvecket
- Undvika att vidröra munnen, ögonen eller peta näsan med "orena" fingrar
- Vädra klassrum med luftgenomdrag 3 min. minst mellan lektioner
- Vistas mer utomhus på rasterna
- Vistas hemma i stillhet vid feber eller påverkat allmäntillstånd

(Advice to prevent the spread of disease
To minimise the general spread of disease, the following measures are recommended:
- Careful hand hygiene - wash hands often and always before eating, after going to the toilet, and after blowing one's nose
- When sneezing: sneeze into a paper handkerchief (which is then discarded), or into your elbow
- Avoid touching your mouth or eyes, or picking your nose, with "unclean" fingers
- Air out each classroom for at least three minutes between classes
- Spend more time outdoors during recess
- Stay at home and rest when you have a fever)

Words cannot quite express how wonderful we find these signs. Suffice to say that when we first caught sight of one of them, we uttered a joyous WOOF! and knew we had found kindred spirits. In a world full of darkness, despair, and bad plumbing, it is kindred spirits and mixer taps that keep the Privy Counsel going! (Again, let us assume that this is something we want to aim for.)

Here is a photo of the disabled toilet at the same school:

See the sign? See it? Isn't it amazing? Also: mixer tap, covered toilet roll holder with toilet roll facing the right way, paper towels, and good-quality soap.

We dearly love signs designed to exhort the public to harden the fuck up and be more hygienic. Let's hope there are more of them in 2017!

We have, in previous years, attempted to get our readers to vote for the year's best bog blog post. However, since the only person who ever votes is Australian Friend (who tried to vote twice last time, in order to be kind, which if possible made us feel even sadder), we will not attempt that again. Also, if there's one thing 2016 has shown us, it is that elections, even democratic ones, can be hugely problematic. Let us instead summarise 2016 by regarding this picture, sent to us by Australian Friend. It says it all, doesn't it?

Australian Friend's comment on 2016.

Before enjoying a rather epic Festive Video, a word on this year's mottoes.
Our mottoes for 2016 were PEOPLE SHOULD FUCK OFF MORE, and FEMINISM NEEDS TO BE MORE MILITANT. We have, by and large, stuck to them. The first motto seemed to strike a chord with the populace at large. We didn't need to clarify, or explain what we meant; everyone appeared to nod sagely, as if to say "I hear ya, bruv. People totally need to fuck off more". The second motto, however, apparently caused some puzzlement. Not everyone understood what we meant by "militant". The word "militant" conjures up, perhaps, images of unattractively dressed people engaged in unattractive, even violent, activities. Let us make it clear that what we meant was not "violent", but rather "uncompromising". Women, in our opinion, make too many compromises when it comes to negotiating with the patriarchy. If you require further clarification, we wrote a Facebook post defending our stance, which you can read here.

Our mottoes for 2017 will be the same as for 2016:

Let us move on to the Festive Video.

Festive Video - Flo & Joan, The 2016 Song

Because our particular brand of OCD makes us unable to handle misspellings of expressions like "en masse" (and also "en route". Oh God, "en route") in Youtube video subtitles, we are providing a full transcript ot the lyrics of this song - spelled right - below. We love the song and everything about it, but - en masse. Our usual recommendations of Related Reading follow below the lyrics.

The 2016 Song

2016 - it's been a time, it's been a struggle
But everything is fine if you're a straight, white, male muggle
We've tried to stay composed, cross our fingers, count to ten
But every time we get to nine you fuck it up again

You took David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince and Sharon Jones
Terry Wogan, Ronnie Corbett, Caroline Aherne and Leonard Cohen
Victoria Wood was enough for us but still you wanted more
Muhammad Ali, Gene Wilder, and the Great British Bake-Off was the final straw

You shot down a gorilla, we can't cure the zika virus
And the woman's still to blame when men force their way inside us
Brock Turner's not a rapist, 'cause just look how fast he swims
Can someone get me Ambien to calm my shaking quim?

Should we just try to unplug you and then plug you back in?
Did your parents get divorced or did you just drink too much gin?
Goddamnit, 2016, and on top of all of that
Cats is back on Broadway. Who the fuck did that?

Then throw in all the shootings, both en masse and by police
A spike in racist hate crimes and a bombing down in Nice
The death toll is upsetting, and your politics a farce
Thank you, 2016, you fucked us up the arse

'Cause all over the world it's not looking good for you
If you're female, Muslim, POC or LGBTQ
And God fucking forbid we'd let Hilllary be in charge
Instead we get the spunk trumpets and fuckboys in this farce

Yes, you really took a dump when you let twat-nugget Farage
Lead a racist referendum - who put that shitty frog in charge?
Your Brexit was a dumb-dumb, now our country lives in fear
You really are the skidmark of all the shitty years

Yes, the USA's now governed by a fuck-cheeto with hair
And it's not just in the States; the fucking clowns are everywhere

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

Three cheers for fucking Trumpy and his neo-Nazi crew
What a bloody, nasty, messy, booby-fuck to-do

We're sorry for the swearing
And we're sorry to be crude
But we're really cunting angry
And it's all because of you

You laid an egg of solid fuck
You taint-slug made of wee
You garbage-bag of bum dust
You are shitty, shitty 2016

Related Reading

Our classic post on diseases, sneezing, and paper towels:

Other things that give us hope: The toilets at Kensington Palace, the fact that our friends write postcards describing toilets using italics, and also the fact that there is a man in York known, to his admirers, as Pistol Pete, who does Elvis covers 

All posts featuring Caitlin Moran, who really does make everything better even when they are really, really shitty

Remember the days when we spent less time ranting about human rights and much, much more time ranting about whether toilet-roll holders were covered? What can we say? A good rant is a good rant, whatever the topic.

The really lovely toilet at the King's Manor in York, featuring a public health sign: Let's Get Medieval: King's Manor Toilet 

Another post featuring public health signage: In Which We Express Our Gratitude to Electricians Springing Into Action


More festive information from Mythbusters: A Study of the Correlation between the Extremely Scary Toilet Aerosol Effect and Acute OCD in Toilet Bloggers 

All posts featuring New Year's Eve

That's it. Happy fucking new year.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

"My Friend Runs a Toilet Blog" - A Canoodling Kind of Christmas

As all regular readers are aware, Christmas is celebrated on the 24th in all civilised parts of the world*, including, but not limited to, Colombia. As everyone who reads this blog on at least a semi-regular basis is also aware, we would not ever want to foist our opinions on anyone, but it is a recognised fact that celebrating Christmas on any other day but the 24th is weird, incomprehensible, and indicating poor judgment.

Let us thus begin immediately, on this the 24th day of December, getting the season off to a healthy start by admiring this picture of Jonny in Santa hat, taking a toilet selfie!

*Counting, naturally, countries where Christmas is celebrated, only. We are in no way suggesting that parts of the world where Christmas is not celebrated are not civilised. Caveat over, who's for a drink?


Is it ever hot in here? God knows if it's the roaring Yule logs or Jonny's noble physique that's the cause, but we are fanning ourselves rather vigorously!

Next, we have some heartwarming pictures from Meandering Friend, which were first shown to us on 13 December at the traditional Lucia celebration at Lunds Studentskegård, in Lund, Sweden. This special occasion was extremely festive and looked like this:

If you want something done with intelligence, humour, and pizzazz - like this - get academic women to do it!

Meandering Friend told us, on this screamingly celebrational day, that she'd seen the most amazing toilet where one could, if one wished, indulge in genial company and intellectual debate while heeding the call of nature, due to there being two toilets in the same bog! This seemed to us at the time, because it was very early in the morning and we were not in our right mind, like the cosiest, most Christmassy and potentially romantic concept ever! This is truly a place where you can turn the other cheek, in the spirit of Christmas!

HUNKA HUNKA! Can you imagine anything more conducive to romance? We certainly can't!

Meandering Friend, who took time out of a smokin' hot date to take these toilet pictures, writes:
Här kommer de festliga toa-bilderna från Pumphuset i Borås, granne med textilhögskolan och Textile Fashion Center. Använde även "min vän har en toablogg" som del av arsenalen i min dejtingvokabulär.
(Here are the festive toilet pictures from Pumphuset in Borås, next to the Swedish School of Textiles and the Textile Fashion Center. Also used the "my friend runs a toilet blog" gambit as part of the arsenal in my dating vocabulary.)

We are of course delighted to have facilitated the developement of tender feelings by providing bog-related conversation material!

Meandering Friend, who has an interest in materials, would like to point out the enticing blue hue imparted by some kind of wood impregnation.

If this excting knob, like something from a fire hydrant, doesn't make you burst into an excited "WOOF!!", we don't know what will.

Meandering Friend continues:

Fick tyvärr inte möjlighet att testa dubbeltoan då jag denna dag dejtade en person av motsatt kön. Lite besviken.
(Unfortunately didn't get the chance to test the double toilet as I was on this occasion dating a person of the opposite sex. Quite disappointed.)

On our enquiring whether the date was successful, this rampantly intelligent materials expert replied:
Och jodå, två öl och skulpturpromenad. Jag var helnöjd.

(Yeah, two beers and a walk in a sculpture park. I was more than happy.)
Let's give the love birds some space, by engaging in a Festive Video and looking the other way while they canoodle! As you know we are fond of our country music here at the Privy Counsel - the more vulgar the better! We do actually, believe it or not, have some even more vulgar country Christmas songs up our conniving sleeve, but for now, let's stomp our boots to this one:

Festive video - Suzy Bogguss, Two-Step 'Round the Christmas Tree

Tally-ho and merry Christmas!

Related Reading
All posts featuring Meandering Friend

A selection of our favourite Christmas posts:  

In which we rant about the right way to hang toilet rolls:  

In which we discuss atheism and rant about the right way to hang toilet rolls:  

In which we rant about having to write a boring essay on organisational theory:
Advent Musings: In Which We Rant and Ramble Aimlessly, and Don't Even Mention the Word "Toilet" 


In which we attempt to engage our readers in an interactive voting activity, and only get one single vote (we won't be doing that again, you wankers): A Very Wet Blog Post 

An undiscriminating pile of every single one of our posts featuring Christmas

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Oh, Jonny - Losing Our Hearts to a Loose Cannon

It is a truth universally acknowledged that 2016 has been a mind-bogglingly shitty year. The onslaught of misogyny, racism, Islamophobia and general arseholery has been of a magnitude to make even the most battle-hardened feminazi she-devil feel fearful and dejected. Many is the time we have had to have a whisky and a lie-down, clutching our head and blinking frenziedly, hoping everything will go away (it never does). However, the fight continues, and each time we've been stunned into fearful disbelief, frozen on the chaise-longue, we've got back up with fire in our heart and a determined cry of "harden the fuck up!" on our lips.

Not everything has been shrouded in Mordor-esque darkness. Even this tremendously terrible year has had its rays of sunshine. For instance, it has produced A PICTURE OF JONNY ON A CANNON. We jest you not. JONNY! ON! A! CANNON!

Regular readers will recall the lonely hearts ad we wrote on behalf of Jonny back in 2013. Said lonely hearts ad appears to have borne fruit, for rumours have reached us that Jonny is no longer single. Alas! Ladies and gentlemen - we share your pain! However, we shall have to trundle on as best we can, even in the knowledge that Jonny is no longer available. We shall comfort ourselves with these photos that he has generously shared with us. Keep reading and you, too, will be rewarded for not losing heart except in the sense of us all losing our hearts to Jonny, that magnificent piece of joy made flesh.

For those of you who were internet-stalking Jonny on 23 October at 20:43, trying to find out if he was available, it may interest you to know that at that time he was engaged in sending us this picture:

We also received this picture at some point. He's quite the loose cannon, correspondence-wise, is our Jonny!

Read many, many rants about non-functioning British taps here.

The other day we received the following missive:

Got you a present

Wine corks! Colourful ones! Spelling the word toilet! We are dizzy with delight!

Even on holiday I'm still working

Volcanic rock sink was a highlight

Toilets themselves were ok.

Here's me on a cannon for the fans


We can't take any more of this. Let us have a Festive Video forthwith. But first, let us extend a special greeting to our friend Stig, who is very much a fellow soldier in the fight for equal rights. Thanks for the kind thoughts, Stig!

Festive Video - The Andrews Sisters, Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny

Related Reading
The lonely hearts ad we wrote for Jonny back in 2013:
Jonny and a Public Toilet - A Treat for Single Ladies
All posts featuring Jonny

Saturday, 10 December 2016

A Rare Bit of Welsh Welcome, Intermingled with Screaming Bloody Horror

Our efforts to educate the world at large and make it harden the fuck up are, as regular readers know to their chagrin, more or less ceaseless. This educational zeal goes further, believe it or not, than ranting about non-mixer taps and taking photos of exemplary plumbing. For instance, we've been making our students watch the movie Pride a lot lately, because a) it is awesome, and b) it teaches us about human rights and solidarity. Also, we love a healthy Welsh accent as much as the next person, and thinking about Wales reminded us of the toilet photos Audiologist Friend sent us back in August!

Audiologist Friend writes (as usual, an English translation of the original Swedish follows for the linguistically challenged):

Bara Menyn Bakehouse Café i Cardigan, Wales

Äntligen ett ställe där vattenkranarna sitter så pass nära varandra så att man kan blanda till ljummet vatten! Köpte även lunch härifrån och deras smörgåsar var fantastiskt goda - detta ställe är en gömd pärla i staden Cardigan i södra Wales.

(Bara Menyn Bakehouse Café in Cardigan, Wales.

Finally a place where the taps are close enough together for one to be able to mix oneself lukewarm water! Bought lunch from here and their sandwiches were fantastic - this place is a hidden gem in Cardigan, South Wales.)

A rustic, hearty door, beckoning one closer and bidding one welcome! Just what you'd expect of a Welsh bakehouse!

This looks like a cosy and hygienic arrangement.

AAARGH. Just looking at these taps, however, gives us high blood pressure and makes that tense muscle in our neck tie itself into knots. Where did we put the diclofenac?

Moving on to a different toilet, Audiologist Friend continues:
Ett café i universitetsstaden Aberyswidh (oklar över såväl stavning som uttal [editor's note: it's spelled Aberystwyth, and pronounced thus]) hade denna varmvattenslösning: kunde ej klura ut hur den fungerade. Frustrerande.

(A café in the university town Aberyswidh (unsure of spelling as well as pronunciation [editor's note: it's spelled Aberystwyth, and pronounced thus]) had this hot water solution: was unable to figure out how it worked. Frustrating.)


Samma stad men nytt café/restaurang/butik! Allt ekologiskt och fantastiskt gott. Älskar [walesiskan], se så vackert ordet toalett blir. 

(Same town but a new café/restaurant/shop! Everything organic and terrifically tasty. Love the Welsh language; look how beautiful the word toilet becomes.)

This is indeed beautiful, and makes our heart beat faster, though that could just be the effect of all the rage occasioned by the tap above.

Let us lose no time in educating Audiologist Friend about the tap in Aberystwyth that nearly gave us apoplexy! This kind of tap is one that produces boiling hot water, which is no doubt useful if one has the leisure and inclination to fill up a sink with part ragingly hot water, part cold water from the cold water tap. This is not what one wants in a public establishment, however; what one desires is a proper mixer tap in order to be able to wash one's hands satisfactorily. Also the sink tends to be extra small wherever this type of tap is in use, no doubt for sane and normal reasons. The "burn, baby, burn" type tap is known to scald the actual skin off people's hands. It is rampant in the British Isles and can be found, among other places:

In the typical British workplace

In another typical British workplace which brings the level of horror to dizzying new heights

In the 1940s kitchen at the Castle Museum in York

In an outhouse in Orkney

We shall end here, for fear of giving our readers nightmares. The world is bloody well nightmarish enough, what with all the fascism, racism, and screaming misogyny, without dwelling on these tap-related terrors.

In order to lower our pulse and becalm the cold sweat running down our neck, let us contemplate something pleasant. We note to our delight, for example, that "bara menyn" means "bread and butter" in Welsh. Woof!

Let us have a soothing Festive Video. Here's a song that's been playing at Privy Counsel HQ a lot lately, and which we find highly fitting in a non-mixer-tap context.

Festive Video - Ashley Monroe, I'm Good at Leavin'

Related Reading

All posts featuring Audiologist Friend
Read an intellectually satisfying meta-narrative about dangerous and awful British taps here
All posts featuring Wales

More posts featuring dangerous taps:
A Note On Desperate Measures
Are You British? Does Tap Sanity Elude You?
Tap Into Pain

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Bitches Love Pemberleys - Festchrift to Tudor Friend

Friends, it is time for a Festschrift! As you know, rather like the way fat Tory landowners in Georgian times got made Members of Parliament when they reached a certain weight, we write Festschrifts for our friends when they have wandered through the groves of Academe long enough to not only have got hopelessly lost, but acquired terrible blisters and chronic insomnia - and a PhD!

The latest person among our acquaintance to pass her viva with flying colours is Tudor Friend! Our sincerest contrafibularities to that ragingly intellectual cheese aficionado! Tudor Friend is the kind of person who always understands exactly what you mean, and we can honestly say that we would have gone properly batshit crazy on at least four separate occasions without her support, counsel and wisdom. We like to think of ourselves as fiercely logical, well-balanced people here at the Privy Counsel, but right now we are feeling positively emotional. Let us quickly move on before we say anything soppy.

What better way to celebrate Tudor Friend's achievement than by feasting our eyes on pictures of some charming toilets we came across in an old cinema in Malmö, Sweden! We accompanied some young persons to Amnesty Day in this location one wet day in October. It was a most illuminating event, and taught everyone present something about the importance of never ceasing the fight for human rights. If you happen to be feeling combative at the moment, by the way, we heartily recommend the Amnesty Write For Rights campaign, in which one writes letters or Christmas cards to political prisoners to express one's solidarity.

We actually found ourselves wondering, when using this toilet, what Tudor Friend would make of the retro chain and general air of British-people-with-bristling-moustaches-keeping-their-lips-stiff-and-upper-while-using-greaseproof-paper-as-bog-roll.
Do we recognise this sign from anywhere? Why, HELLZ YES!

Rather charming, if cumbersome, taps.

When we asked Tudor Friend what theme she wanted for her Festschrift, she replied:

All I can really say is "I like mixer taps as much as the next girl... Pemberley more than most bitches... and I REALLY love me some cheese!" (A friend once asked me for "Mr Darcy carved out of cheese" for Christmas. But I think a cheese Pemberley would win.)

Thus today's Festive Video, in Tudor Friend's Honour, is of the ragingly intelligent Elizabeth Bennet singing an aria from The Marriage of Figaro, possibly our favourite opera, to a handsome man in a cravat. Unfortunately the video cuts off just as Mr Darcy is about to stride manfully up and down the gallery at Pemberley, thinking of Miss Bennet, while his dogs pad along behind him. Woof!

Festive Video - Elizabeth Bennet singing an English version of Voi che sapete, from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, in the 1995 BBC dramatisation of Pride and Prejudice.

Related Reading
All posts featuring Tudor Friend
All posts featuring Festschrifts
All posts featuring Malmö
If you, too, enjoy Mozart operas, you may like the following posts:
Tod und Verzweiflung, But Also a Rampant (If Temporary) Triumph
Up in the Air - Introducing Exuberant Archaeologist Friend
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