Saturday, 9 March 2019

A Wild International Toilet Journey, Possibly Incorporating Sacrilege

We described in our last post, with plenty of poetic expression but not a whisper of a scintilla of an iota of hyperbole, our work situation. Said work situation is the reason our oh! so intellectual yet firmly grounded in common sense bog-blogging, beloved by really quite a few people, not all of whom are imaginary, has regrettably been reduced to a sad, slow trickle, only faintly reminiscent of the mighty river that once roared through the barren badlands that comprise the sum total of factual yet humorous toilet blogs, vitalising the dry banks and causing the desert to bloom.

We are blessed in having many humorous yet intellectual friends to keep us, if not sane then at least functioning (to a greater or lesser degree, depending on time of day and level of sobriety). Said friends keep sending us amusing and/or horrifying toilet pictures, and currently we are at the point where we simply must use these pictures or be crushed under a thundering avalanche of porcelain imagery. Hence we are simply going to post the pictures currently languishing in our archive, without any thought as to coherence or even sanity.

First up are a wonderful collection of photos from a dear friend of ours who is a nearly finished physician. She asked if we are still blogging about toilets and hygiene, and continued to tell us about her travels to Malaysia and Singapore. The toilets there, she says, are always clean and nice. Our friend also reflects that it is important that toilets be easily accessible and clean. The first pictures are from Gardens by the Bay, in Singapore, which establishment, our friend assures us, sported "proper clean and nice toilets".

Next we are treated to pictures of a toilet in Malaysia, "probably from a karaoke bar". We are, as regular readers are aware, not fond of cubicles, but these cubicle doors at least have the grace and decency to be colourful.

Finally we are treated to these photos from the airport in Kuala Lumpur.

Our friend notes with approval that the bins have one of those lids with a flip chute, so that you are not forced to view the contents of the bin when discarding your sanitary product. We also approve of these, and have ranted in the past about the fact that so many toilet designers assume that one has the use of both - or even three, or more - hands when operating a bin, being blissfully ignorant of the fact that it is rather hard to flip a lid when one or both hands are covered in blood and you are crouched weirdly in an insane toilet stall CLEARLY DESIGNED BY A MAN, trying not to bleed on your clothes, your shoes, or the wall.

We observed once in Copenhagen that having a foot-operable bin makes it approximately 180 % easier to not smear blood on everything in one's vicinity, and concluded that letting women design things would vastly improve the world. (See also Caitlin Moran's "If" poem, based on the line "If you can change your tampon in the toilet of a moving train".) Note to male designers everywhere: WOMEN HAVE ONLY TWO HANDS.

Our friend concludes her very enjoyable toilet odyssey with the words "These were all the pictures I took before I left my phone in a taxi and never found it".

Next up, we have pictures of a beautiful yet mysterious toilet in Amsterdam!

A friend of ours who is a midwife and a rampant feminist explains that this toilet is in the old first-class waiting room at Amsterdam Central Station, which is now a bistro. She adds:

Den stora frågan är ju om det är en duva med kronan över - i så fall har jag ju kissat på den helige ande

[The main question is if this is a dove with a crown - in that case I weed on the holy spirit]
Tycker mer det liknar en papegoja
[I think it looks more like a parrot]
 We are inclined to agree that the bird in question is a parrot - perhaps an Indonesian one? It appears that parrots where a common motif in Dutch art from the 17th century. We have also found evidence of at least one porcelain cockatoo associated with the Netherlands - perhaps this emblem of luxury worked its way, over the centuries, onto the porcelain of a toilet bowl? Certainly parrots and other exotic animals were frequently used as decorative elements on Dutch tiles in the 17th century. Why the parrot should be graced with a - presumably royal - crown is still a mystery to us, however. According to the internet, the restaurant in question has an actual parrot living on the premises, though we wonder what came first - the parrot or the bog?

Finally, we offer these pictures from a toilet in Prague:

 We asked the friend who sent these pictures a simple, yet searingly relevant question:

The reply? 

I don't know. That's just the way it is.
 And that, dear readers, summarises the answer to the question of life, the universe and everything. Many thanks to our kind friends for sending us these pictures, which warmed our heart and lit up the darkness during very troubled times.

Let's have a Festive Video that not only continues the avian theme but soothes a troubled soul. We find this song comforting when things get too crazy. It was originally written and performed by Blaze Foley, but we find that we prefer this version by John Prine.

Festive Video: John Prine, Clay Pigeons

Related Reading

All posts featuring Singapore

Medievalist (With a Side Interest in Roman Archaeology) Friend's rather fabulous report from Singapore, into which we managed to squeeze a not inconsiderable amount of feminist ranting: All Mouth and No Trousers - Sichuan Food in Singapore

All posts featuring Malaysia

A post featuring a really great bin: Caitlin Moran Really Does Make Everything Better

Another post in which we rant about things designed by men: "Let Them Eat Cake" - Could It Be Any More Obvious That a Man Designed These Toilets?

Caitlin Moran reading the poem "If" I Were a Woman

All posts featuring delftware

All posts featuring the Czech Republic

Another post featuring a song by Blaze Foley: Cuteness, Intellectual Solace, and a Correction
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