Saturday, 22 July 2017

If You Are a Medievalist in Your Mid- to Late Thirties, and/or Want to Save the World, This Is for You

Does the world terrify you? If not, it probably should.

We like to think of ourselves as the Rebecca Solnit of toilet blogs. Rebecca Solnit, as everyone knows who follows her on social media, is a voice of reason and a source of light in a very dark, very desolate wilderness. Her social media accounts also function as rallying points for people who want to do something to defend the values they believe in, but aren't sure what.

When you find yourself overcome with despair at the state of the world, have a lie-down on the chaise-longue for a bit, if it makes you feel better. Go on, clutch your head. Clutch it good. Roll your eyes and groan. Do not restrain yourself - groan good and loud! Good. Now get up, and make yourself a cup of tea. Or, if you fancy it, a good stiff whisky! Then stop despairing, and do one thing. If we all do just one thing, together we will have done many things, and it will really help!

In the spirit of Rebecca Solnit, we have compiled an officious list of things you can do to defend democracy, depending on where you live. Pick one, pick many - get roaringly drunk and do them all! You're welcome.

If you live in the US you can:

If you live in Poland you can:

If you live in the UK you can:

If you live in Australia you can:

If you live in Scandiwegia you can:

Wherever you live:

For more tips and resources, here is a really great site.

We reckon that's enough pontificating for now. How about some toilet pictures? We have some exciting pictures from Öland, a very pretty island in the Baltic, off the coast of Sweden. You may want to make sure you are sitting down - perhaps with a fortifying glass of whisky! - before reading any further, since we have some quite dirty pictures. Not dirty in the sense "depicting Jonny in the bath with only a toy battleship to cover his modesty", alas. We don't have any of those at the moment. However, we have to make do with what we've got, and we hope that you will enjoy our dirty pictures, despite the sad lack of Jonny-related nudity.

Let's start out in Gettlinge! This Iron Age burial site will be of interest to medievalists the world over, whether they are in their mid- to late thirties or even older, or (do they even exist?) younger. Kind people have helpfully installed a rudimentary public toilet in the vicinity of the burial site, so that one may satisfy one's soul and one's historical interest, and also, possibly simultaneously, heed one's physical needs.

A rude hut

Inside: a VERY rudimentary, and not very clean, toilet
The ceiling is also rudimentary

Ah, poetry! A festive piece of graffiti on the wall says:

Bovar och banditer
som kommer hit och skiter
Om ni något hjärta har
Lämna lite papper kvar

Our very rudimentary, non-rhyming translation goes as follows:

(Thieves and bandits
Who come here for a crap
If you have any heart
Leave some paper)

We can't remember exactly where we saw this festive flower pot, but it may have been in the village of Näsby. The sign says "Hundpiss - nej tack!" ("Dog piss - no thank you!").

In the interest of recording public toilets next to sites of public interest, here is a similarly rudimentary toilet by the side of the road, next to the Möckelmossen bog (yes, really).

A very rudimentary interior...

...belies the absolutely magnificent exterior! Woof!

Next, let's check out the toilets at Hotell Skansen. They are pretty bog-standard hotel toilets, really, but Skansen has a special place in our heart and not only because they make their own whisky.

Feel free to adore this mixer tap and hygienic towel arrangement in an unhealthy, heathenish manner.

An exemplary arrangement
Next, let's check out some church toilets. It's been a while! As we may have mentioned before, we are red-hot, stark raving atheists at the Privy Counsel, but we do enjoy a visit to a historically significant church now and then, especially if it has a good toilet (as churches in Sweden often, helpfully, do). We start with Gärdslösa kyrka, which we have already reviewed in the past.

Alas, readers, we have reached the age where we repeat ourselves! We have already posted a review of this toilet, many moons ago. We should perhaps have contented ourselves with noting that this bog hasn't changed at all since 2012 and left it at that, but we just couldn't resist the temptation to publish more pictures of it, no doubt for self-aggrandizing reasons of our own.

The charming hut housing the toilet at Gärdslösa church.

Feel free to celebrate the holy trinity of this sturdy and most excellent coat-hook.

Exciting wall paintings inside the church

Some 13th-century runes that casually got left on the wall

Have we got energy for one more church? Haha, of course we do! Let us, without further ado, admire pictures from Algutsrums kyrka, whose roots go back to the 10th century.

A very exciting, though we say so ourselves, grave stone, commemorating a parson by the name of Erlend, who died in Algutsrum in 1345. If you crave more information you can get it here and perhaps here. Maybe even here

The best thing about the church in Algutsrum - even better than the Latin inscription! - is the toilet. Here is the charming little door, just to your left as you enter.

A most hygienic and virtuous arrangement!

We would never advocate keeping toilet rolls on the floor, but then again who are we to judge?

A charming and helpful sign advising the hapless visitor on how to work the lock

Let's do one more toilet on Öland, then we promise we will stop! Here is the toilet in the lovely little hipster café at Prästgården, Smedby.

Whatever happens to you in this toilet, rest assured that you will never be bored!
We cannot praise this charming and hygienic arrangement enough! It's even got our favourite Bliw soap!

Well done for reading this far! As a reward, here is a picture of cake. This cake was made by a very festive relative of ours. It is the best cake we have ever eaten, and we are never flippant about cake.

Now, it's Saturday night. Go out dancing and carousing! Immediately!

But first, let us have a Festive Video. This one is intended to reflect a conversation we had with Shewee Fiend Friend about female-only spaces. Turns out there's not enough of them. Sometimes, that's due to misogynistic abuse happening even in supposedly women-friendly environments. It could be due to people taking de Beauvoir's tenet that gender is something that is made, not something one is born with, and using it as a basis of further oppression.

Sometimes, a female-only space is more fun and friendly than a mixed space. Sometimes, a woman needs a women-only space to catch her breath and put her brave face back on. If you get invited to one: respect the rules and have fun! Sometimes, however, dudes who haven't been invited try to force their way into women-only spaces. To those dudes we would like to say: back the fuck off. If you find that you are encroaching on a safe space women have created for themselves, or find that you are spending your time shouting abuse at women, whether in real life or online,  here is a list of things you could be doing instead - including, but not limited to, starting a men's shelter, founding a support group to talk about football, and throwing yourself out the window.

Festive video: Jonathan Richman, I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar
(The studio version of this song, though less whimsical, is decidedly more audible.)

Related Reading

Friday, 14 July 2017

Friends Who Send Toilet Pictures, and Other Literal Life Savers

There are many reasons to write a bog blog post. It could be, for instance, that one is deeply committed to the ethos that the business of a bog blog is to analyse, discuss, and stare in disbelief at, toilets. It could be that one is too hungover to do anything sensible. It could be that one's friends are such exemplary correspondents that the flood of toilet pictures filling up one's archive is causing one panic of a magnitude equal to, or greater than, that which is caused by the fact that it is currently raining in the Antarctic. Or it could be a combination of the above factors.

Be that as it may, here are some pictures from Audiologist Friend's Australian adventure. That hearing-measuring toilet photographer writes:

Kolla in denna ljuvliga plats på jorden: botaniska trädgården i Brisbane. Grön utsikt vid handtvätten 
(Check out this lovely place on Earth: The botanic gardens in Brisbane. Green view by the hand wash)
Does this remind us of anything? Well yes, by Jove! It looks a lot like that toilet that Medievalist (With a Side-Interest in Roman Archaeology) Friend went to once in Singapore!

The interior of this sturdy yet hygienic bog reminds us of the one Australian Friend came across at a wedding once.

 Adiologist Friend's travels continue:

Ändhållplatsen på spårvagnslinje 96 i Melbourne 
(Final stop on tram line 96 in Melbourne)

Exemplary signage! Also, how clever to have toilets at the end of the tram line! Imagine if we'd had access to a toilet that time we threw up behind a bin in Hammersmith (how differently our life might have panned out!), or if Very Brave Friend had had one that time she had an accident on the night bus...

We move here into Epistolary Action territory, reproducing part of a conversation between us and Audiologist Friend.

Audiologist Friend: 
Who gives a crap-toalettpappret som finns överallt i Australien (iallafall i Brisbane & Melbourne) t ex det här caféet (mittenbilden). De två andra bilderna är från en musikstudio vi besökte idag 
När jag påpekade detta roliga faktum för min vän så förklarade han att det beror på att företaget donerar en del av sin vinst till välgörenhet! 
(The Who gives a crap toilet paper that you find everywhere in Australia (at least in Brisbane & Melbourne), for instance this café (the middle picture). The other two pictures are from a music studio we visited today
When I pointed out htis fun fact to my friend, he explained that it's because the company donates part of their profit to charity!)

The Privy Counsellor:

Audiologist Friend:
Haha såklart du har 
(Haha, of course you have)

Spare bog rolls and hand lotion! Woof!

Lots of spare toilet rolls! And booze! A hundred million points!

We move now from the dusty, snake-riddled colonies to good old Blighty, where Jonny has been at it again. That addled-yet-desirable young bachelor writes:

The new Gusto restaurant in York's new toilets a week before launching to the public
No mirror selfie as I didn't want them to be able to identify the leak

Those are certainly very luscious toilets! However, we know what our readers want, and that is weird pictures of Jonny. This had us seriously worried. Accustomed to regular illustrations of Jonny's fine physique, what will our readership do if deprived of their heart's desire? We may get a mutiny on our hands!  Luckily, we had this gem in our archive - a picture of an Australian life guard, courtesy of Audiologist Friend! Woof!

We just love that Audiologist Friend has obviously taken this picture on the sly, while at the same time making sure not to include the life guard's face, thus protecting his privacy


Today's Festive Video is intended to reflect the fact that many of our friends live far away from us, in a different country or even on a different continent, and that we wish they were nearer. It is also intended to defiantly show Shewee Fiend Friend that there is no limit to how vulgar our taste in music can get, and no depths to which we will not sink when it comes to country music.

Festive Video - Rednex, Wish You Were Here

Related Reading
All posts featuring Audiologist Friend

That time Medievalist (With a Side-Interest in Roman Archaeology) went to a toilet in Singapore:
All Mouth and No Trousers - Sichuan Food in Singapore

That time Australian Friend went to a wedding:
HTFU: A Journey through an Australian Dunny

All posts featuring Jonny

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

In Which the Privy Counsel Goes Ballistic

In moments of being hungover, fatigued, or simply unable to find anything worth watching on Netflix, it is - though we say so ourselves - extremely refreshing to browse through old posts of this bog blog. Not only does one get the chance to chortle at some particularly outraged rant or clever turn of phrase, one may also reflect on the awesomeness of the various members of the Privy Counsel. As we once so very eloquently put it, sneakily referencing Bridget Jones, we like to think that we manage to keep on keeping on thanks to a network of friends, connected by social media (telephony is just, like, so nineties).

We particularly enjoy it when we can combine friends from different contexts, making for a richer, more nuanced experience. The most rampant example of this was of course the infamous Shewee new year's party in Shoreditch in the year of our Lord 2013, which became almost like a seminar or a panel debate, with Australian Friend, Shewee Fiend Friend, Very Brave Friend, and some dude called David discussing different aspects of public urination. There have been other instances. In April this year we managed to go to the pub with Tudor Friend and Jonny (who counts as a friend for administrative reasons) in York, a not inconsiderable feat of social engineering.

You may imagine our delight when, last week, we returned to York and managed to fit Jonny, Shewee Fiend Friend, our Italian friend whose toilet we reviewed back in 2012, Jonny's friend who finds cool coins in the ground, and some random medievalist we came across lurking in the Yorkshire Museum gardens, into the same house and get them all drunk at the same time! Sometimes, when sitting back to contemplate our own competence, we just baulk at it. Positively baulk, we tell you. (Or is that bark? Sometimes we get confused.)

For reasons of public decency we are unfortunately unable to show you pictures from this impromptu meeting of the minds, but we have - thank God - toilet photos! Let us take the many exciting bog pictures from our most recent sojourn to the beautiful city of York in no particular order, and start with The Habit.

This popular café bar in York is where the friendship between us and Shewee Fiend Friend really started to blossom, or perhaps more appropriately to ferment, so many years ago we'd rather not think about it, after we lurched to the bar and ordered the second cheapest whisky. We appreciate Shewee Fiend Friend for many reasons, not least her capacity to call bullshit when we find ourselves in the grips of self-delusion (this happens more often than even our regular readers would perhaps believe), and are immensely grateful for this whisky-fuelled blossoming, or fermentation.

A useful and informative toilet sign

Next, a gander at the toilets in the Yorkshire Museum. As readers who have been with us since the beginning will be aware, this excellent museum toilet was one of the first bogs we ever reviewed, back in the autumn of 2010! Bog blog fans wishing to revisit the original review may do so here. We'd venture to claim that the only thing that's changed in the past seven years is the toilet roll dispenser, which is now of the Tork Smart One variety. (For really rampant readers, we wrote a review of this toilet roll dispenser here. You can also read about another example of a museum wielding a Smart One here, in a post making many interesting remarks about male nudity.)

Things could be much, much worse

We don't actually like this sort of coat hook, but it will do

This type of lock breaks very easily, as we discovered to our chagrin when trying to lock the door of another cubicle. This lock was possibly even worse - though the smell definitely was not - than the one in the airport in Istanbul, where we once waxed poetical and ate a poppy-seed pastry in the hope of achieving a mild narcotic effect, only to be sorely disappointed (though we did at least get to wash our hands).

We heartily recommend a visit to the Yorkshire Museum, though we would like to point out that inspecting the Viking exhibition in the company of medievalists - some of whom may or may not be in their mid- to late thirties - is a slow and sometimes painful process, particularly when one is already halfway drunk and becoming increasingly bewildered.

At this point we must share some very sad news with you. Although we enjoyed a thoroughly festive visit to an old favourite haunt of ours, the Brigantes pub in York, our hungover fumbling caused us to delete the pictures! Doooom! Let us reassure you by stating that, although the toilets have been renovated, the smell (and, intriguingly, the soap dispenser) remains the same. If you are so inclined, you may peruse our October 2010 review here.

Perhaps this may cheer us all up: the toilet in a bike shop slash café called Bicis y más! We have seldom come across a toilet in the British Isles that we appreciated more! It may be mostly due to relief at our hangover finally lifting, but we thoroughly enjoyed our sunny visit to this place, and would argue that the loo is easily a contender for the title Best Toilet in England! No mean feat considering the crown has been held unchallenged since 2011 by Café Treff in Ambleside. (The competition, to be fair, has not been exactly fierce.)

This is not the best kind of mixer tap, but the friendly décor and helpful maps on the wall make up for it

A useful cork board

A reassuring amount of spare toilet rolls

Let us have one more picture before moving on to the Festive Video. Please make sure that you are sitting down, and have a cooling drink at hand, for things are about to get rather exciting. Are you ready? Behold - a photo of Jonny's ankle! Woof!

As we have remarked on a previous occasion, we've seen many pictures of Jonny's naked legs over the years. We hadn't previously seen this splendid sock, though! Note, also, the rugged and manly scar - a souvenir from when Jonny did stupid things with a bike. As it turns out, both the Privy Counsellor and Shewee Fiend Friend have also done stupid things with bikes, but we were too drunk at the time of discussion to remember if we reached a definite conclusion about whose bike-related antics were the stupidest. Certainly Shewee Fiend Friend lost the most teeth, but there are other parameters to be taken into account, none of which we can now recall.

Actually, we have another very exciting picture up our sleeve! Remember when a picture of Jonny on a cannon very nearly caused the internet to suffer a collective apoplexy? We reproduce the image here, for your delight and edification:


Actually, Shewee Fiend Friend, who is prone to competitiveness, found a similar picture of herself! We feel obliged, here, to provide you with some context before showing it, and have copy-pasted an unabridged section from a conversation we had about the upcoming picture. We apologise in advance for any offence caused.

Shewee Fiend Friend: 
I can't find my other cannon picture
Actually it's a cannonball picture 
The Privy Counsellor:


They're piled in a big heap 
A heap of balls
And I stood on top and squatted like I was pooing them out 

I was pretty pleased with myself
Stopped that salivation dead in its tracks  
The infamous picture of Shewee Fiend Friend and a heap of cannon balls

We are confident that you share our hope that this becomes a battle between Jonny and Shewee Fiend Friend, with increasingly competitive cannon-related pictures filling up the internet.

You have waited patiently, and it is with endless delight and a defiant smirk that we prepare to present today's Festive Video. Since it turns out that everyone, especially Shewee Fiend Friend, hates and despises our taste in music, we thought we might as well give up on trying to maintain even a veneer of coolness, and just use the cheesiest video we could think of. If Shewee Fiend Friend had a favourite country song, we're pretty sure this would be it.

Festive Video - Shania Twain, Up!

Related Reading

A summary of the best posts of 2014 - a great year at the Privy Counsel, for many reasons:
"Time You Enjoy Wasting Is Not Wasted Time" - A Review of 2014 at the Privy Counsel
(Sample quote: "A new year, in which we haven't yet mortally offended anyone, or got way too drunk and spent a whole day quietly leaking bodily fluids and wishing for death, or burned the pasta")

All posts featuring Shewee Fiend Friend

Shewee Fiend Friend's very first post on this blog, the by-now classic

That time when we and Shewee Fiend Friend indulged in a thorough analysis of the state of male nudity:
Stark Raving Nudity

All posts featuring Jonny

All posts featuring pictures of Jonny's naked legs:
What Goes Around, Comes Around

The Comfort of the Familiar - Life, Jonny, and Everything

One Battle Won, But the War Ain't Over

Another post featuring balls of various kinds, and an almost unbearably exciting picture of Jonny:
Balls! It's Christmas

All posts featuring Australian Friend

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