Sunday, 24 September 2017

Piss-Poor Performance

The German Bildungsideal has a lot going for it, comprising, as it does, not only formal training in scientific methods but a wider cultural education. When striving for Bildung, as opposed to mere training, one acknowledges that the world is a diverse place with innumerable strands of history, all equally worth pursuing, and that knowing something about things that perhaps at first feel unfamiliar may enrich not only one's life but one's research. This is what Nazis and misogynists the world over fail to understand - that diversity is a strength, not a threat, and that homogeneity stifles academic pursuits.

In short, hanging out with different kinds of people will most likely enrich one's life, in ways one cannot foresee. We have the great fortune of spending a fair amount of time hanging out with awesome Swedish teachers, who seem to be in possession of arcane, almost occult, knowledge. For instance, one of them pointed out to us the other day that Swedish reggae is a real thing. We embraced this factoid with gusto. Enthusing about it in a social media forum, another awesome Swedish teacher of our acquaintance informed us that not only has Swedish reggae been around for yonks, there are even diverse kinds, including feminist Swedish reggae!

As we pointed out in a previous blog post, "We like, at the Privy Counsel, to be seen as competent people. When you are a self-professed intellectual, you set your standards high. [...] in most areas of life we like to think of ourselves as clued-up and capable. Our source criticism is rigid, our soap is the monkey-friendly kind, and we wouldn't dream of using a semi-colon where a colon is clearly indicated." However, in our ongoing efforts to achieve Bildung, we are ever delighted to come across something we didn't know existed, especially when it is something delightful like - raarrrr! - kick-arse feminist Swedish reggae!

At other times, one learns things that are in no way surprising or new, but are nonetheless incredibly depressing, such as the fact that there are 35 urinals for men in Amsterdam, but only three for women. A Dutch woman was arrested for urinating in public the other day, and was reprimanded by the judge, who claimed that she should have used a male urinal. Clearly, Bildung is not a requirement for Dutch judges. If it were, the judge in question might have realised that actually, there are numerous anatomical, social and safety-related impediments to women who wish to use a urinal designed for men. We once tried to use a urinal in Hoxton Square, London, one new year's eve, but had to give up, despite being armed with a Shewee. There was also the time when we almost got in trouble with the police for urinating in Golden Square. And another time when we faced the dilemma of not finding a toilet in a park, and worried about perverts hiding in the bushes. Really, the lack of female-friendly facilities in the world's public places is upsetting. As anyone will testify who has ever squatted behind a shrubbery in mid-winter, worrying about being raped, there is a massive need for public urinals for women.

Before we combust with rage over the rampant misogyny in evidence everywhere, let us enjoy some soothing pictures from a very dear Lithuanian friend of ours, who recently experienced numerous adventures in Belgium:

Beer and books! Is this the perfect toilet??

Lithuanian Friend says:

Wonderful local bar in Belgium and it felt so nice in this toilet with [a book wallpaper]

As everyone who lives with a chronic pain condition is aware, sometimes a hot bath is the only thing that helps. As, further, everyone who does daily battle with the fuck-ups that comprise the world we live in is aware, sometimes a hot bath, preferably with a glass of wine, if one can get over one's paranoid fear of ending up an alcoholic, is the only thing that helps. We love this picture from Lithuanian friend of a bath tub in a Belgian hotel room. And yes! that's right! That is Emer O'Toole's Girls Will Be Girls on the bathside table.


A bathtub, and Emer O'Toole's Girls Will Be Girls - is this the perfect hotel room??


Let us move on to today's Festive Video. Feminist Swedish reggae. You're welcome.



Saturday, 9 September 2017

Girls Just Want to Have Fun(damental Human Rights)

As we never tire of pointing out, we are pretty lucky at the Privy Counsel, what with having friends liberally sprinkled all over the planet who are happy to send us toilet pictures. This thought consoles us when things get too grim. There is no shortage of misery either online or in the real world, and sometimes dealing with it all gets too much. As someone pointed out on Twitter the other day, it's ok to go offline because we aren't made to process human suffering on this scale.

We by no means claim to be experts at dealing with tragedy (we can frequently be found gibbering incoherently over a gin and tonic at midnight), but one approach that we have often found helpful is to try to do one thing. Just finding one tiny thing that you can improve can make an enormous difference, not just for your mood, but for the actual world.

Give someone a compliment, send a friend a postcard, smile at a stranger (unless of course you belong to the 50 % of people highly likely to be sexually harassed for simply existing in a public place; be careful with smiling if this is the case), volunteer at a women's shelter, encourage someone who doubts themselves, support your female colleague in her fight against mansplainers, call your political representative and tell them what you think. If you have an amazing aunt, cherish her. (Check out more things you can do at this really great site.)

Remember, also, to take care of yourself. Be kind to your body, nurture your mind. When at a great party, take photos of the toilets! Our favourite audiologist, Audiologist Friend, went to one a little while ago, and sent this greeting:

Var på bröllopsfest på galleri Verkligheten i Umeå! Spolningen blev överhettad pga mycket mat och dryck, 40 gäster och festen som varade 12 h!
Fantastisk fest  
(Was at wedding party at the Verkligheten gallery in Umeå! The flush got overheated due to much food and drink, 40 guests and the party, which lasted 12 hours!
Amazing party  )

A festive, art-poster-enriched toilet!

A helpful piece of freezer tape says "The flush may need time (to recover)". We totally identify with this.

We're not entirely sure what's going on here. There is possibly greenery (yallery, Verkligheten gallery), a mirror, and a cardigan hung up on a helpful coat hook?

 Well, wasn't that refreshing! We will now continue to lie down on our chaise-longue, and stay there until Sunday night, or until the world hardens the fuck up and stops breaching human rights left, right and centre; whichever comes first.

If you have access to a chaise-longue, we recommend you lie down on it IMMEDIATELY, preferably with a large supply of alcoholic beverages close at hand.


One final piece of unsolicited lecturing before we move on to the Festive Video:

Note that women's health is under threat everywhere. Accept that reproductive rights are human rights. Understand that women in control of their fertility are better able to access education, care for their families, and build stable communities. Remember that girls' education is the key to building a better, safer world.



Festive Video - The Oxford Belles, Girls Just Want to Have Fun(damental Human Rights)


Related Reading
All posts featuring Audiologist Friend
All posts featuring gender equality
Check out more things you can do at this really great site.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

"Let Them Eat Cake" - Could It Be Any More Obvious That a Man Designed These Toilets?

We would argue that most of us, however competent and organised we would like to appear in the eyes of the world, spend most of our lives lurching mindlessly in whatever direction we happen to be pushed by circumstances, eagerly grasping whatever alcoholic beverage is available come Friday night. However, even though we're happy, at the Privy Counsel, to take each day as it comes and live and let live, we appreciate the importance of some kind of guidelines to steer us straight. As regular readers will be aware, we defined two mottoes to live by a couple of years ago: PEOPLE SHOULD FUCK OFF MORE and FEMINISM NEEDS TO BE MORE MILITANT. These have stood us in good stead.

Last night, the beverage available happened to be the good kind of champagne, which was pleasant to a high degree, but more importantly, we formulated a new Privy Counsel rule of life! The third rule, now added to the canon, is ALWAYS GO TO THE TOILET TWICE.

"Hang on, hang on," you may be saying to yourself now, sitting up on your chaise-longue and agitatedly waving your tweed-clad arms about. "I'm perfectly happy going to the toilet just once. Why would I go twice just because some random toilet blogger with a record of showing poor judgement tells me to?" Your concerns, if this is you, are legitimate, and your logic infallible. However, hear us out - there is reason to our madness!

Say you're in a fancy seafood restaurant. For instance, to just grab an example at random, at Johan P in Malmö. Let's say you're throwing the good kind of champagne down your throat with chutzpah, and enjoying the feeling of it being Friday night and you not having to get up at the arse end of dawn the next day. Say you go to the toilet, and enjoy the fancy décor and well-appointed handwashing facilities. Say you snap a couple of pictures, feel pleased with your efforts, and go back to the table to continue guzzling champagne. Say someone with more life experience and less impaired reasoning skills points out that the toilet is, when you think about it, a unisex one. Say you laugh this statement off, arguing that you had a perfectly pleasant time during your visit to the toilet, entirely unharassed by bearded hipsters.

However, let's say that you, being trained in scientific methodology and critical thinking - even if your judgement has been temporarily clouded by vast amounts of the good kind of champagne - go back in some time later, for the sake of scientific enquiry and journalistic integrity. Let's say that, while washing your hands, no fewer than three persons of the male sex squeeze awkwardly past you.

THE HORROR!

We have always argued, and will continue to argue, that A SHIT TOILET IS ONE IN WHICH ONE IS FORCED TO WASH ONE'S HANDS IN THE COMPANY OF BEARDED HIPSTERS AGAINST ONE'S WILL.

In this case, the males in question were not so much bearded hipsters as bloated middle-aged men in unflattering trousers, but the tenet still stands. Only someone with very poor imagination would design a venue where a woman has to wash her hands in an enclosed space with random men twice her size, and not expect her to feel nervous and uncomfortable. We say this not because we dislike men, but because the statistics speak for themselves.

The majority of all reported sex crimes are committed by men, against women. When we say "the majority", we don't mean "something like two thirds", or even "something like three quarters", but "something like 98 %". Let that sink in. Now ponder the fact that sexual predators are opportunists, who harass, grope, and assault women when circumstances allow, and you will see that unisex toilets are a TERRIBLE IDEA.

To all restaurateurs out there who are considering putting in new toilets, we implore you: HARDEN THE FUCK UP AND GIVE THE WOMEN THEIR OWN FUCKING TOILET. Women-only spaces exist not because women are irrational creatures who insist on having several expensive square metres to themselves, but because toilets and changing rooms are not neutral spaces, and because the world is not safe for women.

Let us summarise our argument: Sex is biological reality. Gender is a social construct. No matter how dedicated we are to the struggle of crushing the patriarchy and pulverising gender norms, pretending that gender doesn't exist doesn't solve the problem of sexist abuse. Hence, until we're equal, and one sex isn't constantly subjected to sexual violence by the other sex, let there be segregated toilets.

PEOPLE SHOULD FUCK OFF MORE.
FEMINISM NEEDS TO BE MORE MILITANT.
Also, when writing a toilet review, ALWAYS GO TO THE TOILET TWICE. The first time may not show you every facet or even faucet (especially if you're off your head on the good kind of champagne).

Having ranted for a suitable amount of time, let us enjoy some photos from the well-equipped, but uncomfortable and potentially dangerous, toilets at Johan P:


We have no complaints about the toilet except that it has no coat hook. Could it be any more obvious that a man designed these toilets? The equivalent of Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake" is the male toilet designer's "Let them put their handbags on the floor". No person in their right mind wants to put their handbag on a toilet floor - BLOODY WELL GIVE WOMEN COAT HOOKS!

This is all very well, but we still don't understand why sinks must look like cattle troughs.


The soap and hand lotion was very nice, and smelled of lavender and thyme!

Another aspect of Johan P is the acoustics in the restaurant are terrible. There are times when you would give your right arm not to be forced to listen to the person next to you, but there are also times when you would quite like to hear what your company is saying, and Johan P is not a good place for hearing whatever conversational pyrotechnics may be going off around you. The question of acoustics technically falls outside the range of our blog, but we thought it worth mentioning. (Let us also note, however, in the interest of fairness, that the champagne at Johan P is excellent and the moules frites are to die for.) Speaking of acoustics, we have some exciting toilets from Audiologist Friend, and also from Australian Friend and Jonny (who counts as a friend for administrative reasons), in our vast cavern of an archive - something for you all to look forward to!

Now, for a Festive Video. This one appeals to us for several reasons.



Festive Video - Shannon McNally, Lonesome, Ornery and Mean


Related Reading

Lest we lose hope: An excellent example of a toilet designed by women, for women:
Caitlin Moran Really Does Make Everything Better

If you enjoy looking at pictures of sinks that look like cattle troughs (pervert!), this is for you:
The Hours and Minutes Ticking Away

A post in which we complain about the horrors of unisex toilets and sinks in the shape of cattle troughs, simultaneously:
Stockholm Central Station: The Trauma Is So Great We Are Brought To Quoting Cicero

A rant about the horrors of suddenly finding oneself washing one's hands in the company of fifteen bearded hipster dudes, all smiling awkwardly:
Hungover Ranting: Festschrift to Medievalist (With a Side-Interest in Roman Archaeology) Friend

All posts featuring unisex toilets

All posts featuring Malmö

Friday, 18 August 2017

Burning with a Low Blue Flame

It's when you find yourself having actual palpitations from frenziedly bidding on six stainless steel spoons in an online auction that you realise you need to get out more. As it happens, we haven't been anywhere more exciting, lately, than the local recycling centre. Our Mum, however, has! Visiting the clothes shop Danska kläder in the pulsating metropolis Linderöd, in southern Sweden, Our Mum managed to sneak into the customer toilet, and was awed and even dazzled by the splendour that awaited there:

Behold this piece of eclectic design and elaborate hygiene!
Speaking of palpitations, we had a rather fruitful conversation with Jonny, that sprightly young feller-me-lad, the other day. It went like this:

We know, we know. This awkward modern trend of referring to oneself in the first person is a nuisance and a botheration. However, we felt it incumbent to report that a colleague of ours is genuinely worried about the legality of our access to weird photos of Jonny. Upon being shown this screenshot, said colleague's fears were all, naturally, allayed.

We are actually not going to reproduce this image in full size, for fear of over-stimulating already excited readers

We know you're all frantic to know what role the old man in the photo played in this story. Don't worry, we have information! Jonny's thrilling tale continues:

He was quite friendly
Told me the soap wasn't working
#technology

Well. We never.

We actually have some rather splendid photos of historical toilets in our archive, and also a larger amount of toilet selfies from Jonny than our regular readers would perhaps credit, but we just don't have the energy to enthuse over them right now. The Nazis are too rampant. The world is too fucked up. The gin is too near running out, and we are sad.

The title of today's Festive Video, at any rate, is a given. You're welcome. (We'd quite happily launch into a rampantly feminist analysis of the lyrics, but we just don't trust ourselves not to go into a full-on nuclear rage, and reckon we'd best leave it till we have less gin in our bloodstream.)

Festive Video - Dolly Parton, Fuel to the Flame

Related Reading

All posts featuring Our Mum
All posts featuring Jonny

Many posts featuring rampant, murderous Nazis:
À la Recherche du Temps Perdu

The Hours and Minutes Ticking Away 

Nothing Is Certain But Death, Taxes, and Knees 

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

Rampant Murderous Nazis Are Taking Over the World, But Here Is a Picture of Jonny In a Toilet, for Your Convenience and Comfort 

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

Good Times, Good Friends, Good People


If you, too, are feeling a bit down in the mouth, or perhaps other places, this helps:

We Cheer Ourselves Up, Again, Using Pictures of Caitlin Moran, and Greek Museums 

A toilet in the vicinity of Linderöd:

Perhaps Our Most Rampant Fit of Escapism Ever

Saturday, 12 August 2017

À la Recherce du Temps Perdu

Sometimes, we miss the nineties. At such times we recline pensively on our chaise-longue, stare wistfully out the window at the brick wall opposite, and feel an inescapable nostalgia for bootcut jeans, fax machines, and a time when Nazis were still considered bad guys.

Ah, the nineties. Remember Lauryn Hill's That Thing? Remember Ace of Base? Remember Indiana Jones? We would hate to be the age we were during the nineties again, and are supremely grateful for our current level of comparative maturity and relative wisdom, but some nineties phenomena, like the widely held stance that Hitler was insane and that a murderous government propagating a gibberish racist doctrine was about as welcome as herpes, are prone to make us feel ever so slightly maudlin after the third gin and tonic.

Let us enjoy some nostalgia-inducing toilets. We recently went to visit the church in Norra Åsum, in the south of Sweden, for perfectly sane and normal reasons. While there we snuck into the very hygienic toilet, and also enjoyed a casual runestone propped up against the wall.

Norra Åsums kyrka. Image from Wikipedia.

This stone insists that the very muscular Bishop Absalon had the church built, probably in the 1190s. The 1190s were, we imagine, like the 1990s, a time when the people were united in their conviction that psychos in uniform were, at best, comical, and, at worst, a threat to public safety.
Image from geshcichteskandinavien.de

We don't know about you, but we find this wallpaper - probably from the '80s, don't you think? - comforting. The soap is Bliw, one of our favourites (it is so very soothing - and environmentally friendly!). The functional and friendly mixer tap is everything that Nazis are not.

Paper towels, the very reassuring '80s wallpaper, and a comforting boiler of some kind.

Even more reassuring: a first-aid kit! And a sturdy coat-hook that makes us feel very safe indeed.

Our correspondent on this occasion was wearing a leather jacket from the late nineties. Woof!

This medieval grave monument is found in the porch of the church, on your right as you exit the toilet. It depicts two dudes, which is unusual on this kind of monument. We are unable to find any information about this, but if any of our rampantly intelligent readers know anything about it, you are hugely welcome to inform us, especially if you have information pertaining to the very stylish and woof-inducing codpieces.
While aware that one should not apply modern notions of sexuality onto the past, we are nonetheless imagining these two dudes to be rampantly homosexual, in the process of growing Village People-style handlebar moustaches, and spending their spare time pressing flowers while wearing glitter tank tops, just because we imagine that this vision of non-normative masculinity would make Nazi gobshites uncomfortable.

Today's Festive Video makes us truly nostalgic. It is from a time when you could joke about Nazis because the assumption was that everyone agreed they were evil. How things change. Fuck it. We're off to drink some more gin and maybe nibble a madeleine cake or four.

Festive Video - Father Ted, Father Ted visits Father Fitzpatrick

Related Reading


Another post featuring medieval stuff and a first-aid kit in the same area:
 An Antiquated Update

Posts about Nazis:

Nothing Is Certain But Death, Taxes, and Knees

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

Rampant Murderous Nazis Are Taking Over the World, But Here Is a Picture of Jonny In a Toilet, for Your Convenience and Comfort

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The Hours and Minutes Ticking Away

You know how sometimes you're just kicking back, having a perfect orgy of feminist literature and throwing back gin and tonics like there's no tomorrow, and then suddenly tomorrow is right there, in front of you, staring at you with bleary eyes and giving off a really funny smell? And, to make things even worse, there's a tick sucking blood from your left knee (like that particular knee didn't have enough stuff going on already), and you realise you have to go back to work? In our neck of the woods, tick bites involve a real risk of getting Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis, both of which diseases indicate a severe reduction in alcohol consumption for the foreseeable future. Having to go back to work is a global affliction that affects people in all walks of life. There is no known cure.

This kind of situation requires nerves of steel and preferably a hip flask that is likewise made of sturdy, buckle-free steel. If you also happen to have friends who a) are happy to talk you through every single neurosis and crisis of confidence, and b) send you multitudes of toilet pictures, then you can count yourself lucky.

Continuing our work of using up old pictures from our archive, here's one from May last year. Thank you, Feisty French Friend, and may your mojito always be poured by a reckless bartender with a shifty eye and a grudge against the management.

This is probably in Cambodia. As regular readers are aware, we love clear signage!

We reserve a special kind of aversion to Instagram here at the Privy Counsel. We went on it once, and it was literally spewing out distasteful pictures of food, slimy babies and engagement rings, and simply preposterous gym selfies. It took us several days of earnest meditation, purification rites, and self-medication involving the really cheap, nasty kind of rum before we recovered. However, when Feisty French Friend sent us a toilet video via the afore-mentioned repulsive social media site, we of course ventured bravely out to retrieve it. Here it is. You're welcome. *shudder*


Ett inlägg delat av National Geographic (@natgeo)


Let us swiftly move on to these pictures from a special someone who counts as a friend for administrative reasons, namely that young stripling known downtown as Jonny. We have it on good authority that the following photos are from the Botanist restaurant in Leeds.


A sturdy, rustic door!

Oho! What is this? Some kind of branded toilet?

Jonny and a rustic selection of cocks and valves.

Did we mention that we adore clear signage? Binary-categorised toilets are not de rigeur in this day and age, but frankly, we can't fucking stand unisex toilets, and celebrate being able to shut the door on the male gaze. Hurrah!

If you enjoy almost seeing people, you can almost see Jonny in this air dryer!

Sometimes we wake up in the night and worry that the hipsterisation of the world's toilets will eventually lead to a bleak and uniform world where all sinks look like cattle troughs. Read more about sinks looking like cattle troughs here.

A festive duo of urinals.
Jonny says:

I tried to get a shot of the nice toilet seat but someone was waiting outside
It's in The Botanist - Leeds
Really nice inside and insane belly pork...

We don't even want to think about how the insanity of belly pork would manifest itself. Let us quickly move on. We reckon these rustic toilets require an equally rustic, countrified kind of Festive Video. A festive duo, perhaps? You're welcome!



Festive Video - Nashville, Ho Hey.
(Doesn't the chick with the glasses look a bit like Medievalist (With a Side Interest in Roman Archaeology) Friend? Yeah, we thought so too!)

Related Reading

All posts featuring Feisty French Friend
All posts featuring Jonny

Various posts where we explain why unisex toilets are the embodiment of screaming bloody horror, at least if you're a woman (an affliction that affects roughly 50 % of the population):

Stockholm Central Station: The Trauma Is So Great We Are Brought To Quoting Cicero  

Unisex Toilets - This Shit Gets Political 

Hungover Ranting: Festschrift to Medievalist (With a Side-Interest in Roman Archaeology) Friend

Examples of well-designed unisex toilets that we do like:

Unisex Toilets - This Shit Gets Political 

Shooting the Shit - Let Us Get Rid of Transgender Bathroom Bigotry

Monday, 31 July 2017

Nothing Is Certain But Death, Taxes, and Knees

Knees. You don't notice them till they stop working. Believe us, though - they are there, and they're not going anywhere, either literally or metaphorically. We spent a rather festive twenty-five minutes in the company of a physiotherapist today, for the purposes of improving our for the moment only semi-functioning left knee, and induce it to go somewhere, see the sights, and maybe strike up an interesting conversation with a stranger.

We have spent rather a lot of time with physios at the Privy Counsel, for various reasons. One time was when we had torn a ligament to bloody shreds while skiing, and tended to hang out at the physiotherapy department at York hospital quite often. (If you would like a full account of this dramatic injury, including a description of how we, after falling and feeling the actual ligament in the knee snap and, despite the excruciating pain, resolutely got up and bloody well skied down the mountain and proceeded, heroically, to use an allaturca toilet while wearing ski boots and navigating a wet floor; the lissom Swiss mountain guards who came to our aid; and the rather less lissom and rather more leering Italian mountain guards who gave us a snowmobile ride over the Italian border, we are happy to tell the tale over a beer or three any day.)

Skiing injuries are not to be sniffed at. Here is a still from the classic 1980s movie Sällskapsresan II, which, it has been universally agreed, is possibly the best film of all time.

Have we ever mentioned the fact that we love physiotherapists? We simply adore them! We are always urging our friends to go see a physiotherapist, whether they need to or not. This amazing breed of ligament-whisperers have the power to reduce pain and persuade one's joints and soft tissues to (metaphorically) knock back a stiff whisky and bloody well harden the fuck up! Woof!

Time whizzes past at an alarming rate, and age and decrepitude advance on us with firm, muscular strides. It's been five years since our injury, but we remember the excellence of the physiotherapists who treated us in York. Their patience was endless and their grip was firm, and they had our rattling bones fastened and our weakened muscles firmed in roughly the time it takes to write a BA thesis - a matter of mere months! The physio we saw today told us that she had seldom had the pleasure of coming across such a well-rehabilitated knee!

The Privy Counsel HQ is no longer situated in York (though we seem to be spending rather a lot of time drinking there lately, for instance on this occasion, and also this one), and we can unfortunately not remember the names of the physios who treated us. However, we are immensely grateful for their truly expert treatment. If any of our readers should happen to come across a physiotherapist who works at York Hospital, please give them our warmest regards!

Thinking of York Hospital, of course, makes us think of the NHS, which, with the gruesome inevitability of death, taxes, and knee problems, reminds us of the bleary bastardliness of Brexit. If you enjoy this blog, please be aware that it is a direct result of the EU. Without the EU, we wouldn't have been able to go and study, once upon a time when our cheeks were still rosy and our hair shiny, in the UK. Without the EU, we wouldn't have stayed in Britain, and paid taxes there, for ten years. Without the EU, we would never have met the majority of the amazing Friends who send us weird toilet pictures, cheer us up on dark winter evenings, and get us roaringly drunk on prosecco, rum, and weird Canadian liqueurs.

Most of our Privy Counsel Friends are from outside the UK; many from outside the EU, but we have met nearly all of them while studying or working in the misty, mixer-tap-deprived British Isles. Only a few are still living there. Some have had their work visas bungled by a xenophobic government; many are yet facing the stark reality of being kicked out of the country for being foreign; several have been exposed to racist abuse. The idiocy of it all threatens to engulf one's sanity in a vortex of searing flame. It's like the Tory government wants to take the country back to the year 1930, when tweed was still widely worn, there was no cure for syphilis, and the gold standard kept everyone warm at night. But what do we know? We're just a woman.

We do know that the Brexit promise of more money for the NHS was a lie. We know that NHS staff are really struggling due to Tory cuts to the national health service. We know that brave battles are fought under impossible circumstances in hospitals across Britain every day. As far as we can tell, most health services have basically been sold off to Richard Branson. The mean-spirited, ham-fisted and mind-bogglingly short-sighted privatisation of the NHS is deplorable and shameful, and there is fuck-all that we personally can do about it. Let us just express our deep admiration for the heroic NHS staff, and then swiftly take our minds off the Tories and move on. Let's have some toilet pictures.

Conceptually, our archive is, as regular readers are aware, basically the crypt from The Monk, with pheasants. In actual, humdrum reality, however, it consists of a) a folder on an aged computer, backed up to the gills, b) unsorted photos on the Privy Counsel phone (henceforth to be known as the Bog Phone?), and c) a proliferation of messages and comments from the arse ends of social media.

An accurate representation of our archive. Gif from Readingtheend.com
We decided, in a moment of despair at the vast amount of photos and the minuscule amount of storage left on the Bog Phone, to try to use old pictures for blog posts. Hence here is, for your delight and edification, a couple of photos from what is highly likely to be the Eagle pub in Hoxton! We had, if memory serves, some delicious mulled cider in this excellent establishment with a very dear friend, round about the time of the legendary New Year's Shewee party in the year of our Lord 2013.

How lush and lovely is this! Woof!

The combination of mixer taps, cool square sinks and magnificent tiled floor boggles our mind and is at great risk of addling our brain!
Remember when we expressed a hope that there would be a frenzied battle between Jonny and Shewee Fiend Friend, based on increasingly forced photos of cannons? Well, believe it or not, but when, the other day, we were dragging the putrid swamp that is one of the arse ends of the internet that we occasionally frequent, this photo came floating up to the surface! It is Shewee Fiend Friend! With a cannon! Jonny, consider yourself challenged! (Also, don't forget the fruit.)

We don't know about you, but we're scared.

Before moving on to the Festive Video, let us contemplate this pair of happy, hygienic knees, thoughtfully contemplating R. W. Connell's Gender and Power.

For some reason, pictures of privy counsellors in the bath is a thing. See more pictures for instance here, here, here, and here.


We ranted the other day, rather splendidly we thought, about Theresa May's proto-fascist government. Fascism is, it seems, everywhere these days. It behoves us to resist, resist, resist, and again resist! One excellent way of puncturing the pneumatic boasts of would-be or actual fascists is, of course, the age-old method of pisstaking.

Today's Festive Video is a clip from the simply spiffing 1990s ITV dramatisation of the Jeeves and Wooster series by P.G. Wodehouse. It features Roderick Spode ranting about the "bony, angular knee of the so-called intellectual". (The horror!) The character of Roderick Spode, first Earl of Sidcup, is famously based on Oswald Mosley, leader of a fascist group called the Blackshorts. We won't endlessly eulogise P. G. Wodehouse and his comic genius, even though we would quite like to, as we fear boring our readers (we are aware, believe it or not, that not everyone shares our foibles and passions), but will content ourselves with reproducing Bertie Wooster's frank appraisal of Spode:

The trouble with you, Spode, is that just because you have succeeded in inducing a handful of half-wits to disfigure the London scene by going about in black shorts, you think you're someone. You hear them shouting "Heil, Spode!" and you imagine it is the Voice of the People. That is where you make your bloomer. What the Voice of the People is saying is: "Look at that frightful ass Spode swanking about in footer bags! Did you ever in your puff see such a perfect perisher?"
- P. G. Wodehouse, The Code of the Woosters


Festive Video - Roderick Spode's knee obsession

Related Reading

Another time when we were grateful:
Of Mixer-Taps and Spiritual Solace

That time when we asked deep, philosophical questions about the nature of our archive, and also enjoyed clearly signposted toilets in Italy:  
A Blog Post of Astonishing Clarity

The original account of our knee injury:
Italian Toilets: Mi Piace Servizi Igienici 

Another reference to our grievous knee injury, bravely born, can be found in
Shewees Are a Girl's Best Friend

Our review of 
The Disabled Toilet in the Physiotherapy Department at York Hospital

That time when we, in a brave feat of investigative journalism, pointed out that although the handwashing videos from the NHS feature mixer taps, their actual facilities - gasp! - don't

For information on how to help save the NHS: the Keep Our NHS Public site

A post about the absinthe soap that gave us tremendous comfort when we were in great pain
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