Sunday, 22 April 2018

L'Art pour l'Art - In Which We Completely Fail to Justify Our Raison d'Être (Again)

Well, tally-ho, darlings, it's been a while, what, what? We have, regrettably, been feeling rather feeble this winter and have spent an inordinate of time on the old chaise-longue, clutching our head and yelling for the butler to bring tea and painkillers. (Turns out we have wasted many hours thus unprofitably engaged - apparently we don't actually have a butler.) 

However, spring has arrived, bringing with it daylight, fetching ducklings decorating our streams and rivers, and temperatures conducive to human survival. In short, we feel life returning to our weary limbs! Consequently, the urge to write a toilet blog post has gripped us with increasing urgency, finally overpowering us completely. Huzzah?

Let us lose no time in ogling pictures of toilets. The following exciting images are from a café called The Underground, in Saskatoon, Canada. We were weirdly asked, when wishing to partake of a refreshing beverage at this charming eatery, to decide on a tip before we had got our order, which we found confusing, but of course we want to support workers on minimum wage. It's not their fault the system is fucked! Also, we found the staff friendly, the walls filled with thought-provoking and sometimes amusing art, and the toilets excellent!
This, friends, is a place where one can feast one's eyes on some art while enjoying a super hygienic toilet. Huzzah!

We found that, as a rule, coat hooks in Canada were of a very high quality. These ones were no exception!
Some more art.
Even the outside of the toilets was thought-provoking! One door is labelled as a not-toilet. A non-toilet. Not a toilet. One can't help but wonder - if it is not a toilet, what is it?
This air freshener tried, and failed, to smell like cinnamon. What is it with air fresheners that try, and fail, to smell like cinnamon? Why go to all that trouble? As Kacey Musgraves says, "I'd rather lose for what I am than win for what I ain't". This one goes to a lot of trouble pretending to be what it ain't. If we were to offer it advice, it would be to chill the fuck down. Stop trying so hard. Maybe try a simple apple scent? Almost anyone can pull off synthetic apple.

A final view of this hauntingly beautiful toilet.

"What were you doing in Canada, you old rogue?" you are no doubt wondering, winking in a suggestive manner and perhaps making rude hand gestures. The short answer to your query is "We were visiting Shewee Fiend Friend". The long answer is a story that is definitely not safe for work and is, perhaps, best not told at all. We suspect it will seep out gradually over the years, in moments of inebriation. You may as well lock any children in a dark cupboard and duct tape the cat's ears together now, saving you time later.

We feel like we have energy left for a couple of pictures from Japan, land of fabled toilets! A friend of Our Mum's went there recently, and kindly provided these pictures of Japanese toilet engineering.

We do, always, encourage clear signage...

...especially when it is this amusing!

Finally, before we retire to rest our weary head on the afore-mentioned chaise-longue and binge-watch Gossip Girl, let us have a read of this little collection of bons mots - a guide to etiquette that we wrote a long time ago, but for unknown reason have never published. It seemed very amusing when we revisited it in the back of an Über with Shewee Fiend Friend (perhaps next time we should discuss the exploitative and abusive business practices of Über? Just a suggestion), but maybe it's not actually that funny when one isn't morally corrupt and physically broken after a possibly-rather-too-exciting road trip? You tell us.

“Oh, behave!”

The Privy Counsel’s Guide to Etiquette.

Board-game parties
Don’t go. If you must, burn the house down.

Communal brunches with flatmates
If you are forced to go, despite escape manoeuvres, don’t talk to anyone. If you don’t engage with the crazy, they can’t get to you.

Accidentally getting shitfaced on Sainsbury’s brandy
If you accidentally get shitfaced on Sainsbury’s brandy at a dinner party, with the result that you end up locking yourself into the bathroom and hurling the toilet seat into the shower then passing out, your host and hostess have to pick the lock and put you to bed on the sofa, and you wake up the next day and proceed to throw up yellow bile: leave. You have already put your hosts through enough bother and embarrassment. Don’t stick around, throwing up yellow bile. Get out immediately.

If you continue to throw up yellow bile on the train
Not a hell of a lot you can do about it, except try to be discreet. If possible, throw up into the bin. If this manoeuvre fails, look apologetic or, if you can possibly manage it, pregnant.

Facebook birthdays
If you wonder whether to wish a friend, with whom you no longer have anything in common, a happy birthday on Facebook, and the uncertainty as to the advisability of the action causes you actual nervous strain: hold off. Most problems solve themselves if you leave them long enough. (Massive, massive exception: application deadlines.) Soon enough your friend will post an update about his or her dinner, and you will then immediately be morally justified in never speaking to them again.

Communal brunches with flatmates, part II
If there is talk of buying ingredients, and even this simple undertaking causes frictions and bruised egos, run for the hills. Or even better, get sloshed on whisky while slagging off your bitching flatmates to someone else.

Communal board-game evenings with flatmates
Seriously, what is it with board-games? Cough loudly in their faces, and tell them you have pneumonic plague.

Ideally, do this in bursts of barely controlled panic; the stress caused by poor time-management will add zest to your dull, mundane life. Whenever possible, combine with alcohol.

A flatmate has an unreasonable obsession with the toaster
Tricky. Trawl the internet for exorcists. Or – a well-documented method, this – put chilli powder in her underwear.

Having babies
Foisting life on someone without asking first is the height of rudeness. Life is mostly pain, suffering, and that odd smell in the closet – who in their right mind would expose a tiny, defenceless creature to that? Avoid.

Your supervisor “improves” the language in your essay by introducing errors
Curse her with a heinous disease and ignore the changes. Remain polite.

A friend fails to see the rationale of your Richard Armitage obsession
Cease to acknowledge their existence.

You’re not sure how best to undermine your toaster-obsessed flatmate’s confidence
Look at her pityingly whenever you bump into each other in the kitchen. Respond doubtfully, but politely, to everything she says, as if she were a dangerous lunatic.

A friend is insufferably patronising when proofreading your essay
Suck it up, princess. You asked for it.

An awkward situation arises because there’s a bunch of you in the kitchen and you refuse to engage in the conversation while your toaster-obsessed flatmate is present
Well done.

The person in front of you in the supermarket aisle is walking unendurably slowly, right in the middle, making it impossible for you to pass either on the right or the left
Stare furiously at the back of their head, walking as close to them as you can possibly manage. They will soon start to feel very awkward indeed, and disappear down a side aisle to escape the lunatic breathing - literally - down their neck.

Some trollop cuts in line at the library due to an ambivalent set-up with two librarians but only one acknowledged queue
Give her the kind of stare that freezes fire then, when she blushes and acknowledges your position at the front of the queue, yield your place with icy politeness. She will burn with shame. Burn.

A friend talks about kitchen curtains
Life is too short. Avoid for all eternity and don’t return their calls.

A friend sets fire to the kitchen curtains
Here’s an interesting character, worth cultivating. Bring whisky and an economy pack of tissues.

An acquaintance is being all Austrian, hectoring everyone with their opinions and refusing to acknowledge anyone else’s view
Delete from social media. Start wearing sunglasses when going out, even in wet weather and at night. If you slip even once she will recognise you, and stop for a – we believe we’ve got the term right – “chat”.

A friend starts talking about intimate aspects of their wife’s pregnancy
Smile politely. Blink. Change the subject. You wish them well, but there are limits.

A 19th-century academic writes offensive things about women
Speak ill of him at every opportunity. Shake your fist at his headstone and think triumphant thoughts about death, the great equaliser.

A friend is being an absolute gem, taking time out of his busy schedule to proofread your essay extremely carefully and making comment after helpful comment.
Abuse him to his face, calling him every name you can think of, and keep harping on about what a patronising prick he is.

Last but not least, let there be a Festive Video! This one describes our current state of mind with admirable aptitude. We wouldn't say it's been lonely - one is never lonely when one lives in a digital world spanning several time zones where there is always a member of the Privy Counsel awake and prepared to discuss headbands, the Protestant work ethic, or Channing Tatum's divorce - but it certainly has been a long, long, cold winter. Possibly Our Mum will even like it (though Shewee Fiend Friend will, assuredly, dislike it with a vengeance).

Festive Video: Ashley Monroe - Mayflowers

Related Reading
Another toilet with air freshener that tried, and failed, to smell like cinnamon
All posts featuring Canada
All posts featuring Shewee Fiend Friend
All posts featuring Our Mum
All posts featuring Japan 

Also, festive mini reviews we posted on Facebok while in Canada can be viewed here:

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Our Heart's Desire: For Nazis to Fuck Off, and for There to Be More Signed Pictures of Jonny

It is with unbridled joy that we prepare to present to you the winner of our New Year's competition! As all regular readers are aware, the competition was instigated by Jonny, and the prize is a signed photograph of that winsome young whippersnapper! All you had to do to enter was send in a photo of toilet graffiti.

The rules of the competition, announced in early November, were very simple:

1) Send pictures of toilet graffiti
2) Win a signed picture of Jonny
3) Live happily forever after, having gained your heart's desire

It is our rampant, unbridled pleasure to announce the winner of the Toilet Graffiti competition to be:



Lithuanian friend writes:

I had a spontaneous vacation in Gran Canaria and also remembered you, trying to find any good toilet graffiti. However, seems that there could be a campaign encouraging women to do more of that. I found only one in central station in Las Palmas. We should all remember that :)

Transcription of the toilet graffiti:
"Don't forget I am learning to live." Quite philosophical, no?

Apparently, toilet graffiti is not as rampant as it once was. We remember seeing plenty of it in our youth, but for whatever reason, we rarely come across any these days. Whether this is because our social milieu has changed, from one fairly frequently incorporating dirty South London basements, to one radically more sedate (and clean), or because the advent of the digital revolution means that nobody carries pens with which to scrawl rude messages on toilet walls (as is the theory of our remarkably perceptive aunt) any more, remains to be determined (again, what are the social historians out there doing?).

Be that as it may, we hereby offer our wildest congratulations to Lithuanian Friend, who will be getting a signed copy of the below photograph in the post, and can thereafter get on with living happily ever after, having gained her heart's desire!

This is where we pass out from excitement, but not before uttering a strangled shout of HUBBA HUBBA!

We must not forget to view pictures from various toilets. Let us start with those at Heathrow Airport, shall we?

Traditionally, the first impressions to greet one on arriving at any British airport is the smell of air freshener and the sight of ancient wall-to-wall carpet that has been mended using duct tape. The newly spruced-up Heathrow Airport no longer sports carpets. The smell, however, is the same - indeed worse, if one travels round Christmas: a particularly revolting would-be cinnamon scent is sprayed with terrifying vigour in the toilets, while horrendously earnest Christmas music is channelled throughout the entire amenities. Ameliorating circumstances include the fact that the handwashing facilities are clean and feature a particularly soothing combination of hand sanitiser and hand lotion. Also, the taps are nice.

Wherein lies the difficulty of making toilet doors that go all the way down to the floor and all the way up to the ceiling? Wherein? Huh?

Look how many bags we managed to fit onto this admirably sturdy coat hook! Nothing had to be placed on the floor, and there was much joy.

We may have wandered into the disabled cubicle, which is why there is so much room. Also, a hygienically covered toilet roll holder, and a festive sign saying "Toilet duct access door"! Hurrah!

On the off-chance that you have the energy to view more pictures of toilets, have some from the Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush:

A TRULY EXEMPLARY DOOR! Note how there is a sturdy lock, no fewer than two sturdy coat hooks, and a helpful bar for those who have issues with mobility. And also, THE DOOR GOES ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FLOOR AND ALL THE WAY UP TO THE CEILING!

The bin is overflowing, but to be fair, there was a cleaner arriving just as we were leaving. Also, the toilet roll is hygienically covered. Hurrah!
Let us by all means take a moment here to appreciate cleaners, who are often underpaid and undervalued. Perhaps ask yourself what would happen if the person who cleans the toilets at your office or local shopping centre went on strike? Well, quite.

We are going to end this blog post on a serious note. The Heathrow Airport toilets may have constituted a near-insurmountable olfactory challenge (why make air freshener that tries - and fails - to smell like something nice? Why?), but we still believe that travel is essential in order to promote international friendships, spread understanding, and combat hate. (And also, crucially, to be able to drink with friends in different time zones.)

Nazis marched in our town yesterday.

Nazis. Marched. In. Our. Town.

We spent all of last year ranting about how "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", and making our thoughts on Nazis very, very clear.

Friends. The fight continues.

We will continue to believe in human rights, and to disagree with people spreading racist propaganda. We will continue to fight for women's rights. We will continue to do what we can, in our tiny, obscure corner of the internet, to promote understanding and combat hate by maintaining this bog blog, made possible thanks to an international community of intellectuals.

To that end, we have chosen today's Festive Video with the view of not pissing off Shewee Fiend Friend, who really, really despises our taste in music. Also, isn't it funny how anti-fascist punk rock from the height of the Cold War era is relevant again? Just saying.

Festive Video: Asta Kask, Oss hjältar emellan
(View the lyrics, if you so desire, here.)

Ach fuck it, let's have one last picture. Here's what we hope 2018 will contain: mixer taps, festive haircuts, and electric sockets. Happy new year!

Happy new year from your Privy Counsellor, steering you enthusiastically, though perhaps not always coherently, through a murky universe since 2010!
(All garments featured are naturally from charity shops. Hurrah for the environment, and not supporting chain-store-enabling slave labour! (Ok, we really will fuck off now.))

Related Reading

All posts featuring graffiti

Funnily enough, we felt the need for '80s Swedish punk rock at this time last year, too:
Rampant Murderous Nazis Are Taking Over the World, But Here Is a Picture of Jonny In a Toilet, for Your Convenience and Comfort

Our thoughts on Nazis:
À la Recherche du Temps Perdu

Another post featuring ranting about Nazis, and a fancy shopping centre:  
"God Jul" from Gothenburg!

All posts featuring Jonny

All posts featuring Lithuanian Friend

Sunday, 31 December 2017

New Year's Eve 2017: "A Truly Awful Toilet"

Last New Year's Eve, we were incandescent with rage. This year, we are still angry, but are too exhausted to work up any proper fury, preferring instead to recline on our chaise-longue with a drink or four in our hand, feebly waving our hunting crop in the air and muttering "Tally-ho" into the darkness. 

We still think, however, that people should complain less and do more. If, for instance, you are one of those people who think that "feminism has gone too far", then we think you should stop scratching your arse, hoist up your flannel trousers and give a helping hand to someone who needs one. Feminists believe that toxic masculinity hurts us all, and that gender equality benefits everyone. You don't have to agree but, if you don't, rather than attacking feminists, your time would be far less uselessly spent helping someone you believe is marginalised. If you believe that white men are the most oppressed social group, then knock yourself out helping them. Just don't go bitching and moaning about feminism. Also, fuck off.

Which leads us to our next point. We have been of the opinion, for a long time, that PEOPLE SHOULD FUCK OFF MORE. We stand by this.

We'd better move on to today's toilet pictures before our grumpiness goes supernova and someone ends up injured.

Jonny, that handsome young scallywag, says:
Christmas treat
A truly awful toilet

The stains on the floor aren't even the worst thing about this toilet.

The picture quality is execrable, but the sign says "Out of order". Philosophical!

Jonny managed to find that elusive thing: toilet graffiti!
"Communism will win."
"Yeah, right!"
Personally we are not in favour of any ideology that is responsible for the deaths of millions of people, and are rather prone to agreeing with the "Yeah right" retort.

Unable to understand why this toilet, which is, to all appearances, tremendously shit, was awarded two whole points, we posed the question to Jonny, who replied:
Oh, lol
It had a nice mirror
And a coat hook

We move swiftly from the wet, slippery floor of whatever pub Jonny spent Christmas Eve in, and hurry towards the rarefied air of Kulturen, a museum in Lund, Sweden. We located these toilets on the first floor, and found them immensely encouraging.

Mixer tap, nice soap, paper towels (recycled), bin - SCHWING!

All present and correct: the toilet roll is hygienically covered

HUNKA HUNKA COAT HOOK! Also, the door is sturdy and goes all the way down to the floor and all the way up to the ceiling. (That odd noise was a huge sigh of contentment erupting from our chest cavity.)

Let us review some of the highlights from 2017, shall we? The year started off with the Women's March in January. There was a fuckload of resistance:

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



In March we concluded that rampant murderous Nazis were STILL in charge, and exhorted everyone to stop being a dick:

No Man (Or Woman) Is an Island 


 In April, we went to York. The title rather says it all:

Castles in the Air: Dreaming of Better Plumbing, or, Bitches Love Pemberleys, or, Bottling Up of Incomprehension and Rage


Luckily, pictures of Jonny appeared regularly throughout the year, for instance in June:

Feeling Single, Seeing 1.5: In Which Things Are Insanely Bleak, But Luckily There Are Pictures of Jonny


We ranted, of course, about Brexit, and the NHS, which made everyone very tired. Thankfully, there were pictures of Shewee Fiend Friend loading a cannon:

Nothing Is Certain But Death, Taxes, and Knees


We really did go on and on and on about politics. Luckily, there was also cake, and runes:

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


In July, we went to York - again! - and a feud between Jonny and Shewee Fiend Friend, based on pictures of cannon, almost developed:

In Which the Privy Counsel Goes Ballistic


In August, we indulged in nostalgia, stating that,
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.

À la Recherche du Temps Perdu


In September, we enjoyed some exciting toilet pictures from Lithuanian Friend, and lamented the lack of public toilets for women:

Piss-Poor Performance


And also reiterated the need for female-only spaces in a deeply sexist world which is extremely dangerous to women:

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


Several people claimed to enjoy our Halloween special in October, which says more about them than about us:

Halloween Special: The Mystery of the Sticky Spot on the Floor, or, The Telltale Splash, or, Scared Shitless!


We succumbed to philosophy in November:

What a Thing Is and What It Is Not Are Identical In Form. Or So We've Been Told.


Argh, we find ourselves overwhelmed by retrospection. Let us finish rather hurriedly with some wise words we wrote in 2016:

Remember that ultimately, everything you do is futile. The universe is a vast and terrifying void, containing one tiny speck of dust to which we are clinging, and ultimately destroying. We are, essentially, short-sighted monkeys with computers. Now relax, and stop giving a fuck. Have a drink, maybe.

On that note, let's have a Festive Video. As everyone knows, both women and men experience a perceived female dominance when women contribute 30-40 % of any conversation or discussion. Hence, women tend to be silenced before they've even taken up half the speaking space. Let's hear some women, shall we?

Festive video: Song Suffragettes, cover of Keith Urban's Female

Happy new year!

Related Reading

All posts featuring New Year's Eve
Last year's New Year's Eve rant: 2016 in Summary: Holding on to Hope, or, We're Really Cunting Angry, or, Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

"God Jul" from Gothenburg!

Bah, humbug! Remember when we despaired over 2016? When did Nazis stop being a bad thing? we railed. What happened to giving jobs to people with actual qualifications and certifiable sanity? we raged. And not letting raging misogynists who believe that slavery constitutes a reasonable base for a country's economy hold political office? we ranted.

Turns out the shit just kept getting thicker. Basically, we never stopped railing, raging and ranting during all of 2017. Now here we are, it's Christmas, and we are fucking knackered.

Most likely we are all heading to hell in a handcrafted hipster handcart. However, we have become firm believers, at the Privy Counsel, of enjoying the fuck out of life while we still have the chance. Hence we drink all the champagne, whisky and rum (and also beer, and we have never yet turned down a glass of wine) we can lay our hands on, and if we are sometimes hungover at inconvenient moments, well, there is a reason a benevolent deity invented plastic bags, and that is to give humanity something to throw up in on commuter trains.

We had reason to go to Gothenburg recently, to engage in rampantly feminist activities. While there we made a detour to the fancy department store NK, to buy a small Christmas gift for a festive relative. We naturally took the opportunity, while at it, of trying the toilets. Alors!

The floor isn't as clean as it could be, considering we paid 10 kronor to use this bog.

Our correspondent pondering the perfectly adequate mixer tap, and lamenting the bleached paper towels.

The door had a sturdy lock and went all the way down to the floor! Huzzah!

A very decent coat hook, here supporting a fancy shopping bag.

Some kind of modern art adorns this acceptable department store bog, featuring a sturdy toilet-roll holder.

After indulging in this rampant bit of capitalism, we swiftly headed to Kvinnsam, the Swedish national collection of feminist literature, housed at the University of Gothenburg. Lo and behold, but the toilets there were lovely! And free to use! The older we get, the firmer our conviction becomes that you cannot beat university libraries!

Ho, ho, ho! This toilet is resplendent in a Christmassy green mosaic, and has a very friendly and hygienic atmosphere. Does this benevolent bog, by the way, remind us of anything? By Jove, it does! It reminds us of Shewee Fiend Friend's Festschrift bog, at Lund Univeristy's social sciences faculty library!

We have not a simple complaint! Hurrah!

 As regular readers are only too aware, we frequently grapple with ethical dilemmas here at the Privy Counsel. We were just settling into our third rum last night when an old friend sent us a picture of the below contraption, with a philosophical query regarding its suitability for toddlers. We were initially inclined to not be too worried about the moral suitability of urinating into the mouth of an anthropomorphic frog, but as our friend pointed out, what if pissing into a frog aged two leads to pissing into one of those despicable urinals in the shape of a female mouth aged twenty?
Aaaargh! Clearly these things need to be banned! If you have unwisely engaged in reproduction lately, kindly desist from toilet-training your offspring using objects that look like people, lest they become rampant sexists. (Nota bene, the radical notion that women are people is becoming ever more popular.)


We take this opportunity of reminding you that, if you want the chance to win a signed photo of that ragingly attractive young whippersnapper known to friends and admirers as Jonny, all you have to do is send us a picture of toilet graffiti before New Year's!

"I said merry Christmas, baby
Sure did treat me nice"

A final Christmas greeting from Shewee Fiend Friend:

"Look at these luxurious coat hooks in JFK airport. Everything else here sucks though. Except for Santa. He keeps appearing, riding one of those old people transporters and jingling his sleigh bells calling Merry Christmas."

 Readers, we are going to abandon you now, to enjoy whatever debauchery you intend to get up to this Christmas! Let us end this rather boozy bog blog post by introducing today's Festive Video.

Here's how we are spending Christmas this year: reclining on a chaise-longue, doing nothing more strenuous than breathing, and sipping tasty alcoholic beverages.

We have a massive problem with many Christmas songs. Even if you discount the rampantly sexist ones, there are still the smarmily religious ones, and then there is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. We have no idea why not more people react to the upsetting story about the reindeer suffering blatant workplace discrimination without his employer lifting a finger to help him. It is mere chance that moves Rudolph higher up the social hierarchy, relieving him of very serious bullying. We will never accept this! However, here is a Christmas song we hope you will like. We like to think that it reflects the unbridled intellectualism and festiveness of Shewee Fiend Friend's recent Hawaiian adventure!

Festive Video: Kacey Musgraves, Mele Kalikimaka

Merry Christmas! Or, as we have learned to say from some festive people we have the pleasure of knowing, jul mubarak!

Related Reading
All posts featuring Christmas

Another festive feminist toilet, featuring green tiles: In a Pretty Pickle

In relation to Christmas: Read all about the Virgin (seriously? You're still going on about that?) Mary here:
Read It And Weep: Why the Virgin Mary Is Creepy

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

A post featuring another plush Swedish shopping centre, but in Stockholm:
Mood Stockholm: Flabbergasting Plushness
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