Monthly Archives: August 2017

16 August 2017 in toilets |Stories from the UK, the TV and Germany

We start with two stories about sexual equality. The Telegraph reports on a change that Marks and Spencer supermarkets were forced to make after receiving accusations of sexism. The store toilets in their branch in Shoreham, Sussex, UK had a sign for the women’s that showed a woman with a small child, whereas the equivalent sign for the men’s, showed a man without a child. Angered customers complained that this implied that a woman’s place was with her children, while a man’s wasn’t. M&S have removed the offending signage.

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The women’s toilet sign that was removed from M&S. Photo credit: Brighton Pictures/Sharon Sawyer

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The BBC is reporting on moves in Berlin to bring greater equality to the city’s public toilets. A report from Berlin’s City Council on “the toilet concept” recommends more environmentally friendly and more trans friendly by making more public toilets open to both men and women and including urinals that can easily be used by both me and women. No design for such urinals is suggested, though the BBC story suggests a few.

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The Mirror has a wonderfully over-the-top tabloid-y rage-piece on Minister for Health, Jeremy Hunt. Apparently (though there are conflicting reports), Hunt has had a private toilet and shower installed in his personal office. Among the things that anger the mirror is that the bathroom features “floor-to-ceiling tiles”, which isn’t the point I’d be focusing on. The cost of £44,000 does seem excessive though, especially as the building already has shared toilets and showers.

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Finally, to the wonderful internet, where nothing isn’t written about. A Dr Who fan has written a piece on Season 10 of that show, outlining every reference to toilets made in the programme in that particular year. The Information Age is glorious.

9th August 2017 in toilets | Stories from India, Australia and the UK

We start today with two stories showing two different sides of the Prime Minister Modi’s Clean India campaign to make the nation Open Defecation Free. Firstly, with a story from the Indian Express about a movie star, Akshay Kumar, who has lent his name to the campaign. He is travelling around India, recording his journey on Instagram and unveiling 24 new toilets in 24 hours on his Instagram story. It all appears to be part of the promotion for his latest movie, a film called Toilet, which appears to be a love story. I don’t know whether the film is pro-sanitation propaganda or not, but this news story is definitely pro-government.

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The negative side of the Indian government’s campaign to end open defecation is reported in First Post in a story about the village of Rekhasundar in Bihar, where villagers built toilets in their houses on the promise of receiving a government grant. Nine months later, the money hasn’t materialised and so the villagers took the dramatic step of demolishing their new toilets on Saturday morning. As one villager said, “Some of us took loans. My neighbour bought bricks and cement on credit. Now lenders and shopkeepers are pressing us to return their dues. When we go to block officer, we are sent back with promises. How long can we wait? At least we can sell the bricks after destroying it.”

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A villager standing by a newly-demolished toilet – photo from Firstpost, credited to Alok Kumar/Prafull Kumar

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Now to McDonalds in Liverpool in the UK, where a naked man was spotted injecting drugs into his testicles outside the toilet door. A female customer who witnessed it was traumatised. According to the Cambridge News, she was in McDonalds for a morning cup of tea before work and after she saw the man lift his testicles and make strange noises while injecting himself, she ran into the ladies’ toilets and couldn’t stop crying. McDonald’s staff, who were probably panicking made the odd decision to lock the man in the gents’ toilets until the police came.

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Finally, a reality TV story, where news.com.au has reported on an interview with recently evicted Survivor Australia. According to evictee Mark ‘Tarzan’ Herlaar, the toilet provisions on the island were not good. In fact, he said of his fellow contestants that “most of them didn’t shit for three or four days. It’s actually not high on your priority list, going to the bathroom.” TV is weird. I can’t even imagine a situation that would make me forget about pooing for four days.

2 August 2017 in toilets | Four stories from the UK

I love local news!

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We start in Hull, where a story in the Hull Daily Mail features one of my favourite complaints ever. Apparently, the city centre has been graced with new fountains that children love playing in, but the nearby public toilets have a sign up stating that the toilets are to be used as toilets only and should not be used for drying off or changing clothes. According to the council, wet floors in the toilets were a safety risk, but local resident, Mr Smith, does not believe them. He says, “I suspect that the prospect of people in Hull having pleasure was too much.” Too much.

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Wet children in Hull – photo from Hull Daily Mail

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KL FM, a King’s Lynn radio station, reports on a toilet story from Wisbech that I don’t exactly understand. Apparently a man got stuck in the public toilets for three hours. The confusing crux of the story is in this sentence “The man had fallen asleep, when a woman heard him banging on the doors.” Was he knocking in his sleep? Anyway, the police were called but couldn’t release him and eventually the fire brigade managed to extract him. Wisbech Town Council say nothing like this has happened at these toilets before.

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The Times reports on train toilets. I was surprised to read that in the UK, 500 trains still flush effluent directly onto the tracks. Gross! Thankfully, for the health of the people whose job it is to clean the tracks, the Department of Transport has announced a change in the law meaning that this practice has to end by the end of 2019. Yay!

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Finally, an abandoned monkey. The Metro claims that “an international hunt is underway” for the child that owns a cuddly monkey toy found in the women’s toilets in Gatwick Airport. In reality, it’s just an airport employee tweeting a photo of the monkey in question asking if anyone knows its owner, but still, it’s a cute story.

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The as yet unnamed monkey – photo from Metro, originally from Victor French on Twitter