Tag Archives: toilets

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.

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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

16 July 2017 in toilets| Stories from the Uk, Canada and the air

Let’s start with the child capitalist, who The Evening Standard are reporting has built a “tuck-shop empire”, turning over £25,000 a year from selling sweets in the school toilets. He started at the age of 12 and wasn’t caught by teachers until he was 15. The so-called “Wolf of Walthamstow” advertised his wares and took orders over Snapchat.

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Still in the UK, and a story about a scam I think I was a victim of. Purple Wifi, which is a company that provides free public wifi in a variety of businesses including Pizza Express, inserted a clause into their terms and conditions stating that in return for the use of the wifi, the customer would perform community service, including cleaning toilets at festivals and unclogging sewage blockages. The Guardian reports that Purple Wifi engaged in this stunt in order to illustrate lack of awareness of what the terms and conditions of public wifi are. To be honest, it didn’t work. I’m still not going to read them.

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In another story that rubbed me up the wrong way, an airplane passenger filmed a female passenger and a male passenger exiting a toilet, clearly having spent time there together. The Metro reports that the video, when posted online, went viral because the man had such a smug grin after the toilet encounter. And it’s true that he does look incredibly pleased with himself. The bit of the story I don’t like, is that Virgin Atlantic posted the video to their own Facebook page after it became viral and boasted about their great mood lighting. Don’t do that, Virgin. Don’t.

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Finally, did you know that there are other toilet bloggers? There are! And this guy was in The Toronto Star this week, where a video story about him told the story of his Instagram “toilography” page, where he documents weird and wonderful toilets and toilet-themed museums, restaurants and cafes.

9 July 2017 in toilets | Stories from Australia, India and the internet

Let’s start with the news you’ve all clearly been waiting for. Who won “The Best Toilet in Australia” award? Well, Hit FM tells us that  the winner is Toowoomba Portable Toilets, who boast of their “Dunnies with a difference”. Their portable toilets include a red London phone box, rustic shed,  and a beach house.

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Two of Toowoomba’s dunnies with a difference – pics from hit.com.au

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The Hindustan Times reports on a new product, intended to calm fears around germs and public toilet seats. Neena Narayan, a Delhi homemaker, has invented a disposable toilet seat cover that you can carry with you in your handbag. She says that it “feels like silk, protects like steel.”

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Narayan with her toilet seat cover – pic by Burhaan Kinu in Hindustan Times

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Staying in India, and moving to Gurugram, where the police are investigating the case of 23 missing toilets. The Times of India reports on the case which arose around a new modern office block, Silverton Towers, where the developers sold the space intended to be communal toilet blocks as office space. Some of the companies that have taken office space in the building have reported this to the police and asked them to locate the missing toilets.

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And finally, to a four-year-old Amazon review for a toilet brush, which has reappeared on Reddit and on various tabloid news sites over the last few weeks.

“I don’t know how these things have caught on! Absolute agony and disgusting to use. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m sticking with toilet paper.”

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2 July 2017 in toilets | Stories from the UK, Russia and the USA

Let’s start with a fairly gross story from the Bristol Post about the long-drop toilets at Glastonbury and what festival goers noticed living in the faeces there. Creatures that bask in the wondrously grotesque name of “rat-tailed maggots” feed on decaying plant and animal matter including poo. Festival-goers took photographs of the harmless creatures, who have protuberances like rats’ tails extending from their anuses, through which they breathe, but my manners are too good for me to post a picture of them here.

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And now to a story from devonlive.com, about a school which is planning to build unisex toilets and parents are objecting. Last week,  I wrote about the parents saying that girls would  be afraid to use tampons in a room with boys, which is at least arguable. This week, the parent objectors have just gone crazy, saying that teen pregnancies will “soar” as a result. Daft.

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RT.com ran a story about a highly entertaining and mildly terrifying viral video of portaloos being blown around in a summer storm in Moscow. It looks as if the toilets have come to life and members of the public literally had to run away from them.

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And finally to Austin Pride 2017 in Texas, where KXAN reports on a rainbow toilet display on the steps of the State Capitol in protest at the proposed anti-trans “bathroom bill”.

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The Texas State Capitol – pic from DallasVoice.com

25 June 2017 in toilets | Stories from the UK, India, Jamaica and Denmark

Ed Miliband was the leader of the opposition in the UK and theoretically could have been Prime Minister until he resigned after losing the general election in 2015. This week, he was on BBC Radio 2, covering for Jeremy Vine and being a light entertainer on his phone-in show. During the week, many topics were covered, but the Evening Standard reports that on Tuesday his topic was toilets. He chatted to listeners about dual flush toilets and even had one caller flush her Victorian toilet live on air. That’s what the man who could have prevented Brexit was doing with his Tuesday.

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The next story is one I have read at least ten times and still don’t understand. It’s about a village in India, which Time reports is informally changing its name to Trump Sulabh Village in honour of President Donald. The move is being led by a toilet charity, which is campaigning for access to sanitation and toilets in India, including in this village. Apparently, the publicity stunt is causing the village to get free toilets for each of the 60 mud houses there. Many of the villagers are said not to know who Trump is, but are delighted to be getting the new toilets. Nothing about this story makes any sense.

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Trump Sulabh Village – photo from Time.com

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The Jamaican Star reports from the neighbourhood of Trenchtown in the capital city Kingston, where the lack of toilet facilities has left residents frustrated. They are complaining to local politicians that many people are using plastic shopping bags (known as “scandal bags” in Jamaica) to defecate in and are then throwing that into the bin, which is causing quite a lot of unpleasantness. Local residents also complain of plastic bags of faeces being used as missiles, which does sound singularly unpleasant.

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Finally, to Denmark, where an archaeologist has found a pile of medieval Viking poo and got herself into some controversy as a result. Ars Technica reports that Anna Beck believes she has found the oldest toilet in Denmark, but that many other archaeologists don’t believe this is possible as there were no toilets in rural Denmark until the 18th century according to current research, and that rural people would have mixed their poo with that of their animals and used it as manure. Beck’s poo pit would seem to claim otherwise.