Tag Archives: UK

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

23 July 2017 in toilets | Stories from India, the UK and the internet

I’m going to start by saying a word about what I’m not going to write about. In this week’s toilet news that I get in my email, I got news about a suicide in a school toilet, about a rape in a public toilet, about a woman giving birth to a baby, which subsequently died, in a public toilet and about a man sexually abusing children in a toilet. Toilets, for a number of reasons, are a venue for some of society’s great evils and I will address this in some future posts, but for right now, I don’t think I’ve found the right tone for that, so I’m going to avoid it for today, but I will come back to it in the future.

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The first story I will report on is from Attitude Magazine and it is about a new computer game based in a men’s toilet in Ohio in the 1960s, where the aim is to cruise men, i.e. pick up men for sex in a public toilet. The aim of the game is to successfully pick men up without the police catching you. I never thought of cruising as something you could “win” at before, but I guess I was wrong.

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A still from The Tearoom game – picture from Attitude

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Next to the city of Kozhikode in Kerala, where The Hindu reports that shopping centre staff are complaining about the lack of toilets. Most of the male staff will find a laneway to piss in, but apparently, the female employees either have to bring a pot to work that they then empty in the streets afterwards, or else bring a bottle which they can close tightly and take home in their bags to empty. We have it lucky.

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Then there’s this tweet from the @Visit_Wakefield account about the wrong way to put a toilet roll.

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Finally, to an Instagram account after my own heart. A man who goes around London photographing and reviewing gents’ toilets on Instagram as “London Urinal”. Keep your freak flying!

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11 June 2017 in Toilets | Stories from India, the USA, the UK and Australia

First up, Australia, and one of this blog’s trustworthy repeat stories – the crazy things that people flush down their toilets. News.com.au ran a story about a plumber in Darwin and the things he’s found blocking toilets, which include: “dead cats, dirty underwear, sex toys, chain mail butcher’s gloves and soiled nappies”. Apparently, children frequently get embarrassed about having accidents in their underwear and flush them to hide the evidence and this frequently causes the plumber to have to be called.

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Chris Murphy, the Darwin plumber interviewed for this story, with the live cat he rescued from a toilet – photo from NT News by Glenn Campbell

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And now to Huddersfield in West Yorkshire in the UK, where the Sunday Express reports on the controversy around a secondary school’s decision to provide gender neutral/unisex bathrooms for their students in an attempt to be inclusive of students of all modes of gender expression.

Apparently parents (especially of female students) are objecting to the change, principally using the argument that girls will be too afraid of bullying to use the toilets with boys present while they’re menstruating and that each cubicle would have to be fitted with individual tampon machines so that girls could procure these without the boys seeing. If that really is the main argument, then it would appear that the boys’ parents need to do a better job of educating their children about menstruation, but I suspect that that isn’t the only reason behind the objections.

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We’re still in the UK, where Wigan Today reports that a website “Cruising Gays” which lists cruising spots for gay men (places where men can look for other men to have anonymous sex) has ranked the toilets at Wigan Wallgate railway station as the best for anonymous hook-ups in the region. Congratulations?

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A racism row has been reported on CBS’s Dallas-Fort Worth site about the small town of Paris Texas, where signs proclaiming “Negro Toilets” with explanatory notes about the Civil Rights Act, which were erected next to the site of what were formerly racially segregated toilets have been removed. Apparently, the were erected in an effort to educate about the racist past, but the wording has served to offend and reinforce and so they have been removed.

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The offending signs. Photo from CBS DFW, by Brenda Cherry

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Finally, to India, where a court row about two toilets in Bangalore has been resolved after 36 years according to the Bangalore Mirror. The two toilets were built in 1981 by one family. The woman next door claimed that the toilets blocked her right of way between the two houses and demanded that they be demolished so she could access the laneway between the houses. The court rejected her argument, stating that she could not establish that she had a right of way there. However, they also ordered that the toilets be demolished anyway, as they were  taking support from the complainant’s house.  So everyone’s a loser!

4 June 2017 in Toilets | Stories from New Zealand, Japan, China, South Africa, the US, the UK and Ireland

Welcome to the new format – from now on every Sunday I’ll be posting all of the internet’s best toilet stories from the last week. I imagine you’ve missed me lots.

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Let’s start in New Zealand, with a story about a policeman keeping his job. TVNZ reports on the story of a “highly trained” police officer, whose job is to protect the New Zealand Prime Minister and other VIPs, who kept his job after a disciplinary process. He was using the public toilet in parliament and put his loaded Glock pistol down and then forgot to pick it up. An hour and a half later, when he was on his way back, having realised he’d forgotten his gun, it was discovered by a member of the public. Luckily, no harm was done.

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Breaking News reports that Sober Lane, a pub in my home city of Cork, has installed a “Snapchat machine” in the ladies’ toilets, so women on a night out can record their toilet fun and drunk group selfies on the pub’s Snapchat story. I’m sure nothing at all will go wrong.

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The ladies’ toilet Snapchat Machine  – photo from BreakingNews.ie

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Angry commuter stories make me happy. Angry commuters pissing in plastic bottle stories are amazing. Read this story in the East Anglian Daily Times to experience the anger of rail passengers stuck on a train that only had working toilets in half of the carriages. It does sound inconvenient, as they had to get off the train and get back on another carriage in order to access the toilets, so I’m not not on the passengers’ side. But I still find the idea of the people of East Anglia angrily pissing into bottles on a train quite funny.

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Now, a story from the Sowetan Live, about a man who has an amazing name and amazing hair. There is apparently a singer  and reality TV star called Papa Penny Penny. Imagine being called Papa Penny Penny and not being a reality TV star. Anyway, the story goes that he once worked as a toilet cleaner. He told a show called Real Talk that “some people would just do their deeds beside [instead of inside] the toilet pot but I just cleaned”. Poor Papa Penny Penny.

 

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Papa Penny Penny – photo from Sowetan Live

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Now to China, where a news story in This Week in Asia appears to be trying to make Japan’s good toilets as much of a problem as China’s bad ones. The story tells of the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, when the city’s many dirty, smelly and old-fashioned toilets had to be renovated before the Games started. It compares this situation to Japan’s amazing toilets, thought to be the best in the world, and lists some of the advantages of Japan’s toilets, with their automated functions, heated seats, built-in bidets and washing functions and even the ability to measure blood pressure or analyse urine content. It claims that before the Olympics come to Japan 2020, the Japanese will have a similar problem because competitors and crowds from around the world won’t be able to figure out how to use the loos there. You should mainly read this story for the amazing photos of Japanese toilets, two of which I include here.

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This is a photo of Inax’s (a Japanese firm) flagship toilet at a Shanghai expo. Imagine having a flagship toilet. Photo from This Week in Asia, credited AFP. 

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A man wearing a poo-shaped hat climbs a giant toilet slide at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo. Amazing. Photo from This Week in Asia, credited AFP.

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Finally to San Francisco, and a story from Business Insider (which is basically Buzzfeed in a suit) about a journalist who tries a Japanese toilet. It’s not just any Japanese toilet. It’s apparently “the Mercedes Benz of toilets” and it costs $10,200. To be honest, that’s too much to spend on an actual Mercedes Benz. She said the toilet was nice, but unsurprisingly she also said that it wasn’t ten thousand dollars nice.

 

Korans in the toilet, Fatboy Slim hipsterises toilets and a dream toilet.

The BBC is reporting on what is assumed to be a hate crime in the University of Texas at Dallas, where photos of Korans in three different toilet bowls have been shown to the media. The police are investigating and are trying to identify suspects from CCTV. The act is mysterious insofar as the copies of the Koran from the multi-faith prayer room in the same building were untouched and the police don’t know who owned the Korans that ended up in the toilet. The university has been anxious to emphasise its welcoming and diverse nature in the aftermath of this incident.

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The once famous DJ Fatboy Slim is behind a scheme to re-develop a dilapidated block of public toilets in Shoreham-by-Sea, in West Sussex in the UK into a “community cafe” and “watersports centre”. I don’t know what either of those things are, but the commenters in local Sussex paper, The Argus seem happy, so long as the centre includes public toilets. They also enjoy the fact that a local councillor involved in the scheme is called Brian Boggis.

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Finally, a video from Kalamazoo, Michigan, where local DJ with WKFR 103.3, Dana Marshall, finds his dream toilet.