Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

News from the other side of the fence

Since six out of my ten links are women this post should prove esoterically instructive. My subject is public urinals, following a visit to one equipped with a twee little bowl for three-year-olds. Hygienic chinaware is not an obvious cause of poignancy yet this was my reaction, possibly influenced by Blake in the latest and last of The Guardian’s poetry booklets.

The bowl was unpatronised and forlorn, coming as it did at the end of a line of higher and wider orifices for adults. Its tininess spoke of latent persecution. Little child what ails thee? I imagined myself saying to a crying infant whose tears were providing an additional libation to more conventional fluid flow. That I’m here and not on remand confirms I kept this sentiment to myself.

Public urinals are not really for little boys. Some are so austere as to discourage the function for which they are provided. Jugoslavia in 1965 led the world in causing men – in extremis up to that moment – to ask whether they were really capable of discharging their obligations there and then. The most luxurious evacuation I experienced was underground in Germany where there were back-lit niches containing men’s toiletries and an impeccably groomed sixty-year-old Wagnerian lady to receive my pfennigs. There may have been carpets.

Once urinals were flushed by a cistern and ball-cock arrangement. Now some are flushed immediately in response to that which has just happened. This is both abrupt and accusatory. Protection against unwanted splashing is not best served by bowls; stainless steel troughs found in the more rudimentary sports changing rooms are far more effective but have a dismal industrial look. Unlikely to attract a sonnet.

Novel progress 3/2/10. Ch. 14: 0 words. Chs. 1 - 13: 58,239 words. Comments: Roof falls in on Clare but it's not the expected roof.