11 January 2022/Comments Off on Tissue Issue – A Look At Loos
Photographs by Mike Vickers
Feature Photo Above:And then there were two. Urinals have been disappearing all over town. Police are asking anyone with information to come to the station at their convenience.
This collection is a little bit different to most of the others I’ve published on mickvicktravels.com. I’ve gone out on a limb here. Strayed outside the (thunder) box. This meticulously collected album explores a subject known only too well by every single person on the planet, but is seldom discussed in polite society.
I’m talking about toilets!
Don’t worry, I haven’t gone over all Peter Wyngarde on you, but let’s dwell for a moment on looking at loos. A cludgie contemplation, as it were. A perfunctory peep at pissoires.
For a start, let’s get one thing straight. We all, without exception, automatically review every new rest room we use for the first time. We can’t help ourselves. Think about the occasions you’ve been out with a few mates to a new venue. The person with the most irksome bladder should be heralded as the true hero of the party, the Christopher (or Christine) Columbus of Crappers, the one who, through urinary urgency, is compelled to wander off to determine not only the location of the conveniences for the entire group, but also to offer up a pithy review on their return. These can vary from, ‘Yeah, absolutely fine, clean, but with a disturbingly overpowering whiff of WD40,’ to a less than encouraging, ‘Grubby, no paper towels, a bit 1970s,’ and occasionally, the truly terrifying, ‘Have you made your will?’
Different nations have their own expectations and offer a surprisingly wide range of designs. The most technically sophisticated toilets are from Japan. Everyone knows that. If you want an automatic post-poo mechanical buffing of your arse cheeks, Tokyo’s your destination of choice!
One would also expect other advanced countries to follow suit, but this isn’t always the case. For instance, many German loos have a shelf moulded into the pan designed to intercept your most recent offering, thus enabling a close-up and personal examination. Frankly, I find that a bit strange, but it appears our Teutonic cousins have a long history of contemplating their own doo-doos, for whatever reason. On a trip to Dusseldorf many years ago and resolutely unwilling to participate in this national obsession, I discovered just how much of a contortionist you had to be to avoid the shelf.
So what, you may ask, originally started me down this particular path of photographing thrones? Well, it all began with a visit to a really classy eatery in Cheltenham back in 2019. I excused myself and visited the rather swanky loos and on returning, enthused about the ultra-modern urinals, observing they were an example of form over function and really only suited for use by extraordinarily thin and unfeasibly tall gentlemen. The ladies in the party were intrigued, so I returned to take some snaps to show them what I had just encountered.
That was my inaugural foray into the arcane world of restroom photography. I quickly became a Crapper Snapper, and from that day onwards, have been regularly recording the good, the bad and the ugly on my travels.
Right, let’s now have a peep at Turkish toilets. These vary widely in quality and, it has to be said, the vast majority of conveniences in the tourist areas of Western Turkey are surgically clean and have replaced the old squatters with European-style flushing pedestal toilets, making for an altogether much more relaxing experience, but it wasn’t always this way. I once almost expired from asphyxiation in a horrific public WC in Karaçulha on the outskirts of Fethiye, but now I can breathe easy as it’s long since been demolished.
Be assured, there’s no need to be afraid of reading on as this article concentrates only on the arcane, the entertaining and the quirky. On the whole (yes, pun fully intended), Turkish toilets no longer deserve their traditionally fearsome reputation, but I’m really happy to report many still remain cheerfully idiosyncratic in design. With that in mind, I’m proud to present the first edition of Tissue Issue. I was going to call it BATCRAP – the British And Turkish Convenience & Restroom Aficionados Periodical, but don’t worry if you’re unable to get your head around that – it’s just a fancy name for a Loo Review.
Right-ho, time to gird your lions. I actually typed ‘loins’, but once again got auto-corrected by a spellchecker that has no knowledge of early 14th century vernacular English! Those embryos in Silicon Valley should hang their heads in shame…