Doing battle with daily dragons

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Some Thoughts on The Throne

My in-laws came to one of the Rock Star’s gigs the other night. The pub in question looked as if it had been kitted out by Henry VIII’s interior decorator; iron chandeliers, mock gothic windows and lots of very spiky metal grillwork that was obviously not designed with heavy drinkers in mind. The layout was cursed with the same flaw as many other stops on The Mis-spelled Band’s circuit; if one feels compelled to heed the call of nature, one must don battle armour and fight ones way across the dance floor in order to find the loo, sustaining much damage along the way in the form of crushed toes, groped buttocks and stained outer garments.

So great was my mother-in-law’s desire NOT to make this journey, that they left early and she had “a hugely refreshing wee” on Stanmore Common. A 63-year-old woman chose to relieve herself on a public green, risking prosecution rather than use a nightclub toilet. This is a sad state of affairs.

It’s just as well that my in-laws never came to see The Rock Star at what we affectionately termed “The Mutant Pub” in downtown Aylesbury. It's since been taken over by new management, so we imagine the mutants have returned to their undergroud lair. It’s been awhile since any of us ventured near the place, but before the Mis-spelled Band got put on the O’Neills circuit, they often braved this little sinkhole of humanity. I mention this because the toilets there were worth avoiding even if you were suffering from acute food poisoning. The gents was reputed to be worse (although this is almost always the case) although they had a more amusing selection of novelty items for purchase in their vending machine than in the ladies, including inflatable sheep, vibrators and contraceptive devices that sported so many attachments that they looked like they were capable of being used for home repair.

However, all is not entirely rosy in the world of posh loos either.

About 2 years ago, while visiting LawGirl in Boston, she and two of her lovely friends took me to an extremely swanky restaurant downtown. Everything about the place was very classy, so when the sole male of our party came back from the toilet with a puzzled look on his face, we naturally questioned him.

“You know a restaurant is too pretentious when you can’t quite figure out where you’re supposed to pee,” he said. Apparently, the main feature in the gents was a large fountain, lined below with crushed ice. “I hope that’s where I was supposed to go, cause if not, I just desecrated a really nice design feature.”

The ladies room also had a surprise in store. Upon entering, we were dazzled by the dozens of mirrored surfaces, including the outer stall doors. However, when seated in the stall, you come to the horrible realization that the doors are in fact one-way mirrors so that you can observe the goings on in the restroom at large. I can’t convey how disconcerting it is to be sitting on the toilet and have a woman facing you, checking her makeup and picking her teeth.

I think I prefer the anonymity of the nightclub stall hands down. Even if I have to shove my way through the England rugby squad to get there.