toilets

The toilet of Venus

Cheerful plush toilet by My Paper Crane.

I believe that we, as a people, should aspire to better toilets. It is so simple to get right:

  1. Clean and working facilities
  2. Sink that is not falling off the wall
  3. Soap
  4. Tap that does not soak the front of your trousers and make it look like you have peed
  5. Hot air hand drier that is actually hot, and does not leave you with disagreeably moist and sticky hands

Or if it is your own of course then fluffy towels. But if it is a public toilets then the best hand drier that is available, according to independent research carried out by me, is the Model A manufactured by the World Dryer Corporation at 5700 McDermott Drive, Berkeley, Illinois, and I am trying to raise sponsorship for a fact-finding mission there. I think the executives at World Dryer, Inc. would welcome a visit from someone who appreciates their products as much as I do. But America is a long way away, and I also need spending money while I am there so as not to get hungry and so forth. Please telephone to make your pledge now.

I like inspecting motorway service station toilets, although I do not have any official authority to do so (for now). I am just writing down the results and remembering them. Rebecca West once referred to the “comfort which is given out by the major works of Mozart, which is as real and material as the warmth given up by a glass of brandy.” There is an uplifting, Mozartian glow to a really well-appointed bathroom. This is one reason I like expensive hotels, which unfortunately I cannot afford to stay in every day, but always smell delicious and magically clean themselves if you go out for ten minutes.

Pub toilets, though, are often a source of anguish and spiritual turmoil. I have been to pubs where exquisite viands are served on silver among tropical ferns and muted jazz quartets. Yet when you go into the toilets it is like Trainspotting. If you washed your hands in there you would only, on average, make them slightly dirtier.

But in a well-groomed and prosperous service station, or a large chain cinema where the toilets are cleaned by lasers and fumigation every 108 seconds, it is different. What a piece of work is a loo! how noble in porcelain, how infinite in roller towels, in form and flushing so express and admirable, in action how like an angel!