Blogging upon other people's bloggy observations is one other the lowest forms of blogging. Yet, when someone like Pete Brown goes about actually going to real events and doing things like taking a cask of IPA to India by boat, well, that is really more like conveying actual news or...ummm...having a life. Fortunately Pete Brown, doesn't take having his life that seriously, meaning he can report on the state of the public convenience:
...the British Public Toilets Association (yes, there really is such a thing) reckons 45% of public conveniences have closed in the last couple of decades. They occupy prime real estate - one former public toilet was recently sold for £125,000 as a flat. A parliamentary enquiry just this week estimated that the number of public conveniences in the UK has fallen from 5,410 in 2000 to 4,423 this year.
That is quite amazing. Blame George Michael all you want, but the growing lack of conveniences is more than inconvenient. There is a dehumanization to the lack of public planning for the need to pee. Simply an unkindness tied to the wrong response to questions of safety. And, in a real sense, it is an attack on the pub crawl, on the idea that I can have one more pint before making the hike home. Not to mention grannies and their cups of tea. In a way, it's even wrong to lump it in with "street furniture."
When I was younger and traveled, I got a glimpse at the life with the concierge - whether the old Polish gal in black who inhabited the railway station closet or the dapper man who handed you warm towels when you were at the restaurant you couldn't really afford. Each dignified the event...even, I suppose, the one in that unisex restroom in a Brussels bar. For some reason I know the public washroom of Dad's hometown was nicknamed "The Crystal Palace" as it was made with that glass brick. It was well loved because it was well used by those in need at all times of the day. Now the only places these get built on by the highways. Because no one walks.
When did we forget, like Winnipeg did, that people pee away from home? Is it when we stop walking down streets to go have a beer?