yesterdays toilets in the 21st century

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london does makes me laugh sometimes… lately she’s taken to turning durty old public toilets into places where you can now go for earl grey tea and coffee, or even a cocktail.

here’s one on the corner of foley street, near tottenham court road.. before…..and after.Attendant-05-634x475Attendant-08-634x422Attendant-09-634x423

and here’s me drinking something poisonous with a little pink umbrella in a holding cell of the marlborough magistrates court opposite carnaby street, which they’ve gleefully reinvented as a restaurant and bar. the toilet bowl has now been re-appropriated as an ice bucket for champagne bottles… IMG_4482

i drank three of those potent oil rigs there,but found the whole experience rather sobering. dear reader, these are the very cells where oscar wilde was held before they dragged him out into the dock to be humiliated…mick jagger..john and yoko…johnny rotten….. all these dear bright talented people must have sat right there where i am like bags of nerves wondering what would become of them. now anyone can lounge around on those very unchanged tiles and get ripped to the tits on alcohol….these dolls i mention were in the dock on account of someone elses hypocritical idea of morality..they hadn’t stolen anything…or caused bodily harm to anyone…they all worked extremely hard, and they must’ve sat right there with heads in hand shaking for what would happen over the next hours…especially oscar wilde. this was all i could think and talk about while i drank my spiked lemonade …in the next holding cell i could hear a gang of folk laughing and clinking cocktail glasses .. perhaps it’s best they weren’t brooding over history in the way i was…   after all, life is for living.

here’s pictures of the courtroom where the trials took place…they haven’t changed the interior at all. it just looks so strange to see tablecloths and wine glasses scattered around a room where folk were fried… vampires on a dinner date surely love this place. IMG_4484IMG_4483IMG_4486IMG_4487IMG_4488
when i was an eighteen year old,paying the rent as a disc jockey six nights a week in birmingham,i used to walk past a public toilet on the way to my club…it was a smelly underground affair with ornate tiles,and the local fruits nick named it the silver slipper. sometimes i’d risk going down there… silly really…i’d be on my way to work, so i couldn’t get up to much anyway. it was just this strange need…a need to brush shoulders with others of my own kind, yet to meet them in these squalid circumstances did nothing for my young sense of self worth..there was the fear of getting caught and humiliated… in those days i used to wonder how nice it must be for straight folk having easier access to love and social life… but now i realise the lives of straight people have their own set of nightmares as well. it’s deep shit for us all baby…. anywayyy..here’s the thing, and how i laughed… recently i came across a picture of the human league before they were famous, posing for a photo right there above the silver slipper on birmingham’s hill street…they look totally oblivious to the locations cruisey resonance… if only they knew. maybe it’s a hipster coffee shop now smelling of freshly ground beans instead of wee wee.Unknown

i will leave you now with two videos,both shot at the same soho public toilet..the first is john lennon with peter cook in the 1960’s, and the following is me from a few of years ago. i hope that was good for whoever came by…lots of love ..mary cigarettes  

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6 Responses to yesterdays toilets in the 21st century

  1. Richard Malpas says:

    Never before have I thought of latrines to be so interesting… Strange how establishments of the past, although re-vamped, still dominate the contemporary change…good to read…with your little magic touch,,,,,Mary of the Slipper… 😉

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    • hi richie ..i never knew the word ‘latrine’ till a few years ago…thomas told me it’s very much an army word….so now i’m wondering if you did a spell in the army when you came out of school….hope you’re well n’all xxx

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  2. Richard Malpas says:

    Hi Mary, yes I did my stint in the mob, I signed on at 17 years of age,Ablutions and latrines…ha.! sound so much worse than bathroom. I did five years in the REME discharge by purchase in 1971….I got bored with it. It came just at the right time, I was doing a stint in Belfast at the time….Billeted up along the Holywood Road on the Royal Navy airfield…you must know it… I hated it,with my mother coming form that part of the country (Killyleagh) I had terrible mixed feelings……….Hope you and Thomas are well. Miserable winter ahead of us…ugh.! Take care ….

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    • i have old friends in killyleagh actually…near downpatrick….blimey..you did a stint along the hollywood road there…strange strange times…thank heavens you live to tell the tale.

      winter will be alright ritchie…cosy evenings indoors..winegums…comedy on the goggle box…that’s how we approach it xxx

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      • Richard Malpas says:

        I believe my mum met my dad in Downpatrick…He was stationed in Ballykinler and met her at a dance….She actually lived in Shrigley, a mile outside of Killyleagh…and I walked that one night quite rat-arsed after having a night out with relatives….it took a long time…I could go on about it but I’m digressing from your original post…

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      • oh yes..those late night walks from one small town to the other…i did that a lot in my efforts to regroup after rosetta stone..those country roads..not always lit…it’s amazing what we do when we’re young.

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