I recently went to The Lost Act, part of the Lost Lectures series of events, the organisation and ambition of which put my efforts with Boring to shame (you can see a video of a talk I did about Boring at the Lost Lectures here).
The Lost Act was held in the stunningly beautiful Victorian theatre at the Alexandra Palace and featured the wonderful Public Service Broadcasting who combine dialogue from the BFI archives with electronica while wearing tweed meaning it would be inevitable that they would appeal to me. They make things like this:
There is no way that I could not love Public Service Broadcasting. It’s like they were engineered with me in mind. Their performance on the night was brilliant, as was the whole evening – I urge you to go to the next Lost event. Every time I’ve been, I’ve loved every minute of it.
The theatre at Alexandra Palace is an amazing space and in the process of being renovated after years of being used as a BBC prop store (this was the first public event there in about sixty years). As a result, some of the facilities are lacking. Particularly the toilets.
The toilets they had were in portable cabins. As portable toilets go, they were certainly at the high end – wooden doors, fully functioning flushes, hot and cold running water, mirrors, luxury soap. But they were unisex. When I use a unisex toilet, I am faced with a dilemma: the seat issue.
I always make an effort to tidy up the place when I use a unisex toilet, because I am considerate and nice. That’s not too much of a problem, although it does mean that I sometimes have to spend slightly longer in there than I really need to. But I still have not found a satisfactory solution to the seat problem. To leave it up or to put it down. I don’t want to leave it up as I don’t wish to appear like a drunken, urinating tool of the patriachy.
However, I am aware of the possibility that the next man to use the toilet may not be as much of a feminist as me and not even bother to raise the seat before sprinkling his male privilege all over it.
My only solution is to put both the seat and the lid down, therefore forcing the next person to make an active decision about how they wish to use the toilet. I am not sure if this is the best solution, but it is the only action I can take with a clear conscience.
The only danger of the “lid down” strategy as far as I can see is that you will create a slight sense of trepidation in the next user as they fear what might be lurking under the lid. But then imagine their delight when, on lifting the lid, they discover a sparkling clean bowl and crystal clear water and their faith in humanity is restored. That or someone might just take a dump on the lid.