Tuesday, August 06, 2013

From dunny to din dins, or, there and back again

As you will probably be aware, I have a lot of latest obsessions. Beer, cheese, origami, cheesy origami beer, you name it, I'm obsessed with it. Well my latest latest obsession is toilets - though actually I must admit toilets have been my latest obsession forever. Victorian toilets, Melbourne's underground toilets, a possible business venture taking visitors to Melbourne on tours around Melbourne's best toilets, the toilets in the Astor Movie Theatre, the Sun Picture Theatre, the Windsor Theatre, at Mordialloc Station, and underground on Plenty Road in Preston, the decor and design in said toilets - I've thought about it all at length. I've even periodically thought about launching books or just having roving poetry readings in Melbourne's better toilets, which would be great except half the audience would be shut out.

So I'm rather peeved to see this story (via PWAF), indicating that Sydney has stolen a march on Melbourne in the toilet stakes.
They are seedy and entirely unlovely, redolent of graffiti, urine and filth. But three vacant Sydney toilet blocks may soon be occupied under a plan to turn them into cafes...The City of Sydney has been fielding offers from cafe operators to take over decommissioned public toilets at Taylor Square, Belmore Park near Central Station, and Hickson Road at Millers Point. - The latte lavatories: old toilet blocks facing a cafe makeover
Of course the author gets it quite wrong. The pictured dunnies are entirely respectable, greatly preferable to the stainless steel electrical affairs that city councils use today.

And it's not as if the hosts of these houses of convenience would even have to hide their history. Au contraire; I think they should celebrate it. The cistern could easily be converted into an espresso machine. The metal walls could be polished until they are gleaming and new, and used to hang items of cutlery. The flush chains dangling from the ceiling could be converted into bells to ding when a meal is done. Wall urinals, if any, could be either converted into comfortable seats with the use of a few throw cushions, or receptacles for customer bags. Separate chambers into which people used to retire could be fitted out with a table with a cheery cloth and turned into booths for customers to have quiet conversations. Floor tiles could be polished, happy bouquets of flowers hung from the wall, and it would indeed be a rich cultural experience for all concerned!

Although at some point a customer might actually want to take a piss. No matter: turn them out onto the grassy area with a plastic bag and a '10 per cent off your next purchase' voucher and that problem is easily fixed, too. What a business opportunity these blocks could make!

1 comment:

Steve said...

Tim, I think you would be very impressed with the toilets in the recently re-opened-after-extensive- renovations Brisbane City Hall. I was so impressed I nearly took a photo.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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