In my youth, I was a friend of a man named Tom Driberg, a British politician who set the bar very high in these matters. In his memoir, Ruling Passions, he described his "chronic, lifelong, love-hate relationship with lavatories." He could talk by the hour about the variety and marvel of these "public conveniences," as Victorian euphemism had dubbed them. In Britain, they were called "cottages" in gay argot, instead of "tearooms," and an experienced "cottager" knew all the ins and outs, if you will pardon the expression. There was the commodious underground loo in Leicester Square that specialized in those whose passion was for members of the armed forces. There was the one at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, much favored by aesthetes, where on the very foot of the partition, above the 6-inch space, someone had scribbled "beware of limbo dancers." (The graffiti in cottages was all part of the fun: On the toilet wall at Paddington Station was written: "I am 9 inches long and two inches thick. Interested?" Underneath, in different handwriting: "Fascinated, dear, but how big is your dick?") On Clapham Common, the men's toilet had acquired such a lavish reputation for the variety of lurid actions performed within its precincts that, as I once heard it said: "If someone comes in there for a good honest shit, it's like a breath of fresh air."Hmmm, several people have now persuaded me that I do not need a Myspace page even if I am a young-adult author, but I do not think I am going to clean up this blog in any way that would make it appropriate for young-adult-novel publicity-related purposes (and the sensibility here would perhaps not have a widespread appeal in any case--and I have a strong dislike for the highly self-promotional style of book blog!)--but I do think I want a blog that people, including youngish people, who've read the book can come to for updates on book-related news--maybe just a blog on the website, and then there will be a link to this one also--all right, back to work now, brief interlude of time-wasting!
Monday, September 03, 2007
The double life
Christopher Hitchens at Slate on Larry Craig and public bathrooms: