Friday, November 14, 2008

an internet of toilets

a brief survey, which, while not altogether tedious, may be neglected by the reader impatient with facts.
- jack vance, lyonesse

WHEN I WAS young we had something called pub rock. sweaty men in tight trousers and leather jackets played it to rooms full of drunk people. i liked it a lot even though i didn't have a leather jacket or particularly tight trousers. i went out to see pub rock as often as i could afford, about once a week.

back then the university bars were some of the best places to see pub rock. they had bigger rooms and better sound systems than a lot of the pubs, and the good bands tended to play there. i started going to uni bars when i was 16 maybe. i usually had just enough money to get in so i usually didn't drink. i still had to go to the toilet though and i was struck, gentle reader, by the quality of the writing on the toilet walls. there were political screeds, knowing cultural references, all kinds of wordplay and always at least one point-of-view ballpoint drawing of a woman waiting to be penetrated. it all seemed so smart and worldly, some kind of adult commentary on the machinations of the day.

a few years later i started hitchhiking a lot and so i got to read a lot of toilet walls in tiny country towns. the thing that struck me there was that someone else had made the same journey and had written long narratives on dozens of the walls i looked at, bulging single-spaced unpunctuated paragraphs of the stuff, always with some kind of transgressive element, always with an undercurrent of anger. one time the author had walked out of his room when his uncle was out and seen his uncle's girlfriend getting undressed through a window and she was a real slut and he could see her cunt when she bent over and he knew she could tell he was watching and he knew she liked it the dirty little slut: that kind of thing. she'd go on to have sex with someone, sometimes the author, sometimes a different family member while the author watched in hiding. the secret was always safe at the end of the story: no-one ever got caught but i guess the story had to be told and so here it was poured out for all to see while they voided their bowels of shit.

anyway. we have the internet for all these things now but back then we didn't. men still wanted to talk about politics and art and sluts who wanted it though, still wanted to draw pictures of cocks and cunts, still wanted to keep alive the ancient tradition of jokes about arts degrees so they made the best internet they could from toilet walls. the nodes of this network were connected by two things: the shared cultural understanding outlined in the last sentence, and the sewerage system. and both of those were connected by the mother ocean, one way or another, in that a very small part of the water cycle takes place in our bodies, including the bits we think with.

since we've had a real internet the fire's gone out of the toilet wall internet and the prose has fallen off a long way, both in quantity and quality. perhaps you'd think this would be different in university toilets but it isn't, really. hardly any of the university-educated graffitists can spell any more and none of them have anything political to say that isn't talkback hate or green left weekly headline or just incredibly stupid in some other way.

despite this, there is occasional kindness and generosity of spirit, like the 19-year-old writing on the wall of the toilet closest to the recording studio where i study, the 19-year-old with a big black cock who kindly left a note offering to stick it in my arse if i want. well, the note's not addressed to me personally, but i figure i'm included. what a nice young man! it's heartening to know that in this day and age there's someone offering to stick his big black cock in the arse of a total stranger, without even being asked. it warms the heart.

it's a generous offer, to be sure, but here's the thing: he's offering to insert into my arse something of roughly the size, shape and colour as what i've gone to the toilet to remove from my arse. we're at cross-purposes, see. it'd violate some kind of conservation of mass to take him up on it.

on which note:

love to all


© New Blogger Templates | Webtalks