Monday, April 25, 2005

Latrinalia in Ladies Loos along Leith Walk

Take one

My ethnorgaphical survey of latrinalia was a miserable failure, well at least the first half of it.

I had given myself set parameters and a well demarkated area so as to not take on too much but had failed to do a preliminary study and found that the material I had intended to study didn´t lend itself well to study seeing as it wasn´t actully there.

My aim had been to look at Latrinalia in Ladies Loos along Leith Walk, lots of l´s, but after dragging my kids along the whole of Leitth walk to wait outside pubs whilst mum went in and caused jovial responses to her bizzarre request of being allowed to photograph the loo, I found, much to my dismay that of the 24 pubs there only one had one minor scribbling.

I was met with remarkable understanding and actually enthusiasm from from pub owners and patrons, and to my surprice the pubs I had been the most nervous about entering turned out to be where I got the nicest responses, and admittedly the most attention by patrons.
Only in one case did I meet with rejection along Leith Walk and altough I´ll not name the pub it struck me very intresting that it was one of the finer pubs where I was adamantly refused entrance to the loos and where the keeper vehemently denied there being any scribblings nor graffiti in “their” loos.

This negative view of latrinalia was prevalent with many pub owners proudly saying that their loos had no such thing, as indeed upon inspection, they didn´t.

Which lead to Take two

In my second sweep I decided to go towards the center of Edinburgh and focus on the pubs surrounding the university of Edinburgh. After seventeen pubs, numerous pointers and not a single scribbling I began to loose heart, could it be that the ladies that frequent the pubs of Edinburgh had no dire urges to write comments and notes of wisdom on the walls.

Admittedly it was obvious that the walling in the loos was very easy to clean and I neglected to ask any proprietor whether they deliberatly kept cleaning away these treasures of folklore I so desperately sought. But judging from how so many of the pub owner proudly said “we don´t have any” it would seem to indicate that it isn´t a problem for them....following that comment I often got the follow up “ but if the mess in the mens bathrooms in so and so pub is anything to go by I´m sure you´ll find some there”.

For future refrence I will make sure to make a preliminary sweep in order to ascertain that the material I am intending to study actually does exist before handing in my set parametres to my tutor :-D

And finally Take three

This time, getting rather desperate, I decided to open up the search query to include just about any loo I came accross. Again public loos in malls and train stations had very shiny surfaces and were very well cleaned, only occasionally did I come accross what seemed like remnants, scratchings that had been painted over.

Then I finally struck gold. Desolately making my way up the stairs towards the castle I happened accross an unsupervised public bathroom where I came stumbled upon an incredible wealth of latrinalia.

The latrinalia in question was mainly of the “Hello my name is .... and I was here” with the occasional “So and so loves so and so” intersperced.


Then as I was browsing around Waterstones for books on the aforementioned subject I needed per happenstance to make use of their lavatories, and lo and behold, it was coated with scribblings. So....

In Conclusion

It would seem that people who write on loo stall walls are people who like reading and visiting cultural places.

Were I to continue with this research I would from the data as well as the experiences gathered here, start off with looking at cafes, inside tourist facilities and judging from the wealth of scribblings on the university library desks the loos there as well..

Anyways, better get back to writing the actual presentation ;-)


At 8:38 am, Anonymous richard said...

"It would seem that people who write on loo stall walls are people who like reading and visiting cultural places."

That's funny, especially considering this is a punk bar's bathroom...

Also, technically it was the men's, though the women's was just as bad.


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