Today I took two poos – a smallish one in the usual bag and a similar one at this lovely pub in Maida Vale where toilets are called lavatories, a pint of Estrella is £5.70 and people don’t just order chips. As you can see, the barman is looking beyond the snob screens at my poo, and he’s not impressed.
Do you know what snob screens are? I didn’t until my friend, who suggested I pay a visit to this pub, told me about it. Snob screens are glass panes on wooden frames dividing the pub in compartments. They were intended to ‘allow middle class drinkers to see working class drinkers in an adjacent bar, but not to be seen by them and to be undisturbed by the bar staff’, says Wikipedia. In this pub, in order to access all the different compartments you have to go through a series of very low doors, as if you were Alice in Wonderland but without being on pills. It’s really cool.
I went there on my own after work because I wasn’t ready to come back to the glacial truth awaiting me on the boat just yet. I sat by one of these snob screens and looked at the people around, who could see me too – because we were in the same compartment. There was this ginger man, alone. He looked like a banker, but he could have been employed at any other office / managerial job really. I wanted to have a chat with someone, but was too scared to initiate conversation. The only chance I had to talk with ginger I think I blowed it by giving him one of my serious looks. The rest of the people were either couples or small groups of wealthy-looking elderly-ish people with quilted jackets. There was this couple, quite young and very blond who were clearly very much into each other. The man kept stroking the woman’s shoulder and her back in a repetitive, robotic motion while they looked at some pictures of a tropical summer beach. They were one of these matching couples, as my friend calls them. Same sort of fashion, same looks, same moves. I imagine their parents would be pleased with their respective choices. Which made me think: how would I introduce myself to the hypothetical parents of some hypothetical boyfriend? Hi, I’m an artist and I shit in bags. Yes. Then I take pictures of it. Yes, really. It’s art. I’m an artist. A shit artist, maybe, OK.