It never ceases to amaze me that the toilet facilities at most concert venues are pretty disgusting, for both artistes and the general public. They’re usually either blocked, won’t flush, will flush but overflow, have no seat, or have no toilet paper. On numerous occasions, they’ll even fall under four of the five listed categories.
Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s best to check out the state of the facilities upon arrival backstage at any venue and make a mental note of which category, or categories, they tick. Once checked, it’s time to draw up a plan of action. If the toilet comes under the ‘blocked and overflows’ category, then it’s crucial you pull rank over the rest of the band and get in there first. It’s especially important if the band has partaken of a pre-show curry. This will ensure that the drummer is likely to suffer the most as he’ll probably be the last one in there.
I slipped out into the dark graveyard and proceeded to relieve myself on Emily Crossman.
Some European venues fall foul of the ‘no seat’ category by using squatting toilets, which are little more than a hole in the ground. The idea is, you place your feet on either side of the hole and aim as best you can. It also requires complete removal of clothing from the lower part of your body as it’s very hard to avoid an unwanted Y-Fronts “collection” if you don’t.
The worst places for toilet facilities seem to be churches. I play a lot of piano concerts in places of worship and it’s amazing how many of them just have one toilet for both clergy and the congregation to share. Last year, I played in a pretty large church in East Anglia, which seated around 700 people. I arrived, did my sound check and then asked where the loo was.
“We don’t have one,” came the reply. “You’ll have to go to the town square and use the public conveniences there.”
These were half a mile away.
So during the interval, I slipped out into the dark graveyard and proceeded to relieve myself, as discretely as possible, on Emily Crossman (1865-1927, beloved wife of George). As I was finishing off, I looked up and all around me were members of the audience doing the same on their own chosen gravestone.
“I always piss on Rose Quaille,” one man told me. “Quaille was the maiden name of my first wife and as she made our marriage a bloody misery. This is the best I can do to get my own back!”
I made a mental note to try and find a gravestone with the name of a particular ex-wife of mine, but to no avail. After the concert, I’m afraid Emily Crossman got another watering.