Latrines and Laughter

Why on earth would you take a photo of a set of latrines at a festival?!

Let me Tell You A Story

Picture it around 2003, when Bath used to host a great free party in the Royal Victoria Park as a finale to its famous or infamous Music Festival. Up to 10k people would descend on those hallowed grounds, some to the demise of The Royal Crescent residents as the noise and the litter from the annual concert attempted to destroy their vision of high life personified.

To assure public order was tamed, toilet cubicles, to ease those bursting bladders, were plentiful and strewn across the park’s 57 acres. They were used by both men and women.

The evening rolls on, music tents, marquees, bandstands and even the smallest vacant patches of grass are used as pitches for performances by the eclectic ones. The world and its voices and instruments never disappointed. Nor did the lengths that people used to go to to make the most of the summer’s concert; a right of passage for city and neighbouring dwellers of all ages. Picnic blankets upon which laid candelabras, champagne or wine from the cellar or M&S’s aisle, canapés whipped together, as well as cheeses, pickles and petit fours of every kind. Really, there should have been prizes for the best and most innovative picnic action.

It was often the one time in the year when I would see people that I hadn’t seen in years, sometimes in their festival attire, whether it was a one piece Lycra or a 10-piece creation from outta this world🧞‍♂️, people didn’t disappoint and joined in with the gregariousness that this festival demanded.

The whole evening was such a brilliant event and to top it off the fireworks always afforded a sense of security; light, love and lots of laughter as the spectacle concluded. Then you would find yourself counting down the days to the next time you could say ooh and ahh at those brilliant shooting stars.

But my favourite memory isn’t of the famous artists’ performing or of the picnic food on offer or of the friends I saw or made, it is of a toilet incident.

Brace yourself!

Timing when you go to the toilet at a festival is an art! Too soon and you may miss an artist’s performance, too late - I don’t need to divulge the risks here! So timing it just right is essentially a skill. There I am standing in line queuing for the loo. My friend is just in front of me. Along comes a guy, and let’s face it gentlemen haven’t HAD to learn the art of timing when to pee at a festival in the same way us ladies have, so he runs into the square surrounded by Portaloos and says, with an air of desperation, 'I need to go!' Obliging, the person at the front of the queue waved him on. He ran into the plastic loo and within a minute or two the cubicle fell backwards. How that happened is between God and him!! With our hands clasping our mouths we literally started ‘pissing’ ourselves with laughter. Inside this robust cubicle was a man thrashing about trying to escape. No-one ran to his rescue. We all stood back agog. Our minds whirred as to what we thought would emerge from behind that green locked door of raw sewage meeting man. He did emerge. He clambered out as the  cubicle door lay facing towards the sky. It was too dark to see if he was covered in anything and I wasn’t going to get close to him anytime soon to find out. He even shut the door behind him saying, ‘Well, that’s the most exciting piss I have ever had!

There are no more parties in the park, no more lavish picnics or festival clothing and no more wild toilet stories. The party in the park is now split across venues in the city and it’s usually rubbish and uneventful in comparison! But I will always hold the memory of that man and his most exciting piss!