Archives for category: Toilet signs

On Thursday i attended a reception at the House of Lords.


(I didn’t realise this was being taken, but if you look carefully you can see Sam’s hair!)

Hosted by the Breast Cancer Campaign i was invited along with Sam as a thank you for the money we raised for them last summer on our sponsored cycle from London to Paris.

It was great to meet some of the scientists who spend the money raised in trying to beat breast cancer. It was also extremely humbling to hear of peoples experiences and reasons for fund raising for this cause.

Also of great interest, was the chance to photographs the toilet signs πŸ™‚

Not such great photos as i had to take them on my mobile, but non the less, another 2 to add to my collection!



I was wondering if there are any of you in Poland that could perhaps send me some photos of the toilet signs??

Please send them to

Many many thanks!

After receiving 48 000 visitors at various locations across Manchester, Bog Standard Gallery is now at it’s first London exhibition

Apthorp Gallery

Barnet Open

Thursday 8th May 2008Sunday 15th June 2008 12.00PM- 4.00PM

artsdepot’s answer to the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition.

This annual event, now in its fourth year, will offer an opportunity for talented visual artists to exhibit their work. Ranging from ceramics to photography, installation art to oil painting, The Barnet Open will showcase a broad range of styles and mediums in a contemporary gallery setting. The exhibition is the product of an open submissions process with local residents, artists and community groups having the opportunity to put their work forward for selection. The result will no doubt be a vibrant group show by compelling artists.

Last week Bog Standard Gallery arrived to London πŸ™‚

In preparation for it’s next exhibition this is your last chance to submit photographs for possible inclusion in the gallery.

Since Bog Standard Gallery’s last exhibition at Urbis in Manchester my travels and the collection have become quite extensive and the toilet signs inside will be even more varied and interesting than before.

I still continue to receive great toilet sign images from all over the world and if anyone has any that they still have not sent that they would like to be included in the gallery now is the time to send them.

Thank you! πŸ™‚

The toilet signs in South Africa were collectively some of the most exciting and varied signs i have come across since beginning my research. This was quite exciting as after the toilet signs in Belfast were such a disappointment i decided not to expect anything at all so i feel this was a very successful trip indeed.
I have not compiled the statistics together yet but it seemed that generally any toilet that was in a public place and outdoors, (for example the public toilet blocks outside, at petrol stations and in the Kruger National Park) were all the same standard green and white printed design, with the rest in places such as restaurants, bars and hotels being extremely varied, unpredictable and exciting. In fact, every sign that was not one of these green and white ‘standard’ ones was very different to any sign i have ever come across and entirely unique.

Talking about unique and toilets – i think this video below sums it up quite nicely and was definitely one of the most exciting toilet visits i have experienced… and there have been many!…

I stupidly only took a smallish memory card with me for my camera so i had to be quite selective with the photographs i took in general, prioritising the toilet signs, followed by the more sensible photographs such as the scenery and the safari animals. This meant that a lot of the seemingly ‘unnecessary and odd’ photographs i would usually take when visiting a new place would have to go amiss. These photographs would have all be tagged with words such as vast, extreme or intense and so instead of these images appearing on Flickr, they are now stored in my memory. For this reason, if there is only a few things i ever end up remembering about South Africa as a place, it will probably be the intensity of the pink colouring in the wafers, and how neon the orange Fanta is over there. And for now i think the rest of these thoughts will stay in my head!

This week i had an article about Bog Standard Gallery in Chat magazine. I have mixed feelings about this! Sold at 78p a copy, the reader definitely gets value for money if they take the ‘it’s so awful it’s funny’ approach! It had my sister Sara in hysterics for a good half an hour or so, and in fact i think she thought it was so hideously hilarious that she can’t wait to buy next weeks! For those people that have never read it, and i am hoping this is true for most people, i think it is something you have to read cover to cover at least once – it will open your eyes to a whole new world you could never imagine existed, (with people apparently eating their cousins with rice), as well as giving an entirely new definition of the word ridiculous! I would be quite fascinated to work out the ratio of exclamation marks in relation to the word count of the entire magazine, it’s sickening!!!!!

Tomorrow i am going to South Africa for a couple of weeks, so i wont be posting anythingΒ  up for the duration, but will be back 3rd September after a good bit of toilet sign spotting. Woo! πŸ˜›

If one bases the enjoyment and success of a trip on the quality of the toilet signs then Belfast was a disappointment! Being grey and dirty like Manchester, i expected the toilet signs to be comparable – and they were! Maybe i could at least be excited that i predicted correctly πŸ˜›

I spent a few days in Northern Ireland, so it was nice to be able to photograph a good number of signs, especially as i have already quite heavily covered the Republic of Ireland and the comparison could be interesting. A lot of the signs were actually just the words ‘ladies’ and ‘gents’ without pictograms – at least it makes my statistics look pretty!

I did however come across a sign that i found quite humorous – it was stuck on the door of a Chinese restaurant called the Red Panda in Belfast…

Another highlight of the trip was receiving a special commendation in a very prestigious art competition! The colouring competition on Stena Line Ferries is in fact open to people of all ages, and was quite a challenge! However, despite all the problems i had keeping inside the lines after my wax crayons had gone blunt i was extremely excited (possibly too much) to be called up and receive my prize, along with some words of wisdom from the captain…”Get a life!”

Owing to the recent suspension of the Metrolink services into town, i have been travelling into the city centre by train from quaint little Hale Station into the monstrosity that is Piccadilly. I have actually been enjoying these journeys a lot more than the usual Metrolink ones, because they seem a lot less disjointed having much fewer stops, or maybe i am just still in the honeymoon period. It seems like i have perhaps over thought the train vs Metro situation a little too much, but i think possibly having no regular job at the moment leads this to be the most regular part of my week so i guess its not entirely suprising that i should think about it a lot!

I thought, being jobless and with my new mode of transport, i was onto a good thing, as taking the train is considerably cheaper than taking the Metro. Then i realised this was not entirely the case, and i felt like i was being cheated! The thing is, the trains are hourly, which leads to considerable planning of my trips to and from town. It is probably not the end of the world, (in fact it’s definately not) to miss the train from Picadilly back to Hale, but when i have done it feels like i am really wasting an hour of my life by sitting in the station, so i have tried my best to avoid this. This has resulted in me arriving at the station possibly quite a bit earlier than necessary before i need to catch the train. In terms of waiting for a train, 20 minutes doesn’t seem too unreasonable, particularly for a journey say to London, but for a journey that is only 30 minutes long, it feels slightly excessive. Anyway, during this 20 minutes waiting time, i usually sit on the bench on the platform my train will be leaving from, so i don’t get tempted by something like KFC, but i realised this is costing me a fortune!! The platform the train leaves from is right opposite the toilets – the toilets being the toilets i can’t help but notice their signs out of the corner of my eye the whole time i am sitting there. So…during a 20 minute wait, and knowing i have a journey ahead of me, i always manage to convince myself i need to go to the loo – but itis 30p each time i go! That means if i went to town everyday for a year it would cost me over Β£100 in toilet visits! I am going to make a very conscious effort to stop and will see how i get on!…

After having spent 10 days at my degree show talking about my work, i think it has really got my mind very focused to notice absolutely anything that is remotely toilet related or spotted. Probably more so than when i was actually creating the pieces, because during that time i was thinking specifically about the tasks i was doing, rather than about the work as a whole. During the show, i have had chance to think about my work in a wider context, and i have been thinking about what will happen next – not only for these 2 pieces themselves, but for their development and some entirely new work.

Once i had taken the show down i went to London for a couple of days, and i realised when i got back, that most of the things i had taken photographs of were toilet related or spotty! I just hope i wont notice something similar next time i open my wardrobe!

I noticed this lorry after stepping out of the tube station when i first arrived. I think it must actually be a really hi-tech portable toilet, and was very excited indeed! It made me wonder about giving Bog Standard Gallery some wheels and attaching is to the back of the caravan!…

I was even more excited to spot this portable toilet (it even seems to be the same model and as mine!) from the top of the London Eye!! (It’s just under the second train carriage from the left)…

And to see this spotty building was just the icing on the cake! πŸ™‚

Now that i am back from London i will be working full time for the Manchester International Festival. Having been doing a few hours a week there in the past couple of months, i think the work will begin to become quite exciting now that the festival has actually begun.

This evening i went down to the BBC studios on Oxford Road to do an interview about what i am doing now that i have my first, woo!

The most exciting part of the trip there was either using a yellow microphone or getting photographs of the toilet signs! Actually the novelty of getting the photographs wore off quite quickly as they were extremely boring signs so i think the yellow microphone is the winner!

I think had i been in the building any longer, i would have replaced the toilet signs and put dots on the microphone… πŸ˜›

Something else that interested me today was this article about the portable toilets at Glastonbury…

I do symathise with these people, as i know exactly what it’s like to have to do that to one toilet in the comfort of an art studio, and it’s not pretty!

I don’t know if portable toilets are topical at the moment, especially with Bansky’s latest installation, or whether i just can’t help but notice them now.

I got far too excited when i saw this in Hampstead Heath a couple of weeks ago (look at the number plate!)…

Ok so, one quite entertaining part of my day is where i look at how many hits i have had on this Bog Blog – i am able to see what people have Googled to have found the Blog.

I am always surprised by the amount of people that Google the word ‘Poo’ in a day – i can’t believe there are people that actually do that, and it’s not just the odd one or two either!

…but this morning to see that someone searched ‘Mel is a weirdo’ (and incidentally i just discovered that if you do that my Blog is the first thing that comes up :S) …i am shocked! I am hoping that the Mel in question is not me, but if it was, grrrrr! …I will track you down!!

Bog Standard Gallery was featured on Channel M News on Tuesday the 8th May.

The past few days have been absolutely manic with radio, newspaper and TV interviews. I have to say i am completely overwhelmed with the interest in my work from thousands of people world wide. It’s such a busy time of year in terms of organising the rest of my work for my degree show, its been hard to juggle all the interviews around actually getting any work done and responding to all the emails i have had from people all over the globe!

It has been an exciting time getting used to revolving a day round interview slots and has definately been a great learning curve. It is also fantastic to be meeting and getting to know so many people along the way. The past week has probably been one of the busiest weeks in my life and the motivation i have gained from the huge interest in so many people has been amazing!

This afternoon i did an interview with Spin 103.8 a radio station based in Dublin and this can be heard below:

Below are some photographs from when Channel M did an interview inside Bog Standard Gallery later this afternoon.

Tune into Radio 5 live on Sunday 29th April at 11.30 pm to hear more about Bog Standard Gallery!

P.S. The ribbon is going fast!

Follow the link below to join the group!

So…people are asking me what i am doing with all that red ribbon that Bog Standard Gallery was wrapped up in before it was oficially opened. I have decided that i will give strips of the ribbon from the opening of the worlds smallest art gallery, to those explain why they should get a piece! Or to those who offer ££s, or amazing photographs of toilet signs from somewhere i have not yet been! There is 6m of ribbon…and i will cut it into strips of 5cm – so the supplies are very limited! I may even sign the strip for you πŸ˜›

Be imaginative and let me know by sending a comment to this page!

Today has been an extremely busy day with the press for Bog Standard Gallery. I have been doing a number of interviews all day and it is quite exciting!

An article in The Daily Mirror this morning described me as odd, and obsessive but i guess that was to be expected! The article can be seen by clicking here.

And there is an article on the Manchester Metropolitan University website too which can be seen here.

The BBC news online also have an article which can be seen here – and i am on the homepage, woo! (or should it be, loo?!)

On Monday morning at 9.10 am i have a live interview with Andy Burrows on BBC Radio Cambridge and you can listen to that live online or anytime afterwards by clicking here.

And then on Monday at about 2pm i am doing an interview with Dublin’s Spin 103.8 and you can listen to that live by clicking here.