Archives for category: Toilet

The Sustainabilitree Show

Paul Mines CEO Stanelco Plc and Justin Rowlatt 'Ethical Man' admire the Sustainabilitree

It sounds a bit drastic to accuse an art gallery of kidnapping a toilet but that’s exactly what happened!

Not only did they kidnap my precious portable loo but they then held her hostage for about a week not granting me permission to go in and check she was ok 😦

Put yourself in my shoes – imagine you had been privileged enough to go to Portable Toilet Land, and pick out your own very special looking portable toilet from all the ones they had lined up in need of some TLC and a home, then you spent 100 hours inside the thing, cleaning it and doing it up, putting up with the fact that you smelt like poo and bleach for about two weeks, six months later having people still refuse to shake your hand on the basis they know where it’s been, travelling half way around the world photographing toilet signs, getting laughed at by lots of people when photographing the mens’ door and a man walks out in the middle of the picture being taken, only to go and check your precious portable toilet was ok where it was being safely stored only to find that it was gone and hear that an anonymous white van had been and removed it without a trace earlier in the day!!!

Enough of the rant, she was found safe and sound…

…if only the Tate had the same mentality!

So basically what i am trying to say is – Bog Standard Gallery is now on exhibition in Urbis for those that want to pay a visit!

It’s on the 3rd floor and forms part of the ‘Catapult‘ exhibition – entrance is free – you don’t need to spend a penny to go in! 😛

For those that don’t live near Urbis you can also pay Bog Standard Gallery a visit on Second 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 £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! 🙂

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.

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!!

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.

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.

Well this morning i was determined to sleep in a bit but i was so anxious to go and see the article in the paper about Bog standard Gallery that i got up early and we to the shop up the road to get a copy. To my amazement the guy in the shop that sold me the paper, recognised me straight away and asked for my autograph! I asked him what the article is like, and he said he hadn’t read it yet but would do with his lunch. I was really pleased with the article on page 3 of the Manchester Evening News because they didn’t portray me as being a weirdo and were actually quite nice about it!

Today it took it easy after my lack of breaks over the past couple of weeks and was walking down Market Street in town. The MEN guys in yellow coats were handing out copies of the MEN so i took a copy and started walking away. Then i heard a voice saying, “Come back!!” and when i turned around the MEN man was beckoning me over. He couldn’t believe he had spotted me from the paper and said he was so excited that someone famous from in the paper actually went to their stand to get a copy and then asked me to sign the paper for him!! This i did and then i took a picture of them…

This evening was the opening of Bog Standard Gallery’s first exhibition! She was wrapped up in a red ribbon…and then opened by Mary Griffiths, Curator of Modern Art and the Whitworth Art Gallery.


is the opening of the JNF exhibition and then the exhibition will be open on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday next week.

This morning was a very early start. I had to get to the studio in time to print a couple of things off and stick them up before it was time for the Loovre to go on it’s journey at 9am!

Getting down the stairs with a portable toilet takes some doing and three strong men! Once at the bottom of the stairs we were greeted by a photographer from the newspaper. After positioning the Loovre out on the street i had to stand inside and had some photographs taken – very embarrassing indeed, especially as at this time of the morning there were lots of people arriving at university!

Upon arriving at the exhibition venue the struggle was then on to get the gallery out of the van and inside the building!…

Once inside, i touched up a couple of bits of paint from the move, removed the bubble wrap and swept the floor.

After wrapping the portable loo up with a big red ribbon, i am all set for the opening of Bog Standard Gallery tomorrow night!

Both??

Today was a looong day in the terdis. In fact i think i have spent about 100 hours in there now and that is possibly quite worrying. Time does seem to disappear in there though!

Today involved all the finishing off bits, and of course putting the actual pictures up!

I painted the edge of the floor black to make it look neater, as before the bare wood was left exposed.

I made a sign for the front door, keeping in with the style of the signs usually used on the exterior of a portable toilet.

And made a visitors book!…

When i left the studio at 8pm this evening, Bog Standard Gallery was 99.9% finished, just a couple of little things to do in the morning and then i will be done, woo!

The most exciting thing i did today was put up a fire exit sign above the door, got to be thinking about health and safety! Although ironically i gave myself quite a bad cut off the edges of the fire exit sign 😦

Finally i feel like i am getting somewhere! This morning i scrubbed and scrubbed the roof with bleach until it was as clean as possible. I then sanded the walls and gave them their final coat of white paint. I sanded the floor and then covered it in a mixture of PVC glue and water. Once this was dry i started cutting the floor and laying it in place.

This i enjoyed so much – i never thought i would be so good at laying floors!! After cutting it all down to the right size i glued it all in and it’s perfect…i am so pleased with it!

Now i feel i can relax a little over the weekend without worrying about getting it finished in time…

So i arrived at the studio at nine…and decided there was no other way to start the day than to have a cup of tea! (Impressed that i walked in i thought it was well deserved!)

I then painted two more coats of white paint on the walls and the door and whilst i was waiting for the first coat to dry i started scrubbing paint off the edges of the door frame – this was painful and time consuming but had to be done – can’t have the edges looking messy! After waiting for the second coat to dry i applied three more coats with a roller. I seemed to waste so much time waiting for the coats to dry – and there is not much space in a portable toilet to facilitate multi-tasking (this is why i currently i have white hair!).

The worst job by far was when i had to remove all the paint that was stuck round the edge of the ceiling where it meets the top of the walls. This was really difficult as not only is this a hard place to reach but the paint was really hard to get off. I have to have everything perfect though before i apply the last coat of paint to the walls and then lay the floor. This i will do tomorrow after a good sleep tonight!

Oh and for those of you who have been complimenting me on my new fragrance…its called Spirito Blanc by B&Q.

Last night i was couldn’t sleep because i was thinking it was a mistake to have painted the inside of the roof! I was worried because it would prevent the natural light from coming through what was a clear plastic roof and i thought this light might be imperative to the exhibition space. When i arrived at my studio my fears about having done this were confirmed as it was quite dark inside the portable toilet and therefore i decided that i would try and get the paint off. Having tipped the loo on its side i used soap and an abrasive pad along with a massive amount of elbow grease…and about 3 hours later the roof was clear of paint. I also cleaned the outside of the roof too, as this was filthy and the dirt was noticeable from the inside, also making it darker. I felt much much happier once it was done, but it did set me behind schedule with everything else i anticipated i would get done today.

My next step was to finish painting all the areas that were being painted white and this i managed to do in the time i had.

I then went on to getting the boards for the walls to fit exactly into place. This was a difficult task and i was worried about how the end result would look. I didn’t like the way the joins of the walls would look and without trial and error it would be extremely difficult to get them to fit exactly. This would also be extremely time consuming. This i thought was problematic, especially with time being something that i am lacking! After a discussion and alot of thinking i decided to scrap the idea of boarding the walls and just paint onto the plastic walls directly. I was hesitant to do this before as they are curved and so it would not be so straightforward to hang the pictures. However i have decided that there are other and perhaps better ways to hang the pictures so i would prefer to get the gallery finished sooner allowing me to have more time to concentrate on how i will display the photographs.

Tomorrow i will continue with more coats of paints for the walls and hopefully make a start on laying the oak on the floor.

Having not been in my portable toilet for a couple of weeks i have to admit that i had missed it, aaah!… And therefore i was out of bed and in the loo by ten this morning!

There seemed to be so many bits and pieces to get organised today as the first exhibition for Bog Standard Gallery is coming up in less than 2 weeks… this meant that the space functioned more as a telephone box so i could arrange the logistics of moving it more than anything else!

I spent a bit of time in the woodwork room cutting the panels for the walls to the right shape and then sanded the bits of the interior that would not be covered over by the false walls before painting them with their first coat of white emulsion. I also ate some cheese sandwiches in there which is actually really gross now i come to think about it! It seems like i didn’t achieve much today but i was in there until about six o’clock – the cutting of the wood involved a lot of messing around as they were funny shapes to cut and hard to measure. It also tok a while to reinforce the floor and screw it into place. This was because big holes had to be drilled out of the floor to allow access for screwing the floor in. As the floor is in two pieces there also had to be an extra piece added underneath them so that if the weight was not equal on both sides the floor wouldn’t sag down.

Tomorrow i will be back in there at 9, but i think i may eat my sandwiches in the park…

After a lot of confusion over the measurements i left B&Q with all the wood panels i needed for the walls and the floor. This wood turned out to be a bargain as the man at the checkout miscalculated what i had bought, oops! I think i could have even made a profit from buying this wood as when i told the staff that my offcuts didn’t fit in the car and offered them back they wanted to give me a refund for them!


Back at my studio, i set about making a new floor to cover where i had removed the toilet. This took ages and was a real pain because the floor is such a funny shape and is anything but symmetrical. After making many templates and running up and down to the woodwork room many times i was finally almost there with the floor.

 

After i have secured these in with screws i will begin laying the oak panels on the floor.

 

My plan for the portable toilet is to convert the inside into a traditional gallery space. I will call this ‘Bog Standard Gallery’. With white walls, a wooden floor and little spot lights, i will use this space to exhibit my toilet sign photographs.
This plan therefore involved the removal of the actual toilet (shown in the photograph to the right) which revealed a whole load of surprises! Needing somewhere to tip this stinking toilet bowl i put an advert for it on Freecycle.
I was extremely suprised when two days later a man came to collect the toilet bowl – and was ecstatic at the prospect of turning it into a pond! Hmmm.

With the toilet out, there was more cleaning to do…there were quite a few slugs and spiders in there but they really were the least of my worries! I have never felt as dirty as i did once i had finished!

After taking lots of measurements of the walls i went off to B & Q to buy some wood to panel these off and get some wood to fill the hole in the floor.

After deciding i would like to house my collection of toilet sign photographs inside a portable toilet the search to find one was on. This was proving more difficult than i thought, and only made me more and more determined to get my hands on one of those blue phone box style portable toilets  you see on the side of the motorway.

A trip to Elliott Loo Hire in Eccles turned out to be a dream come true when i arrived at a site full of rows and rows of portable toilets in every colour you can imagine! It was here that i bargained for and bought a toilet that was very excitingly delivered to my studios about a week later.

Portaloo Heavenertrte

After three men struggled with it up the stairs to the studio i opened the door of the portable toilet to find the toilet completely intact and full of water and chemicals ready to be used!

I guess with all the excitement surrounding my purchase, it hadn’t once crossed my mind that this portable toilet had once been full of poo and that the smell would be absolutely revolting! So i settled myself with a bucket, mop and plenty of bleach and spent a full morning scrubbing it until it smelt of citrus fruits!