Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper: I

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Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper
Extracts from Adam Hart-Davis's book.
(Buy the book from Micheal O'Mara Books, ISBN 1-85479-250-4, hardback 1-85479-245-8, or in the US, ISBN 1570760810.)
DHD Photo Gallery---The Photo Lav Bob Olley has lived all his life in South Shields, where lavatories are called 'netties', which according to local legend stems from the Roman occupation, since the Italian word for a row of toilets is gabinetti. For 17 years Bob was a miner, but the pit closed, and he set out to make a living as an artist; you'll find him in the Gambling Man Gallery in Wapping Street.

Bob was born within the smell of the Westoe Netty, a public urinal under a railway bridge, and says it was the source of his inspiration, as well as one of his first subjects. The men coming out of the pubs filled the netty and formed a waiting queue outside. Graffiti covered every inch of the cement-rendered walls, and the ancient flush never succeeded in clearing the trough of fag ends and tram tickets. His painting of the Westoe Netty, which is now closed, is a wonderful kaleidoscope of colour, graffiti, and social comment, but too rich for these small pages; so here [only in the book, sorry!], entitled The Day Dreamer, is an early inspiration.

Iraqi Cubicle
In Bravo Two Zero, his horrific book about SAS operations in the Gulf War, Andy McNab describes how, after capture, he was led to a big room with a row of a dozen doors, close together. The guard pushed him inside one, shut the door, and fastened bolt and padlock.

The darkness was absolute. There was a gagging stench of faeces. Andy got down on his hands and knees and felt his way around. He soon discovered, in the middle of the tiny space, two porcelain footpads either side of a hole about eight inches in diameter. No wonder his new bedroom stank.

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Text extracts from "Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper" copyright (c) 1997. Web extracts first published , updated ✎2018-10-24
Images available from the DHD Multimedia Gallery.
Site content copyright (c) Damon Hart-Davis 1997--2018 unless otherwise stated.
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