Notting Hill carnival and the art of the pissoir

pissoir with extra fuzzWe were wondering around the fringes of Notting Hill Carnival yesterday. It’s great for people watching.

There were some portaloos near Pembridge Square which had the usual long queue. However, there was virtually no queue for this snug four man pissoir (above – with heads “fuzzed out” to protect the anonymity of the protagonists), next door to the portaloos. (Be careful how you pronounce that word in mixed company, by the way. The emphasis very much needs to be on the “oir”.)

I am probably one of a dying breed of people who remember the 1972 BBC2 series called “Clochemerle”, based on a book by Gabriel Chevallier adapted by Galton and Simpson (who wrote Hancock and Steptoe and Son). It was all based around the outrage in a small French town concerning the installation of a gentleman’s pissoir in the central square.

No such outrage ensued about the (temporary) installation near Pembridge square and others elsewhere in Notting Hill. Not even the Daily Mail got hold of it.


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