Lavatory humour

2011, By JMW

The idea for Lavatory humour came as I perused an Argos store catalogue and spotted rows of lavatory seats with flaps in a sale and decided there and then that I could make an artwork out of three of them. And when I gleefully announced this to a friend, she said: "Oh you've no need to buy new lavatory seats as I have several spare used ones". So I took up her offer and subsequently created this odd mistresspiece featuring busts of an Englishman, a Scotchman and a Welshman. All were created by the seats and flaps being rubbed down, given a coat of primer/undercoat and then brilliant white paint (Wilkinson). They were then attached to the black 122 x 64 cm MDF board (B&Q wood; paint by Wilkinson; screws by Homebase). Superglue (Poundland) and Bostick all-purpose glue (Wilkinson) were the preferred joining adhesives. The resulting artwork then proved to be too heavy to hang on a bedroom whose walls are made of plasterboard, so Lavatory humour was reluctantly relegated to the garage alongside En Suite, the 2010 do-it-yourself queen. Still, this was how the three busts were fashioned:

The Englishman: This is your 21st century John Bull, not the amiable Victorian chap with a chubby face and a bowler hat. Oh no. This is the James Bond-spawned man for all seasons as familiar with his ipad and iphone as his predecessor was with his chauvinistic Union flag shirt. This John Bull is a "flash 'Arry"; note that those piercing eyes were fashioned from car blindspot mirrors (Wilkinson) and these convex mirrors reflect the viewer, so you cannot see inside his soul.And that prominent hooter, that's no ordinary nose for it can sniff out charlatans in no time as befits a flexible Splash shelf fixing unit (Wilkinson). And it is fairly evident that he has an upper-class accent as evidenced by his spindle bar teeth (B&Q) together with his red tape lips (B&Q). John Bull's head of hair and his goatee beard were sold as a bathmat and the remarkably-shaped ears were shoe heel grips (all Wilkinson).

The Scotchman: A tartan tam o'shanter (See you Jimmy hat, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Jedburgh) ensured that this bust of Jock McDuff was most definitely derived from Caledonia. His Anglicised eyes, however, hark back to England's oldest brewery since they were made from Spitfire bottle tops (Shepherd Neame Brewery, Faversham, Kent, purchased at Morrison's) with his eyebrows fashioned from cut-back toothbrush heads (Tesco). His rotten teeth - Scots are notorious for their poor diet - were made from a mosaic tile (B&Q) and his ears from wine bottle corks (sundry retailers). His nose is a pumice stone purloined from my bathroom. As it is decades old, I have no idea what shop it came from. Hanging from his ears are large ear-rings which once saw life as computer disks (Tesco). Together with the tammie, these disks reflect the colours of the rainbow and thus single out Jock as a man not to be trifled with.

The Welshman: With sheep, coal and choir singing the hallmarks of the Welsh character, Taffy Jones was fashioned to reflect that stereotype. While you can relate his stringy blue hair and his moustache (Wilkinson chenille bathmat) to the wool on a sheep's back in the valleys that once relied on coal, Taffy would tell you that it has been dyed blue to indicate his singing support for the Bluebirds, as Cardiff City football team are known. Likewise those piercing blue eyes made from marbles (Jesters). His elongated nose originally began life as a door wedge (Wilkinson). His teeth were made from plastic wire clamps (Woolworths). Not as flamboyant as his neighbouring Scotchman, Taffy nevertheless sports ear-rings fashioned from computer spindle dividers (Tesco) hung from his rubber door-stopper ears (Wilkinson) with red elastic bands freely and frequently dropped off outside my front door (Post Office).