Written by Felicity Ward


The Porcelain Bus

TripAdvisor covers hotels, cities, adventures, even goddamn cups of coffee! But who is reviewing the toilets? Enter Felicity Ward, who as a comedian and IBS sufferer takes the state of a public toilet very seriously.

loo-1LOCATION: Birmingham International Railway Station
OCCASION: Between trains
URGENCY: May as well

When you think ‘Birmingham toilet’, what’s the first thing you think of? You know what, don’t answer that. I bet ‘1970s Swedish ski resort’ never entered your mind. Well, take your narrow preconceptions of what a flush house could be, and walk into the unexpected, trou-down wonderland that is the Birmingham International train station toilets.

Wood panelling as far as the eye can see! Multiple cubicles! Unnecessary elliptical mirrors! Straight after my wee I wanted to ice skate around its spacious hand-washing vestibule. I mean, what is happening here? And, more importantly, WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?

They offer two different brands of incompetent hand dryer, but I didn’t care. There was a baby-changing table the size of Nigella’s kitchen island! A radiator to keep the buttock chill to a minimum, and of course the standard UK commitment to separate hot and cold tap heads, which will never stop amazing tourists for its enduring popularity and wilful impracticality. Mmm, do I want my hands clean and frozen or clean and scalded?

Cleanliness: 7/10. There was a very full sanitary bin in my cubicle but as my stall was 84 square metres, I let it slide.

Smell: No recollection – I was too busy wondering how I’d walked onto the set of a Swedish chalet porno.

loo Birmingham4Special features: Space in the cubicle for a five-piece set of luggage. Because lord knows I’ve made last-minute trips to cities with overpriced accommodation and didn’t know where I was going to stay. This could be just the solution I’m looking for!

Flush: Can’t remember as I was so mesmerised by the IKEA toilet seat. THE HOLE WAS SO SPHERICAL! GO LOOK AT IT AGAIN!

loo Birmingham1Music: None. It really allowed you to consider the possibility of time travel.

Recommend to a friend? Yes, just so they might answer the question: what the hell is going on at this train station?

Overall: 7.5/10. Originality and surprise is doing a lot of the work (see: distracting) in this establishment. Cleanliness was above par and hand dryers were a slight disappointment (they usually are). But on the whole, this was a wonderful, curious urinal adventure.

Read Felicity’s previous adventures in toiletland here.


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Written by Felicity Ward

Felicity Ward is an Australian comedian, writer, actor and full time knucklehead, based in the UK.