04/10/2013 07:22 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Pub Toilet Graffiti and the Art of Avoiding Sectarian Violence


Graffiti's not new.

When they weren't out subjugating barbarians, the Romans festooned their walls with phalluses. The Vikings only started invading other countries because they'd run out of space in their own toilet cubicles. And one-third of all Neanderthal cave paintings can be translated loosely as 'I've had Ug's mum'.

I find it useful as a barometer for gauging the mood of a new pub. I spent my twenties in Glasgow, where announcing the wrong religious/football affiliation in the wrong alehouse could arouse the ire of chaps who made Begbie from Trainspotting look like a Wiggle. A peek at the toilet wall before ordering was a lifesaver. A phrase like "Knox, Calvin and Luther are all the devil's beasts" was a clue not to slag off the Pope in the taproom.

Now I use this as my bellwether. If the cubicle walls drop enough f-bombs to annihilate a town, or have 15 phone numbers with boring old "For a good time, call..." daubed before them, the intellectual level is low. Brace for a dull, potentially violent night.

But clever graffiti is a gift. A videogamer haunt called the Mana Bar had the legend "For a good time, press up, up, down, down, right" in its bogs. I laughed so hard a little bit of wee came out - which was fine, given the situation.

The best one in a while was in a quite nice city sports bar, where the air of jovial banter was summed up by some angry cretin writing "Australia sux", under which some absolute genius had penned "New Zealand nil".

- This story was submitted on bytestories by Baz McAlister (view profile) who is Journalist and editor specialising in features, film, the arts and travel. Sometime stand-up comedian. Aspirant screenwriter. Irishman-about-town. Big fan of potatoes and whiskey.

I Slept in a Bank

My brother, a friend, and me had driven from our camp site in Newquay to a party in Truro one summer, and the only place to park was a big multi-storey - so that's where I parked.

We laughed, danced, and had a merry old time until the wee hours. 1am to be precise.

After a less-than-savoury kebab, we walked back to find that the car park was closed. Until 7am.


A taxi would have cost £50 and the same again to return, so that was out, my friend had no room at her house and it was FREEZING COLD.

What could we do?

Suddenly, an incredible idea hit me...

I pulled out my trusty bank card, ran over to the door of the local HSBC and swiped. The big door swung open and we were inside. With nobody inside or on the street, we settled down, warm at last, and slept for 5 glorious hours right there on the floor of the bank.

It was one of the most uncomfortable nights sleep of my life - but probably my favourite, too. A street sweeper woke us at 6am and we ambled over to the local supermarket to wait out that last hour.

I can only imagine what the bank manager and security staff though when they came in on Monday to the footage of three young men fast asleep right in their foyer!

- This story was submitted on bytestories by Ian Nuttall who describes himself as a 30 year old, ex-wild man who is now calmed down - thanks to being married and a father of two.

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