23 January 2008


Right: Thomas Crapper - another Yorkshireman.
He didn't invent it but he did popularise the flush
toilet in the 19th century.

In writing this long post, I suspect I will offend numerous visitors because Shhhh! - Excretion isn’t something that we are meant to comment upon! It is secret. Most of it happens in private in locked cubicles or bathrooms. Of course, unlike women, men often have the dubious pleasure of urinating alongside other men into porcelain troughs – but look straight ahead lads! We don’t want no willy watchers!

In modern film, sexual encounters are rife. Sometimes they are simply titivating and sometimes these private couplings are handled with intelligent craftsmanship as part of well-developed drama. Sex is one of the Lord’s better inventions but does it take up as much of our lives as excretion does? I think not. So how come film after film ignores this vital common feature of human existence? All of us pass out waste materials every day and yet if aliens from outer space based their knowledge of humanity solely on our films, they would surely think that everything we consume is internally processed with no waste products resulting.

People just don’t talk about excretion until they have problems with it and they are forced to seek medical support. You don’t throw tales of satisfying bowel movements into everyday conversation or ever compare notes on the consistency and colouration of one’s stools. I guess I’m losing some of you now because excretion is in many ways the final taboo. Urrgh! What is this Mr Pudding going on about? Has he lost it? Disgusting!

Excretion can be funny and it can be embarrassing. I think everybody could come up with rather entertaining tales of particular excretory episodes. Picture this…

I am twenty five years old and I have been “downtown” Sheffield for a few drinks on a Saturday night. I am not drunk. I am walking home because I am too mean to even consider paying for a taxi. Behind the tiny “Hendersons’ Relish” factory, I feel the urge to urinate growing stronger so I walk through an open gateway and in the industrial shadows I wedge myself between two large plastic waste skips to take a leak. Ooooo! What a relief! Know the feeling dear reader?

I zip up and make my way back through the factory gateway only to bump into a police constable doing his rounds. Suspecting I have been up to no good in the works entrance, he asks me what I have been doing and I tell him. “Prove it!” he says – so we wander back through the gateway. We separate the two waste skips and he tells me to shine his torch where I have just siphoned the python. Locating the still steaming puddle, he accepts my story and sends me on my way, telling me I have been lucky not to get arrested for urinating in a public place. He might have lent me his helmet!

It must have been the same year – after eating a dodgy chicken at the weekend school camp in Scarborough – I found myself in front of a class of fourteen year olds reading an awful book called “Trustee from the Toolroom” by Nevile Shute – definitely not recommended! Something chicken-related stirs in my nether regions and I start to leak uncontrollably. I sprint out of the room telling the kids I have to pick something up from the staffroom – Yeah, some swimming trunks! But that’s another story.

Please add your own excretory tale in the comments - for possible inclusion in a new anthology. I haven’t come up with a title yet…

Above - sewage treatment plant on the outskirts of Tallinn, Estonia.


  1. Popping behind a bush for a quick wee on arrival in South Africa and realising I was being watched by a warthog under the neighbouring bush is not a moment I am likely to forget in a hurry.

  2. Nooooo! There are sites for stuff like this that I can avoid YP! And anyway, every gal has had her arse tickled by a stinging nettle....

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I've done enough diaper-changing and potty-training to have plenty of poop stories to make folks run screaming from the room (or have them hide, cowering in the corner). However, for the biggest poop story of them all, check out Sam Riddleburger's The Quickpick Adventure, whereby the main characters trek out on Christmas Day to visit the town poop fountain before it gets shut down.

    (That deleted commment was mine, once again signing in with the wrong account.)

  5. as l child l was always facinated as to what astronauts did. How do they by the way?

  6. Muddyboots - they keep their legs crossed. Don't they?

  7. JJ - Oh to be awarthog in the African bush!
    MOPSA 1 - Strange foreplay!
    ALKELDA - When on ships I bet you prefer the poop deck!
    MUDDY BOOTS/ MOPSA 2 - In The Science Museum in Kensington there is a space suit that will answer your basic query. Think catheter. Think waste bag. Think starvation and dehydrating medications. That's one small shit for a man, one giant leak for mankind!

  8. The complete lack of coverage of matters lavatorial in films, drama etc has often crossed my mind but I have tried not to dwell on it. However, a big issue for me when I was little was the fact that I couldn't 'go' standing up, unlike my older male cousin. I'm still qite annoyed about that, especially when looking for a public loo around the wilds of north Wales!

  9. I recently posted a tale of Norovirus-induced excretory woe, but it's a little too long to repeat here. Suffice it to say, I don't recommend Norovirus highly as a Sunday pastime.

  10. people in films never lock their cars or wait for change in a cafe either. Could these be connected to your observation in some way?

  11. Jennyta: I disagree about films-- it's seemed that in recent times, there had to be a peeing scene (complete with sound effects) in order for the film to get made. That, and a vomiting scene, which I really could do without! Life is hard enough without having to endure vomiting in movies. Gack.


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.