Joe Orton Memorial Urinal Misconception

By Hazel Last edited 192 months ago
Joe Orton Memorial Urinal Misconception

Local trader Mike Weedon has proposed new toilets to be built in the trendy bar and club-filled area of Islington. The proposal has been taken seriously by Islington Council as imore public conveniences should be available ... but not if they're named after Joe Orton.

This infamous homosexual playwright of the 1960s rocked London with controversial plays such as 'Loot', What the Butler Saw' and 'Entertaining Mr Sloane' (a corpse in a cupboard and a lodger sleeping with landlady and her brother). Most famous for being bludgeoned to death by his lover at the age of 34, he was also famous for illegal gay sex in public toilets - a highly dangerous pastime in 1960s 'Swinging' London which only swung so far for homosexuals.

While Weedon means well, he is rather misinformed. 'Joe Orton Public Toilets' would be like school bike sheds with built-in ashtrays: not very subtle and at the same time, confusing. Weedon wants to remind users of how much attitudes towards gay sex has changed since Orton's day, but whatever advances have been made in gay rights, it is still an illegal offence to have sex in a public place. Nice idea but not a good idea, we're going to say.

There is also Weedon's proposal to erect a blue plaque to the playwright in the toilets, which has been turned down by Islington Council and wouldn't be viable anyway. The only blue plaques these toilets will see are the bleach bricks for urinals, as English Heritage has a stringent selection process. These toilets don't even exist yet, so we think the plan is going to fall through. Everyone involved will now have to wash their hands of it.

Image courtesy of Annie Mole from the Londonist Flickr pool.

Last Updated 18 October 2007