The Porcelain Gentleman

A definitive guide to the land of lavatories

LMNT

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The Setting:

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when, but around 15 years ago Britain stopped trying. Our collective memory failed us, and though we all had to walk past huge crime and poverty ridden tower blocks on the way from place to place, there was a sudden desire to stop thinking of something new and instead revive this architectural blight and build them again, but this time call them ‘new builds’. The originality of the name somewhat onomatopoeic to the plywood that separates the pillow from the pavement.  No-one envisioned themselves living in them ‘long term’ but there was common acceptance that before you delved into your semi detached shoe house laden with Osh Kosh and battle scarred with a meticulous eye for a robust veneer, this was a necessary step to place one’s youthful air max onto the ‘property ladder’.

And so they popped up everywhere.

But the lack of effort did not stop there. Decoration and interior shifted from pictures of your dog and small trinkets that your mum brought back from a holiday in Malta that you begrudgingly put on the wall but came to eventually be fond of, to mass quantity of something. Everything. All of it. People who could otherwise barely afford to procure a travelcard to get to work, had 19 pillows on their bed with the letter ‘R’ spray painted on. We came to leap before we looked as we got caught up in some sort of internal 1960’s ‘space race’ to colonise our own living room.

But then, as ever, came the resistance. In pockets, at least. Whilst a block of new builds that fan out like a plate of Pringles at a corporate lunch is welcomed with a ticker tape parade in Neasden, in other areas the chattering classes moonlighted as the National trust and vehemently objected to destructing the old and building the new – even if they were protecting an old haunted children’s hospital .

Which brings me to Queensbridge road in Hackney. The area is a mix of gargantuan council estates, swish new builds that look like a row of washing machines and period houses reminding us of the formula we really should have stuck to. It’s like a timeline of misjudgement.

Then, in the middle, with no real rhyme or reason to be there, is the utterly bonkers and wonderfully eccentric LMNT.

The Establishment:

As alluded to previously, there is the scenario where one stops trying and just makes their life a catalogue. Then there is of course, trying too hard, being so fearful of conformity you end up with a mess of various conflicting ideas, this is tragedies favourite sonnet. The third option, the road less travelled, is to pick an obscure theme and then indulge it to the point where you no longer pick the theme – the theme has picked you.

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At LMNT one is first greeted by an exterior of ancient Egyptian paraphernalia to expedite the transition from London curb to pharaoh’s lap. At this stage, invariably, the acorns of scepticism start to form trunks.

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However, step through the door and suddenly it feels like you have entered some sort of harebrained futuristic laboratory to teach children ancient history. The décor is like an old Spanish galleon that is slowly moving through a time line of Ancient Egyptian/Greco/Roman relics.

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Were this to have been done half heartedly in some off shoot from Leicester square, then the saddening bicep of ‘novelty’ would over power any sensory joy at the surroundings, however as this theme has been done to extremity, in a nondescript building wedged between London’s dense housing projects, it’s actually rather brilliant.

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The Toilets:

Going to the toilet in a place such as this is always going to be ensconced in a level of intrigue, but this was set into overdrive when the hallway featured this imagery.

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The toilet door then had the message below and the chrysalis of excitement starts to dismantle into a full blown butterfly.

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What one is then faced with, is an avalanche of obscure pornographic images from ye olde pervy times:

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Some of it, just about clings on to a remnant of being a continuation of the theme outside these hallowed bathroom doors:

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And indeed some of it, is a seedy play on historical imagery offset wonderfully by the almost apologetically pragmatic machinery of modern sanitation such as the handryer.

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But mostly, the imagery is simply a bizarre exhibition of sexual positions that defy logic in such a way one is left almost scornful of the human bodies limitations:

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As with most experiences in life, when presented with too much choice, too many things to like and focus on, one finds them self having to prioritise, to pick a side, outline a favourite. In light of this, my choice was these two:

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As I exited the loo I realised that the only slither of the bathroom that wasn’t dripping in sodomitic signage was this:

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Returning to your table you look around at your guests and indeed yourself and a feeling washes over you about how modern civility is in actuality simply a shackle to the carnal life we all should be living.

The Porcelain Gentleman:

Times of hardship when we freefall off the fiscal cliff, are supposed to be when we are at our most creative and our most natural, as suddenly having nothing to lose gives people’s minds true perspective on what we really want in our life. Yet one fears that what actually happens is simply an attempt to continue as before by using cheaper materials, bereft of character, to appease everyone but fool no-one.

Fortunately, all deserts have an oasis, something to provide a timely reminder that inside every smooth marble kitchen loving adult is a giddy 14 year old jockeying as best they can to get sight of the naughty material on the top shelf. LMNT has combined the ridiculous with the superfluous in how it faces a Hackney street to how the bathroom tiles face you – 8/10

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This entry was posted on October 31, 2013 by in Restaurants.

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