Bi-toilets and spoof signs

By Efrosini Costa

Bi-toilets and spoof signs

As if there wasn’t enough controversy surrounding the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympic Games…

Amid the sea of homophobic legislation, corruption charges and terrorism threats that have created something reminiscent of a very low-budget soap opera, it seems that Russia’s Olympic organising committee felt the need for some comedic relief – in the lavatories (pardon the pun).

Photographs of the Olympic Biathlon Center ‘bi-toilet’ restrooms have surfaced and caused a social media frenzy. It’s not hard to see why…

Located in the men’s toilets, the cubicles will have visitors seeing double, and will certainly see members of the same sex getting up close and personal. Understandably, many social media users have been linking the image to the recent debate over Russia’s controversial ‘gay propaganda’ laws.

“This is how they understand the needs of sexual minorities,” one tweet read.

The Center, which cost 1.5 billion roubles (AU$45 million) to build, has also sparked debate among Russian politicians, weighing in on the Twitter furore questioning the budget spending for the games.

“This is a men’s toilet in a Sochi Olympics media centre for 1.5bn roubles [$45m],” Russia’s Opposition leader Alexei Navanly tweeted.

“Two toilets – 28,000 roubles,” wrote one blogger. “Olympic media centre – 1.5bn roubles [$45 million]. Global embarrassment – priceless”.

Even in the MiNDFOOD office, images of the bi-toilets have sparked plenty of chatter and curiosity. For one observant colleague the real questions seemed to be about the single toilet roll. “How the hell do you even reach that from there?” she rightly asked.

Meanwhile in London, mysterious guerrilla stickers have surfaced on the city’s underground trains…

Pranksters are sure to have brought more than one smile to daily commuters on London’s tube.

You could forgive the majority of time-poor travellers for overlooking the official-looking stickers pasted on top of signs already in place on London’s main means of public transport.

But observant trainspotters did notice the quirky signs warning of turbulence ahead, priority seating for the morbidly obese, a royal seat for Her Majesty’s bottom, fun seats for those who want to: smoke, drink and fornicate, and even a Harry-Potter-esque sorting hat seat, sure to delight the young at heart!

The underground movement responsible for the ‘beautification of the Central Line’, as they describe it, have even set up pages on social media sites like Facebook and Tumblr, inviting readers for their input and to suggest new ideas for stickers.  Check it out:

While the stickers may have helped to cheer commuters up, British Transport Police don’t think it’s laughing matter.

A spokesperson told the BBC: “The costs of graffiti are substantial for the railway industry in terms of repairs and clean-up, and can leave permanent scars on the infrastructure.”

Next stop, Shepherd’s pie…

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