Way back in the days when I used to preside like some grand monkey king over the luxury lifestyle bible (and one of 2010’s ABC certified top selling UK men’s magazines, apparently) SmartLife International, we ran a story on the Moto GP races in which the name Portaloo was mentioned… in idiotic referrence to a big blue portable toilet thing.

Well, the fallout was terrible with a stern warning being immediately issued to us on heavyweight toiletpaper from the Guardian of the Plastic Throne himself, Dick Ellershaw. Naturally we took it very seriously…


Never underestimate the power of a registered Trade Mark, we did recently while sat in our Jacuzzi, lazily pushing a Hoover back and forth and drinking orange juice from a Tetrapack. Portaloo pounced and we ended up right in it…

Read the reproduced letter (click for larger version) and be warned, thanks to due educating from Intellectual Property Manager Dick Ellershaw there is to be no willy nilly bandying around of that name which we all associate with free-range faecal caddies. As Dick states there are ample other generic terms which can be used instead, including “portable toilet”, “temporary facilities”, or simply “loo”. Although if you find the conversation a little repetitive, may we also suggest: “dumpstation”, “slush-shack”, or simply “ephemeral faecalbox of horror”.

But all joking aside, Dick does have a point, and so to ensure that neither we nor you make the mistake again we’ve gone ahead and put together a small assortment of similar looking facilities that are most definitely not cough, cough, coughs…

More a “temporal facility” than “temporary facility”, the shape and colour of this box might lead to easy confusion, but one glance at the interior should confirm it more commodious than commode.

Generally not found out in nature, there are certainly similarities which could still cause unpleasant misunderstanding. As a rule of thumb, wardrobes do not usually contain seats. Sometimes Narnia, but never seats.

Can be found in many of the same places and occasionally containing a seating area, the garden shed should be used solely for “potting” and not, we repeat not, “potty”. If unclear, check for issues of Gardener’s World.

Okay, so it’s synonymous with filthy, Hellish holes in the ground and mass evacuations, but regardless this vertically portable facility is not to be utilised for any emergency other than miner incidents.

A small town in Somerset, while Portishead may have both an official town dump and a fertiliser processing plant to help it reproduce a convincing olfactory note, it is in no way a “facitlity” or, indeed, portable; thank God.

Big and blue it may be, but what we have here is actually an example of a Sci-Fi “portal”. And while it may possibly lead to a mobile relief area, it is more likely to lead to dangerous alien races, such as Klingons.

Published by stuartpritchard

Journalist, Editor, Lover and Fighter.

One thought on “BLAST FROM THE PAST: Porta-Potty

  1. “It’s use as a generic term or it’s misspelling”

    Power to the Greengrocer’s!

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