Tuesday, June 22, 2004

How to beat the Glasto toilet horror

How to beat the Glasto toilet horror

The Whiz, the Go Bag and the She-pee are three options for a gal in need of relief at this year's Glastonbury festival but do they live up to their promises? We have two volunteers who are about to find out.

Even the most seasoned festival-goer is likely to baulk at the sight and stench of a brimming Glastonbury toilet.
It's something most blokes, if they're lucky, will only have to experience a couple of times over the weekend but women have to brave the cubicles of doom every time that nature calls.

Not only that, ladies end up spending a considerable amount of the festival queueing - missing the music into the bargain.

This year, the festival's organisers have sought to redress the balance with the introduction of female urinals - or She-pees - guarded by concierges to keep the boys at bay.

But other minds have been at work on the same burning issue. Two products have just been launched to festival-goers, promising differing solutions to how a girl can get a swift comfortable pee and still keep her dignity.

The Whiz is a funnel which allows a woman to go standing up - in the She-pee for instance. Taking a different tack, the Go Bag is a pouch of crystals which turn liquid into a solid gel for easy disposal.

Both products were originally developed for the medical market and have undergone clinical testing.

But BBC News Online has recruited two intrepid volunteers to give the devices the ultimate field test:- a full four days at Glastonbury with all the drinking, dancing and mayhem which that entails.

How it works: It's a reusable funnel which fits snugly against the body, meaning the woman can pee standing up, anywhere that a man could.

The Whiz is made from flexible anti-bacterial plastic meaning you can "pee, shake and stuff it in your pocket," says Marketing Manager Kate Pierrepont.

"When we launched it at the Isle of Wight festival [2004] there were women rushing up to us who were desperate for the loo. This device makes it easier and more dignified than squatting because you can't bear the queue."

Pierrepont recommends using the Whiz in a urinal or toilet if possible, to prevent pollution of local water courses.

Price Ā£5.00

Tester Robyn Bryant from New Zealand who went to Glastonbury for the first time last year.

"I thought the toilets were gross and they lived up to what I had heard about them.

"I particularly 'enjoyed' the giant trench - although I must say it was quicker to go in than the others.

"I'm keen to try this. It's always a problem going to the loo at festivals, you don't want to miss the music and so you hang on and then by the time you get there you're busting and there's a huge queue." GO BAG

How it works: The double plastic bag contains a pouch of dry crystals which swell to form a solid gel when liquid is added.

The top of the bag then seals over the lip and the bag can simply be thrown away.

"We are aiming it at festival goers because they have to encounter unsanitary situations," says Go Bag's Carl Rees.

"It's small, compact and easily disposed of - and you can use it in a tent which is better than stumbling around the campsite in the dark."

The Go Bag is currently in use by the US Army and in theory each bag can be used up to three times before disposal.

Price Ā£8.95 for three

Tester: Sam Stephenson from Manchester, regular festival goer.

"This is a great idea for Glasto. I lost my expensive Maglite torch in a Glastonbury toilet last year - it fell out of my pocket in the dark and going in to get it just wasn't an option.

"In the middle of a huge, huge crowd, taking off to the loo and then trying to find your mates again afterwards can a bit tricky - this is mainly why I went for the bag device. I can picture having a right giggle in the middle of the Pyramid stage audience whilst I'm weeing into a bag!"

Check back next week to find out how our testers got on at Glastonbury.

UK 'being overrun by parakeets'

The UK faces an invasion of parakeets, with the wild population likely to exceed 100,000 in a decade, experts are warning.

The Sun says an Oxford University study has found 20,000 ring-necked parakeets, normally found in much sunnier climes, roaming free, with numbers going up by 30 per cent a year.

And although it was thought the birds were surviving on suburban bird feeders, the study found many could last on wild fruit, nuts and buds.

There are 10,000 of the birds in London alone, with one roost in Esher holding 6,000.

A vineyard in southern England saw its production fall from 3,000 bottles to just 500 in one year after a parakeet invasion.

Parakeets can live for up to 34 years, and a female can give birth to 60 chicks in her lifetime.

No comments: