As a boy of six or seven, the journey into the gents' toilet unaccompanied was somewhat intimidating. Back then they didn't have the knee-high junior pisspots you see these days; you were among the men, up on your toes straining to cast your pecker over the rim of the urinal so as not to slash on your Golas.
Huge men towered around you, zipping down the flys on their deep-ridged chocolate cords, burping, farting. This was behaviour you didn't see in the outside world; this was the inner sanctum, anything goes, and it was hilarious. But you didn't laugh; you didn't want anyone to notice you in and among them, because then the attention would turn to little you dribbling out your Umbongo piss.
Then the men would do something fantastical that you don't tend to see these days: urine in full flow they'd let go, hands to their hips, groins thrust ever-so-slightly forward like Lord Flashheart in mid-woof. Magnificent men propelling unsupported arcs of piss into a trough. What a display of poise and control for a young lad more familiar with wet shoes and damp pants.
Reflecting on this, and having never felt able to assume that role now I'm a grown-up – at least not in public; privately I've stood back from the bowl, legs planted firmly and apart like Rick Parfit riffing and projected my stream – I do at least understand the need for a stable environment. Where it shouldn't be tried is on a moving train, though someone evidently had on the 22:05 from Scarborough to Huddersfield last night. It was a damn quagmire in there.