A Case for Playing Music in Public Washrooms

We’ve all been there: stuck in a stall in a public washroom having to endure a cascade of anonymous bowel sounds from strangers. And why is the stall next door always ends up being occupied by someone who detailing with the final remains of that Chinese buffet from the weekend? Even plugging your ears doesn’t help.

I know this is all a natural part of the human existence, but most of us don’t want to listen to the soundtrack of your gastrointestinal evacuations. And vice-versa, of course. Lord knows I have enough hangups and phobias when it comes to my fellow human being.

This is why I’m all for a proposal by a councillor in Sweden which calls for playing music in the restrooms of schools so that students can go about their natural business without feeling embarrassed, self-conscious or prone to teasing. Cecillia Cato says to The Local:

I don’t think it’s just about No. 2 on the toilet, but many also don’t do No. 1. I’ve worked in the world of education for many years and know through the students that this is a problem, above all in junior and senior high school. I myself experienced this when I was young and now that it’s being talked about many others confirm that they did too. It’s not something you talk completely openly about…’


“It would be embarrassing if it could be heard from the outside,” said one student, adding that she would prefer music over running the tap to cover up the sound of… well, you know.

Love it. Turn up the tunes.

(Thanks to Tom for the link.)


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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