THE BROADER PICTURE: MEN BEHAVING PATHETICALLY

WILL CARLING, the England rugby captain, has always presented an easy target to his critics - but rarely in such a crude sense as he now does for customers of the Paramount Bar in Aberdeen's Bon Accord Street. The Paramount, a former garage attached to the city's award-winning "Ministry of Sin" night-club, is believed to be the first pub to have televisions in its lavatories. It is almost certainly the first to have televisions in its lavatories.

Since last May, male patrons have been discovering the pleasure of inflicting the ultimate indignity on the film stars, politicians and sports personalities of their choice, thanks to three strategically-placed Perspex-covered video screens inset into the stainless steel urinals. They make their requests on their way to the gents', the bar staff insert the relevant cassette, and the rest is pure satisfaction.

Carling has consistently proved the most popular choice; however, there is plenty of competition. Saddam Hussein (main picture) is also a favourite, closely followed by sports-personalities-turned-TV-stars such as Gary Lineker, Geoffrey Boycott and Frank Bruno. President Clinton and Margaret Thatcher are keenly sought-after by politically-minded punters without a voice but with full bladders. Videos featuring not only the entire Cabinet but the Shadow Cabinet as well are expected soon. Other videos in the pipeline include Anneka Rice, Ruby Wax, Keith Chegwin and Hugh Grant. The latest hit, meanwhile, shows the bewhiskered features of Channel 4 Racing pundit turned Lottery groupie, John McCririck.

"The idea came to me in the bath," ex-plains the Paramount Bar's owner, former seafood trader Michael Wilson. "We had a test trial with a video of Rangers playing, and it was an instant hit. Now we can't keep people out of our loos." Up to 50 men at a time pack themselves into the modestly- sized conveniences to watch their betes noires being showered with derision and worse. Local sporting hate figures like Mark Hateley, Vinny Jones and Eric Cantona always draw good crowds, while would-be spectators for the premiere of "Gazza in Rangers kit" had to book weeks in advance.

"The customers come out in hysterics," says Jeannine Keating, a 24-year- old architecture student who works at the Paramount as a waitress. "They really have a good time in there. You can hear them cheering each other on and giving each other directions. It used to be the girls who went into the loo in groups; now it's the fellas." There are, she adds, no plans as yet for equivalent in-loo entertainment in the ladies'. "There are gravitational problems involved. But I understand the management is looking into it. It's great therapy, and a way that TV and video can be used as a public art form. It's the people getting their own back at the media - an expression of the thoughts and feelings of the nation. It's real theatre."

"WCTV helps people relax," comments barman Paul Barber. "We all have a lot of stuff bottled up inside us just waiting to come out. We just want someone and something to take it out on."

Each video lasts five minutes and features full-face close-ups which can be slowed down and freeze-framed for greater enjoyment. The latest fashion is for custom-made videos. While DJ-ing recently at "The Ministry of Sin", Boy George brought in a Take That On Tour to play in the little boys' room. Since then, oil businessmen have started arriving with videotapes of their bosses, while one man had a video of his mother-in-law.

"We draw the line at royalty," says Andy Hughes, the Paramount's manager. "But we'll play anything. Anyone can bring anything in and we'll put it on for them to have a shot at."

Wilson is in the throes of patenting his invention, and hopes to market it worldwide. There has already been interest from various Japanese visitors, and from a chain of clubs in London. If it takes off, it will probably be under the brand name WCTV.

It is, believes Andy Hughes, a sure-fire winner. "Everybody wants to let their bladder do the talking, and to tell people what they think of them straight to their face. You can really tell who is popular on the small and wide screen. There was quite a run on Brian Moore during last year's Rugby World Cup.

"Nobody's been sick over Will Carling yet," he adds. "But give it time." !

Arts and Entertainment
Kathy (Sally Lindsay) in Ordinary Lies
tvReview: The seemingly dull Kathy proves her life is anything but a snoozefest
Arts and Entertainment

Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boy

music
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig in a scene from ‘Spectre’, released in the UK on 23 October

film
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap

film
Arts and Entertainment

Poldark review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Brayben is nominated for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Carole King in Beautiful

film
Arts and Entertainment
Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot has been cast to play Wonder Woman
film
News
Top Gear presenter James May appears to be struggling with his new-found free time
people
Arts and Entertainment
Kendrick Lamar at the Made in America Festival in Los Angeles last summer
music
Arts and Entertainment
'Marley & Me' with Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Hamm (right) and John Slattery in the final series of Mad Men
tv
Arts and Entertainment
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
art
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

    War with Isis

    Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
    Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

    A spring in your step?

    Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

    Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

    Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
    Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

    Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

    For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
    Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

    Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

    As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
    The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

    UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

    Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

    Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

    Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
    Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

    Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

    If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
    10 best compact cameras

    A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

    If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
    Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

    Paul Scholes column

    Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
    Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

    Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
    Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

    The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?