Welcome To My Room 101


My brain has been cooking up this post for a while.

I am a big fan of Frank Skinner, his dead pan sense of humour and his Room 101  show.  If you haven’t seen it before Room 101 is a place where the lucky chosen can throw things/people/anything that makes their blood and brains boil, shut the door and never have to face the annoyance again.

My Room 101 list has been getting longer and longer over the years and here are snippets of it ( oh yes, and thank you George Orwell for coming up with the concept a long time ago).  In fact, the list is so long that it will take me a few years to publish it all.  It is ok. I have time.

A disclaimer: everything mentioned below is my personal pet hate, I haven’t been paid to dislike any of these items and the views expressed are mine and mine alone.

Fashion: Ugg boots and everything Ugg–related.  Walking badly in Ugg boots.  Soggy Ugg boots.  Wearing footwear that makes one look as if one had skinned a yeti and shaved his feet to then somehow wobble about town is bad for you, your feet (I guess the smell after an average of 8 hour marinating Ugg time could be easily bottled/canned and sold to the military forces) and yetis.

And while I am talking about shoes I might as well say that balancing on heels so high they make the Shard blush is not that great either.  Whenever I spot a woman stumbling forward like a wounded stilt walker I feel sorry for her.  We all have heard it a million times – men love women in high heels, but I am not sure men love women falling over left, right and centre and filing their bunions in front of TV in the evening so that the next day they can squeeze into their Manolos, Kurts and the likes.

A while ago I conducted my own personal market research and asked a handful of representatives of the male species whether stilt tripping was in any way appealing.  The answer was ‘Ah?’

It turns out that most men, unless they are Karl Lagerfeld or Dolce or Gabbana, don’t notice if you wear Ugg boots, stilts or your slippers chewed on by a Chihuahua with an inferiority complex, and as long as they are allowed to watch news/football/the latest 5 hour long documentary about the first rugby players of Pompeii they are happy.  Your footwear is probably at the bottom of their list.  Unlike your bottom, but that is an entirely different type of post that I will not be writing any time soon.

Modern life: Urban 4×4 vehicles taking up all the pavement space and not giving pedestrians their well-deserved priority respect.  I count myself very lucky to be able to live where I do, in a lovely green area, a two minute stroll from the Gallery of Modern Art.  However, our block of flats is sandwiched between two Hogwarts-like public schools and every day on my way to work/nursery and back I face the same challenges and tiger mums and their cars.  And every day I want to ask those women the same question: ‘Should I wheel my buggy straight into your urban tank since you think that pavement equals your personal parking space or should I leave it to the pigeon militia?  And since I am rude enough to try to cross your road are you going to run me and Peanut over now or maybe after you have checked your nails, Twitter and that rebellious Botox-resistant muscle above your left eyebrow?

Travel: This is a tricky one because I love travelling.  Discovering new places, foods and people watching have been my life-long hobbies and inspiration. I am the kind of person who can turn up at the airport 5 hours early (just in case) and not be bored or tired of guessing who the fellow travellers are and where they are scurrying off to, but there is something/someone to do with airports that I am going to chuck into my Room 101, turn the key and throw it into the flames of Mordor.  It’s the type of traveller who will queue at the gate 2 hours before boarding time is announced and once they are allowed to proceed, they and their spouses, children, uncles, grand grandparents and a random stranger that has been following them since last trip to Corfu charge ahead like a herd of wild buffaloes escaping a very irate wolf.

Boarding a plane is not the same as playing musical chairs.  There is (in theory) space for everyone.  Seats are either assigned beforehand or you have to make do with what’s available.  A seat is a seat.  If you don’t get to sit where you really want to some reasonable stranger may swap with you so that you can admire the plane’s left wing, a piece of unidentified propeller and some clouds.  And some more clouds.

But if just before I boarded this Iron Bird you crushed my toes, broke my nose while flapping your elbows and bruised my ribs with your hand-luggage made of granite then no, I’m not swapping. I will keep all those clouds to myself, and occasionally will chuckle so that you think you are missing out on gazing at a brilliant cloud.  Blame yourself.

Writing: I love writing (D’oh) but I don’t love writing self-help books promising to make the next Dickens out of you, if you can only part with a few quid and a couple of hours of your precious time.  While creative writing courses offer human interaction, heated discussions and a healthy dose of destructive  constructive feedback, most of those books give nothing other than a concept of a magic wand (well, I guess it works if you are a magic wand believer or Harry Potter fan or even Harry Potter himself).  Below is the best writing advice I have ever heard summed up in four short statements.  And it’s free:

1.            Just write.

2.            Read a fair deal.

3.            Sometimes go for a walk.

4.            Oh, and while you are at it, live a little.

Modern Attitude to Ageing: Getting older increases the maintenance costs year on year since, after all, aging is a terrible disease inflicted on us by Time.  A disease that has to be fought off with snail slime, nightingale droppings, liquid gold, caviar (not to be washed down with quality vodka unfortunately), seaweed, Dead Sea Mud, Botulinum toxin and chemicals that make Kryptonite seem like a child’s putty.  Why do we find it so hard to accept that life experience, wisdom (ahem, ahem) and a few memories of those nights out that we have been pushing deeper and deeper into the subconscious come, yes, with a few grey strays and wrinkles. The world in which 15 year olds advertise miracle creams for 50 year olds has gone a tiny weenie bit mad.  Leave the snails and their slime in peace.  Use an iron instead. Works on linen and we all know what linen looks like pre-ironing stage.  Sorted.

Current issues/discussions: I know I’m not going to make any friends by saying this but I am bored from top to toe and beyond by all the discussions and rows and about feminism and what it means. Radical feminism.  Lipstick feminism. Floundering feminism.  Mention the F-word at a dinner party and give me 3 seconds so that I can fall into a deep coma.  I have very little interest in debating whether a feminist should wear a lipstick or pretend she doesn’t own lips/breasts/shiny hair just in case a male chauvinistic pig finds her attractive.  Neither am I interested in slagging off men.

Replace the F-word with the E-word as in Equality, chant to me about social justice and I am with you because as much as we have to fight for women to have equal chances in life we can’t forget about the Discarded White Young Males, Unemployed with Not a Chance in Life, the Overlooked Carers or Any Other People in Need of Support.

And when I am done with writing this post I will be off to change the world. If you see a Wonderwoman with freshly ironed face, smeared in snail slime and some lipstick, charging ahead with a buggy and sending pigeons off to bomb luxury 4x4s – that’s me.

Say hello if you dare.  Just don’t mention the F-word or I may throw nightingale droppings at you.


What would you throw into your Room 101?  Here is your one and only chance to get rid of anything that bugs you!  Feel free to add to my list!