You asked me once, what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.

Room 101 is, as everybody except that guy over there knows, the room in which Winston Smith is tortured in George Orwell’s 1984. It’s also the name of a BBC TV series in which guests are encouraged to consign their pet hates to a fate worse than death– sleeping with Colleen McCullough or something, I’m guessing. as some of those pet hates have included Jeffrey Archer, The Gallagher Brothers, dogs’ testicles and 1975, it’s not a bad idea at all.

so, as I’m bored with life and haven’t an original thought in my head, and as I like to give friends and acquaintances a chance to get all ranty and prove that I’m not the only dispirited curmudgeonly old bastard in the building, I’ve decided to rip off the concept in its entirety but with the added twist that I’m setting it next door in Room 102, which is exactly like Room 101 except the wallpaper is worse. Imagine some sort of orange and brown large-patterned paisley affair. Got it.

So what I’ll be doing is inviting friends and colleagues who interest me to contribute a paragraph or two justifying the removal of a pet hate (or two) from the Universe. These will be locked in Room 102, where they’ll have to spend eternity watching Tonight Live with Steve Vizard, which is the worst fate I can think to give to something so bad that a person wishes it removed from the Universe. The only way something can rejoin us, out here, in the TLwSV-less world, is if it is recovered by a contributor, who gives me a post justifying why it should be readmitted. This might be harder than it looks….

A running tally shall be kept, so we can keep track of how we, as a group, have improved the world around us. People will be encouraged to print this list out, and brandish it in public to quell outbreaks of the forbidden item.

Everyone got it? Good. So let’s begin with my favourite person in the entire world. The beautiful Lyn Battersby, my wonderful partner of 10 years and wife of nearly 8. From now on, we live in world withoooooooouuuuut:

Phobias. We all have them. No, I’m not going to insist that Lee takes all phobias and ejects them from history. They’re often the little thing that takes a person from being somewhat normal or even mundane and transforms them into somebody interesting.

No, what I hate is how society, the viewer, takes a person’s phobia and mocks it.

Here’s a scenario. A person confides to you that they have a fear of clowns. How do you handle it?
Do you state you understand the stress such fears can cause, fill them in your fear of camera film and distract them by asking if they’ve tried the host’s delicious apricot dip?

Or, do you run to the nearest woman (or your own handbag if you are a woman) and beg, borrow or steal her lip stick, slash a red mouth across your face and proceed to dance around the terrified phobic?

If the latter is you, my friend, then shame shame shame. Phobia-mockery is an attitude that should definitely be ejected from history. Yes, the fear that arises from a phobia is irrational, but so is blue cheese and people still serve it at dinner parties, right? Well, unless they suffer from Rhumalisipisimisiphobia, then probably not.
So, in short, intolerance of a phobia has no place in our modern society and should be expelled.
There it is, my friends. The first entrant in Room 102. Step forward, into a world where nobody mocks your phobias, and await the next instalment.


  1. Unwanted tears. Sometimes when I feel really passionate about something, my body executes a self-cleaning function by squirting water through my eyeballs, and my face goes bright red. This does not actually mean that I'm having a cry any more than the “C:>” command window is equivalent to a Blue Screen Of Death. If Only I could freeze my face into a ein of semi-bemusement with a touch of arrogance, and leave it like that during meetings.


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