So, this is my 101st post, so in honour of the tv gameshow (not the torture chamber in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four) here are my top 5 items for putting in Room 101:
1. People who talk in the cinema after the film starts.
I’m rather fussy about when a movie starts: it starts when the very first shot of a studio or production company logo, or the Dolby logo, begins. Not when the title-sequence or pre-titles action begins; when the first logos appear. You see, sometimes something different can be done, with the music or the logos, to indicate something about the film. The example that comes to mind is Schindler’s List, where even the opening logos are in black and white, which makes quite an impact when audiences are used to full colour. Even without this fussiness I’ve known some terrible examples of talking in cinemas – Mrs Nomad and I went to see one of the later Harry Potter movies, only to have a running commentary to it from across the aisle as a woman explained (inaccurately, as it happened) the backstory of each scene to her accompanying boyfriend, who had clearly not seen any of the previous films! Really, there’s no need, you’re there to watch the film, you can talk about it afterwards!
I know they’re the staple of the British diet, but I really could live without eating another potato for the rest of my life. In particular, boiled potatoes. I actually rather enjoy good mashed potato, and do like fish and chips once in a while, but if living without these things was the only way to avoid ever having to face another bland and boring boiled potato I’d happily do that! Of course, it’s advantageous that I really like Italian and Asian food, and am not gluten intolerant so a life of pasta, rice, noodles, and bread, would suit me just fine!
3. Reality TV
I’m not a believer in the golden age of tv, I acknowledge that some (many?) of the programmes that used to be watched by millions were really rather rubbish. The production values of many of them certainly weren’t great. But the phenomenon of reality tv really is one that really upsets me – especially those the whole purpose of which seems to be create z-list celebrities with no discernible talent, and those whose purpose seems to be to completely circumnavigate the usual route to success in the arts business of busting a gut for some years (in repertory theatre, or gigging in pubs) before finally being signed. Yes, I know, I could change the channel, and I frequently do (you wouldn’t believe how many episodes of dramas like NCIS and CSI we have recorded on our digibox from some of the digital channels), but I’m required by my job to have some idea of current cultural reference points so it’d be nice if they didn’t include a form of entertainment I actually find painful to contemplate!
4. People who think playing sport is about bending the rules as much as possible without getting caught
I hear this as a ref after matches: “Oh well, all players bend the rules to see what they can get away with, it’s part of the game.” No, sorry, it’s not. I understand that in rugby people sometimes don’t know all the Laws. That’s fine. But knowing the Laws and deliberately pushing their boundaries? No. And not all players do it. I didn’t when I was a player. Maybe that’s why I only ever played 3rd and 4th XV, but as far as I’m concerned part of playing a sport is about playing within both the laws and the spirit of the game. So, for example, I know the law says that in cricket you’re only out if there is an appeal and the umpire gives you out, but if you know you nicked it then you walk (sometimes it is genuinely possible not to be sure if you did, but most often you know), likewise in rugby if you know you aren’t allowed to use your hands in a ruck then you don’t use your hands in a ruck. Really, what does it say about us, and about sportsmen and women, if we truly think a game can’t be played without deliberate gamesmanship?
5. Commercial radio
This one has nothing to do with the quality of commercial radio stations. When we lived in London our car stereo was permanently tuned to what is now Absolute Radio, and around here we sometimes have it tuned to Pirate FM (when Wee One is in the car and BBC Radio 2 is out of bounds). Mrs Nomad still frequently listens to Absolute’s digital channels Absolute 80s and Absolute 90s, as do I sometimes. Some of their presenters are top-notch, and the proliferation of digital channels gives a massive range of choice in musical genres and talkradio subjects. No, this is all to do with adverts, which tend to be highly repetitive, and show sponsorship – why is a DJ raving about SkyPlus? Not because they’ve tried out VirginMedia and FreeSat and found them wanting, but because Sky are paying them to! Why is a DJ talking about their recent flight with a particular airline? Again, because they’re being paid to. In reality this is mostly about one issue though – Absolute spend all summer raving about outdoor music festivals but not once do they mention Glastonbury – all because they don’t have the broadcast rights. Glastonbury is the greatest music festival in the world, bar none, so why pretend it doesn’t even exist? Just acknowledge the fact and move on! Hmm, maybe I should change this one and instead put forward “all music festivals other than Glasto” – not that I’m biased of course!
Whatever you’d like to put in Room 101 rather than encounter it on your journey, travel well.
NB I shouldn’t really need to say this but just in case: the above statements are intended in the same tone as the original tv show – they’re fun, and not to be taken entirely seriously (though if you do have it in your power to rid the world of potatoes, please feel free to do so!)