ROOM .303 – Why Room 101 Is For Pussies And How You Should Really Deal With The Things You Can’t Stand
You’re Not In The Matrix Now Keanu
You are standing out at the door to Room 303. As you cross the threshold, you’ll see immediately that it is a cruel and unforgiving place. That’s fine though, because you’re not there to be nice and you’re certainly not there to forgive or be forgiven.
Personal justice is the only purpose of this place. It’s rough concrete surfaces are broken by the riveted steel door by which you entered. A door which locks only from the inside. This place has nothing to do with Keanu Reeves. Not unless you want it to.
The Whole 9000 Yards
Room 303 contains only three things: you, the object of your hatred and a Vickers .303 calibre tripod mounted machine gun. Complete with a miles long belt of ammunition. You’ll have seen the machine gun on old war films; big buggers with a double grip handle and a barrel thick as a drainpipe. They’ll keep spitting out lead for days as long as you supply them with rounds and cooling water. The bullets look like little brass javelins.
You see, room .303 is a highly interactive experience. You don’t just lock away what you find loathsome, you confront it. You point that heavy duty war engine at the offending person or object(or idea or concept-it’s only an imaginary machine gun) and you let rip. A hail of murderous fire then rips, punctures, shreds and flails until that thing-which-should-not-be is a pile of mince on the floor.
Yes, I Do Fucking Remember Spangles
You then emerge, drenched in blood (even ideas bleed in Room 303). You will be covered in gore and dog tired, but it’s righteous gore and it’s a good tired. This week it’s my turn to pull the trigger. And tied to the execution post with suitably coarse and stout jute twine this week is……70’s nostalgia.
Picture this scene. You’re a forty something at some work obligated night out. No one really wants to be there, but everyone has had to turn up. None of you has drunk quite enough to get that “at ease with anything” feeling. Then inevitably someone pipes up with that dreaded phrase: “Remember Spangles?” There is a sudden roar of unity and approval and the predictable descent into the land of flared corduroy and chopper bikes begins.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I remember all this shit as fondly as anyone. More so in fact. Yes, I do remember Spangles and Mint Cracknell. I remember Space Dust and Aztec bars. I remember telly shows like Mary, Mungo and Midge, Issi Noho and Animal Crackers. I particularly recall all the sinister public information films (Put a rug on a polished floor? Might as well set a man trap). And yes, I do go all warm and fuzzy at the very thought, which is kind of by way of being the point.
Bodie And Doyle
Have you seen the re runs of some of your favourite 70’s TV shows on the Skybox recently? Yeah, me too. Great, I thought, The Professionals is on. A whole hour of Bodie and Doyle. Beer ready, snacks ready, here we go. Theme music : awesome. Outrageous 70s fashion : awesome. But then ten minutes in : Oh dear, this appears to be crap. Never mind, Randall and Hopkirk’s on the other side. Technically a sixties show, but it was repeated a lot in the Seventies. Ah, this appears to be crap too. And so it continues, night after night, programme after programme.
You’re Just Making It Worse For Yourself You Know
So stop talking about this stuff in bars, because the more you do the more lazy TV execs will feel justified in screening stuff we remember as being brilliant. And even though you now know that these shows will be crap and totally not as you remember, you’ll still torture yourself with them when you come home from the pub. And so will I because I’m no different from you.
Then one day the moment will come. The moment when this has happened to too many bits of your childhood. The moment when your little inner bubble bursts. The bubble that contains a little bit of the air from that time of limitless potential and boundless possibility. The one that keeps the feeble motor of your optimism going and let’s be honest, that motor is getting slower and jerkier by the year.
Shut That Door
So just shut up about the Seventies and remember them quietly. Shut up before the mangled pulp which was your body ends up on the cold concrete floor of room 303. A room which I have definitely not built for real. Now, it’s time to let rip with the murderous fire. And I shall be making those machine gun noises with my mouth, because those noises are still brilliant no matter what decade you grew up in.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2013