It is ironic that George Orwell’s Room 101, which rightly in the book is associated with oppression, is used for entertainment, even with a post like this one. It is to his credit though that (a) his work lives on after him and (b) his creations have passed into popular usage. I must admit I hope the latter has led to some people checking out where Room 101/Big Brother come from originally.
So onwards and upwards as they say.
61. Reception staff who DON’T make you feel welcome
In this day and age, there is no excuse for poor customer service and I feel that reception staff who don’t make you feel welcome come under that category. You are the paying customer and being made welcome can do much to ease nerves, particularly useful if, say, your appointment is with the dentist! It is also a short-sighted approach to take given I, when faced with this kind of thing, make a note not to re-visit the place in question. I really will take my money elsewhere (and have).
62. Whoever decides it’s okay to rename a much loved product
You know what I’m getting at here. I’ve never understood the name change from Marathon to Snickers for the well known chocolate bar. Snickers? What kind of name is that? Also, the bar had been selling well, and still does, so I can’t believe a revamp was needed to generate sales. An Opal Fruit will always be an Opal Fruit as far as I’m concerned. Starburst? What kind of image does that conjure up? At least with Opal Fruit, you knew you were getting a fruit flavoured sweet! (And whatever happened to lemonade flavoured Spangles by the way? Used to love those).
63. Saggy Trousers
Fashion has often been a subject for mockery, understandably so too given some of the “creations” that have been foisted on to a unsuspecting public. I love the way the old fairytale The Emperor’s New Clothes sends up vanity. My own bugbear in this department in terms of clothing has been the trend for saggy trousers which always look as if the owner needs to wear a decent belt with them. These wretched trousers are not fashionable, the wearer just looks like they’ve got dressed in too much of a hurry, and the rest of the world, okay Chandler’s Ford, really does not need to see people’s underwear because their trousers are hanging down at half mast. Go and get a pair of trousers that fit properly. (Couldn’t find any suitable images for this one. I think this is perhaps just as well).
I’ve nothing against a well organised event but your perspective on fireworks changes when you have pets. I also like the planned events because you know it will end at a set time and this makes it a lot easier for getting your dog out into the garden, get them to make themselves comfortable, and then come in. One thing I would ban immediately are the very loud fireworks that really do sound like a bomb going off. I’ve known dogs that have needed to be sedated practically every weekend from October to early January.
I would like silent fireworks (they do exist!), for them to only be used at events, and for Bonfire Night especially to be commemorated on the nearest Saturday to 5th November and people stick to that. I must admit I do feel very sorry for the wild animals during firework season. The big advantage of something like Divali is it is only for one night (and I’ve noticed those celebrations don’t tend to run on very late into the evening, which can be a nightmare for trying to work out when to take the dog out).
Lady, thankfully, isn’t at all fazed by fireworks but Mabel and Gracie, my previous two collies, both were. We ended up using the plug-in calmers on Mabel and they worked but we had to have the things plugged in practically all the way through from October to early January.
Have you ever had a leaflet or a form where the wording is nonsense? I was delighted to find this link to the Plain English Campaign’s Gobbledygook Generator. I had a lot of fun with this!
One option that came up when I tried this was “This is no time to bite the bullet with our remote third-generation options.” Yes, definitely gobbledygook.
How about this one? “Only geeks stuck in the 90s still go for functional reciprocal mobility.”. (I also object to this because there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a geek, thank you. I am a creative writing geek!). I can imagine my fellow writers, especially, shuddering in horror at that.
Or “It’s time to revamp and reboot our compatible management paradigm shifts”. I know what needs rebooting – whoever came up with this garbage!
Final example is “You really can’t fail with total third-generation capability.”. Really? Fail with what? What does third-generation capability mean?
I love the English language, I love word play, but this rubbish? Definitely only one place for it – Room 101. I don’t know whether people do this because they want to make themselves (or even more likely their product) sound more important or whether it is because their command of the language isn’t as good as they think it is. (Someone clearly hasn’t told them simple English that sticks to the point is what is wanted. Language is about communication and that means clarity).
66. Most cover versions of songs
There are exceptions to this. My favourite cover version is The Carpenters’ version of Ticket to Ride and I love the Beatles’ original too. The arrangement on the Carpenters’ one is wonderful. They took the Beatles’ hit and did something unique with it but this is why it stands out. Most cover versions are not like that. Most cover versions don’t appear to me to be justified and I think are only done to generate money. I am far more impressed by people who write their own material, even if I’m no particular fan of it, as at least they are using their talents (rather than somebody else’s).
I can’t be the only one in Chandler’s Ford who is feeling somewhat bemused that the parks are still very muddy in April. (In fact I know I’m not. Every dog owner I know seems to have spent the last few months just washing out dog towels!). It is good to see the spring flowers finally appearing, even though they are against a backdrop of mud. Now I know I’ve already consigned snow to the vault of doom but I’d like mud put in there too. I’ve slipped on mud far more times than I’ve slipped on snow! I suppose the only saving grace with mud as compared to snow is that the temperatures are generally higher for mud to be an issue but I think that’s all that can be said for it. (I know it’s supposed to be good for the skin too but frankly I’ll stick to drinking water, eating fruit and using a decent moisturiser).
68. Fake News
I want the news to tell me what is actually happening in the world (and then to show the impact such things are likely to have. A well thought out news analysis is fine and can produce some excellent journalism. Look at what Michael Buerk’s report on the famine in Ethopia went on to generate – Live Aid.). Fake news = lying as far as I’m concerned. You’ve got to query the motives of those behind it. It smacks to me of someone trying to pull a fast one over everyone else and it is that which is so annoying. There are enough con artists out there without having some work in a news room.
69. Zips that break too easily
Are zips not as robust as they used to be or is it just me? I’ve had a few break on me, usually on a coat, just as I’m trying to go out in the latest downpour. (Not always avoidable!). I generally like zips, they’re a great invention, and I am conscious this is probably just a middle aged woman’s rant, but I’m sure the quality of zips has decreased.
70. Anyone who can’t see the purpose of books
I had a friend, sadly now gone, who didn’t read fiction but did read plenty of non-fiction. He felt the world was fascinating enough without having to make stories up to get a point across! Naturally, I disagreed! But the important thing here is that he read well. He saw the purpose of books as being informative and educational. What I really don’t understand is those people who, if you suggest reading to them as an enjoyable way to relax, look at you as if to imply have you gone mad. Err… no.
71. Drivers who don’t indicate
I’m pretty sure that every car manufacturer does put in indicator stalks into their vehicles. I’m also pretty sure that there is less clear signalling on the roads than there used to be. Is it people being lazy? Are people really not aware that signalling clearly can help protect them as other drivers around you know what you are doing and can adjust their driving accordingly? How many times have you waited at a roundabout only to realise you could’ve gone had other drivers indicated properly? Talking of roundabouts…
72. Roundabouts that are too small for purpose
I know and drive on a few of these and hate them all but sadly they’re not avoidable. They would be if they go into Room 101 though! One roundabout I use in particular has two lanes where, to my view especially with certain vehicles being wider than they used to be, there should only be one. This kind of roundabout gets congested quickly and the risk of accident is higher. There has to be a decent size of roundabout so it serves the vehicles it “caters” for well. This does not always happen. Who plans these things?
Hands up time. I’ve never wallpapered anything. Well okay, I suppose the nearest I got to it was when you used to have to cover your school books in some sort of protective covering. My sister and I always used left over bits from wallpaper rolls for this. Worked quite well too. As for home decorating, it’s the paintbrush for me every time. Too much can go wrong with wallpapering (wrong lengths cut, too much paste, too little paste, you put it up so the pattern doesn’t match etc. To my mind, life is far too short for this kind of thing).
74. Cooking Chocolate
I’ve never liked this stuff. When I have made chocolate cakes, I prefer to use melted down “real” chocolate as I prefer the taste. A good quality chocolate has got to be better than the cheap cooking stuff, surely?
75. Not being able to get printer supplies because your model is too old
Confession time. I don’t have this problem yet but I can see it arising. My simple, black and white laser jet printer has seen off several colour printers we’ve had in this household. Indeed, I refer to my printer as “Old Faithful”. All I need to do is change the cartridge over (and it is easy to do too) and keep the paper topped up and away I go. Nothing fancy. Just gets on and does what it is meant to do. I like that. And not just in printers!
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.