Do you know…where George Orwell got the idea for Room 101?
In Nineteen Eighty Four room 101 is a torture chamber in the Ministry of Love. This is where the all-controlling Party breaks prisoners by exposing them to their own worse nightmare. The room is doubly frightening because the thing you most fear will be there and it proves that the party knows everything – even the fears that hide inside your head. George Orwell named it after a conference room in BBC Broadcasting House where he had to sit through boring meetings during WWII when he worked for the Ministry of Information.
John Grisham, the bestselling author of legal thrillers, says that one of the reasons he became a writer was to get his own back. It never occurred to me before but that could be a place just as much as a person. I spend five tedious years at a dreary girls’ school that gave students nothing to aim at, no hope, no aspirations other than perhaps working as a secretary before marriage and children. Hmm, what could be going on in that stark semi-spiral corridor that led to the staff room, the assembly hall and the headmistress’ study? Floor to ceiling windows looked across rarely used playing fields to a terrace of 1930s houses and underfoot was wooden floors floorboards melded together with annual layers of varnish.
What I remember most though is an absence of decoration, except for an occasional painting from a year 7 class. The very temporary slash of colour made the white walls whiter and more sterile. Perfect Bond villain pad!
photo credit: PVBroadz via photopin cc