A place where you can smash up cars, TVs, your mobile phone, might sound appealing but is it really, wonders Jim Duffy.
In the US this week, Michelle Obama has been doing the rounds of the TV studios to promote her new book, CNN has launched a lawsuit against President Trump’s White House. The former First Lady takes a swipe at the current First Lady, while CNN has a go at defending the freedom of the press and the First Amendment – etc etc etc – as it seeks to have the press pass for its White House correspondent un-blocked. This after President Trump lost the heid and called the the CNN correspondent Jim Acosta “a rude, terrible person”. There are tense re-counts going on after the mid-term elections and the mud slinging is vicious.
Present Trump himself seems angrier. He’s been having a go at French President Macron, essentially telling him that if it was not for the USA, then France may be speaking German now. I mean really?
And, in the UK, Theresa May is in it up to her neck as usual with blatant snipes from her Cabinet colleagues coming in from all directions. Our whole political class is in conflict like never before.
Anger is spilling out on platforms like Twitter with bilious outbursts, while wildfires burn in Malibu, mass murders seem to be becoming more frequent, and the murder rate in “Lawless London” is on track to reach the highest annual total for a decade.
In short, conflict, anger and “he said, she said” arguments are everywhere. But, I think I may have found the solution for it all – The Rage Room!
We are perhaps living in one of the angriest times in political history. But, this tension and conflict looks to be having a top-down element where ordinary people are also on the brink of anger. Our politicians are supposed to lead and gel together a macro-social cohesion that binds us and at least gives us the perception that “the state” has it all covered. But, in recent times it appears to have come undone. This is leading, it could be argued, to a fissure opening up across all social strata that means we are all on high alert. We are all on the brink... and our fight-or-flight cortisol levels are going through the roof, as a result. And that is why our anger and rage is showing itself more frequently and with more consequences. Like all trends across history, we here in the UK are a bit behind the USA. The USA already knows it is angry, so US citizens have resorted to using Anger Rooms. And they are becoming increasingly more popular. With names like the Wrecking Room and House of Purge, they do what it says on the tin.
So what is an Anger Room? Imagine if you will a large cubicle the size of a regular bedroom. You are provided with safety gloves and glasses. You can buy as many smashable items as you want ranging from glasses to plates, to DVD players to televisions. Maybe a guitar or a printer floats your boat. You can have a sledgehammer to smash them up. Or perhaps your weapon of choice is a baseball bat.
You can smash windows, car windscreens, almost anything you fancy. Heck, you can even bring your own box. This means you rent the rage room, but bring your own items to vent your rage and the stuff to smash up. How cool is that? For 30 bucks, you can get rid of all that anger and punch a bag, smash a vase, vandalise a Ford Fiesta and throw a mobile phone off the wall – several times.
The number of rage rooms is rising in the USA. There are already hundreds across all states with many opening up in cities like Charlotte, North Carolina and Tucson, Arizona. But, don’t fret just yet, London has it first rage room – The Wreck Room and I’m pretty sure Scottish cities will follow suit ...
But, are they just a gimmick or are they serving a need in our angry times?
It seems that using a rage room could be good for your mental health. With so much tension, conflict, uncertainty and anger frothing around society, many of us want some form of release.
We need an outlet to vent and, well, rage. While some will use yoga, run marathons or simply hit the pub, the rage room offers another avenue to release that stress and anger that permeates life today.
Rage room owners say it’s less about anger management and more about releasing pent-up stress. And there is one big surprise in all this rage. Women make up 95 per cent of all the customers in one specific rage room. The House of Purge in North Carolina reports that women are its mainstay customers. Rage rooms are not then the stereotypical male-oriented spaces that one might think.
I have no doubt that some budding entrepreneur will open a rage room in Scotland. We are far from exempt when it comes to rage, anger and violence. But, what are rage rage rooms saying about society from Los Angeles to London to Novi Sad, Serbia?
Do we just need to be angry sometimes as humans beings? Is it simply natural to get angry at times of stress? Or is there something less savoury happening to us all as human beings living in angry political times?
I’ve suffered from anger issues before and there are times when I do feel like “doing a John Wick”. Perhaps a visit to a rage room would help sort this out ...
My question is, will these anger centres become all the rage as political, societal and technological trends re-shape who we are and who we think we are as human beings in this tense social fabric? I hope not.