I was going to write about something else tonight, but when I realised it was Image #101 there could be only one topic.
When I was at school doing my Higher English, we had to read George Orwell’s 1984, though we were told not to answer any questions on it because, well, it was actually 1984 and a lot of youngsters were probably answering questions on it and the examiners would be bored of reading about it!
I went back and reread it a few years ago, and have to say it was brilliant. Maybe as a 17 year old I wasn’t mature enough to “get” all the nuances and themes, but I certainly did this time round. (I also reread his Animal Farm at about the same time and it was also a much more enjoyable read as an adult.)
I was going to use the famous image of the blue plaque showing where he once lived, with a CCTV camera in front of it, but I’ve found out that it was a hoax.
Sorry, I digress. The point is, that even though the book was set in the future when written, and that future is now in our past, I think its pretty relevant. The surveillance culture, being told what to think, what to eat and drink, what to wear, who to believe etc – all sounds implausible but is more or less where a lot of us are now, and in some countries is almost totally true.
What do you fear? For Winston Smith it was rats. I’m not sure in my case: I know I wouldn’t be too comfortable with rats, or big snakes, and I have a friend who breeds spiders which hold a dread fascination for me. I wouldn’t like to get too close, certainly not to touch them, but they are beautiful. What would be in your Room 101?