Sleep deprivation is a very effective form of torture. Deprive someone of sleep and the brain turns upon itself in a mute rage, robbing you of the ability to think properly. Keep this up for 3 or 4 days and a torturer can inflict serious damage on their victim, without ever having to touch them or use any kind of medieval appliances. It’s not a spectacular form of torture, Quentin Tarantino never got all excited over a planned sleep deprivation scene in one of his movies, but it is effective, something all of us know as we have all been prevented from sleeping at some point in our lives.
I am writing this blog posting from room 424 in the Premier Inn in Brighton City Centre. I should be sleeping rather than writing this post, but events have conspired to make sleep nigh on impossible and blog writing has intervened to fill the gap. The reason for the lack of sleep is the noise made by the vent from the bathroom. This vent takes air out of the bathroom, and then recirculates it into the main bedroom. All well and good, except the unit maintains a constant whooshing noise which I estimate to be the same decibel level as an electric kettle 45 seconds away from reaching boiling point. I did that experiment a little while back. Just now I downloaded a decibel measurement app and measured the average level of noise as 41dB on the pillow where my head should be. 41dB is the same level as a room with ‘quiet conversation or a room of computers and photocopiers. Quiet Conversation sounds benign enough, but seriously when was the last time you fell asleep when people were talking, and did you ever fall asleep photocopying anything?. To add to the pain, at random intervals the stupid fan makes knocking and scraping noises. And as I never know when these noises can start, their ability to prevent sleep is very effective. Hence this nocturnal blog posting
Other noises in hotels I can cope with. I don’t mind people coming in from the pub late at night and talking on the corridors and slamming a few doors. Good luck to them I say, carpe diem. I don’t really mind people having ‘fun’ together inside their rooms with the concomitant noise this entails. All of these noises are first of all transient, they do not last all night, and secondly they are just part of staying in a hotel. You have to compromise when you set foot outside your own door. What has got me mad about room 424 is the way that crap engineering has infiltrated the hotel room experience and make a mockery of it. All the hotels I stay in have air conditioning, vents and so on, and at least half don’t work properly. Often the air conditioning cannot be turned off. You can mash your finger repeatedly against the off button in the vain hope that the mechanical wheezing will stop, but the engineer has the final laugh, the off button is about as much use as Eric Pickles’ Cross-Training machine. It has a physical reality, but it has no purpose, it is pointless. When did the people who spec hotel rooms suddenly decide that the best experience they could give to the people who stay in their rooms was to fill them full of shoddy and tinny fans and metallic electrical shite creating endless soundscapes of white noise? Why did these people not start from the basic idea that a hotel room is for sleeping in, so make anything in the room which has the possibility of creating extra noise as quiet as possible, and make the engineering of the units as high quality as possible. Make the moving parts out of carbon fibre and polished titanium engineered to tolerances of 10,000th of a MM. Instead what we have to put up with are units which have the mechanical finesse of a Trabant built by workers after a week long binge drinking session.
Of course there is the good night guarantee. I could tell reception, I could even *complain*. But that’s not really the British way is it? Far better is a futile blog posting written in the middle of the night, full of sound and fury, and read by a total of 17 people.