Brittannia Sachas Hotel, Manchester (Week 2)

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The Brittannia Sachas is, without exception, the worst hotel I have ever been in – in my entire life. It is sort of place that makes you wonder is this a sort of biblical punishment. Some sort of cosmic theatre for one to reflect on bad decisions. It is like the place where Dustin Hoffman lives in Midnight Cowboy before he dies of TB.

The first thing that strikes me as I go in  the the main entrance, besides the fact that the doors don’t work properly, is the high and sweet (not in a good way) smell- It is probably what a funeral home would smell like if it were flooded, then dried out again and then maybe flooded again.

The second thing that strikes me is the cold in my room. Central heating I have discovered is a big differentiatior of accommodation for me. No matter, there is a thermostat in the room!- Oh wait it doesn’t work -and it falls of the wall exposing wires. :)

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I have to sleep in my full clothes with the hood of my hoodie up and 3 t-shirts on. I will later learn that if I leave the shower on in the bathroom I can turn it into an improvised steam room (the excitement of this discovery I can liken to Tom Hanks excitement at finally being able to start a fire in Castaway) where I can read in comfort for about an hour before going out into the icy chill of the room proper. (I haven’t even mentioned the peeling wallpaper, the mysterious red stain on the wall or the hepatitis yellow wall paper all around the room).

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My next concern is  security – I learn later in the week that apparently this hotel is the haunt of some of Manchester’s more unsavoury elements – this is something that I might already be noticing. Now the lock might look like a strong point of the room but the chain lock is actually broken and it looks like the room may have been forcibly opened by the hotel staff or police on several occasions. Note also the ‘Do not Disturb’ sign on the door – I thought to protect my stuff from break in when I left the room it might be a good idea to hand the sign from the door but decided on a final analysis best not advertise my presence at all here.

By the end of the week I start to notice more and more manky hookers about the hotel and at 4am a fire alarm goes off just to make sure that you are not asleep. I will never slum it again. Ever!

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The Malmaison – an overrated ‘dirty weekends’ hotel

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The Malmaison is a hotel that you don’t realise you don’t like till near the end of your stay. It sort of tries to be cute and ends up annoying you. So when I first arrived in I thought this is pretty trendy and moody. This is by far my favourite  hotel room so far.

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As the week went on though little things started to crop up. The first thing was the very cool toilet and sink were actually not so cool. They were designed in such a way as I could not get close enough to the mirror to put in my contact lenses or shave.

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The second thing was that the Malmaison is clearly branding itself as a dirty weekends hotel despite the inclusion of an advertisement downstairs inviting you to book a stay for your mother *shudders*. Throughout the hallways there are black and white pictures of women and men getting it on but in supposedly tasteful ways – like a woman’s nails digging into a man’s back or a woman starting to remove her underwear. (Which I suppose is fine – for one night!). The assault isn’t confined to the hallways though – inside the room the shampoo asks you are you ‘getting jiggly with the figgy?’(fig shampoo) and beside the minibar is a picture of a woman on top of a man stopping and saying wait let’s break and have refreshments. That and the ‘secret possessions’ bra somebody forgot to clean up from the last stay started to really get on my nerves.

The third thing was that the wifi kept cutting out and inviting you to sign back in via Facebook or gmail. A serious pain in the hole!

The fourth and final thing was the heading at the top of the bill titled ‘the damage’. This is supposed to be clever but actually is nothing to be getting smart about – the hotel is quite expensive and it is nothing to be making light of. I talked to a guy in the office and he talked about staying in the Malmaison in Newcastle and being charged for toothpaste.

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So in the spirit of the my reading of the connected company -

‘Customers are adopting disruptive technologies faster than your company can adapt. When your customers are delighted, they can amplify your message in ways that were never before possible. But when your company’s performance runs short of what you’ve promised, customers can seize control of your brand message, spreading their disappointment and frustration faster than you can keep up.’

I write about my experience so that the Malmaison can improve its customer experience. My message to you Malmaison – I am looking forward to going to the much more basic Britannia Sachs hotel on Tibb street because it might actually do things properly and not lose sight of being  hotel because it has notions about itself.

Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality

After a couple of months of a psychoanalysis book hiatus I started reading them again. I picked up where I left off with Rollo May’s ‘Love & Will’. It’s discussion of the interrelationship of love and will was a little heavy for me at the time …but at the end of the day the books; they are me.

To paraphrase a Rilke reference in ‘Love & Will’ – if I get rid of my demons, my angels might follow too. I have to recognise that reading psychoanalysis has brought me down some good roads as well as some bad roads. It has lead me into the forest of self-persecution with horrible Winnicottian and Kleinian ideas that seem to represent some sort of dark and terrible truth that you cannot unlearn. But it has also introduced me to the ‘unconditional positive regard’, ‘congruence’ and acceptance of Carl Rogers. It has allowed me to find out the importance of relationships, it has generated the concepts and symbols that have allowed me to paint and it has given me an insight into people that I might not otherwise of had.

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The problem is that people don’t like being analysed but funnily enough the solution to this can be found in another book. In ‘Gestalt Therapy-Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality’ when talking about the different neurotic defences it refers to introjection. For the uninitiated what introjection refers to is the incorporation of the characteristics of another person or object into one’s psyche unconsciously. Now this book did something very interesting it linked it back eating in ‘Experiment 15: Introjecting and Eating’. The book draws a link between eating food fast without chewing and not chewing through the meat of life and relationships.

It then goes about painting a portrait of the orally under-developed person. Who likes to drink a lot because drinking is easier than eating. It is at this point that I start to get uncomfortable like when Karen Horney talks about ‘neurotic pride’ or I read anything written by Winnicott. I must, however, link this back to the original question – How does this solve the problem of reading these books which makes you analyse the people (which they don’t like)? Well here’s what it does – the portrait of this quick eater/ drinker offers a portrait of a person who ‘wants to enter into immediate confluence without preparatory contact with the other person. His acquaintance of the moment becomes a pal to whom he will ‘pour out his heart’ (note the use of liquids) He bypasses those parts of his personality which would exercise discrimination; and then; on the basis of these supposedly deep and sincere but actually most superficial contacts, he comes forth with impatient, extravagant demands?

So there it is the uncomfortable and accurate answer. The emotional statement that you are thinking or analysing too much or that you are not being present in the moment received intellectual reinforcement. Now maybe it should not have taken such a long route to understand that that bullshitty, piddly banter is required to make close friends who aren’t loon bags but I guess I need something a little better than you’re questions are really ‘bad buzz’ and I want good ‘buzz’.

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So banter and chat then need to be attended to with the same effort as the deep analysis …who would have thunk it? So the book gives me this and then it goes on to give me something else.

Back in the game – the books are giving me something again. So we have banter being good and then we go onto contact with the ‘actuality’ of life. What is this you may ask? Well let’s explain it like this – A lot of the books talk about a defining feature of neurosis being the alienation of parts of the self from the self and not interacting with the present but instead making a major enterprise about of inhibiting and structuring behaviour. Contacting the actuality then is what you’re supposed to be doing i.e. Being in the thick of it. The book talks about a creative form of sort of suspended attention. You ask about conflicts and this book says ‘fuck conflicts’. It goes what has deliberate trying to deal with conflicts ever brought you.

It says just do stuff and let the conflicts play out in this creative zone and the right stuff will just flood into the gap without you knowing exactly what you’re doing. Now we’re getting somewhere.

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It talks about ‘the spontaneous absorption of final contact[...having...] no need of such motivation, for there are no other possibilities; one cannot choose otherwise. The feeling of absorption is ‘self-forgetful’; it attends completely to its object, and since this object fills the entire field – anything else is experienced as to the interest of the object – the object becomes a ‘thou’, it is what is addressed. The ‘I’ lapses altogether into this attentive feeling; we speak of being ‘all ears, all eyes’ for instance in hearing the great music one ‘forgets himself and is all ears’, and any possible ‘It’ simply becomes an interest of the ‘Thou’.