In the backstreets of Cairo, a humble bookshop is helping to relieve the stress of daily life and lift people’s anxiety. We don’t just mean the tried and tested method of getting lost in the pages of a good story.
Tucked away in the back of Bab Aldonia or ‘The World’s Door’ bookshop, is a soundproof room which is loaned to customers who wish to vent their frustrations for 10 minutes at a time. It seems a fitting antidote to daily life in Egypt where freedom of expression is limited, maintaining human rights is a struggle and even the bustle of the street if stressful.
The room was originally a practice studio for bands, hence the soundproofing, and now if you fancy letting off steam by going crazy on a drum kit you still can. After reading about other ‘rage rooms’, which seem to be popping up all over the world, the owner decided Cairo needed its own. He says many different people have shown interest in the room, including lots of women.
The room is completely black, and without a phone or any distractions from the outside world, it can have a very cathartic effect. Some visitors even claim to have found solutions to problems while screaming.
Apart from the novelty of the scream room, which is free of charge, the bookshop also offers coffee, music and art lessons and concerts. As well as books of course.
Other Rage rooms around the world
The last couple of years have seen such ‘Anger rooms’ become all the rage, excuse the pun. But are they a helpful way to relieve stress? or does becoming used to smashing things up just encourage more of the same behaviour. Here are some other such places around the world.
In California, if you’ve had a tough day you can now book time at a pop up ‘anger room‘. The room is filled with all manner of donated objects, including sofas, TVs, desks and plates which are recycled for more sessions until they basically exist no more. Visitors can smash things for a minimum of 5 minutes which costs $25. The room started life in Texas and due to popular demand is now touring the US, whose appetite for destruction is demonstrated by almost every location being sold out.
In 2013 two Serbian teenagers opened a similar enterprise, where customers are given a baseball bat and for the bargain price of $6, have as long as they like to destroy all the furniture in a room. The room has drawn much needed tourist attention to the town of Nova Sad where it is located.
Italy has its own version too, which describes itself on the website as ‘the only place you can destroy everything and noone will blame you’. It’s 15€ for 10 minutes, which is all the time it takes for most people to devastate most of the old furniture.
The Venting Shack in Tokyo offers stressed out business men and women a chance to smash as many plates, cups and dishes as they wish to pay for, which normally amounts to about $10 -15. Interestingly this one doesn’t take place in a room but inside a van, which is specially kitted out with cement slabs, against which the crockery doesn’t stand a chance.