Couple's Therapy at The Fragment Room


My husband and I are sitting on the sofa in front of the PlayStation playing Streetfighter (against all odds, I am winning this fight) with the sounds of china and glass smashing against the wall. Suddenly our game is punctuated by a loud thud, thud, thud, crack. We are not sitting on our own sofa; we are in the waiting area at The Fragment Room and we are waiting our turn to wreck the joint.

What does it feel like to smash a TV? Or a beer bottle? Most of us are relatively well socialised (thanks Mum and Dad) and have no idea. But it seems like it might be “exciting”, “adrenaline-filled”, and dare I say “fun”, doesn’t it? We decided to find out for certain! As I shared in the last instalment, my husband and I do secret surprises for each other that are experience-based. We do this because it keeps our relationship alive which provides a good foundation for our young family. This time, I got him a Magicbox that allowed him to pick the experience, not me.

Why is choosing the experience from an array a particularly awesome part of the gift? If you do it in a detailed way, talking through the literal aspects of what the experience would be, you can bond neurochemically over making the choice because you are visualising future fun possibilities of time spent with your partner. This will give you all kinds of positive feelings towards each other and spending time together, serving to make you stronger together no matter what you choose. I think that’s pretty cool, and it makes a Magicbox different to other experience gifts.

The tell-tale sound of another fight finished on the PlayStation console and I sucker punch the air in triumph. “How are you doing that?” says my husband in frustrated wonder, “you have no idea what you’re doing!”. I had just gone on an unlikely winning streak (he won over all, sadly) when two people walked out of a door in big white coveralls, with plastic face protectors, big shoes, and a baseball bat. It was our turn.

When we had arrived, we handed over the Magicbox with a short explanation. The team at the desk called a gentleman, Daniel, from the back and he took it from us. The guys had set up the waiting area like a front room with an industrial concrete floor and big couch. A couple were busy kicking each other in the head (on PlayStation!). The covering over a window in a roughly painted white wall to our right hid the noisy drama from our view. A dark corridor to the left of the window disappeared into the glinting bowels of The Fragment Room. When it was our turn to smash, Daniel came to get us and take us round the back past row upon row of metal shelving with old TVs, bottles, and crockery – an archive of forlornly-waiting objects.

Once hidden from view, we saw a wall of weapons, from spanners and hammers to baseball bats and even a sledgehammer. Disappointingly, the sledgehammer had just been made out of bounds “Too many holes in the floor,” Daniel told us. I picked a hammer and a crow bar, which turn out to be wrist-wrenchingly heavy and I now will look at the crow-bar packing criminals in movies with a good deal more insight. My husband picked a sword (yes, you read that right!) and a spanner. With our white over-sized overalls, attractive face shields, and big rubber shoes, we were all set for a photoshoot with our weapons.

At the threshold of the room, tiny bits of broken glass crunched under our feet. Daniel bought three boxes of bottles and crockery in with us. In front of us was a great glittering cascade of green glass that started in the corner at about two meters high and came down in the world’s most dangerous fan to floor level. Along the edges were cracked TV screens, electrical appliances, and other large items. There was an exhausted-looking yoga mat taped into a roll. Daniel gave us a thorough safety briefing, showed us how to use the yoga mat roll as a stand for our bottles (oh, that’s why it looked so beaten up!), then offered us a soundtrack for our destruction. We chose punk rock.

The most awkward smash for both of us was the first one. I had to fight every instinct and I ended up doing this funny little flick with the spanner, missed, watched as the yoga mat slowly keeled over and the bottle rolled away hopeful and untouched. Take two was better. I actually hit the bottle and put some real oomph into it, and the top shattered off. It was surprisingly easy, and very satisfying, there wasn’t much resistance from the bottle. My husband tried throwing his bottle up in the air like a tennis ball and hitting it with the spanner, he missed the first go too. His next try had green glass raining down like angry goblin glitter. That really gave us the bug! We slowly sunk into thuggery. It was an anarchic movie scene set to a deep bass, we were smashing bottles against the wall, throwing plates, and raining hammery fury down upon impotent TV screens. We played baseball with the bottles, taking it in turns to bat. That was hilarious. Once we’d made our way through the casks of breakables, we carefully combed the battle field for survivors and callously ended their suffering. Once we were done with our scorched earth policy, we raised our helmets and laughed at each other, flushed with energy. We left the room and transformed from bottle-murdering maniacs back into our inconspicuous everyday personas.

How did it make me feel? Electric. Naughty. Liberated. Exhilarated. A bit nervous. Satisfied. In the words of my 3-year-old daughter “I laughed and I laughed”. Look around you. There could be a secret bottle-murdering maniac near you right now. Is it that guy over there with the hat pulled down low over his eyes? Or the woman looking all too closely at her smartphone screen? She’s clearly hiding something, perhaps it’s a ruthless approach to smashing.

Will I buy another Magicbox? Undoubtedly.