As a fan of a theological question (at a basic level), posers such as ‘what would hell look like?’ often get me thinking to unhappier times.

The theatre is a personal ‘hell.’ Spending three hours in a tightly confined space as a teenager with a clipboard and spotlight barking out orders while surrounded by tennis toffs who force a laugh in a play whose gags wouldn’t look out of place on Ms Browns boys, is not my idea of fun.

Maybe your idea of hell is an Ed Sheeran or Chris De Burgh concert? Sheeran has some merit, I guess, but his unique brand of throwaway bubble-gum pop, blatantly out of place at events such as Glastonbury which he headlined, are some folk’s bags - but not mine.

The songs all sound the same, he frequents impersonal rule obsessed stadia, such as Wembley, where having mortgaged the house to secure a ticket, you are then bled dry by the vendors who are squeezed even drier by stadium management and you wish you hadn’t spent the afternoon on such folly, had saved yourself 500 quid and watched the concert a week later on Sky Arts instead…

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Brett Ellis is not a fan of Ed SheeranBrett Ellis is not a fan of Ed Sheeran

Yes, hell is a personal thing, yet inevitably involves other people. Being forced to sit next to a dullaton at a wedding is a short-lived forced marriage, as you feign interest on the history of stop cocks and valve joints before hastily inventing a bladder problem and hiding in trap two during the first dance.

Supermarkets have also become a personal hell due to bosses’ greed. Gone is the personal service we pay for, and in its place are the staid, irksome and unworkable self-service checkouts I am loath to use. Generally though, due to ‘staff shortages’ (in English: penny pinching as they aren’t employing enough people), you are forced to queue for an hour to be served or go DIY.

Yes, granted - all first world problems and we all have our own personal hells, but we wonder why we have lost the ability to socialise and relax with others as we still blame Covid for every woe.

The truth of the matter however, is that hell is generally man-made and most issues that make folk unhappy are ultimately easy fixes.

As for me, I am making changes of my own and have decided to order food online which I will do just as soon as I can get the internet back up and get rid of the grinning salesman about to make his way up my drive as hell shifts to home - from which there really is no escape.

  • Brett Ellis is teacher.