Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do Insomniacs Think of Sleeping Sheep?

Over the last 20 odd years, I have been prone to bouts of insomnia. It's one of those weird things that triggers all the worst things in your subconscious. Sunday night, I went to bed exhausted. It was late (actually Monday morning) and it never crossed my mind that when I got into bed I would suddenly become wide awake.

I think in many cases insomnia is psychosomatic; often triggered by a stray, almost unintentional thought. When I was younger, it was set off by a simple thing; allowing my mind to contemplate how we fall asleep. What happens in that moment as you drift away; does your mind just switch off? Can you monitor it? I'd analyse how we get to sleep and it would make me not sleep. Psychologists would probably tell you that it is manifest by some other subconscious worry or concern and I was just using the sleep mystery as an excuse. They'd probably be right, but what goes on in my subconscious is not something I can access at will.

During my late 30s, at the most stressful period of working for the magazine, I'd come home exhausted from 40 hour long shifts and find it difficult to sleep; my mum would have called it being overtired, but whatever the reason it created an odd mixture of feeling like I'd been on amphetamines (something I was never into) and coming down with the flu. My mind would still be racing even though my body would be screaming for me to just switch off and let nature work its magic.

So, on Sunday, I slipped into bed about 1.15am; I expected (probably subconsciously) to be asleep within a few minutes, but as I got comfortable, I realised that I no longer felt tired; in fact, my mind was racing. By 3.15, I was growing more and more anxious; I know my mind and as soon as I started to think I couldn't get to sleep, I knew that getting to sleep was going to become even more difficult. I shifted around, trying to find a new sleeping position and I figure I drifted off to sleep around 4am. When I got up, a little before 10 (the wife had booked the day off) I felt perfectly fine; like my body just didn't need as much sleep as I figured it did.

So, at about 10.30 last night, I opted to complete an outstanding application form for a job I don't really think I have much chance of getting, but if you don't try you don't get. It took me longer than I thought; I wanted to make a fist of it even if my expectations were nought. I finished it about midnight; decided that I needed to check and edit it, but needed to be away from it for a while. So I played patience for half an hour and then went back to the application. It needed nothing much doing to it, but what was changed was important. I opened up an email on Yahoo and started writing the covering letter. Switched to Word, where I saved the document with a new name and when I returned to Yahoo mail, it said that I had been disconnected.

After a couple of seconds of confusion, I saw that the little warning ! was showing where my Internet connection was and I decided that it must have crashed, so I rebooted the computer and tried again with no luck. I couldn't understand why I'd suddenly lost connection, so I ran a diagnostic; rebooted again, tried everything you have to to reset the modem and by 1.30, I was tired, pissed off and angry. The application needed to be in the company's hands by 9am today, which meant I had two options; get up early and see if the net was back up and/or print a copy out and drive the thing down town and hand deliver it. With these alternatives in place, I shut the computer down and went to bed.

As I lay in bed, I realised that my black ink cartridge had run out and that I'd have to print it out in dark blue, which, I believed, didn't look good. So I resolved to get up in the morning, check the net and if it was down, call Roger, give him a lift to work and take the file with me, print it out and drop it down or as an alternative, get access from his work computer and send it from there. A lot of farting about for a job I don't have a lot of hope with, but you have to go the extra yard and by 2am I was thinking that this was the kind of hurdle you faced when fate determines you're going to get something, but have to work for it. I turned over and tried to go to sleep.

At 4am, the wife got up to use the lady's room and I was still awake. I'd allowed myself to remember that I couldn't sleep the night before and subsequently my mind offered up the question, 'what if?' and the cycle began again.

I finally drifted off about 5am, I think I just gave out, but at 6am the alarm went off. I had by this time, feeling shit and with a stinking headache decided the application form can go to hell; but had forgotten that I'd left an note by the alarm to reset it for 8am. I managed to get to sleep again quickly, but almost as soon as I slept, it seemed the alarm went off again. I was awake again, I might as well sort out this poxy job application, then perhaps I could have a bath and a kip on the sofa. but if I have a kip on the sofa, I'll not be able to sleep tonight, even with a few pints inside me (it's quiz night). So, I'm sitting here on a cold miserable August day, the rain is falling and it's blowing a gale through my office window and I feel like several lumps of shit, forced together with burning matchsticks stuck in it to brighten the mood...


I did something yesterday that I haven't done for 49½ years. I baked some bread! it was a success. It's a real loaf that tastes like bread and is nice. There's a long story behind it's arrival, but even I'm not going to subject you to it, it's pretty much the most dull bread story ever...


Sport is now reserved for Sportsdiscuss over on Live Journal, which I write with Roger, but I can't help but mention it briefly because of something I read in the paper yesterday.

Celtic had lost to St Johnstone at home on Sunday and it was something of a shock. The write up in the paper the next day had a quote from Celtic manager Neil Lennon which, I think, goes a long way to explaining the defeat. He said, "The front six just didn't click today".

The front six? What was he playing, a revolutionary new 4-0-6 formation? Someone needs to take him to one side and mention the word 'midfield' to him as it's obviously been lost from his mind.


I can't be arsed to write a full blown review of it, but can I thoroughly recommend the Norwegian film Troll Hunter to anyone who fancies 100 minutes of utterly bonkers comedy played absolutely straight. It's brilliant. And it could only be done in a Scandinavian country; it just wouldn't work in the USA, although you could possibly get away with setting it in the North of Scotland or some of the wilderness around Connemara in west Ireland.

It is also possibly the best 'lost footage' movie I have seen since Cannibal Holocaust and puts films like Paranormal Activity, Rec, Catfish or Cloverfield to shame. It is quite an extraordinary film from a region that is quickly growing into one of best film making places in the world.


Nothing much to report re: Haven. This weeks episode had a Groundhog Day theme and would have worked quite well had the acting been any good and the weather conditions on the repeated day been the same, but one moment it was foggy and the next it was blazing sunshine. Does anyone actually edit this thing?

I have all but given up on True Blood. it's just plain boring. Every week I just feel like it's becoming what I call it a Carry On film. You would think that for such a successful show they'd spend some money on special effects! Or maybe on a plot that's good. I really can't see this lasting much more than one more season unless it jumps the shark and does something interesting.

I can't recommend Monty Hall's Great Irish Escape enough. It's cracking natural history TV, with a man you can't fail to like, with an enthusiasm that is totally infectious. I'm playing catch up with it and have been enthralled by the utter beauty of the west of Ireland and the impression that it could be one of the most idyllic places to live on the planet, even if it is probably quite cold and a bit isolated.


Any errors are attributed to me feeling like crap.


  1. Of course, the Americans are remaking Troll Hunter.

  2. Of course they are and it'll be utter shit. It works so well in Norway; perhaps they should set it in Norway anyhow, but have American students. It'll be shit.