Last night, I was kept wake by the smell of mince.
The smell of mince had first come into my day as I approached lunch at the BBC cafeteria.
It smelt liked mince cooked in an armpit. Once it was in my mind, I couldn’t shift it. It was mince than clung to fibre. I am sure it was not knitted into the fabric of my cardigan after i walked close to it, but the imagined mince remained with me in the green room and during the recording of our “far harder than you might imagine” show about plants. I think I can handle my quantum behaviour more easily without stalks and leaves.
When I got home, it turned out there had been a grand simmering of mince. The mince had reached into all corners of the house. It hung in the spiders’ webs and the cushions.
I went to bed. Annoyingly, I had been thinking of insomnia, and so, as if hailed by my thoughts, it gladly arrived, and I spent a night twitching and sometimes hypnogogic.
The mince was now a ghost. It’s small started to sicken me (I don’t eat mince). In daylight, it wouldn’t have sickened me, but once the insomnia has begun, the innocuous can become revolting and hateful. You find something to justify your inability to sleep, and you obsess about it, while at the same time, constantly telling yourself to stop obsessing about it. Do not think of a pink polar bear, and there it is.
The accompaniment to the spectre of mince was a soundtrack of The King Blues in my lobe jukebox, and images of Minion Rush, the spin off game from Despicable Me. I have started to play it excessively. I don’t know why, I don’t enjoy it. I swear at it each time I fail to freeze ray enough items or leap over enough electric fences to get to the next level, but I must keep going. It is “I can’t go on. I must go on. I’ll go on” for a generation reared on Donkey Kong, pathetic really.
The longer you are awake for, the more elements you can find that must keep you awake. You can feel each slowly digesting item in your belly. Every vague crack of expanding wood or contracting steel frame is startling. You are tuned into the world, but it is not enlightening, it is only infuriating. This is no Aldous Huxley becoming one with the table, this is everything in the atmosphere rejecting you. This is the body of your room attempting to expel you as it deems you to be an unsightly, diseased growth ruining it.
Well, that is how it feels at 4am. By dawn, it is done. The cracks and ticks and hums all immerse themselves back into the general structure of the day, hidden until it is dark and 3am again.
I am still on tour – Exeter, Barton. Banbury etc – also, doing two Christmas benefit shows with Brian Cox at Hammersmith, and new Christmas shows at The Bloomsbury with the likes of Mary Beard and Stewart Lee http://www.robinince.com for all details of all such things
and now, part 2 of our Smiths podcast https://soundcloud.com/vitriolamusic/vitriola-8-and-linda-mccartneys-coming-round-as-well