Tuesday, 29 December 2009

I saw a ghost last night.

I don’t watch horror films late at night.  It’s not because I believe that the poltergeists or demons or Gremlins are going to creep into my room at night (was Gremlins a horror film?) but it’s because I don’t trust my mind and what it can do to make things real in my dreams.

I’m a rational person with no belief in the supernatural, but nobody appears to have passed that message to the part of my brain which writes the scripts for my dreams. 

Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night and glanced over at the curtain. The lights of London were coming in through the blinds and making shapes on the light-coloured curtains in front.  I looked at the curtains and said to myself “that shadow looks a bit like a person” and was awake enough to rationalise in my head that if I were a less rational person, I could easily mistake those shadows in the half-light for a ghostly figure standing in the corner of the room.

Can you guess what happened after I fell asleep again?  Yes, my mind took the rational view of a ghostly figure and turned it into a real ghostly figure.  This is why i can’t trust my mind with horror films late at night, you see.

The fact I saw the outline of a ghostly figure on the curtain at all is interesting, though – pareidolia is well worth a google looking up if you have a bit of spare time.  You can try experiencing this yourself, and you don’t even need to set up a complicated curtain arrangement.  Just find yourself a friend with patterned wallpaper in the bathroom – preferably the sort with a small repeating geometric pattern.  Then, next time you’re visiting and need the loo, stare at the wallpaper.  I swear it won’t be long before you start seeing faces and shapes where there are none.  I was staring at our bathroom carpet this morning and could swear that one of the Tweenies was perfectly outlined in the weave of the carpet.  And before you think it; we don’t have a CBBC-themed bathroom carpet.

So, try finding faces and shapes in a piece of patterned wallpaper and then next time you wake in the middle of the night and think you see something in the corner of the room, look twice and you’ll see that it’s just a shadow or flick of the light from a passing car’s headlamps.  And then just hope your mind’s capacity for nightmares isn’t as great as mine…

Monday, 28 December 2009

The mind plays tricks on us, we all know that. For years, I had a song going around in my head – except it was only the line “Falling apart, because I know I’ve lost my guardian angel” going around and around in my head.

A week or two ago, I tracked it down on Amazon and bought it.

This is where my memory had deceived me. In my mind, this was a famous song from the 80s which surely everyone knew. I always found it very strange that I seemed to be the only person who remembered that line, and was sure that everyone else was just pretending to be oblivious to this song. Here is the song, courtesy of YouTube. You even get to look at some cheesy pictures of angels whilst it’s playing…

… isn’t it awful?

A little time spent on Google reveals that this is not the only version of the song. It exists in a couple of cover versions. First up, here’s Nino De Angelo…

… isn’t that worse than the first one?

Finally, in that horrible modern trend of taking songs from the eighties and sticking them to a dance beat, here’s a version by Novaspace…

… told you so!

So why have I blogged about this terrible song? Two reasons. Firstly, I don’t think it’s that terrible and is worthy of the wider audience that I thought it already had. Secondly, if it’s been stuck in my head for years, it’s only fair that it’s now stuck in yours too… altogether now… “I’m falling apart because I know I’ve lost my guardian angel…”

Thursday, 24 December 2009

So this is Christmas….

It’s been far too long since I’ve written in here.  Almost every entry I write begins with those words and so I presume there’s a message in there somewhere; I should write more often.  And I shall. In 2010, I promise I shall.

Christmas is never a time of great joy for me.  It’s not a time of particular sadness, but given that the rest of the world seems determined to be elevated into a happier state of being for the latter half of December, my continued normal state of humdrum feels rather left behind in the rush for tinselly nirvana.

Personally, 2009 has been an exhausting year.  Starting it in a new job, only to be made redundant from said job in the first week back in January.  Then starting work at Symbian (www.symbian.org) in March and working through until now without much of a break.  I need the rest.  I need a week of no work, no stress and no alarm clock.

At least there has been some Christmas cheer this week.  Sunday was a particularly good day, with a trip to Hammersmith to see Robin Ince et. al. celebrate the wonder of the world and the joy of humanity without any supernatural getting in the way – and of course the wonderful news that RATM actually made it to Christmas No.1

But Christmas, for me, is not an “up” time – it’s definitely downtime. Thanks to a trip to Waitrose the other evening, we now have enough supplies in the cupboards that we need not brave a supermarket for a while.  There’s a new episode of Doctor Who to look forward to tomorrow.  And the icy pavements and roads of London are once again safe to use.

It’s Christmas. All is calm. Peace.