Monday, 11 July 2016

Some observations about being an insomniac.

Television in the middle of the night features a frightening amount of adverts for online casinos. I presume they've identified their target market as people watching the Eden channel at 3.30am. Here's how an online casino advert goes... a man (usually a man) alone in a mundane flat opens up his laptop and inexplicably doesn't go to Pornhub. Instead he goes through to Sky Vegas or whatever and suddenly everything is amazing - he's wearing sunglassses, he's dressed like James Bond, he's travelling down the Las Vegas strip in a convertible, he steps into a casino, lights, lights, glamorous flashing lights, an attractive available looking woman in a red low cut dress is standing behind a roulette wheel, a deep voice over says something like 'Do something with your life! Be a man!'. Is there anywhere in advertising in which the lifestyle displayed is so different to the reality? Anyone signing up for a casino website at 3.30am is either pissed or so depressed that their only other option to brighten up their evening is to call into Talksport. How the fuck is this allowed? The only explanation is that those in charge of regulating gambling advertising are all asleep at 3.30am. Sky Vegas have handed the authorities the tape of a responsible commercial but play something monumentally immoral when nobody but the vulnerable is looking.

I know you're not supposed to watch television when you're trying to get to sleep, by the way. The advice seems to be not to do anything that might stimulate you. Well what the tit are you supposed to do then? Stare into the darkness and contemplate your own inadequacies? My entire life is spent avoiding that exact thing. My current method is to watch nature documentaries. I find them relaxing. David Attenborough's voice is the closest I've ever come to finding whatever drug it was that Michael Jackson's doctor was giving him. The problem is it doesn't send me into a deep sleep, just enough that I can't quite keep my eyes open. So I drift in and out of a light slumber and every so often awake to the sound of bison head butting or the sight of an intensely ugly fish.

Here's the main thing about being an insomniac - it's boring. Every week or so I'll go through a night in which I don't even achieve an Attenborough induced flitting in and out of consciousness. Just hours and hours of nothing, of analysing the morality of casino adverts, of returning to and from the bathroom just for something to do. On these nights there's always the belief that sleep may just be round the corner, so best not to ward it off by doing anything interesting. And so you bury yourself alive in tedium, trying not to rerun arguments you had in 2002.

Then you do the following day on no sleep whatsoever. People ask how you are and you reply 'tired'. But it doesn't feel like an earnest kind of tired. You're not tired because you've been taking care of a new born baby or up late working on a vaccine or recently back from LA after some interesting meetings with NBC. You're tired because just before bed it occurred to you that you're not sure if you ever went to a Shed Seven gig or not and now you can't stop thinking about it.

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