Terrible dreams last night. I was awake at four with a bit of a fever, knew I wasn’t getting back to sleep. Came downstairs to the couch so I wouldn’t wake anyone. Then proceeded to have lots of unpleasant thoughts about one’s world crumbling away in every direction. Tried lots of Buddhist breathing, but it just wasn’t happening for me.

I must have got back to sleep at some point, but I dreamt about a gig. It was a solo show I was to play. How someone managed to convince me to play a solo show, I don’t know, but that’s dreams for you.

It was in a large outdoor auditorium. In the build up to it, there was hardly anyone there. Even the missus, usually a blind optimist, was asking
“Where IS everyone?”

I had a set list written down. It wasn’t the usual case in dreams where you can’t remember how to play any songs: I didn’t even recognise any of the titles on the list! Maybe they were future songs, but I still couldn’t play them.

I spent a long, long time trying to get my underpants on. Or was I trying to get them off? Either way, by the time I came out to reluctantly begin the performance, there were only 4 people left! Plus, two bouncers sitting on the stage. I began running out into the street trying to get people back, but they were like disinterested sheep by this time, and wouldn’t be herded.

Finally, Bowie came in and took over. He entered stage left, and began by taking off three goose-filled puffy coats, one after the other. He was all quiff, tan and teeth at this point, grinning like a maniac. He really scared the three kids who sat in the front row.

I know you guys are a bit older now, so I assume that some of you have that experience of feeling that your world is crumbling away. Maybe you have it quite a lot. Maybe you had it when you were younger.

I did in fact go to a Buddhist class last night. The session was called “Winter Outside, Summer Inside.” I thought, that’s for me, and went in.

These classes have, for me, over the last two years, become wonderful pockets of hope. Real and practical rocks, upon which it’s possible to claw yourself up, out of the sea of self-doubt and misguided desire.

It didn’t work last night. With the fever coming on, and other distractions, I just couldn’t stick it, and had to excuse myself and leave.

Before I did though, the teacher acknowledged that there was no avoiding the pain that we find ourselves in, and that we were there partly to take steps to leave that pain behind, so that things were not only better for ourselves, but for the people round about us.

At least I got that bit before I returned to the damp street.

  1. Sara says:

    I felt compelled to comment on account of the fact that I read this immediately after just (jokingly, I may add) telling you that you need to see a doctor on Twitter. As always you’ve managed to articulate a very relatable feeling in a way that is beautiful and atmospheric.

    Right now, my world feels like it’s constantly eroding rather than quickly crumbling away. I am not sure which is worse. My 8 year old daughter cannot sleep some nights because she is petrified of death and that is a feeling I remember from my own childhood and one that I seem to have managed to suppress. If I can’t sleep I tend to try and use the time to lose myself in strange corners of the internet rather than trying to go back to bed. I like the idea of Buddhist classes and you have inspired me to do some research in to this myself, rather than trying to blanket out any overwhelming sense of bleakness or anxiety by watching YouTube for 6 hours and buying expensive pillows online in the middle of the night. You are a wise soul senpai.

    By the way, I have just started a blog again after a long hiatus and last night I picked up my notebook as I had an idea for a post (why you should never study creative writing – which I did at university) and the first little note I wrote down was ‘nothing more boring than someone else’s dreams’ on account of the fact they made us keep dream diaries for months on end. Peculiar synchronicity.

    I hope you sleep well tonight.

    PS – the 8 year old daughter who is suffering from a pre-teen existential crisis is called Poppy and she was in the B&S calendar for Write About Love (May) a few years ago. And she is also featured in your Nobodies Empire video. I will make a Belle and Sebastian fan of her yet, it would help her a lot. Like it has for me and many hundreds of thousands of others.

  2. Ed says:

    Ah man can’t believe I have just discovered this diary having been a BnS fan for so long. Your video on your CFS was brilliant btw. Seeing you and Limmy, two people who who one might imagine have really amazing lives, talking openly about their different struggles has been really refreshing for me, as in a weird way it’s kinda nice to know that people you really look up to go through the same stuff and are not ashamed to talk openly about it. I hope you feel better soon. Also I don’t think a solo show would be such a bad idea as much as I love BnS, or maybe a surprise collaboration album. I would suggest the nerdy guy from Kings of Convenience cos I think you have similar tone for harmonies, or Sufjan Stevens.

  3. Jess says:

    Eloquent post and description of a disarming dream. Yes, I understand that creepy feeling sometimes of life crumbling away. Glad that the Buddhist breathing is helping. I have been trying Tanscendental Meditation and it is a comfort most days.

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