* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

Time for bed

30 September 2002
Jamie can't get no sleep

Just call me Florence fucking Nightingale. Tending to the sick and weak and crippled and leprous, with no reward other than my place at the Lord's right hand or whatever the payback's supposed to be. Even the nurses weren't fit.

I've been awake for two hundred and seventy-three-and-a-half hours now. I'm juggling my job, training my replacement (sorry, my new colleague - slip of the tongue), preparing an installation for the gallery, dealing with my neighbour's love life dilemmas and now playing Good Samaritan for my flatmate. Not that this has made my life any more stressful; I just have to inject myself a little more regularly, and I can cope no problem. The only issue I have is my appearance: I've now got bags developing above my eyes that make me look like a cautionary tale for amateur pugilism, my voice has lost all but one of its pitches, and I drag my feet like a hockey player wherever I walk. That said, with a bit of effort and PMA, I can still act quite respectably. I don't seem to be scaring too many people, anyway. The rest of the time, though, Ed Norton in Fight Club has nothing on me. I hallucinate some serious shit. I don't know how I got to work this morning, or whether the meeting I had yesterday didn't in fact take place two hours ago. More importantly, that guy in the mirror definitely isn't me. Just look at the state of him. I am Jamie's intermittent sleep disorder.

How did things get so fucked up? Why am I still sat here, officially and to the eyes of all my colleagues still at work past 9pm, but doing fuck all but surfing the web? Why, if someone gave me something else for my already overflowing plate, would I snatch it out of their hands and scoop it to the top of the pile? Where does this stupid streak come from?

But if I knew that, things would be too easy. Like if I knew why I never took Charlie up on that kind offer of hers, despite wanting her more than anything in the world. Or why I decided to drink half a bottle of whisky on my own the day before the final interview for my dream job, turning up to the Head Controller of the BBC twenty minutes late with stubble and booze sweating from my palms (I should point out that the stubble was on my face and only the booze was sweating from my palms, but it is rather a nice image as it reads). If I'd played by the rules, I'd be an executive with a beautiful, intelligent wife and probably an adorable kid or two. You might even have seen me on the telly every now and then. Right now, you're most likely to see me staring out of the telly in the window at Dixons, transfixed by my appearance on the camcorders. I'd just keep walking, if I was you.

Back to the point. The one from the beginning. Somehow the hospital seems like it should offer some kind of redemption; I'm doing something selfless like the 'angels' The Sun keeps harking on about (yeah right, like they'd stay NHS nurses if they got offered a job going private, or caring for some perverted ageing millionaire), and the place is so peaceful and so bright and so... clean. I feel like I'm walking down a corridor towards the eternal light, not past wards of wheezing, dying geriatrics. And the gratitude for what's just one hour in twenty-four I've got for myself is almost heartbreaking, this strong character reduced to tears as the morphine wears off and the pain comes flooding back. The knowledge that he hasn't got much longer both helps and doesn't - it'll be better for him when he's gone, but what the fuck am I supposed to do?

Sorry, self-pity's not my thing, but like I said, I'm not 100% in control right now. Maybe I could just get my head down for a few minutes at lunchtime - I'll tell someone to cover for me, I've done it enough times to justify this demand. Things just don't seem to be making sense, or following the pattern: I've got a tune running through my head I don't recognise and the words aren't really making much sense, or did I say that already? I keep catching myself as I fall, but I've got to focus on it now. Recitals: Hamlet. To sleep, perchance to dream - aye, there's the rub, for in that sleep of death what dreams may come must give us pause. Pro-plus or no pro-plus, I couldn't make it through four hours of that now. I'll go to sleep now. Just for a few minutes, so I wake up refreshed. Powernaps are nothing without control. Especially on the motorway.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
13 October 2003. Jamie writes: The Persistence of Memory
22 September 2003. Jamie writes: The Email Eunuch
1 September 2003. Jamie writes: Credo
11 August 2003. Jamie writes: Brad and Jennifer and Me
21 July 2003. Jamie writes: Interruption
30 June 2003. Jamie writes: Do you remember the first time?
12 June 2003. Jamie writes: Forthcoming Attractions
19 May 2003. Jamie writes: Stupid Mistake
28 April 2003. Jamie writes: Hoping and Praying
7 April 2003. Jamie writes: Strangers on a Plane
17 March 2003. Jamie writes: Q&A
24 February 2003. Jamie writes: Altered States
3 February 2003. Jamie writes: How to say goodbye
13 January 2003. Jamie writes: In A League Of Their Own
23 December 2002. Jamie writes: What's in a name?
2 December 2002. Jamie writes: Lies, Damned Lies and Spastics
11 November 2002. Jamie writes: Memoirs of a Gaysian: A Preface
21 October 2002. Jamie writes: Love is blindness
30 September 2002. Jamie writes: Time for bed
9 September 2002. Jamie writes: Angry Exchanges Can Be Puzzling [10]
19 August 2002. Jamie writes: High Speed
29 July 2002. Jamie writes: Firkin Hell
8 July 2002. Jamie writes: Do you, er... haiku?
13 June 2002. Jamie writes: Unnatural Porn Thrillers
20 May 2002. Jamie writes: The Triumphant Return of the Septic Fiveskins
25 April 2002. Jamie writes: Meeting People is Easy
4 April 2002. Jamie writes: I Want I Want I Want
7 March 2002. Jamie writes: The Player of Games
11 February 2002. Jamie writes: Fat Man Walking
17 January 2002. Jamie writes: Passive/Aggressive
3 January 2002. Jamie writes: Love (classified)
29 November 2001. Jamie writes: A Lil' Nite Muzak
5 November 2001. Jamie writes: Natural born liar
11 October 2001. Jamie writes: All I need
17 September 2001. Jamie writes: Postcards From The Edge (of the pool)
23 August 2001. Jamie writes: Class act
30 July 2001. Jamie writes: Ritchie Neville is dead
5 July 2001. Jamie writes: A Letter from God
11 June 2001. Jamie writes: "If it's in French, it must be deep"
17 May 2001. Jamie writes: Reportage
23 April 2001. Jamie writes: Show me the Logos
29 March 2001. Jamie writes: Sobering Thoughts
8 March 2001. Jamie writes: Stupid, Stupid, Stupid
8 February 2001. Jamie writes: Spent
15 January 2001. Jamie writes: Full to the brim
21 December 2000. Jamie writes: fuck xmas
27 November 2000. Jamie writes: Eye Candy
2 November 2000. Jamie writes: World-wide-web?
9 October 2000. Jamie writes: Kids' stuff
14 September 2000. Jamie writes: Scatological Warfare
21 August 2000. Jamie writes: I can't stand up (for falling clowns)
10 July 2000. Jamie writes: The Etymology of Greatness

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