One. Two. Three. Tell me more.
“Other people weep, but I just need a little something to make me sleep” is what the weariest of voices murmurs from inside a cacophony of noiseless sounds. I play his words again and again, in the desperate hope that they will destroy the footsteps dancing their endless oblivion sequence inside my skull. Christ, i’m cold.
It’s always four o’clock in the morning somewhere, I tell myself, as the spool that isn’t a spool flutters back to the start with a reassuring mechanical action and begins unwinding once again. It takes me with it as it does. Unwinding, lulling me deeper into comforting repetition. I need repetition, a hundred times over and more. Repeat. Sing my melody, my mantra. God, I’m cold.
“When I was young
I was taught a little song.
I only ever sing it
When things are going horribly wrong.”
In the nightmare(s), that is. A song. I can’t tell you what it is, because it’s in a foreign tongue. I learned it by heart from a muffled cassette recorder, hidden under the warm woollen bedclothes of my childhood, such as it was, whilst listening to the world collapsing outside. I was safe there, because I had my song. My song and no one else’s. And no one else. I didn’t understand a word of it. All I had was the shape of it on my lips. The phonetics are still comforting, all these years later.
When I first heard this new music sometime in the autumn (it had to be the autumn, of course) of 1994, it clicked. Instantly. Though it was strange and alien, and though it appeared with a knowing stare and a world weary sigh, brought to life under the wilfully obtuse and inappropriate moniker of Disco Inferno, I got it. I understood. Fireworks exploded. It set alarm bells ringing, which i then realised were just the alarm bells from the buildings in this teeming metropolis. That was apt, somehow. Somebody had taken the sounds I heard in my head, had heard in my head for years — melody and dissonance, sweetness and confusion, crashing and burning in equal soaring measure — and thrown them together in a glorious technicolour junkshop. The world was collapsing again, inside and out, but this time it was a noise I wanted to hear. This was a form of destruction that made perfect, poetic sense. Falling apart made sense, especially if it put me back together again afterwards. New. Almost. Almost new.
“I need two soft arms to hold me tight
From the demons that haunt me in the middle of the night.
Beautiful grass and a bottle of light,
i can’t get to sleep in the dark.”
Demons. Dance with them in the pale moonlight, but not willingly. Never willingly. Forced steps and forced movements. I drown out their cacophony with this cacophony of my own choosing. I am offered a ray of hope as i shiver my way to the cold hard morning of reality. Play, play, play again. i wish there wasn’t this faint stickiness of sweat on my brow, the odour of fear stifling my pores. I want every last telltale sign gone. Please. I just need a little something to make me sleep. If I get a little something, i can sleep.
Three minutes dead. But not dead. Bleary, shivering, but still alive. Waking up, though I didn’t sleep even a wink.