[I feel biq sphinx of quartz.]
Got home on Friday and turned on all the lights, it was cold and I was tired. I've been doing this thing -- collaging a diary of the year (a hangover from my diary days, obsessive collecting and chronicling, abstract representations of mindstates tangled up with cinema tickets and receipts, important doodles and significant sweetwrappers) and it's been disrupting other work, both physically in that the table is covered with a shifting drift of scraps, sheets and fragments, and psychologically, as it's been eating my time/attention/enthusiasm for doing other stuff (weekly strip, website, calendar, story, action sampler, more). On the bright side, when it's done, I can chuck out loads of stuff, close the book and put it on the shelf: 2001, done now. I can't wait. It's not been a good year. Anyway, I got home, closed the diary, and got out instead my Gorey calendar and filled it up with my to-do list (a picture for every day) after which I felt much more structured, and ready to spend the rest of the night watching Samurai Jack with Alx who was drunk from his afternoon at work, but he's a nice enough drunk ("this is really, really cool ... Jo would really like this ... the art style is really pretty ... oh wow, a Viking outboard ... when's the soundtrack coming out? ... this is really nicely done ... ah, the sanctity of tea, Jo would really like this ... "). When he was called home, I wanted to spend the rest of the night chilling watching vids but MTV had gone into endless repeats of Jackass (f***ers) and VHI was doing one of its selections from the Power of Evil. End of programme. Bed.
[I need to hard for those words of wisdom.]
Not doing anything Saturday so thought I'd go Pointwards in the evening. Dyed my hair all morning while hobbits frolicked with Cat Deeley on SMTV:live. The hobbits were cute, especially with giant-sized Cat (well, she looked quite giant next to Elijah Wood), but my hair came out a tedious brindled ginger rather than the deep-red mottled look I was after. Grr. By lunch I was getting a bit random, and food tasted really good (I even had a white chocolate Macchiato with marshmallows, unusual for me) and by half-way through the afternoon at the bookshop I was nauseous and everything smelt overpowering and wrong. I had some sugar-water and kept going. There were only three of us in the shop that afternoon, so I wasn't going home. Jason (boss) was pretty sick, too, and we kept having wierd, disjointed conversations, running two or three threads and referenced back to a memory of twenty comments or so which we can manage no problem when we're on the ball, but as far off the ball as we were then go into sliding surrealist dialogues where we lose the other person and eventually fetch up swapping obscure trivia with ourselves. I was getting a migraine, and when I went home, I went shopping and Tesco's pushed prodome into migraine.
Enter the sumatriptan.
Sumatriptan is a specific migraine drug. Taken at the right time, it interrupts the process which creates migraines (a constriction and relaxation of blood flow in the brain) and stops the migraine dead in its tracks. For some people. Some of the time. Mine (Imigran 50) is made by GlaxoWellcome and is an expensive drug. "The rolls royce of migraine tablets", my Doctor called it. I was upright, pain-free, light-tolerant and feebly picking at mushroom ravioli in half an hour.
[My eyes are so much to anticipate the wrong things.]
More than upright enough to go to a gig, tottered the five minutes to the zodiac, longer in the queue than walking to the club (freezing night, just as well) looked like it was only old people tonight from our social group. Magic Cafe were on first, and they were alright, the band was all together (though the guitarist seemed to be in a bit of a snit) and played comfortable mid-indy. Nice voice on the singer. The fish liked them (the Zodiac has a fish tank between the cocktail bar (Green room on band nights) and the dance floor) and so did we. South Sea Company Prospectus were who we'd really come to see, though. Not that I knew anything about them, I just liked the name. Now them, the fish didn't like. Neal claimed they hit the underwater earthquake frequency. Certainly the fish all shot up the other end of the tank, and cowered among the plastic weeds. SSCP are really loud.
[Maybe I'll check out there for about this sucks so much.]
It was at about this point my migraine came back to play. We were stood in the tidal drift of people knocked half-way back across the floor by the wall of sound SSCP were joyously erecting, enjoying the screeching aural violence and depeche mode samples, when I got a short burst of visual noise in my right eye. I blinked a bit and let it roll, residuals from the migraine folding into overflow from the music, I supposed. Wait a minute, roll back. This needs backstory.
[I do more inversions when the wrong things or something.]
Overflow from music. It has to be loud, is has to be live, it has to be the only thing I am doing. It needs to be above a certain level of complexity, and preferably (though not necessarily) instrumental. Classical stuff usually does it. Laurie Andersen and Radiohead do it. Supergrass doesn't. What "it" is is a series of moving, colourful, mainly abstract visions of moving lights, shapes, patterns, landscapes, morphs and distortions. It doesn't overlay my usual vision (much -- a little light bleed-through, especially with bright lights) but exists in slightly different field of vision, upwards and slightly to the right of my regular vision. Rolling up my eyes, or closing my eyes, brings it into clearer focus, but I'm fully aware of it while my eyes are open, just as I am of my regular vision. I didn't always have this, or maybe it's something I always had a bit and it built up because I found it an interesting way to think about music, but anyway this year it's been more striking. So, "overflow from music" = bits of stuff I'm hearing translated into images.
[Meaning is always morning.]
With something as loud and crazy and brain-filling as SSCP, I'd expect some overflow into my vision, but while I was noticing it doing something strange, no images forthcoming at all. Ho-hum, settled back against the wall, maybe not as good as I thought (vibrations shook the fish) and took a sip of beer. It tasted wrong. In fact, my whole mouth was filling up with a weird taste and I looked around for something burning or someone smoking something strange but everyone looked like they were just listening (in a somewhat expressionist fashion) and anyway the chances of anything burning that would taste like sherbet oranges was fairly low. Then I noticed how the taste was plucking at my attention, and how the flavour seemed to be coming from the wrong place, a little high, and slightly to the right ...
[That's a week crazy floor-up commute.]
I'm used to the occasional bit of tactile bleed-through, sounds that leave hot or cold shapes in my chest, or brush my skin with hair or feathers, but tasting sounds was a new one for me. For a bit, more than a little gobsmacked, I tried to wash the tastes from my mouth with sips of beer, but of course it was no use; just like with the vision, I simply tasted aniseed balls and beer, Trebor mints and beer, black food colouring and beer.
[My mouth is not responding as much to get lost in the dark catacombs beneath the flowers.]
In the end I finished my beer and just settled back to enjoy the show. SSCP, it seems, taste like the sweets of my childhood; bright artificial colours, brash synthetic flavourings, sticky stripey lollies and gobstoppers and sherbert fountains. The flavours boomed in my mouth like slowed-down images of underwater explosions: artificial orange and icey white mints, penny chews and black and blue printed rice paper. Faint drifting flavours of liquorice, flying saucers, red aniseed sweets. I kept waiting for toffee pillows (an obscure childhood favourite of mine) but they never came; instead the music got harder, sliding into those jewel-coloured boiled sweets and cola cubes, the sort of sweets that leave your tongue scratched from by sugar crystals and fringed with ulcers. The final track opened cold, a flavour so old, so evocative, it almost had no name; I chased it through twists of memory (guitar mangle over drum-beat-beat, old toyah sample zoning through feedback) to the taste of yesterday's clean snow, frozen by this morning's frost. Awesome.
[The complex stuff rocks.]
I think I made it through about three sentences following the gig before I really had to go home then. Colours were starting to hurt, it was too bright in there, I was getting shifts in noise/colour/sound intensity (standard migraine prodome shit) and I was running the risk of another attack. On the way out a nice lady gave us a red and silver sticker, and the colours were way too bright, and that was the last straw and I just had to cover my eyes up then (Like an idiot, I'd forgotten my goggles which would have helped). Neal patted me on the shoulder. "You've no idea how much I've payed people to achieve the sort of effect you're having now," he said. I managed not to throw up on the pavement.
[I could watch a fluffy head oh help I'm ok.]
He has a point though. I mean, I've never really taken drugs much, and to be honest it probably isn't such a good idea to do so now, not when my regular state of mind seems rather unusual and possibly getting more striking. Sometimes I feel I've missed out, or worry about how it's maybe come on quite suddenly (I only ever had one migraine before this year) but my Doctor says it's not uncommon for women of my age to suddenly manifest migraine, and that (from the sound of it) I'm actually quite lucky to have a-typical migraines which make the most of the sensory wierdness and play down (and occasionally miss altogether) the crushing exhaustion and nausea.
[My shirt is a clip art budget.]
Out of the club and back in the dimness of my room I came down easily enough, though I was exhausted. We watched cartoons and drank tea and laughed at the Sci Fi channel's terrible dub of Akira. Kan-ay-da? What's that about?
[Night is actually too hard then dear.]
Sunday was worse by far, an angled brain half-hangover that wouldn't leave me in peace. We shopped, fitfully (found some Harry Potter lego, even!) attempted to see if we'd bought presents for everyone (Damian has three siblings, I have four, our parents are divorced and remarried, it goes on), failed to make sense of that, sat about and shivered a bit (heating still broken), watched the Antiques Roadshow, and then Damian went back to his broken SVG generating software (he's building a stick-figure quiz) and I put the kettle on and went back to my diary of the year.
About a quarter of an hour later, the smoke alarm went off.
[I could burn to get rid of buried books.]
... but no permenant damage was done (wordsalad courtesy of NIALL).