After that I noticed lots of tiny little holes in my ceiling. Whoever or whatever was up there was obviously spying on me. Watching me eat, watching me sleep , watching me get dressed, watching me…
One evening I was lying in the bath and noticed a hole in the ceiling directly above me. I was sure I could see an eye staring down. I tried to get out of the bath but couldn’t move. I was paralyzed, naked, lying there in the bath.
For just a moment it was fascinating, everything suddenly made sense. The bath water and I had a deep, intense love for each other as we swapped atoms, and everything was going to be wonderful.
Then snap – the sound of the radio playing in the next room. I didn’t have the radio on. No it wasn’t the radio, it was people in my flat talking about me, I couldn’t quite make out what they were saying. Suddenly the walls came alive and were walking towards me. The ceiling started collapsing, crumbling into the bath. Then the part with the eye came to float just above my head. I was staring directly into the eye. It was reading my mind. It knew my guilt.
The walls were laughing at me now, almost deafening laughs, the people’s voices had turned into a huge black raven, swirling around in the sky above.
“Remember me remember me remember me” came the voices
White white white bathroom walls, holes and cracks and yellow stains, breathing, everything breathing, all seeing, all knowing, remembering everything ever.
My flat was on the top floor so above it there was a loft. Strictly speaking I wasn’t supposed to enter the loft, but I had a lot of junk and nowhere for it to go. It wasn’t as if I had to break in, the loft entrance was in my hallway, all I had to do was get a stepladder climb up and open the loft hatch. It wasn’t locked. I felt I’d be a fool not to use all that empty space, criminal almost given the shortage of space in London. So I started putting boxes up there, I had to be careful because not all the loft floor was boarded. Going through the middle was a rather odd brick wall, it only went halfway to the roof and didn’t meet the walls on either side, but it was very neatly built and kept half of the loft hidden from me, I dared not look behind it.
I must admit the whole loft made me feel uncomfortable, like an uninvited guest, a trespasser. It was very warm up there, the air was close and had a sickly sweet smell like the smell of sweat on someone who is standing far too close. Though in this case it definitly felt like I was the intruder on personal space.
After my initial desire to unpack and put things away I forgot about the things in the loft. It became a bit of a black spot, I would rather buy a new item than venture back up there. The banging began about a month or so after I’d moved into the flat. It came from the loft and it wasn’t just banging, there was scratching, whining, mumbling, squealling, and talking. It would happen a lot at night. I lay in my bed looking up at the ceiling, considering the situation of my soul, and I noticed there was a tiny hole just above my bed, big enough for someone to put an eye up close against it and look down.
The heroin addict smashed the rooms up in a rage and disappeared. Police men came. Impressive karate kicks were flung at the doors, just in case, then they had a cup of tea. The one with the gentle face told me “get out of here love, get yerself down to the town hall and tell ’em they’re to give you a place to live”. I did. And after the necessary form filling I was allocated a top floor one bedroom flat on a small council estate. To me it was a luxury apartment! So much so that I felt guilty and worried endlessly about what I’d done to deserve it. How had I gone from a squat in White City with the bath under the kitchen table and the toilet outside, to this nice clean warm flat all to myself? At night I lay in bed worrying, had I without realizing made a deal with the devil? Then the banging started.
(I wrote this essay last week when I was really very drunk. I’d just got back from seeing a friend I hadn’t seen in 10 years, I checked facebook quickly and found there a video on Slime Molds. Well I just had to write down my grand theory of everything then! It is surprisingly boring. Starts off going on about slime molds and bacteria, lots of random quotes from scientists, then drifts off and somehow ends up mumbling about Rude Mechanicals and hallucinations – anyone curious to know what that’s all about its all in the past blogs, deary me, what a palava!)
Slime molds are fantastic and are our future!
And yes I’m a geek who reads the new scientist and doesn’t fully understand it, but we’ll pass over that.
Slime molds are single cellular organisms that, when they need to, come together to form “slugs”, with head part, body and tale, that go wondering off to find somewhere better. Then they turn into fruiting bodies, with some of them being sacrificed in order to do this.
“Their life cycle intrigues researchers for the questions it raises about altruism. As the individual cells of Dictyostelium divide in two, their population doubles in a few hours. Once they have consumed all of their favorite food — all the bacteria in the vicinity — they will begin to gather at a central collection point. So many come together that the clumped cells become visible to the naked eye.” http://www.princeton.edu
Writing in a paper to appear in the May 21 issue of Science, the researchers were able to measure concentrations of a chemical and mark its effects for the first time as it arose in single living cells and clusters of cells in Dictyostelium, a slime mold. When the amount of the chemical surrounding an individual cell reaches a certain critical level, the scientists found, the cell starts to pulse rhythmically, firing off more chemicals into the surrounding area that prompt other cells to pulse, an effect that cascades through the population. Ultimately, the cells grow in sync with each other and eventually move together as a massive group.
Recently scientists have found that bacteria when in oxygen starved conditions can grow electricity conducting hairs to join with other bacteria and pass oxygen between them. “When the bacteria were deprived of oxygen and iron they should have died. Instead they grew hairs…a communal lung”.
Yes I’m sitting here drunk with my December copy of the new scientist and that’s incredibly sad but…
” I believe that there are electrically coupled processes going on in these microbial communities that are completely analogous to any brain chemistry that we know. That does not mean that an individual bacterium can think, any more than a single neuron can think. But add a few hundred trillion of them in an electrically integrated circuit, and the limits are those of our imagination” Scientist Yuri Gorby.
The scientist I collaborated with at Cancer Research talked about cell memory in blood cells. It wasn’t memory as we know it but it was the ability to store information about what the body had and hadn’t come across before.Many scientists have suggested that it is this type of collective behavior in single cellss that was the starting point for multi-cellular organisms. For humans.
Perhaps in our enthusiasm for a singular worded conciousness and development of the frontal lobes we lost a collective consciousness, the type of “group intelligence” . Ever been in a group clapping to a rhythm and thought “am I in time?” and then become completely incapable of keeping time at that very moment? Ever stopped to think “how should I throw this ball/ draw this picture/ move in this dance” to find that that very thought seems to have hindered your ability to do it? I once did a horrific clowning course which involved complete humiliation in front of all the other students, people constantly running out of the room in tears. But by the end we didn’t care anymore, didn’t think any more, and our timing was perfect, could move in sync without looking at each other, knew when to create chaos and knew when to do nothing.
And thats what I was after with the Rude Mechanicals, but I muck it up with my own need to control things. Its me that needs to change, relax and stop thinking about how to make music, but that is almost impossible now.
Relinquish the self! But thats the thing with the seizures, in them I don’t exsist, there just the Big Thing, but it is horrific and I always scramble back again. Can’t do it you see. Been hallucinating people and animals this week, and bits of people, limbs growing out of funny places.
The idea of the individual was a useful survival tool but now its sawing up most of the workshop perhaps we should stop and think about some glue? Though all this talk about the collective, I can’t bear crowds unless I’m on stage and theyre there to see me.