Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky


Great talk On the Ends of Sleep: Shadows in the Glare of a 24/7 World by Art Historian Jonathan Crary at UBC on Friday about the erosion of sleep, sort of.

What was remarkable about his talk was its solidity and thus when it came to questions he stuck to it and did not waver to pick up and lace it into every ping-ponged idea diverted at him. When you listen to someone who has thought things through, inevitably many in the room become fired up with 5 new or related ideas each and the urge to postulate them up to the fluorescent tubes is hard to resist.

They’re all valid ideas, but they’re not cured so rapidly and given time they may be interesting in their own right, rather than ping ponged back at what emerged. A less solid thinker would extend and try to pick up every dropped thread and bring them onto his needle.

Not Monsieur Crary. I liked that, or maybe I liked that he made a great deal of sense and he didn’t decorate up his language in academic terms to prove he knows things. Intelligent, articulate folk don’t need to constantly prove they know things because they have a relaxed, inclusive confidence. In contrast spouters tend to announce themselves every five words, are tedious on the ears and love giving grandiose titles to the most rudimentary information.

For my biteen of ping-pong. A few things struck me during his talk on sleep (sort of) I say sort of because as he said himself he’s interested in the limits of human nature. (correct me if I am wrong ?)

Crary (who primarily talked about events since 2001) cited the example of sleep deprivation as/and torture in extraordinary rendition.

I was reminded

1. Margaret Thatcher survived on four hours of sleep. Amongst results of her handiwork: the Hungerstrikers in the Maze Prison, internment in the North and the destruction of the mines, the unions, privatisation of the railways etc in England ..the list goes on.

2. The low tech crude nature of available drugs to put people to sleep versus keeping them awake, which are much more effective.

3. Michael Jackson, one of the richest men in the world, died trying to fall asleep. He could have had anything and the thing he needed most was (maybe) sleep.

4. I cannot fall asleep these days unless I have the lights on. Historically I had a strange habit of listening to the radio all night long.

At the end of the talk a man told me a story of a dream he had about flying that potentially had put paid to any further Superman dreams I may have. That night I dreamt about insomnia and experienced it live intermittantly.

One Response to “Natter”

  • Madame Beespeaker says:

    If you cannot sleep without the lights on, maybe you should try one of those Himalayan crystal lights. I stayed at a place this weekend with a big crystal lamp that stayed on all night and it gave off a rosy glow. It was very comforting and I felt like I was falling asleep beside a campfire. Although I worry about what it means to take all the salt crystals out of the Himalayas.

    Biteen–is that an Irish word? I love it. The online dictionary wants it to be bitten or bi teen.

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