Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Dreams to Dream

I am a prolific dreamer. It is, simply, one of my best and one of my worst traits.

It reflects my creativity, both narrative and imagery. It allows me to escape the worst bits of the world when I have to. And when I don't, I can sometimes use my dreamy nature to help lift some of the more boring parts of life and make them enjoyable.

But there's also a down side. It's easy to lose one's train of thought or, even worse, for that train of thought to be derailed without you realising and to spend what should be a time of serious and intense study when you should be applying yourself utterly to analysing the sexual nature of the god Dionysus (really...I was reading about it only the other week), studying with equal fervor the results of Strictly Come Dancing or weather trends. Not helpful to a Classics degree.

But worse still are the nightmares. There's nothing I can really say to make them funny. Well, maybe I can, but the jokes are hollow and cold. The first pain related nightmare I had involved a giant turtle biting off my leg. The image is ridiculous and should be laughed at....but I just can't raise the smile.

Tonight was one of the worst. It was a beautifully developed piece of terror with better narrative construction than most classic horror films. Pacing and build up were perfect. And the overlapping of supernatural and entirely natural psycho killer story arches built into a horrible climax. Although thankfully I didn't reach the end. I woke up, feeling like I'd been dreaming for days...holding my face, half of which had just been burnt off by the previously mentioned psycho killer.

And so I have been awake for well over an hour now. The quiet dark time feeling the flood of adrenalin fade away. My stomach begins to settle. And my pounding hot heart delights at the sinking coldness of the air. I can feel the frost outside and the cold light of dawn is replacing the distant orange light of street lamps.

Dreams to dream...thank you very much Linda Ronstadt.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Essence of Good Design

I have written previously about how comfortable I find sitting outside hospital buildings. The architecture is not the source of nightmares that it can be for some people. This does not extend to all things medical, however. In fact, I have a dislike verging on the phobic when it comes to doctors. Nurses I'm happy with - in general they have a sense of humour and a detached attitude which I find almost relaxing. But doctors...eurgh...they're up there with spiders in my opinion.

So when I decide I need to see a doctor (which, you can imagine, does not happen often) it is with a sense of trepidation tinged with terror. And this happened just the other day. It was my first visit to this particular surgery, having only recently moved to the area (recently! It's nearly been a year...but that's far too early to have to consult a demon of the MD rank) which seemed to make things doubly difficult.

Although not relaxing, the GP waiting room proved a rather wonderful distraction. First there's the people watching. Highlight of this trip was a rather lovely Asian woman and her baby who had just discovered all the sounds he was capable of making. Most of them resembling the gurgles of a human digestive tract in distress. Well, I say this. I was in a GP's waiting room. It could very easily have been a human digestive tract in distress and I just didn't correctly identify the culprit.

Anyway, my main point for writing then grabbed my attention. Although I never would, I'd love to be able to take my camera everywhere I go. And I have never felt that quite so much as now. On the wall, amongst the posters for stroke information (FAST - Face, Arm, Speech, Test) and Flu Jab schedule was a lovingly crafted piece of design.

You know when you see a poster and almost feel like you have a glimpse into the psyche of the graphic designer? Never have I felt this so strongly. The raven-black background. The stark white font. Text perfectly balanced against the brilliant red blood drop taking up two thirds of the space.


Yes, here was a medical information poster created by someone who desperately, in the secret dark places of his soul, wanted to design book covers for Stephanie Meyer. Malaria by Twilight.

Coincidentally, I had blood taken and it was done with a level of skill and care I have never met before. You don't think that my local GP is actually a front for a coven of Vampires, do you...?