I’m distracted.

Listening to the Talking Heads, This Must be the Place, intermittently trying on a
different place I’d rather be for size.

“I can't tell one from the other
I find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this is where I'll be, where I'll be”

I’m in Netheredge. This is the place, the place I was born, in the hospital at the brow
of the hill. That’s now been pulled down and replaced with those ugly orange brick,
cream detailed, “new builds” that seem to have been the fashion around here since
the mid 90’s.

I’m thinking of this as I draw closer to the cafe where I will meet you in 3, 2, 1... there
you are. A familiar stranger, that multi-coloured hoodie I’ve seen you in online is
squished against the steamed up glass of Cafe Number 9. The door swings open
letting out a low rumble of late Sunday chatter that alarms me slightly as I think about
the logistics of recording your unknown voice.

We meet. You awkwardly remove the hoodie whilst I comment on its familiarity,
remembering as you greet me that I do know your voice. Of course. I’ve heard it in
the videos I watched of you traipsing through the woods talking of insomnia and

“Ok” you begin… “ so when I was 14 or 15 I ended up having a lot of health
problems. And I was quite foggy, quite detached from reality… erm. Quite
depressed, quite anxious.”

You’re straight in there as I awkwardly fumble and wonder if you’re judging me on
my choice of drink. I’ve chosen orange juice. I think it might be concentrate.

“fruit is actually quite yin, and the opposite to that is yang, which is like root
vegetables, which is yang.. And fruit is very yin. Meat is also grounding, meat, good
quality meat is able to bring a person downwards and eggs..”

You are telling me about your dietary experimentations. Ten years of restricting and
recording, shunning pills for talking cures and still left wanting. Once again I feel a
sensation of familiarity. Your memories of adolescent desperation rub against my
own. But slowly I am struck by the mechanical way in which you expertly detail the
tedium of your youth lived in a bubble. I guess you are- an expert that is. There is
something rehearsed in your delivery, perhaps not polished but well trodden.
“And turns out that I was far much more sick than I possibly imagined.”

You’re cold and I am not sure how to read this. Is it nerves? .. a sales pitch? Or have
the years of solitude and self improvement solidified something behind your eyes. I
stare at them, grey to grey, wide and unblinking. You don’t flinch. You keep staring
and talking. I try to abscond into your words as they rise and fall in blunted northern
undulations appearing round voweled and familiar. But as I speak, your response
hardens and my questioning dances on cynicism. We are both lying together.

“the interface which is my body, could not get out what I was thinking.“

You rise from my inexpert probing stronger, with the resolve of a self made man. In
this moment I am sucked in by your sadness, only to be squandered in a second
breath. A group of sinewy men enter to the left, their voices are deep and I’ll notice
how they mingle with your own, cancelling it out when I listen back to the recording.
Your face cracks into a smile, emerging from the uneven terrain of our conversation.
I watch as you rearrange the hoodie next to you, making room for the men beside

Will you be self conscious now? You don’t seem so. You flick back with the same
intensity. I ask another question but this time look away. I can no longer keep up this
staring match. I search for another shade of grey to fixate on. I’ve found a square of
sky further up the window where the steam has yet to reach. A seagull, circling has
my attention now..

“ And Dr Wilson always said to me, you know copper is one of your biggest issues.”

I’m watching the seagull travel smoothly in short elliptical movements. But something
is off. With every completed circuit there is a slight glitch, the herring gull’s white and
grey form vanishes into the city sky only to reappear seconds later. I am transfixed. I
see myself through your stare now, and everything else is falling away, all that is left
is me and the seagull and a strange grey void sucking at my sight.

“ it is very important to infiltrate yourself back into reality.”

I hear myself saying from your lips.

 (Sound Piece Transcript  - for further text see button below) 
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