So far, we Brits have been in lockdown limbo for over two months and it seems like an eternity. But just imagine self-isolating for three years!
It’s a sober thought.
Unless, of course, your brain is permanently addled by cocktails of psychedelic drugs, liquor and overeating. In which case, sobriety is literally the last thing on your mind. Between 1971 and 1974, Brian Wilson – maverick musician and co-founder of The Beach Boys – retreated to his bedroom, rarely appearing in public. Occasionally, he would be spotted at a nightclub in his dressing-gown and slippers.
As the swinging sixties came to an end, Wilson – misdiagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and full of self-doubt – was paralysed by fear. He had spent much of the decade experimenting with copious amounts of pot, heroin, cocaine and other hallucinogens to help deal with his mental illness.
… Read more »
In Robert Harris’s thrilling new mystery The Second Sleep, the author transports us to a time when humans used to sleep in two distinct chunks. A fact that remains a surprise to many of us, in pre-industrial Europe, households retired to bed after dusk for a ‘first’ sleep. A few hours later, they rose for one or two hours’ nocturnal activity, then returned to bed for a ‘second’ sleep until dawn.
What on earth were they doing in that hiatus between the first and second sleep? A whole range of things is the answer. Moonlit pursuits ranged from sewing, smoking, praying, chopping wood, imbibing ‘a hott drinke’, reading, visiting neighbours and, of course, sex: indeed, a doctor’s manual published in sixteenth-century France recommended indulging in a spot of procreation ‘after the first sleep’ for the simple reason that then people derive more ‘enjoyment’ from it and thus ‘do it better.’
According to the world’s expert on this subject,
… Read more »