Displacement Paranoia

Arthur Dent: You know, this explains a lot. Because all my life, I’ve had this unaccountable feeling in my bones that something sinister was happening in the universe and that no one would tell me what it was.
Slartibartfast: Oh, no. That’s just perfectly normal paranoia. Everyone in the universe has that.
There are occasionally times - that I hope everyone has - that you find yourself feeling a little unsettled; not in an ‘oh crikey this is only going to end badly’ scenario - but you just find yourself with a bit of spare thinking time and your brain decides to mess with you. Just a little bit.

One way I find of inducing this is to be driving back from seeing a comedy gig across the Pennines on the M62 [the driving location that is, not the gig], with the Watchmen soundtrack playing at full blast.

I find Pruit Igoe and Prophecies the most effective track for rounding the summit of the highest motorway in England.

And tonight just happened to be that scenario, having being most entertained and thought-provoked by Sara Pascoe - I had already tweeted my pleasure as follows:
Reassuring to know that @sarapascoe exists, has an awesome hat, some brilliant thoughts, and is in fact the pinnacle of human evolution!
Whilst some of that was a reference to her material; it was also a genuine acknowledgement of Sara’s great ideas and her ability to confront some quite precarious areas of society with a deftness and wit. [Four stars; the Scotsman ~Ed.]

I had been reminded that there are people on this planet and not a million miles away from me, that share a sense of humour with me - who identify some of the failings of modern society, and celebrate alternative lifestyles.

And it reminded me of a desire to be more of a part of a community that shared those ideas, sense of humour, and liberal thinking.


Now this is already sounding more hippy than I expected, so please bear with me as that isn’t quite what I’m aiming for.

Last year I went to the Edinburgh Festival (co-incidentally I saw Sara Pascoe versus The Truth there), and indulged in experiencing a wide variety of creative acts; all whilst away from work and 'normal life’.

I got a similar feeling breaking away every Wednesday and Thursday in the past few months to rehearse 'Blackadder’ as part of something.

And I’m not just talking about creative stuff here - I’ve gotten to know a few people in deeper and more meaningful ways; I’m starting to explore things about me that I haven’t really given much attention to in the past.


All of this is away from work; that 9-5 construct that I go to on a weekday basis, do my thing and - happily - get paid a decent enough amount of money for it.

Now don’t get me wrong - I think myself very lucky in having the job that I have; the company is almost the right size for me - not too big that I’m swallowed up into corporate nothingness; but just big enough to mean I have development opportunities.

But onto the paranoia… which I guess people do have from time to time?


Apart from an annual Fantasy F1 simulation I run, and a few of my more exotic spreadsheets; the creativity opportunity is limited. Well, okay, so that working on some of my more complicated commercial deals, I get to work through a few cunning ideas - but, they are all within the limitations of my job description (as you might expect).

So the paranoia is most evident on nights like these - as I look up at the empty blackness over Huddersfield; almost all-to-easily imagining how alone it would feel if all of the lights but my car’s went out at the same time.

As I look up at that sky, I imagine that in some alternative dimension where I have taken a different path; there I am on stage doing a one-man Edinburgh show. Or there I am hiking across Europe with someone I met by actually going out and meeting people. Or I’m finishing my book that I have often mused about on a few occasions, but only committed a few thousand words to Word document page so far.

And there is that small sense of unease that I’m not entirely doing what I want to be doing: Yes, as a day to day and the 'simplest’ option, I have my office job that leads to mortgage payments, that leads to some disposable income to - for example - go and spend an evening at a comedy gig; but shouldn’t I be creating melodrama, as the Damsel in Shining Armour said, at another of the Edinburgh shows I went to?


I have just thought about creating a bucket list of things I really want to do before I die; and I think I’ll come back to that in a future blog. But for now, I will be more than happy to accept meeting someone who shares in my moments of paranoia, and we can go and get displaced somewhere.

Oh to be.


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