About a year and a half ago, I wrote a very long blog post about my holiday plans. Essentially, I wanted to hide away from the world and shut myself in a completely silent, pitch black room for as long as I could take it. I was slightly unhappy when I wrote it and I think that probably shows, but I still think about it sometimes. I still wonder if it would be possible:
A small room with an en-suite bathroom might be OK. An isolated cottage, quiet hotel or even bedsit available on a very short-let basis. If it was a hotel, I’d need to make sure the cleaners wouldn’t come in and disturb me
Sound-proofing would be more difficult. Vernon’s floating room could block out sounds of up to 80dB (a London Underground train is apparently around 85dB), there’s no way I could manage anything like that. Some noises can be easily avoided – nowhere near a busy road, train line or flight path. Nowhere close to bars or clubs, or anything likely to attract noisy drunks. But even if I went to an isolated cottage in the middle of nowhere, there would still be the sound of wind and rain and birds singing outside. I could try earplugs, but I don’t think it’s really safe to wear them for days on end. You can get ones which are suitable for sleeping though. Maybe I could then try to drown out any other sounds with a noise generator
Fresh fruit seems a little too exciting. Bread and rice (even rice pudding) seem suitably nothingy. I suppose a very bland soup, cream of mushroom or something like that, might be OK. Water. Maybe milk. Pre-cooked chicken? I don’t expect to work up much of an appetite, but I don’t want to go hungry either. A mini-fridge (with light bulb removed). This might make a bit of noise – possibly drowned out by the noise generator. In later experiments, Vernon gave subjects little tubs of baby food. I used to work with a girl who said she would sometimes buy jars of baby food to eat on the night bus home if she’d been drinking and wanted something approximating a “proper meal”. My own experiments along these lines proved unsuccessful on the grounds that baby food isn’t very nice (this could also explain why babies cry so much).
That joke about babies at the end is a modified version of a joke by Peter Baynham on Fist Of Fun, or possibly the Lee & Herring Live video, where he talks about eating dog food, but then wonders if perhaps it isn’t very healthy for humans, before adding “Maybe it’s not very good for dogs either, that’s why they only live to about twelve”.
pursue their own research in a unique rural environment – to live and work in the fenland region which borders the Wash on the east coast of England. The central aim of the three week program is to give each resident the space and freedom to think, create, compose and invent in an environment free from normal constraints; to develop their own ideas without interruption during the course of their residency.
The location for the Curious-thinker-in-residence-program is a compact, self contained wooden cabin, with internet access and small library. The property is owned by the Society for Curious Thought and lies just outside the small, quiet village of Whaplode Drove which is situated in the heart of the fens – a wider region of open vistas and waterway, sitting low against high earth banks which separate the land from the sea.
I’m tempted to apply. There’s no way I’d be chosen as I’m not an artist, writer, scientist, musician or theologians, and if I did get chosen, locking myself in an isolated cottage for three weeks might not be as much fun as I imagine it to be, and I might go insane, but I’m tempted to apply.