2 Apr, 2017 @ 14:00
2 mins read

I can’t get no sleep


siestaMAYBE it’s an age thing. It’s not that I’m having trouble sleeping.

It’s the hours that I go to sleep and wake up that are bothering me.

In my teenage years and early 20s I was renowned for being damn good in bed.

I could stay under the duvet fast asleep for days at a time, only rising to make a dash to the fridge for food (I used to ransack the smoked salmon until one day I found a note on it that read ‘Leave the salmon alone.

The ambassador is coming round for sandwiches later’) or grab videos – ‘Breakfast Club’, ‘Blade Runner’ and ‘Animal House’ were favourites.

Living in London in the late 90s the quality of my sleep depended on what day of the week it was.

Monday through to Wednesday meant that I would usually get my recommended eight hours, but working in the capital, with a wallet full of cash and all the distractions that a young lounge lizard like myself could possibly desire, meant that the weekend started on Thursday evening.

I’d sleep on the Northern line heading to my publishers on a Friday morning, safe in the knowledge that everyone else on the magazine staff was in the same condition and would be slipping away by lunchtime.

My best friends were money brokers and so Friday afternoon usually became a rather hazy time of wine bars and City pubs, plus a Kings Road club or three on the way home.

Saturdays meant rugby, so I’d grab my kit and head over to our club house near Richmond, play badly, drink heroically and then grab a train back.

The only problem with that was that I’d fall asleep on the train, miss my stop, and wake up in Waterloo, where I would then grab a District Line train, fall asleep again, and wake up in Ealing, about 2 miles from where I started.

Spain, and especially Andalucia is the land of the siesta, and when I arrived back at the end of the 90s, I knew several die hards who were able to perfectly combine a life of hectic clubbing with holding down jobs.

They’d go out until the early hours, grab an hour’s catnap, shower and go to work (mainly retail, so they could snooze in the stockroom as well) then head back for a siesta, back to work at 5pm and then out again for a night’s hedonism.

It was a punishing party schedule that normally had them burnt out by the end of the summer and that I suspect might have involved something stronger than café solo, plus it founded a look that I’ll call ‘Zombie Chic.’

Living up in the campo as I now do, with my electricity coming from a sometimes temperamental generator, I tend use a lot of candles and go to bed early.

One (rather gorgeous) female friend famously brought me a head torch as a present, and that was before she’d even met me, having read the social media posts about me stumbling around the casita in the half light like a large, bearded and incredibly cranky mole.

In addition to this, I also present a Saturday morning breakfast show on radio, which entails me arising at crack of sparrow fart to be in the studio by 7am.

This also tends to set the pattern for early rising through the week, so when I find myself awake at 6am on a weekday morning, with even the cat looking at me bleary eyed, I’m struck with the sage observation that…I’m now getting up when I used to get in.

Giles Brown

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