Lucid Nightmares.

I’m sure pretty much everyone sometimes has thoughts that stop them sleeping. For me, sometimes it’s as if it’s deliberately on those nights where I’ve not got a lot of time in bed so I need to make every second count; I concentrate too hard on trying to sleep, and conversely end up even more awake by focusing on things. But sometimes it occurs randomly. We can’t anticipate it, and it’s one of the most frustrating things, especially when you’re actually so exhausted but your brain refuses to switch off.

Sometimes it’s merely random thoughts that keep me up, but often they are sad and sinister thoughts. I gravitate towards thinking of death a lot in these situations; I remember in my childhood I’d always end up thinking about the film Braveheart for some reason, when I wasn’t irrationally and very weirdly scaring the crap out of myself by simply ‘seeing’ in my head the end credits of The Simpsons – there was always something awful and evil about that yellow on black, though I don’t know what I was about, really! – and it would invariably lead to me thinking about losing family members, even those more distant ones, and I’d become very distressed, and sometimes cry about it.

Nowadays all my death-like thoughts tend to focus on my brother. Since he was diagnosed with SLE, or lupus, I’ve been on my guard a bit more. Lupus can be fatal, but it’s not as common nowadays. I still can’t help worrying incessantly about it. I think it’s more stark for me because we’re twins, and we’ve not yet spent a whole day apart. Neither of us feels complete about something until we’ve told the other person. And although his disease isn’t exactly a definite killer, the thought’s always lingering somewhere in the background.

All this has been even stronger by his upcoming surgery, in only two weeks’ time. I am nervous about it, and I find myself at night going over all the possibilities of him not surviving. I don’t know how elaborate other people tend to make their night-time terror thoughts, but my mind goes into overdrive. I imagine, down to a weird level of detail, life without my brother. I imagine hearing the news, having to tell friends, announcing it on all his websites. I imagine the rest of the family wondering how to get me out of the stupor that causes me to lie in bed all day. I imagine family disagreements about the funeral arrangements. I imagine being at the supermarket and not being able to place bottles up and down instead of across the conveyer to stop them rolling about without breaking down at the fact that he’s not there to insist that I do it. I imagine having to eventually look at the plans for the rest of the novel he would leave unfinished and not be able to finish it for him, even though I’d love to. I imagine how bittersweet it would be to finally have enough space in our room for all my stuff! As I said, I don’t actually know if others go into this level of detail or not or simply feel all the emotions of their loved one not being there, but I definitely do.

He thinks I’m silly when I suddenly leap over for a hug in the middle of the night. So do I, really. But I guess it’s a good thing that I’m trying to visualize a future without him, which would well happen with or without the lupus hanging over our heads, but it’s so unbearable to think about and renders me unable to get to sleep. It seems to be my worst nightmare, because it’s the most frequent thing that plagues me when I’m trying to sleep. And yet there’s a very real chance it will come true.

I’m not sure the point I’m making about all this – I just thought I would ramble, since last night I had less than five hours to get a good sleep and, lo and behold, horrible, intrusive thoughts about that stopped me! I think of a friend of mine who lost her twin, and I know that if she can get through, so can I, if, or perhaps, when it happens. Lupus is a degenerative disease – it gets worse and worse as time goes on. His history of self-harm and suicide attempts add another sense of foreboding. But, I don’t know – I could get hit by a bus tomorrow, I suppose, and the burden of trying to survive the grief would be gone!

What can I do to stop myself thinking these awful thoughts? It’s not fun to suddenly have a freakout and a long hard cry at the thought of your brother dying when five minutes beforehand you were simply trying to sleep before a busy day tomorrow. It doesn’t happen ridiculously often, but I hate it! The thought that one day he might not be there for even a hug is simply too unbearable to think about.


Cover Version Tuesday #6

This week’s song is Can’t Help Falling In Love. The original is by Elvis Presley; released in 1961, it appears on the album Blue Hawaii, which is the soundtrack to the film of the same name which also stars Elvis. The song’s also featured in the Disney film Lilo and Stitch. Here’s the song:

The cover I own is the famous UB40 version. UB40 is a British reggae/pop band. The song was released in 1993 on their tenth album Promises and Lies under a slightly different name to the Elvis Presley version – (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You.

That was actually my first time hearing the Elvis version! I’m not a big fan of the Hawaii blues sound, so the original was a bit more monotonous to me – it was too laid-back in comparison to the UB40 cover. As always, bias can get in the way, and I think having been a fan of the UB40 version for years probably skews my judgment somewhat. But my opinion is incidental; I’d love to hear what you guys think!

Do you find it unforgivable that I’m so ambivalent about Elvis Presley? Did UB40 revamp a good song? What version do you prefer?

Until next time,
Sascha x

Cover Version Tuesday #5

There was no CVC post last week; I somehow simply forgot! I’m not the most reliable blogger, judging by the several faux pas I’ve made already! But I’m not overrun with followers and people desperate to see the next installment, so I only really disappoint my own schedule by forgetting.

This week deals with the song Burning Inside by Ministry, an American industrial metal band. The song was released in 1989 on the album The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste, and is featured on the video game Scarface: The World Is Yours.

The cover in question is that by the heavy metal band Static-X, also from the US, featuring the vocals of Fear Factory’s Burton C. Bell. This version was included on the soundtrack of The Crow: Salvation, the third movie in the Crow franchise, and later on the album Beneath… Between… Beyond…, which is essentially a compilation album full of remixes, B-sides, and covers and demos; this album was released in 2004.

Now for my judgment! I have the cover, but not the original: I’ve never been a huge Ministry fan explicitly, but I do have a few Static-X and Fear Factory songs. I love the cover, of course, but how does it compare to the original? We’re all sometimes naturally biased toward either the band we already know and love, or often toward the version of the song we heard first; that’s the one we’re so accustomed to that any other ‘new’ version, even the original, can sound weird and unusual and ‘fake’, in a way. I wouldn’t say Ministry’s song sounds ‘fake’, but it is weird to me to listen to because I heard the other version first. All that regardless, I have to say that I’m not the biggest fan of the vocals on the Ministry song; the distortion and monotony kind of ruin it for me in comparison to the, well, less monotonous vocals of the cover. The instrumentation too is a lot more exciting on the Static-X record. So I’ll have to give this one to the cover!

What do you guys think? Is Ministry a band whose songs can never be topped? Do Static-X and Bell bring a whole new sound to a ‘boring’ song? Which version do you prefer?

Until next Tuesday,
Sascha x