Thursday 8 October 2020

Night watchman

Here's a curious thing.

I have quite a lot of watches. None of them are particularly rare or collectable or even expensive (I think the dearest was £108 new, twenty years ago). But I like watches, and can't bear to part with them. I wear a watch every single day, and feel naked without one. Example: aged 16, starting my first Saturday job at a now-defunct department store, through nerves I forgot to put my watch on, and only realising half way there. In a panic, I borrowed Mum's slightly feminine (though all black, at least) Casio digital and wore it for the rest of the day, rather than be watchless. Similarly, a few years later on a lads' holiday to Spain, quite early in the week the waterproof seal on my watch failed, and so did the watch after a dip in the pool; I then wore a non-functioning watch for the rest of the holiday week, rather than have a bare wrist.

So I am tied to wristwatches, in a way that the youth of today are not. Why wear an anachronism when you can just look at your phone screen to tell the time, right?

Anyway, one of my watches is a metal analogue, powered by a kinetic mechanism. I used to wear it to work, back in the dim and distant past of actually going into the office rather than working from home. It was my work/formal watch, because it is quite smart (or was - the tale of how I scraped the edge off one corner of the crystal face is a little too, erm, racy for this blog post). However, it has been lying, unworn, by my bedside since mid-March. The kinetic mechanism, by which the wearer's movement charges the battery, ran down in May, so it isn't even telling the time at the moment (other than twice a day, ha ha). But I digress; last night, I went to bed and, as ever, the last thing I did before getting under the covers was take off the watch I had been wearing all day, a solar-powered digital confection that is my casual/active/knockabout watch. And when I woke up this morning, six hours later... I was wearing my work watch. Some how, at some point in the night, I had reached out in the dark, found the watch and strapped it on, no mean feat in itself given that I was asleep and the watch has a locking fold-over clasp. Weird, eh? I've never sleepwalked or anything like that before... but I quite like the idea of putting a watch on in my sleep. And all without moving enough to restart the kinetic battery mechanism...

This watch-based nonsense is all the excuse I need to post a live performance of Watcher of the Skies by Gabriel-era Genesis. Always good to remind ourselves just how "out there" they, and particularly Gabriel, were back then. Multi-coloured, sequinned cape? Check. White gloves? Check. Bald stripe shaved down the middle of the head? Check. Giant, er, bat wings sprouting from behind the ears? Ch... jesus, Peter! Anyway, here it is. I love early Genesis like this. You might not (probably won't) though, so... sorry... Regardless, what's the weirdest thing you've done in your sleep?


  1. Gosh, that's not a Genesis I recognise at all. Very surreal.

    As for the watches, I too have quite a collection, but have barely worn a watch since I gave up my office job three years ago. There used to be a band with no tan on my wrist if I didn't wear a watch, but long gone now.

    As for changing watches during the night, that's weird. I once woke my parents up as a child as I'd been trying to memorise the authors of all the books listed on the back of my Children's Classic before going to sleep. I kept reciting the list until I got stuck, then got very frustrated, but knew nothing of it in the morning. As an adult, less said the better, but I did once pin my husband up against the wall in the middle of the night, thinking he was an intruder (he'd gone to the loo). Knew nothing of it in the morning but doubt I would have been as brave it had been a real intruder.

    1. Sleep-policing - excellent! Though I doubt your fella saw it that way... :)

  2. Your strange night-time experience is fascinating! It would have been quite something to see - I wonder if you had your eyes open - I'm always intrigued by footage of people sleepwalking and how awake they actually look, what a weird phenomenon it is.
    As for Genesis - well this is Mr SDS' field of knowledge; he was like many of his age, a big fan of the band during this era, saw them many times and was mesmerised by the stage shows, and I think I mentioned once before he desperately wanted to have his long dark hair shaved down the middle like Gabriel at the time (even though I didn't know him then, I'm rather glad he didn't.)

    1. I hadn't thought about my eyes, whether they were open or not.

    2. I suspect they probably were! Going back to your question at the end of the post, I don't think I've ever done anything weird in my sleep but in Winter (not even just Winter sometimes...) I do go to bed in thermal socks (oh I know, so sexy), and I'm never wearing them when I wake up, they're always on the floor at the side of the bed.

      Great title for this post by the way!

    3. Ah, who doesn't like a cheeky thermal sock ;)

      And thanks re the title - this post was originally called "Sleepwatching" but then inspiration struck...