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synthetic sun

My ex-flatmate and I once bought ourselves a synthetic sun. It was supposed to bring joy into the winter months. Unlike the actual sun, we were advised to stare directly into it every so often. They say it has something to do with stimulating the retina, tricking the brain into thinking you're outdoors, or unburied.

Occasionally, I thought I saw dark shapes moving across the surface of this new mechanical light - dark, scatty, impossibly fast spiders jiving in the corners of my vision. Of course, I could never catch them.

I was sitting on the toilet and had my phone on the bathroom floor in front of me, screen off. I enjoyed the way it caught the ceiling light and gave it rainbow fractals. It was like peering into a tiny psychedelic vision just a few inches wide. An old friend once told me he finds the touch screen on his phone fascinating when on LSD; the small,fleshy icons for applications shimmering like soap bubbles.

I find my phone distinctly uninteresting, but struggle to work out whether it's raining properly or not, or whether my clothes are soaked. I'm extremely sensitive to the wind moving through the trees, the way it governs the behaviour of plants in the moment. Another friend once told me of a child he'd taught, very young, who commented on the strangeness of the wind, how you only know it's there by the objects it influences, by what it does to the world. I'm not sure the child would have used those exact words.

Our mechanical sun was not quite so mysterious, it was just very bright. I was always surprised by the lack of heat it gave off, always expected to be able to lay my hands on it for warmth. I'm yet to be fooled into moving through winter without crying.

Essex, remembering the flat at Swiss Cottage 061123