Fever Diary – 22nd January 20—
I have stepped off the end of Wigan Pier. The last time I remember the nurse taking my temperature, it was 104 degrees. If this is a fever dream, as I have surmised, then this ethereal journal may not last very long. Every week one reads in the newspapers of such cases. A man disappears from home or work or somewhere in between and isn’t seen for months or years. He comes to a realization, in the street perhaps that he doesn’t know where he has come from or where he is going. Just as one may enter a room and forget entirely why one came. In such cases, the victim gradually comes to understand that he doesn’t know who he is. But although I have no memory of how I got here, I believe I am very aware of who I am. Although, naturally, in a dream one may be convinced of a fact that on waking turns out to have been a complete fiction.
There have been fever dreams before, of course. Some accompanied by vivid hallucinations and an undercurrent of dread or menace. Whilst lying in a Cologne hospital ward, I once dreamt a long and complicated scenario accompanied by the pervading smell of burning onions and a malevolent toad slithering beneath my bed. But this current episode is a curious hybrid of dream logic and sensory overload that I know I have not experienced before, whatever my temperature. In the hallucination that I find myself enjoying (and occasionally suffering) I seem to be able to think and feel as ever I did. Curiously, a kind of detachment that I always strove for in my waking life seems to come very easily now. This may well be the over-heated brain playing philosophical tricks on my perception. But I suspect it is more the collision between the very familiar landscape of the England I know and the profoundly alien intercision of the fever world I now inhabit. I both know and do not know this world.The delusion lays a curious topography over the once familiar contours of a landscape skewed by my affliction. Although, I’m not sure affliction is the right word. I find that although I can touch and feel in this largely benign fugue, I am completely free of disease for the first time in nearly twenty years. I felt that instantly. It’s true, I bleed if I graze my knuckle against a wall, but the previously constant shard of ice beneath my breast is mercifully absent here. Perhaps if it returns, I will know that I am about to wake up or die. Neither option appeals to me at present. I am tired of the tedious routine of the chronic patient. In this respect, the dream is a relief, whatever it signifies about my current state of health.There are still newspapers here, at least. They speak to an extraordinary explosion in telegraphic means which as I always suspected, tend to retard rather than enable international communication. I hope that I can write a little longer for whoever seeks me out in the universe of perpetual dialogue I seem to have projected for my own amusement or torment. The electronic cacophony that this world now seems to endure is a hard place to be heard. Perhaps I have made it deliberately so, as a reflection of how my political writing is treated in the real world. Amidst the largely docile and benign headlines from my own country of the imagination, I perceive the ominous soccer-rattle of ravens beneath Britannia’s skirts, the malignant clatter of the machine gun behind the arras. I have not left Albion as it was. But what have I done to it?
NB: I have just eaten prawn cocktail flavour potatoes.