There’s this Jazz singer – lovely lady, really lovely. Gorgeous voice, great hips, lovely. You know, all velvety. Everything about her.

So I’m sitting in this Jazz venue – nice place, discreet lighting, very cold beers – and she starts singing. Sings about a hole. So (and you’ve got to remember there’s this fabulous voice of hers) she sings about falling into the hole. Then she begins again and of course the hole’s still there – great big gaping hole – and she falls in again. Four times she falls in the hole. By now the audience  – beautiful, beautiful people – are bent double laughing and I’ve spat out some of my beer it’s so funny and then there’s the punch line which is all about how she finally walks around the hole. Great line, big round of applause. Cue the encores. Fantastic night.

And I’m walking home from the club and I’m thinking about the hole and falling into it. Clever, you know, using a metaphor like that. I see a little puddle of water ahead of me. The ground’s all shiny (it’s been raining and there’s a brilliant sheen to the ground) and I’m humming that catchy Jazz tune and thinking about the hole. I say to myself, well let’s imagine this puddle here is the hole the Jazz singer crooned about. I jump in, like a child – you know, a big leap – and I fall.

Now I’m a very down-to-earth person. I like a good laugh and a couple of pints but I like to know that North is North and that a puddle is a puddle. No such thing. I find myself  – and frankly I had trouble believing it too, so I understand your doubting Thomas faces, but I find myself tumbling down an incredibly long tunnel. Yeah, sure I’d read Alice in Wonderland, and I did question its influence but honestly I was hurtling down into the earth, great big clods of rock rushing past me and no white rabbit in sight.

I give up thinking at this point, switch off my brain and just go with the fall. Nothing else to be done. And when I finally reach the ground – I cross my heart – I’m standing in the puddle and this time it’s just a puddle, a couple of inches deep, a little bit murky.

And since then things have shifted a bit. Can’t quite define it. People come up to me and they pat me on the shoulder and say, ‘You understand, you’ve been there.’ Truth is I don’t really know where ‘there’ is. But they’re spot on, you know, I do totally understand.

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