PATRICK BROOKS Week 6: Week Six Blues

AUTHOR’S DISCLAIMER: warning – what follows is a bit grim and wanky, even for me

It’s cold and dark and I want to curl up and become a larvae.

Preferably, one which has already written and handed in the first draft of its dissertation (to resounding acclaim and instant offers of a PhD, fellowship and the Masterdom of a new college created and named in my larvaical honour).

But even an academically inferior larvae will do. At least larvae have potential.


Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I never left my room. If I sunk so deep into a self-built nest of rotting dominos boxes and overdue UL books that I could never claw myself out.

I imagine my friends Whatsapping me to no reply. Knocking on my door and assuming I must be spending a lot of time out doing things.

I imagine they begin to hear scratching, coming from inside.

I imagine the cleaners coming in a week later, unlocking the door. The screams.

How did it get on the walls,” they mouth, in terror.

And from the morass I burst up and out, scuttling between them, down the staircase, escaping out into the night, my eyes glinting, my rough, incorporeal form ridged with black fur and damp with despair.


Does doing my washing count as adequate achievement for the day?


It’s cold and dark. It’s harder to feel lonely in the summer. You can lie in the grass and feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and know that across the world there are other people.

But when it’s cold and dark, the world closes in. The corners of the sky are empty. You walk through a quiet college and nothing else moves. It seems like no other life could exist in the cold and the dark.

You hide in your room and read words dead people have written.


I’ve watched the John Lewis Christmas advert too many times. I am the Man on the Moon.

I am the decrepit, exiled relic, whose only contact with other humans is fictional and carefully engineered to sell overpriced pillows.

I am an old man spying on a child.


I wake up at 2pm. It’s already getting dark. I still feel tired, and the day is already over.

I am disconnected. I am a self-contained system. Within my room I can clean, and wash myself. I have a toilet. I keep a stash of biscuits on my desk. I am hooked up to my computer, ostensibly to work.

A friend who’s on her year abroad sends me a virtual poke. I scroll through her photos in various exotic locales, and miss her deeply.


There’s a strange intellectual pain in reading books too fast.


In Paris, people die. I don’t know how I feel about this. Paris is very far away. I still haven’t finished my prat crit for this week.

I think a lot about whether to change my profile picture to one with a tricolour overlay. I don’t want to, and feel like it’s cheap, but my newsfeed is full of people I like doing it so maybe I should.

The twibbon makes group conversations momentarily confusing.


I sit and stare at my screen. I have lots of things to do.

Wind screams against my window. Cold air creeps in from under the skirting board. I huddle in three jumpers, and think about ordering another Dominos. The thought of the cost and the dripping, greasy cheese makes me feel ill.

I sit and stare at my screen.


My phone buzzes.



Somehow we drag along two other second years and trek through the wind to the Maypole. We sit around the heater outside, argue about driverless cars, and share tiny pizzas.

We laugh at genuinely abysmal jokes. I’ve no idea why I didn’t do this three days ago.


tl;dr – If you’re cold and lonely and you’ve been in your room for days, ignore how much work you have to do and go to the fucking pub. Right now.