a term for the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep, characterized by dreamlike auditory, visual, or tactile sensations when half-awake.

One morning many years ago I woke up early and went to check the time on my phone, but I was instead surprised & intrigued to see six strange words on the screen: “I need to talk to Gentor.”

What on earth? It made no sense at all. I didn’t know anyone or anything called Gentor and I certainly didn’t want to speak to him/her/it. Eventually I summoned a vague memory of mentally procuring this random sentence out of nowhere as I was trying to fall asleep the previous night. In a semi-slumberous frame of mind, I must have woken and keyed the words onto my phone as a note.

Over the following few weeks I did some research and found this was caused by a phenomenon known as the hypnagogic state. This is the watery, dreamlike state of consciousness your mind turns to as you are in the process of falling asleep or waking up. If the conditions are just right during this transitional phase between wakefulness and slumber, you may experience brief hallucinations in the form of images, shapes, colours, sounds, physical sensations, or in my case, random words & phrases. From personal experience, these sensory perceptions are not usually as poignant or lifelike as those experienced during an actual dream; instead I find they present themselves in very short bursts and are often more easily memorable.

Anyway, recently I’ve noticed these hypnagogic words have been coming to me two or three times a week, so over the past two months I’ve written down every one that my mind has graced me with! Most nights as I go to bed, I close my eyes, begin to drift off, and then all of a sudden out of nowhere I’ll be hit by this short, ludicrous, extremely random statement or question that makes barely any sense at all, sometimes even including completely made-up words that have no meaning whatsoever. I wake up and write it down as soon as this happens – and now, for your enoyment, transcribed below is this unpredictable and peculiar insight into my subconscious night-time mentality:

I first had a chicken when I was twelve.

They get all desperate to find out.

You don’t want to suit me up to be a bear?

In the process of renewing and travelling, did you go travelling?

Red guppy beach steps.

Were you a better king for Jack Thompson?

It might just be a soaked up point of water but he’s not ready to justify his actions.

Just put it with my pride and strike the wall.

Broad beans and bomb shells don’t do what they do.

There’s enough memory in this biscuit to keep the silly climber alive.

I have olive oil, but how can a product which is a mild apleasiastic help you? I can’t keep my finger on the zero.

Elevation can’t stand the personal justice of our bleeding yacht.

I love the shadow that they want.

After three nights on the same row, everyone was asking them: why did they move the traffic?

We don’t want you stoppers running into sand, come on, leave it!

What are your secrets, what did you say to them twice?

Draw the line on the strawberry glace pot.

Slipping out junk and the Rockerfeller’s procedure.

The story is of Sarssche.

Turning into a rabbit bagoon egg.

Café Piara D’ombardo.

One noodle he met her and nobody fetched her.

Heritage farm listed like a Chinese letter rip.

Quickly, you’re up the tree.

We had a faisty elephant come in to see us at number two.

There are the shortly’s, these are the nowhere else.

Don’t give coffee a break as you did at the Mandatee.

Nothing represents an actor more than a box of charred bananas.

Err….. crazy hey?! Feel free to leave a comment if you’ve experienced anything like this yourself. I’m off to bed now to compose more tales from hypnagogia…


Since this post was published, there is now a Twitter account called @HypnagogicTales, as well as a web site dedicated entirely to these crazy phrases at hypnagogia.com.au – please follow & visit!

1. I don’t think there’s place in the world any more for Roman numerals.

2. For many years now I’ve been trying to write a song containing the word “meniscus,” but I can never seem to fit it in anywhere.

3. The best thing I’ve done since being in the UK was spend the day in Hathersage, in the Peak District. I’d gladly live that day again.

4. I think it’s wrong to ever blatantly criticise any form of artwork – whether it be music, photography, painting, fashion, theatre, poetry or whatever. Opinions are understandable, constructive critisism is great, but to put down someone’s creation by needlessly slamming them is an act of the devil as far as I’m concerned.

5. It took me four months to realise my paper train ticket could get me onto the tube as well. If I’d have known that earlier, I could have saved £160 on my Oyster card. Dammit!

6. If I chose to study again one day, I would do so in a field such as natural or vibrational medicine.

7. Sarah is going to think I stole this one off her list, but I too am fascinated by the English language, especially its eccentricities. Palindromes, spoonerisms, anagrams, pangrams, oxymorons, sesquipedalians… broufing it oufon!

8. My life seems to be one massive synchronicity, and I’m constantly amazed and intrigued by the coincidences I experience. Following them has led me to where I am today.

9. One of the few immediate things I miss about Australia is the music. We have so much genric diversity and I feel Aussie songs tell an overall more sincere story and have a more appealing sentiment to those written elsewhere.

10. I think much of what we’re led to believe in the world is conspiratory. There’s so much suppressed information out there that the governments are purposefully holding back so as to retain power over the people.

11. My favourite chord is Fmaj7sus2.

12. I think Northern line tube trains are the best designed of all the lines.

13. If there was one place in the world I would choose to travel to, it would be Egypt. I will get there one day, when the time is right.

14. I think one of the best songs ever written is The Last Resort, by The Eagles. You should listen to it.

15. I purchased my first mobile phone in 2001, and on all phones owned since then, I have NEVER changed the ringtone from the Nokia tune.

16. I would do anything to be able to relive the last seven months of my life, knowing what I know now.

17. I wish I could play the piano.

18. I have been lucky enough to meet my musical idol backstage at a theatre, where he showed me how to play one of his songs on guitar.

19. Whilst I still appreciate optimism, lately I have been finding a strange inspiration in hearing other people’s stories of heartbreak and tragedy.

20. I think death is a positive experience for the person going through it.

21. I fear that the music of yesteryear will one day be forgotten. I don’t think we should ever write music off as being “old,” but instead appreciate it for the place it once had in society. It saddens me to think that the youth of today would never have heard of musicians such as Arlo Guthrie, whom I incidentally saw perform tonight, and was extremely impressed with. That kinda stuff should never be lost.

22. Although I do not agree with the consumption of hallucinogenic drugs, I believe everybody should try them at least once in their lifetime.

23. My earliest memory is being on the street in a pram in 1986, watching Halley’s comet and wondering what the big fuss was all about!

24. I think squirrels are cuter than kangaroos.

25. I love London, I love my job, and I love the people I’m surrounded by. You’re all bloody awesome 🙂

Well I’ve been in this lovely country now for about four days and as much as I miss Australia it’s so amazing to be on the other side of the world experiencing a different culture! So I’ve sat and compiled quite a list of random observations and things I’ve learnt that make this place what it is 🙂

* 99% of houses are built out of either stone or brick
* If the streets aren’t narrow enough, the footpaths are even narrower
* Massive traffic lights. And they go yellow agan before they turn green
* Big white-on-blue arrows to remind you which way you turn around a roundabout (presumably so Americans know what to do?)
* If you ask for a large cappucino, they give it to you in a soup mug. Don’t ask for a muggucino cause they don’t know what that is
* Strawberry picking is a very popular pasttime for locals on a Thursday afternoon
* They sell alcohol in grocery stores!
* They don’t seem to check for ID outside pubs & clubs
* The weather is nowhere near as cold / windy / rainy / cloudy as I thought it would be (yet!)
* Church grounds contain public cemetaries.
* Marmite (lol… eww)
* Tea, tea, and more tea
* Conservatories are a novel and popular way to trap the sun’s heat
* Toilets here flush with handles, not with buttons
* The postie delivers mail direct to your front door
* You hardly see any old lemon cars on the road
* Phone numbers have 11 digits in them which makes them so hard to remember 😛
* Baked beans and mushy peas come as side dishes with pub meals
* No such thing as pots or schooners – they’re all pint glasses
* We complain about the price of fuel in Australia, yet it’s another 40 or 50 cents per litre more expensive here
* Electrical sockets and plugs look funny!
* Rabbits run out onto the road in front of you
* The price of food and household products are nowhere near as expensive as people put them out to be. Quite on par with Australia I think
* The local car boot sale is about the same size as a small city
* Customs don’t check your bags at Manchester airport
* You need to pay licence fees for free-to-air TV
* Phone boxes really do look like the ones out of Doctor Who
* Never, ever say the “S” word. (you know, the one that rhymes with “knocker” and means “football”)
* Sausage buns are called “baps”
* A nap is a “kip”
* Computer keyboards are all manky! The ” is where the @ is supposed to be!
* Home & Away is about two months behind 🙁
* Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3, Radio 4, Radio 5……. etc etc
* People think Sydney is the capital (and only!) city in Australia
* Bedrooms often come with the obligatory wash basin
* Apparently, “Bruce” is a very popular Australian name
* Locals are not willing to admit that the skills of the Australian cricket team don’t quite match up to theirs
* Every town or village has at least one massive church in it
* There are no designated parking bays on roads. People just park in the lane itself and others have to manoeuvre their way around
* Chavs
* Double-decker buses
* Shops & pubs are often built out in the middle of nowhere in the countryside. And people do come to them
* After you send a text message or make a phone call, your phone automatically shows you your remaining credit. (well we might have that in Australia for all I know but I’ve never seen it before and I think it’s pretty cool!)
* Distance is measured in imperial (miles), yet volume is measured in metric (litres)
* Pigeons actually live in people’s backyards, not just in McDonalds carparks where they scavenge chips and burgers

I shall speak to all you chaps again very soon. May God save the Queen,