Way In My Brain

The nice people hand over some blue robes and I sit, waiting for my MRI scan. NWA lyrics about being “dressed in the county blues” go round my head.

The letter said I should leave all my valuables at home, but that I could bring my own CD. People said don’t take anything too rhythmic, cos if you involuntarily brock out in there it might ruin the scan. I settled on Lull, Dave Parkin’s Snowflake mix and some Autechre.

In medical situations when they ask you a long list of questions, I always end up bursting out laughing. I know they have to do it for a good reason, but when it got down to “have you ever had a shrapnel injury?” I just couldn’t help myself. If I worked there I would make up some extra ones just to keep myself amused.

I’m not really claustrophobic but you do worry about being stuck down a tube and being immobile for an indeterminate length of time. The CDs were never mentioned, but I got to listen to patches of Heart FM. I say patches because the scanning process is actually really noisy, I hadn’t sussed that. Harsh drones of varying rhythmical definition. It was actually pretty wicked. Static-ridden Heart FM in the gaps.

The last bit was especially intense, almost up to Gabba tempo, with this faint undercurrent of Duffy “begging me for mercy”. Essentially the sonic experience of having a brain scan is like something Toecutter would come up with. I doubt many people see it like that, but for my part that connection gave me a (motionless) chuckle and kept the claustrophobia at bay.

I didn’t get to see a picture of my brain. Maybe I will when the results come through in a fortnight.


  1. When I was being treated for eye socket trauma in the Whittington in Archway around ’99, I was intrigued by the ‘Echo Chamber’ double doors across the corridor. Always wondered if ‘Dr’ Augustus Pablo was sitting behind a bank of scanners, probing folks’ internal fractures with heavy basslines.

    Best of luck with it all – you’re obviously astute enough to resist my attempts to swap you a load of powere electronics CDs for a copy of Raymond Natpauli’s ‘On My Way’ 12″, so I’d say your brain’s still salvageable…

  2. Talking about weird questions, when I flew to New York years ago, I had to fill out this greencard/visa (?) form. Can’t really remember everything they wanted to know. On question was if I was a Nazi war criminal.

    Anyway, good luck!

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