Chains and trains in the head…

But first…
Dulltown, UK: Today’s snail is the energetic, busy, nipping about one.

When I was a young lad I once heard someone on the radio or the TV use the term ‘chains of thought’, or it might have been just ‘chain’ the singular rather than there being several of them. Of course, it could have been ‘train of thought’ instead; apparently both are in common usage, but for the moment shall we stick with chains rather than trains?
My curiosity was aroused, I wondered what these ‘chains’ of thought could be. I pictured shiny metal ones going across inside our heads holding the thoughts together – they would have to be pretty small and thin though, I mean, our heads aren’t that big are they? Could you perhaps, if you listened carefully, hear them rattle?
I very soon came to realise that these weren’t real chains at all, but metaphorical ones, like little wispy pathways, or railway tracks, that our thoughts could be sitting on, like milestones… Well no, not really like milestones, but maybe there are little crossroads, or junctions, where our thoughts might bump into each other, and exchange a wave or a nod as they pass along the way…
I remember lying in bed at night pondering on this – those pathways, those tracks – gosh, they could lead anywhere you fancied – they could lead to anything in the world, or even, beyond the world – so long as you made the right choices in which chains to stroll down, or which trains to get on. I suppose you’d have to have a good idea where you wanted to end up though…
I used to play a little mental game, just to keep my young brain lubricated, it went like this: Choose some object, or person, or animal, or anything, and hold it there in your head. Now choose another totally unrelated object, person, animal or thing at random, and using the links in your chain, your junctions, your crossroads, try to form a path to connect the two things together. I suppose this is a little bit like that Six Degrees of Separation thing I heard about much later on.
By the way, I assumed that everyone did this sort of thing lying in bed at night. (What else could you do if you weren’t sleepy?)
Let’s try connecting say, Elvis Presley and a cabbage. (As I write this, sitting here in a cafe at 5.16 on a Thursday afternoon in January, I have no idea if I can actually still do this, I might have to just scrap this idea for a blog post if I find that I can’t!)
Right then, here we go:
Elvis Presley – ‘the King’ as some people call him – King Cole was a merry old soul, as the song goes – Soul – the existence of… religion, churches – seasonal events – Harvest festival – the place full of flowers, bunches of wheat, piles of fruit and vegetables – vegetables – oh look, there’s a cabbage!…
Well that went reasonably well didn’t it? Did you used to do this sort of thing, or was it just me? This isn’t really the sort of thing you would discuss with people is it? While we are in the mood, shall we do another? How about connecting a hacksaw to Her Majesty the Queen?
Hacksaw – metalwork lessons at school, ouch! – Mr Parkinson the metalwork teacher – he didn’t get on at all well with the woodwork teacher Mr Wallis – his name was George Wallis, same as that scary right-wing Governor of Alabama in the 1960s – Alabama – while we are on US politics – Alabama sounds a bit like Obama – the first black president – (how about that George W?…) – leader, and head of state – speaking of ‘head of state’- ours is of course H M the Queen…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in brain, cafe, composition, creation, existentialism, information, mind, puzzle, serendipity, thinking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Chains and trains in the head…

  1. Oh good lord, this is fascinating! How the mind works, eh? Might translate well into some surreal art? I didn’t do this as such, I just played around with words and made up languages and codes so nobody could understand me. Didn’t do much to expand my social circle, mind you, but it was a lot of fun!

  2. Shammy says:

    There was a British TV show like that many years ago, connecting one thing to another but ending up where it began….. can’t remember the name.

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