“Your mind…blow it.”
-David Bowie, “The Gospel According to Tony Day”
The Sleeping Tapes
My goal for today has been to think, talk, read, and write about anything other than basketball, because in contrast to the joy that following the Warriors has brought me all year, at the moment it is making my stomach hurt.
To help soothe my nerves I turned to Jeff Bridges’ The Sleeping Tapes, one of the most bizarre and wonderful artifacts to emerge from our popular culture in recent years. Listening to it, one cannot help but wonder, “How did this thing come to exist?”
The Sleeping Tapes are a series of audio sketches, I guess you’d call them, starring Jeff Bridges, Hollywood royalty and son of Hollywood royalty, beloved to many for playing the role of Jeffrey Lebowski a/k/a The Dude. In the introductory track Bridges says, “I hope they inspire you to do some cool sleeping, some cool dreaming, and some cool waking up.” So I guess theoretically you are supposed to put this on when you climb into bed and listen to it as you drift off into dreamland. I don’t know that I would necessarily recommend it for that purpose. Bridges’ intentions may well be entirely benign, but there is just a touch of something unsettling here, just a hint of a David Lynch quality.
For instance, there’s the part where he tries to coax his wife into contributing to the project, even though she has just woken up and clearly has no interest in this nonsense. Why is that on the album? Then again, why not? Here are some of the other fucked-up things you’ll hear here:
- Jeff Bridges humming for three minutes.
- Jeff Bridges, apparently on a playground, telling a story about how he and his daughter used to meet up in their dreams.
- Jeff Bridges telling you how he plans to have his remains shot into space.
- Jeff Bridges leading you on a guided tour of Temescal Canyon where you find an abandoned office chair, meet a guy named Neal, find some Spanish doubloons, and go hang-gliding.
- A long and somewhat random series of affirmations, including everything from “You are a good person” and “I like your haircut” to “You have strong hands, capable of woodworking” and “You are very good at guessing when a traffic light will turn green.”
- The sound of Jeff Bridges’ toilet refilling.
A few years ago I coined the phrase “transmission from Planet Weird,” and this is definitely one of those. I can’t fully do it justice in words; I encourage you to go check it out at dreamingwithjeff.com. It is a free download, but you can also make a donation that will go to a charity called No Kid Hungry. That will probably help you sleep a little better.