Musings on living in a snow globe:

Kate Lambley
3 min readJun 20, 2023

Ian McEwan, novelist, shadowed Neil Kitchen, Neurosurgeon, at the National Hospital in Queens Square, London and witnessed countless operations at the time he was researching and writing his novel, Saturday.

She listened in fascination as the author described his ‘full immersion’ research methods to the radio interviewer:

“..Once in the operating theatre, I touched a brain as part of my research into neurosurgery. It was much firmer than I expected. Not porridge, no, it was remarkably firm.

And that ‘touch’ put me in touch with a miracle. An extraordinary thing. That kilogram of stuff, responsible for dreams, intentions, thoughts and hopes; an inward cinema of a mental life coming out of densely arranged matter; a beautiful and wonderful thing -”

As the dialogue continued she heard a tune. Not coming out of the radio, but from inside her head. She floated on the tune and lyrics of Pink Floyd’s ‘Eclipse’ – from their critically acclaimed zeitgeist studio album ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’. (..all that you touch…all that you see…all that you taste…all you feel…)

Eclipse is the final track of the album. Hypnotically beautiful, it covers common traits of humanity in 1 minute 38 seconds. She had not heard it for years. At university – the first time – before she dropped out – she had bought the Floyd album poster from the freshers’ fair and pinned it on her student bedroom wall. That was more than 30 years ago.

Of the oceans of information crammed inside the grey matter in her head, her brain brought the song back to her now. Unfathomable.

All that we are and everything we believe is created inside our own individual kaleidoscopic kilo. A myriad of maps; a silo of creation. She started writing these words down as they flashed by and it occurred to her that she was inside a mysterious snowglobes with snippets of memory and imaginings sparkling around her. When shaken they would whirl wildly, storming her senses. It occurred to her that this globe was the only proof of humanity. Without it, she might as well be on the dark side of the moon. We all might.

All that you touch

And all that you see

All that you taste. All you feel. And all that you love, all that you hate, all you distrust – all you save. And all that you give and all that you deal and all that you buy, beg borrow or steal.

And all you create and all you destroy and all that you do and all that you say.

All that you eat and everyone you meet, and all that you slight and everyone you fight – and all that is now, and all that is gone and all that’s to come…. And everything under the sun is in tune.

But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.’

She played the song for the first time in a decade, listening carefully to the mantra. And slowly she smiled as the doorman of the studio speaks, as if to himself, after the music has stopped – at 1 minute 37 seconds:

There is no dark side of the moon really. Matter of fact, it’s all dark”

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Kate Lambley

Writer. Coach. I write poems and short stories to make sense of life’s absurdity - I can create most things (except insulin!)