No News Here with Davey Stone: The ITE Crowd

Davey talks insomnia and the ITE crowd

 

Ramsgate resident Davey Stone is a former bestselling author for Disney in America and Hodder in the UK.

He recently wrote a book about growing up in Ramsgate called Too Much Information, which nobody bought so he now uses the copies as doorstops in his house or occasionally as toilet paper.

He lives in Thanet coffee shops and has no friends.

(Davey is actually a successful fantasy author best known for his series of books The Illmoor Chronicles. He runs independent publishing house Kingsbrook with wife Chiara)

 

Are you sleeping comfortably? Then I’ll begin….

There’s a community in Thanet that you probably don’t know anything about: I say that with some confidence because I’m a member of that community and there’s only about twenty of us. We’re a mix of ex teachers, child psychologists, lightning technicians, writers, artists, bikers and builders. We all get up at some point between 3am and 5.30, we all have some sort of issue that makes us socially avoidant and we ALL agree on one thing: It’s Too Early.

Sometime before the pandemic, I started to wake up angry. This was a slight improvement for me as I used to wake up actually crying. Anyway, over time the insomnia got worse, the hour became actually insane and the anger grew steadily more intense. In order to keep this all away from my family, I started to leave the house the second I woke up and run. At first, I ran in my pyjamas…but as they tend to lock you up for that in the small hours of the morning these eventually became joggers and finally some sexy running gear to go with my amazing body shape (think Jack Skellington from Nightmare Before Christmas if he’d missed a few meals).

On the first morning I ran out, I arrived – puffing and panting – outside a chain coffee shop on Albion Street. It was pitch dark but a pool of light spilled from the door and I realised to my absolute amazement that it was open at 6.30 in the morning. I felt really embarrassed pushing the door open until I realised that I wasn’t the first customer. I was about to join the equivalent of Fight Club in Thanet and the ONE rule was just as simple: you don’t talk about Early Club…you don’t talk at ALL until everybody’s had at least ONE cappuccino. These people get up before you do; some of them rise in the middle of the night and some of them don’t even go to bed.

I had a conversation a few weeks back with a regular early morning friend of mine who told me he’d held up traffic rescuing a hedgehog outside B&Q at THREE o’clock in the morning. I found myself wondering what sort of traffic the road would pick up at that time before I remembered all the ambulances and the hospital run.

You wouldn’t BELIEVE how early some of these places are open. It’s like a series of poker players outdoing each other with really insane hands: Costa in Broadstairs lays down the gauntlet with a 6.30am opening time, while Tim Horton’s and McDonald’s on Westwood Road can both BEAT that and offer you a different sort of coffee hit. The McDonalds in the middle of WWX laughs at them all: it’s open 24 hours and serves coffee to people who are either just heading to bed after a long shift or just waking up to go on one. Ideally, we’d all like to support the independents but at this time in the morning they’re all – I guess – sensibly closed.

I’m sleeping less and less, these days. I’ve tried pistachio nuts, which are supposed to work on the basis that you’re so knackered after shelling them all that you can’t stay awake. I’ve tried Valerian, the beautiful herbal tablets named after the wife of Conan the Barbarian that make your fingers smell as if you’ve been in a cage at Howletts flinging gorilla turds all day. I’ve tried drinking red wine: to be fair, I’m STILL trying that (I’m not sure it’s getting me to sleep but I’m no quitter).

I run past some of you in the morning: the dog walkers, the joggers, those people who comb the beach at 6am with a metal detector looking for the lost treasure of Viking Bay. I even met a BAT HUNTER on Ramsgate beach a few weeks back: when I asked if he’d found one, he simply smirked and tapped his nose…as if we were both in on some sort of national secret.

We ARE the ITE Crowd. We’re not very sociable and none of us can make eye-contact…but at 6am, we’re the best you’re going to get.

8 Comments

  1. The first few times I saw you I thought my mind was playing tricks, as you seemed to be running along with a face of sheer panic and then when I looked in my mirror you’d disappeared out of sight. Were you a ghost fleeing some terrible incident or just running for your life, or posibly both! But now I know your real, I can relax a little next time I see you – not that you ever seem to running the same route and so it will be a nice surprise.

    • I’ll wave right back at you, Derick – possibly AFTER I’ve tripped over. The look of sheer panic is constant: I think I got it from my dad…he was ALWAYS running from something. Responsibility, mostly.

  2. Great writing. Tomorrow,at about 6am ,if I am awake and contemplating yet another day of financially sort-of secure retirement, I will think of the ITE crew, out and about already.
    The cold, the rain, the isolation, the stomach ache from all that coffee.
    And then I will turn over in my warm snuggly bed and, in an act of selfless solidarity, I will go back to sleep.

    • Thanks – appreciated! The stomach ache thing IS a nightmare: I’ve managed to get down to four shots of coffee a day…but it’s STILL too many.

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