“Close your eyes and try to escape,” she tells you softly, words tickling at the insides of your ears. Then, still using those same soothing tones, she points out that, once upon a time, it used to be easy for you to fall asleep. That something has changed. That escape is…
Well, that escape is far less simple than it once was.
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“Your dreams are odd, aren’t they?” she queries. “Something’s rotting.”
Slowly, ever so slowly, she continues: “There’s a bad smell in your brain. Your dreams are trying to tell you something… [so] we’re going to reach inside you and download the dreams you had last night. We’re going to scrub your dreams out of your head, flood out all those shadowy Susans, and hold them up to the light.
“We’ll play your bad dreams back to you, so that you can rinse them off, and finally sleep clean.”
Yes. While The Sink begins like any other sleep podcast, you’ve no doubt realised by now that it’s completely unlike any other podcast out there.
Why? Well, because this is the latest comedy-horror from Kill The Beast’s Natasha Hodgson, David Cumming, and Andy Goddard (aka the same creators and performers who have picked up a loyal fanbase thanks to the twisted theatrical productions they put on at Edinburgh Fringe).
And, as such, it’s a wonderfully weird genre-bending delight.
Littered with well-rendered humour and performed by an excellent cast, The Sink is a surrealist, self-aware monster – one which takes careful aim at sleep apps everywhere.
This means that you can expect to be plunged headfirst into a world of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR, but make it even creepier), guided meditation (albeit the kind that would be perfectly at home in one of the darker Black Mirror episodes), and the sort of meandering, dream-like stories that you’d find in the Sleep With Me podcast, albeit with bucket-loads of razor-sharp wit and horror poured on top.
It sounds strange, yes, but those who have given it a go absolutely love it. They love it. So much so, in fact, that The Sink is currently sitting pretty at number five in the iTunes Fiction chart – no small feat considering just three episodes (or sessions, if we’re going to use the vernacular) have dropped so far.
Indeed, it’s worth noting that The Mash Report’s Greig Johnson counts himself among the podcast’s growing fanbase, tweeting: “Wow. I highly recommend taking the deepest of dives into Natasha Hodgson’s The Sink.
“It’s Blue Jammy, atmospheric, wonderfully relaxing and scary.”
This writer, who unwittingly stumbled into The Sink while searching for one of the more traditional sleep aids available on iTunes, can 100% attest to this being true.
So if you fancy being soothed into a world of sweet, sweet nightmares, be sure to wrap your ears around The Sink.
Just don’t blame us if you feel as if you’re trapped levels down in an Inception-esque dream come the end of it, OK?
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.