Saturday 20 January 2018

For a stressed-out world: just sleep with Jeff Bridges

Hollywood's most laid-back man has released an album to help the world's stressed-out dudes get some shut-eye. Gillian Orr finds it odd but strangely effective...

Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges

Gillian Orr

I went to bed with The Dude last night. And you can, too. I should make it clear that Jeff Bridges hasn't fallen on hard times and gone all Midnight Cowboy on us. The Oscar-winning actor has simply released an album designed for you to play while you snooze. Well, more precisely, it is actually meant to send you to sleep, his deep, rich mutterings the vehicle that will deliver you to the land of nod.

Sleeping Tapes comprises 15 tracks of soothing sounds, strange noises and idle ponderings. Available at the website 'Dreaming with Jeff', listeners can either stream it for free or download it by paying what they see fit, with all proceeds going to the No Kid Hungry organisation.

Bridges collaborated with True Detective composer Keefus Ciancia and sound engineer Doug Sax on the record and told the Wall Street Journal: "While working on the Sleeping Tapes album, we put in some long hours. Listening back to our day's works, I'd often drift off. I'd wake up and smile saying, 'This stuff works.'"

Now 65-years-old, I imagine it doesn't take an awful lot for Bridges to nod off these days. But does it work for others? Or will a night in the company of Bridges' sonorous tones leave you wishing you'd knocked back a few White Russians before bedtime?

According to research conducted last year by Richard Wiseman at the University of Hertfordshire, 59pc of us get seven hours of sleep or less every night, meaning they qualify as "sleep-deprived". That's a lot of crabby people walking around.

Not to mention the effect it is having on their health: weight gain, heart attacks, diabetes and cancer have all been linked to not getting a decent kip. Could Bridges do for sleep what Jane Fonda did for exercise? Another Hollywood great that transcends their previous field to become the saviour of a nation's health?

In a note on the website, he is certainly taking his mission as the new Ambien seriously. "The world is filled with too many restless people in need of rest - that's why I filled my sleeping tapes with intriguing sounds, noises and other things to help you get a good night's rest," he writes.

He even put out an ad during the Super Bowl at the weekend, which saw the Crazy Heart star watching over a sleeping couple, while he hummed a chant and ran a stick around a metal bowl.

Featuring in an evening that included such outlandish moments as Katy Perry's dancing sharks and a Seahawks' wide receiver celebrating a touchdown by pretending to take a dump, it says a lot that his spot was still the oddest thing on TV that night.

Going to sleep with the acting legend is a bit like listening to the ramblings of an uncle who did one too many LSD trips in the 70s. It's hard to say how effective it is, but I enjoyed listening to it, mainly because it is absolutely bonkers.

"Hummmmmm" was possibly the most soothing part. It consists of Jeff humming over sparse piano chords and the laughter of children. Sure, it may sound intensely creepy and not unlike the opening to a slasher movie, but it's the last thing I remember hearing, so I'm guessing it was the one that managed to knock me out.

What was startling, however, was waking up at 4am to Bridges offering me a drink on Glass of Water. I had inadvertently put Sleeping Tapes on repeat. I don't recommend this unless you enjoy getting woken up in the middle of the night and wondering - in your sleepy daze - who the unfamiliar gravelly voice telling you to "get cosy" is.

I'm not saying it doesn't work; each to their own and all. But I can't help feeling that the main aim of it is to cement Bridges' reputation as the most laid-back, out-there star in Hollywood. And to raise money for a good cause, of course.

Sweet dreams, dudes.

Irish Independent

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