Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Squeezed Middle

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Squeezed Middle

Article excerpt

"Have you heard of the Fibonacci sequence?"

"The Fibowhat?"


"The Fibonacci sequence. According to which everything in nature has a ratio of 1.61."

It is 5.37am and baby Moe has been howling for an hour. Daylight is creeping around the edge of the curtains and we are getting ever closer to the agonising point at which we will definitely not get back to sleep before Moe's elder brother, Larry, wakes up. For some reason, Curly has chosen this moment to try to explain a "concept" of science. Science is not my strong suit and particularly not when it is communicated to me at a senseless hour of the morning by Curly, who invariably doesn't know what he is talking about, either.

"Isn't a ratio supposed to have two numbers in it, like 1:4?"

"Fibonacci explains everything, from ears, to snails, to artichokes."

"Now you're trying to explain artichokes?"

These mad ramblings are a symptom of our sleep-deprived delirium. For the past two months, the nights have been getting gradually worse. When we first brought Moe home, he seemed quite the model baby. I was sure he would be sleeping through the night in record time. But as if to punish me for my smugness, after six months his progress went into rapid reverse. Currently he is waking up every hour from 11pm onwards, every night. I read somewhere that the Japanese "broke" their prisoners during the Second World War by using a very similar approach. …

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