Category Archives: Dreams

Dreaming the start of a novel – not

Two or three days ago, I woke up at about 5 o’clock in the morning with the idea of a novel which was basically four or five real-life stories cobbled together into a narrative.

I thought about getting up and writing down the ideas but, instead, turned over on the floor and went back to sleep.

I was sleeping on the floor because I buggered my back about four weeks ago.

This morning, again at around 5 o’clock, I woke up with the same opening idea in my mind, minus the other stories.

I thought I had better write it down this time, so I did. 

I doubt if I will add to it because I’m useless without a deadline.

I don’t need a person from Porlock and I ain’t no Coleridge.

I don’t fancy the opium.

Especially as I had a blood test yesterday and that nurse sure needs more practice in how to stick a needle in someone’s arm.


CHAPTER 1

So there was this Irishman, a Dalek and four Scotsmen.

The Irishman was called Michael Julian Andrew Hardwick Bantam Smith. He was married with a younger wife, five children and a parakeet called Charlie.

He – Michael, not the parakeet – had been pushing the Dalek round the Scene Dock, a circular covered roadway that ran round the outside of the studios at BBC Television Centre in West London. He was clutching his stomach and standing half bent over, about to fall, because he had just been shot in the stomach.

The Dalek was a prop. Writer Terry Nation had described it, roughly, as a pepper pot with a sink plunger sticking out the front. BBC designer Raymond Cusick had refined the look and the Daleks became iconic villains in the Doctor Who TV series which, at that time, was fading in popularity. It would later be revived. Unlike Michael the Irishman.

One of the four Scotsman was called Jimmy the Joker. That was not his real name. The four Scotsmen had just robbed the cash office at BBC Television Centre. This was back in the day when people got paid weekly in cash. Jimmy the Joker had just shot Michael the Irishman by mistake. 

Out of the corner of his left eye, he had seen a Dalek suddenly appear into the Scene Dock through one of the open studio doors and some inexplicable reflex action had made his brain fire the Walther PPK hand gun at the human being beside it. It’s a Dalek! was all his brain had thought. Jimmy carried a Walther PPK because that was the gun James Bond used in the books and movies.

Michael the Irishman would die in an ambulance on the way to hospital twelve minutes later. His last words would be whispered urgently but inaudibly. When he was dead, the elder ambulance man would look at the younger ambulance man, shrug and start filling in a form.

Three of the Scotsmen running in Television Centre – including Jimmy the Joker – were dressed as policemen. Two were carrying large canvas mail bags filled with banknotes. Jimmy was carrying a gun. The fourth was dressed in ‘civvies’, carrying a lightweight video camera, apparently filming the other two. All four men wore clown masks.

They ran out of the scene dock and through the car park at the front of the building. People just looked at them with mild interest, thinking it was part of some new TV show. 

The uniformed security men at the front gate looked a little bemused, thought the same thing and stood aside to let the three policemen wearing clown masks – one carrying a gun – and the clown-masked man with the camera out into Wood Lane, the main road which ran past the studios. That was when the trouble really started.

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The nightmare effect of travelling on too many Thameslink trains – beetroot

I very rarely remember my dreams but I woke up during one this morning.

I was working, freelance, for a TV company and, during the lunch hour, I had to go to hospital where one of the treatments was to put beetroot on my stomach.

Next, I was scheduled to see the oncologist, but I could not remember the name of the person I was working for to phone and tell them I would not be back after lunch and someone had, as a joke, tattooed the bottom half of both my legs while I was asleep during the beetroot treatment.

This is what happens when you have to travel four times on a Sunday during a Bank Holiday weekend on the anarchic rail service Govia Thameslink – as I did yesterday – it turns your head into a gooey mess.

The beetroot was not even edible.

It was a nightmare.

The journeys not the dream.

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‪Happy Thameslink passengers enjoying the relaxed holiday atmosphere on one of the tranquil platforms at St Pancras station in London, untroubled by trains.‬

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The black cat in my dream this morning

I have mentioned in blogs before that, unfortunately, I do not remember my dreams. Perhaps once every nine months or so, if I am woken up while having the dream itself.

John Ward with an Onion Wanging trophy

This morning was such an occasion.

During the week, mad inventor John Ward told me that he was going to be on a Saturday morning BBC Radio 4 cookery show called Kitchen Cabinet, talking about the annual competitive event he runs in which cabbages are hurled along a field by newly-built Roman siege engine catapults. The BBC show had been recorded in Lincolnshire at Burghley House, built by Elizabeth I’s Lord High Treasurer, William Cecil, in in the 16th century.

All that is true.

In my dream this morning, I was somehow involved in the live radio transmission of a comedy variety show.

There was a man inside a tent on the right of the room where the show was taking place. He was attaching bells to his costume but he was not going to be ready in time for the broadcast. So I had to push him on stage, as he was, only half-dressed for his radio performance.

Drinkers shouldn’t mess with sleeping black cats in dreams

The man’s act seemed to mostly involve drinking or not drinking some coffee but, because he was unprepared, he went over to a black cat which was curled up sleeping on a soft leather stool by the stage.

Unceremoniously woken up, the cat bit its teeth into the performer’s right shoulder, so the man pulled the cat up by its tail and bit into the tail with his own teeth.

After this, there were quite a few long silences on the recording, but I kept reassuring people: “Oh! It’s OK, we can edit it out. We can edit it out.”

When I woke up, briefly, I thought…

This may not be a surreal dream…

This may be a flash forward…

…to something real that is…

actually going to happen…

in the future.

On reflection, though…

it seems unlikely.

On the other hand, cabbage hurling, onion wanging and Donald Trump as US President at one time seemed equally unlikely events and they actually came to pass.

Life is but a dream and reality sometimes a nightmare.

 

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I have a dream…

It is very very rare that I remember my dreams. Perhaps once every six months. In fact, I don’t think I have remembered a dream the whole of this year. I wish I could.

This morning, I woke up from a dream and then got out of bed and went downstairs in my home to see if there was any Christmas post on the mat.

When I got out of bed, there was a bright square patch on the blue carpet in my bedroom where a cardboard box had been sitting for a couple of days. It was a brighter blue because there was a very slight layer of dust on the rest of the carpet – its natural state.

“I must Hoover,” I thought.

I had to go downstairs but it took a little time because I had to go down three steps at a time. I had to stretch my leg to the third step of the orange-carpeted stairs every time and this was quite awkward.

In the red-carpeted downstairs hall, I was going to open the inner front door to see if there was any mail on the mat – I have an inner and outer front door – but, instead, I turned round. I think maybe I had heard something.

I walked towards the glass conservatory at the back of my house and something whizzed left-to-right past the half-open door. It looked like a giant light-grey rat. Then there were other smalllish grey creatures running left to right inside the conservatory. When I say smallish, I mean smaller than a cat. They were rat-sized and some were not rats: they were slightly bigger.

When I got to the inner door of the conservatory, it was half open. Some of the grey-furred creatures glanced at me as they whizzed left-to-right past by the open door. My conservatory has an inner door leading into the house and a door at the far side leading out into the garden.

I thought: “I had better close the door in case they come into the house. I don’t want them all coming into the house. There are too many of them.”

I was now close enough to see that some – there was a constant stream running left-to-right – were grey rats and some were guinea pigs, larger than rats, but with grey fur the same colour as the grey rats.

As I closed the door between the conservatory and the house I realised, at the right side of the conservatory, where there are shelves from floor to ceiling, the large grey-furred guinea pigs who had reached there were sitting up like meerkats, looking at all the other creatures – rats and guinea pigs – racing from left to right across the floor of the conservatory towards them.

Then I woke up.

I don’t have a conservatory.

I don’t have a blue carpet in my bedroom. I don’t have an orange carpet on the stairs, although I used to.

I don’t have guinea pigs. At least, I don’t think I have.

And I have never had rats.

Although I did once have a mouse which accidentally got squashed flat as a pancake.

I had to sell the bed.

Don’t ask.

I went to see two shows yesterday. My iPhone was still on silent this morning; I had forgotten to switch the ring back on.

Someone phoned me at 4.40am this morning.

Yes 4.40am. I missed the call.

But I think maybe the buzzing vibration of the iPhone woke me up during the dream.

I think I may Hoover today.

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I was burgled by a small dead comedian

“Last night I went to sleep about 0230 & woke about 0530”

It is very rare that I remember my dreams – which is a pity – I usually only remember when I get woken up during a dream – and I usually bung together details in blogs as a way to not forget them, though why I would want not to forget them I don’t know. I suppose because they are so rare.

Last night I went to sleep about 0230 and woke up about 0530 in the middle of a dream.

I was in a rented house which was rather darkly-lit.

There had been some sort of break-in.

The burglar appeared and we got into a fight. I got the better of him and, when he fell on the floor, I stamped on him.

He was some sort of rectangular battery-powered 4-inch long plastic case which also managed to look like a human. He was a pink plastic rectangular case. When I stamped on him, the flat pink plastic top of his rectangular pink plastic case broke off slightly. The edges separated slightly from the main torso/case.

At this point or soon after (it is difficult to tell in dreams) a female friend was there and we started talking about the burglary perpetrated by the pink plastic rectangular humanoid lying inactive on the floor.

While I was talking to my female friend, I realised I had not searched the rest of the house to see if there was anyone else – another burglar – still lurking.

As I was saying to my female friend, “Maybe I should take a lo…,” I saw, behind her, through the glass panels in two doors in the rather darkly-lit house, a figure come scurrying down the stairs. It was diminutive comedian Charlie Drake.

Diminutive comedian Charlie Drake came scurrying down

I ran out into the hall to cut off his route of escape to the back door of the house and he swerved to avoid me, colliding with and bouncing off my female friend.

He fell onto the floor of the darkly-lit house and…

I woke up.

Dreams – and life – can be frustrating when you do not know what happens next.

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When I came home yesterday at dusk… Tomorrow & tomorrow & tomorrow…

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I live on the outer edge of London in what is called a Close but is actually a square, with buildings on three sides and, on the other, the back gardens of houses in another street.

When I came home yesterday at dusk, the buildings on the three sides were half demolished, the roofs non-existent, the walls and innards had been broken down to half or more or less than their old height, the bricks and plaster destroyed or exposed and everything was covered with that light white dust of demolition.

When I had walked up the nearby street to my home, there had been red double-decker buses and waste bins and people walking around like it was hundreds of years ago and you were living in and walking through a world you had only known previously from old, faded images. It was dusk and all the 2-dimensional detailing and colours and sounds were there in 3-D reality.

Then I was standing on the Blackford Hill, looking north towards the Firth of Forth and Fife, with the waters stretched out flat and wet before me, the little black island of the Castle Rock sticking out of the water on the left and the larger green island of Arthur’s Seat sticking up out of the water to its right. And, way down, in the waters between them, were the underwater streets and passageways and stone buildings of what used to be Edinburgh. Just dark stone passageways and alleyways in a dark underwater maze now, with light marine growths on the dark stone walls and fish swimming along and between and inside the empty rooms of all the old buildings.

Dreams are strange.

It is very very rare that I remember mine.

Perhaps once a year; maybe twice.

I wish I remembered them more often.

But all the above was not a dream I had last night.

It was yesterday at dusk and I was awake and the images were in my mind.

MyEye_CUT

 

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Filed under Death, Dreams, Nostalgia

My talkative night with Melvyn Bragg, Nicholas Parsons & maybe a dead actor

Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg was waiting in my living room

So I was in my living room, about to interview Melvyn Bragg about his career in the Arts, when Bill Fraser woke up. I had thought he was dead. He used to co-star in ITV’s most popular sitcom of its day Bootsie & Snudge.

I don’t mean I had thought he was dead when he was lying there asleep at the side of the room. I mean I thought he had died several years ago.

But Bill Fraser had only been sleeping at the side of my living room. He was not wearing his wig.

This confused me, because I could not remember him wearing a wig on Bootsie and Snudge in which, I thought, he was bald. So it should not have been a surprise to me that he was bald – but he did not seem to be bald in the way I remembered him being bald.

Bill Fraser

Bill Fraser interrupted me with a long anecdote

He interrupted me with a fairly long anecdote then, after I took a photograph of him, I was able to start interviewing Melvyn Bragg. The first question I asked was how he had got into the arts field when he had already built up quite a reputation playing straight man to various people including… and I could not quite remember the name of the ITV comedy show in which he played the next-door neighbour of… comedy actor Arthur Haynes.

Melvyn Bragg, sitting on the sofa in my living room, looked slightly surprised.

Then I woke up and realised it had all been a dream.

I normally only remember dreams if something wakes me up in the middle of one. But I could not figure out what had woken me up during this one.

I went downstairs to the kitchen to make myself toast and tea and came back up with two slices of toast and a cup of milk.

Then I realised why Bill Fraser’s baldness had looked slightly familiar and yet slightly wrong.

A few nights ago on BBC iPlayer, I had watched Behind the Candelabra, a movie in which actor Michael Douglas plays the part of pianist Liberace. Late in the film, Michael Douglas appears as Liberace without his wig on. I mean Liberace’s wig, not Michael Douglas’. I have no reason to believe Michael Douglas wears a wig. I had transferred Michael Douglas’ skull-cap of bald-headedness onto Bill Fraser’s face.

The photo of Nicholas Parsons above my bed

The photo of Nicholas Parsons above my bed

It was Nicholas Parsons, not Melvyn Bragg who played the cravat-wearing next door neighbour in the Arthur Haynes TV series. For the last two or three years, I have slept with a large photo of Nicholas Parsons above my bed. It seems to fit the decor. The photo is in a wooden frame and looks similar to the formal picture of any generic Communist dictator which might have hung on the wall in a post office or a cafe to stoke the flames of a personality cult. I always think the grey suit Nicholas Parsons is wearing in the photo makes him look a little like Enver Hoxha, once Communist dictator of Albania.

Enver Hoxha

Communist Enver Hoxha, not Nicholas Parsons

I thought this seemed odd.

Then I woke up.

I went downstairs to the kitchen to make myself toast and tea and came back up with two slices of toast and a cup of milk.

I had only dreamt I had gone downstairs to the kitchen the first time.

I looked up Bill Fraser in Wikipedia.

He is dead. So it goes.

He died from emphysema in Hertfordshire, in 1987.

Now I am awake. I think.

One can never be entirely sure of anything.

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