Category Archives: Dreams

Two dreams in one night 15 years ago

A Google Streetview image of Dreams

.

From my e-diary in March 2000:

A friend told me of two dreams she had last night.

In one, she was part of a Mafia family. She was attending a funeral when everyone started machine-gunning everyone else; she was hiding behind a gravestone, dodging bullets. 

Her other dream was set in Roman times. She was lying, stretched along the top of a wall. On one side of the wall sat her husband, the emperor. She felt herself wobbling on the wall, her balance failing. Another man walked along the other side of the wall and she felt vertigo setting in, her wobbling increasing, her fear of falling off the wall increasing.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dreams

A blog about dreaming a dream about writing this blog on dreaming dreams

A selfie taken by myself while asleep

… zzz … zzz … zzz … zzz … zzz … zzz … zzz … zzz …. zzz … zzz ..

A couple of nights ago, I went to a ‘workshop’ on dreams.

We sat round in a circle and exchanged dreams.

This was a problem because the reason I am interested in dreams is that I never remember mine.

Maybe once every eight months or so I wake up and remember one. But it is rare. Which I told the other people at the workshop. It cannot have been good news.

I think I am interested in the surreality of dreams because I never took psychedelic drugs. As I have mentioned before in this blog, the only drugs which ever appealed to me were LSD and heroin. Neither was available to me when I might have taken them.

By the time LSD was available to me, I had met and read about too many acid casualties to take it – I thought it might tip me over some psychological edge. And, for me, heroin is a bit like suicide: you would have to be in the right mood to start it and moods pass.

Max Ernst’s L’Ange du Foyer ou le Triomphe du Surréalisme

Max Ernst’s L’Ange du Foyer ou le Triomphe du Surréalisme

The only two dreams I have ever remembered properly were nightmares rather than dreams.

Around puberty, I had a recurring dream with a rhythmic, repetitive, increasingly-loud droning sound and there was a box which I knew I should not open but which I felt compelled by the rising, droning sound to open. I never opened it but, each time I dreamed the dream, I got more and more frightened by the rising droning sound until I woke up.

It was some sort of puberty fear dream triggered, I guessed, by the droning sound of a plane flying overhead during the night. Except I don’t think there were any planes flying overhead at night.

In the other dream I remember – and which woke me up with fear – I was me but also someone else and I was running across a flat, open grassy area lit by street lights outside a house at night-time, being chased by a man with a knife who caught me and then killed me. The killing was very physically detailed and vivid.

The LA Times reports on Manson

The LA Times reports the Manson trial

Around a week later, I read very belatedly about the Charles Manson killings in Los Angeles and that was eerie, because I calculated I had had the dream around the same night the killings took place.

Except, of course, that I don’t think any of the victims were killed outside… and the UK is seven or eight hours ahead of Los Angeles, so a night-time killing in LA would happen when it was daylight morning in the UK.

So linking the two was a fantasy layered on top of a nightmare.

Inevitably, having said I don’t remember my dreams, I woke up this morning and remembered a dream. But only part of one.

And now I have forgotten it except that it had something to do with me having a dream (within my dream) of writing a blog about dreams when I woke up in the morning.

That is true.

I think.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dreams

Actress Amanda Fleming: Hollywood reality and dreams of Gothic nightmares

No prizes for guessing where Amanda and I met

No prizes for guessing where Amanda and I met last week…

The last time I blogged about my actress/film-producing namesake Amanda Fleming was in October last year when she had just produced and directed short film What a Drag.

What a Drag has now been accepted into 15 international film festivals this year, including Cannes.

Amanda was at Cannes last year too – as an actress and facilitator representing a 26-minute short she acted in: Titans of Newark.

After Cannes this year, she is probably returning to Los Angeles.

“I want to set up a Theatre In Education company over there,” she told me.

“What other projects are in the pipeline?”

Amanda directed and produced What a Drag!

Amanda Fleming directed What a Drag!

“When I go back to the States, I’m going to put on The Countess, the one-hour show about Countess Báthory. I was thinking about doing it as a movie, but then I thought: D’y’know, I might put that aside and stage it at the Los Angeles Fringe. Because I want to do something a little more gritty. I was going to do a 10 or 15 minute comedy horror film to begin with – The Fingernail That Never Grew – a sort-of Carry On spoofy Hammer.”

“You seem partial to a bit of Gothic horror,” I said. “You must have interesting dreams.”

“I’ve always had very vivid dreams since I was a very young child and, when I was 18, I started writing them down. Now I’ve got about 280 written down. Some are just a typical dream mishmash of what’s happened in your day and your brain is sorting it out. But there are others that, when you read through them, it sounds like a really, really good storyline. Some are supernatural; some are emotional.”

“Next week,” I told her, “I’m going to some Dream event, but I almost never remember my dreams. I wish I did. Can you string your dreams together to make a single narrative?”

“Yes,” said Amanda. “Or it could be a feature-length film of short Gothic horror stories.

The double cross dresser and the drag queen

What a Drag! – at Cannes and 14 other international festivals

“Not all the buyers at Cannes are looking for feature-length movies. Some are looking for short films to put on their TV channels between the main shows.

“Last year, Titans of Newark got picked up in Germany and I think China.”

“Would you prefer,” I asked her, “to make an anthology of your dreams rather than a single narrative?”

“If it was a single narrative,” laughed Amanda, “people might think: Is this person off her head? Some the stuff: you’d think I was on drugs.”

“Non-naturalism is perfect for a film, though,” I suggested. “If you’re in the area of bizarre, surreal horror anyway, then the more visually ridiculous the better.”

“I had a recurring dream,” said Amanda, “of a black panther in a tree. It was always round a corner. I had to try and go round – it was like a forest – a little cottage on the side. And I had to go round there and every single time – even though the panther would disappear – I would know it was there and then I could see its eyes and then the full body would appear and it wouldn’t let me pass until, one day, he did.

Not bad for a young girl from Rochdale

Not bad progress for a girl from Rochdale

“And another dream was about a white house on a hill. That was one of the most terrifying dreams I’ve ever had. It was a recurring one and the fear I used to feel from dreaming that dream was unbearable at times. It would wake me up.”

“You couldn’t,” I asked, “get to the white house on the hill?”

“I got closer each time I had the dream,” explained Amanda. “Each time I used to see, when I got closer and looked up at the house, the silhouette of a woman in the house, looking out of the window.”

“Sounds a bit Psycho-ish,” I said.

“You know those old Victorian houses,” asked Amanda, “where they used to have a huge greenhouse? – like a big hothouse and the lady of the house would go in there and water her plants – it was beautiful, domed, but long – and the main bedroom, which was hers, there was a door which went onto a balcony overlooking this huge hothouse. But I didn’t get to that point until just before the dreams stopped.

“Eventually, when I finally managed to pluck up the courage to open the door, I walked out onto the balcony and it was almost like an invisible force was trying to push me over it.

“The next time I dreamt that same dream, I went back onto the balcony again and I felt a strangulation round my neck. Then, the next time, there was the strangulation AND I felt like I was being pushed over the balcony. But, as I was seeing this happen in my dream, I also saw there was a rope hanging above the balcony and I realised whoever I was dreaming about had been murdered and hung there.

“That dream was terrifying because it was recurring. I was so scared of going back to the house every single time. I still remember how it looked. There was a narrow road with a brook running beside and I remember a small pub and a grove with trees and then you could see the white house on the hill.

“And I’ve been writing poetry since I was 12. I’ve got all those – over 500 poems. I’d like to put them all together with dates at the top and collect them in a book. If it makes money, that’s OK; if not, that’s not an issue.

“There’s an old saying: You try and you fail and you try and you fail, but the only true failure is when you stop trying.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Dreams, Hollywood, Movies

My dream of Ben Elton in a gas mask and the reality of severed feet in boots

Arthur Smith encouraged singing over ‘dead’ man in Royal Mile

Last year, during his annual tour, Arthur Smith encouraged singing over a ‘dead’ man on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh

Again, fantasy and reality are overlapping in my brain.

I woke up a few times during the night with my sore shoulder. Last August in Edinburgh, I tripped and fell in the dark in a crowd on the cobbles during comedian Arthur Smith’s annual fantasy tour of the Royal Mile. I fell on the shoulder which a truck had hit and pulverised in two places in 1991.

Two places in the shoulder, not two geographical places.

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of the drowning of comedian Malcolm Hardee, aged 55.

So it goes.

It was announced the actress Geraldine McEwan had died, aged 82.

So it goes.

A video went on YouTube of an Islamic extremist cutting off a Japanese journalist’s head.

So it goes.

Comedy performer Ted Robbins collapsed on stage in front of 20,000 people at the Manchester Arena, aged 59.

He is in a stable condition in hospital.

I never knew him, but kept meeting him at Granada TV in the 1980s, where he was much-loved. He seemed to be a very kind man.

Yesterday, in mid-evening, I had to interchange at West Hampstead, where there are three totally separate stations on the same road, all called West Hampstead Station. As I approached the third West Hampstead station, I had to walk through the middle of a large fist fight on the pavement, where ten or twelve large men were shouting and swinging at each other. As I walked through the middle of the fight, they parted politely, then continued hitting and shouting at each other.

Polly Trope: "It started with the psychiatric drugs and then I moved into non-psychiatric drugs.”

Not Ben Elton, but author Polly Trope in mask

When I was waking up with my shoulder last night, I was having some ongoing dream in which a woman called Arlene Gorodensky-greenhouse had comedian and writer Ben Elton’s Second World War gas mask in a blue plastic bag. Ben Elton was born in 1959; the Second World War ended in 1945.

This dream happened in a single-storey building which was either a motel or a television studio.

In another room of the same building, a totally different woman – name unknown – also had comedian and writer Ben Elton’s Second World War gas mask in a blue plastic bag. The new woman looked about 45. Then she sat down and started to put on make-up and all the wrinkles on her skin started to show and her skin sagged and emptied of flesh and she then looked about 85 and was wearing a bikini.

The odd thing about this dream is that the first woman is real and her name really is Arlene Gorodensky-greenhouse. She is staging a Grouchy Club show on 22nd February featuring me and critic Kate Copstick hosting a chat show with no guests during a Jewish Comedy Day in North West London. Copstick and I are not Jewish.

The whole of that paragraph is true.

Last night, on the train home, I had an e-mail conversation with this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith. I was in London; she was in Vancouver. The e-conversation started when she sent me a link to a wet-dream-like YouTube video featuring various people in various states of undress.

WATCH XENO’s INFERNO TRAILER Anna’s first e-heading said.

Another message from Anna said:

I have never seen the movie, but Christian Aldo and his brother Marshall Sfalcin are interesting products of Windsor, Ontario.

I knew Christian Aldo when he lived in Vancouver in the early 1990s. He was constantly creating paintings and sculptures and holding parties which he videoed. After Vancouver, he lived in New York, in Windsor Ontario (where he is from) and now he runs a gallery in Toronto called the Super Wonder Gallery which holds group shows with themes such as Naughtiness and Candy

Like many boys, Christian is fascinated by asteroids, robots, space aliens and sexy women. He also collects plastic toys from the 1960s and has made some intentionally bad films, said to be a cross between Fellini and Russ Meyer. Oh! – and he has been described as energetic and charismatic.  

When the competition opened for the design of the new World Trade Center in New York, his design was two plaster torsos of topless (female) mannequins (from the waist up). They did not win the competition.

Anna then sent me three e-mails. The first was headed:

DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER IS PLASTERED WITH POSTERS ADVERTISING A PLETHORA OF BALLS!

Vancouver Balls 2

The second was headed:

BALLS FOR THE MEN

Vancouver Balls 1

The third was headed:

MARTINI PARTIES FOR THE GIRLS

Vancouver Balls 3

A fourth e-mail then explained:

It’s all part of the gay festivities on now at Whistler (a local ski resort).

I then received a picture headed:

PEOPLE ASLEEP IN VANCOUVER

Vancouver Sleeping

I replied: “This appears to be a pair of knees with no torso camping out. With this and the outbreak of balls in ads, I think your dreams and nightmares are becoming flesh.”

Anna replied:

Are you trying to say that I dream about balls?

I replied: “Malcolm Hardee died today. Once seen, never forgotten.”

Malcolm was famed for the size of his testicles.

Anna replied:

I only saw Malcolm once.

I asked her: “Presumably naked?”

She replied:

Yes. He was naked. All the balloons were gone but he was very professional and all he said to us (the strippers at the Gargoyle Club in London) was a cheerful “Hello Ladies”…   This was much appreciated because most of the other comedians were either afraid of us or were asking dumb questions like how we could possibly be strippers and environmentalists at the same time.

Anna, who lives in a boat on a river in Vancouver, then told me without context:

Anna Smith ignores the BBC in Canada

Anna Smith as she likes to be thought of

I dreamed that I was lifting my bicycle off my deck and I dropped it into the river. Then I had to check to make sure the bicycle was still there. So many things have fallen into the river.

The Lesbians are not here any more. One went back to Spain; then the mother of the other one appeared. 

She had never met me before, but thanked me for saving her daughter’s life. In fact, I did not save her life – people are always accusing me of that – I just did basic First Aid and got someone to drive her to a clinic.

A couple of weeks ago, I looked out the window and their boat was gone. It had not sunk. It had been un-tied. Someone told me it had been towed out and tied-up downstream near The Island. 

There are two small islands down there, but we call it The Island because we only go onto one. There is nothing on them, although old docks get dumped there. It looks funny because the docks are barely attached. Some boats have been chopped up, then pieces of them float around in the tide for months.

Sometimes I see a shoe floating. 

When I see a shoe floating, I  check there is no foot in the shoe. 

There have been almost twenty shoes (trainers) found with feet in them – men’s feet. 

I do not think any of them have been identified. Do they find shoes with feet in the River Thames in London?

I replied: “I don’t think so.”

Anna replied:

NBC reports: Discovery of Human Foot ion Seattle Waterfront Adds to Appendage Tally

NBC reports: Discovery of Human Foot on Seattle Waterfront Adds to Appendage Tally

You DONT have the severed feet there?

Every couple of years, someone does a full page article about the severed feet here and then it is forgotten again. 

They are studied and theories are published about whether they were severed before death or if they were broken from the corpse by wave action. 

But nobody is finding corpses without feet. 

They are all feet from young, adult men – a single foot (none are a pair) – and nobody knows who they belong to. 

There is a new one found every few years and none has been identified as belonging to any missing person or any person missing a foot. 

Some of them are found on the Gulf Islands. One was found in the river not too far from here.

This morning, when I woke up, there was a link from Anna to a website called STRANGE REMAINS which has the sub-title: HUMAN REMAINS IN THE NEWS, STRANGE HISTORY OF CORPSES AND ODD THINGS THAT HAPPEN TO HUMAN BONES

The website entry currently starts:

The Strange Remains website - with boot

The Strange Remains website + boot

When a dead body ends up in water (whether by murder, accident, or suicide) the hands and feet easily detach from the arms and legs as the body decomposes because, compared to the rest of the body, the muscle attachments to the limbs are relatively weak.

If that body is fully clothed and dumped wearing sneakers, from time to time the feet will wash ashore completely articulated in shoes. The most famous case of this happened between 2007  and 2011, when a dozen human feet washed ashore in the Pacific Northwest. 

At the time, there were a number of theories about the origin of the decomposed feet: they belonged to murder victims, they belonged to plane crash fatalities, or they were victims of the 2004 tsunami.  But investigators from British Columbia and Washington State were able to confirm that most of these feet found on beaches from Washington Vancouver belonged to people who either committed suicide, died of natural causes or were the victims of an accident.

AlteredDimensions.net reports

AlteredDimensions.net reports on feet

Forensic investigators believe that the reason why decayed feet entombed in sneakers or hiking boots can survive intact in lakes or oceans is that the thick shoes protect them from the ocean environment and prevent fish from feeding on them.  Some investigators argue that the shoes are also the reason the feet wash ashore because of the buoyancy of the shoe, which is lightweight and rubber-soled.

The website continued:

Below is a list of decomposed feet that have been discovered from 2007 to present.  This is an open post so that it is updated as more discoveries are made.

I stopped reading at this point.

There is a limit to my thirst for knowledge.

And I was not totally convinced I was awake.

An obviously outdated Wikipedia entry on Salish Sea Human Foot Discoveries currently states that, in the relatively small area of the Salish Sea in British Columbia, “As of February 2012, only five feet of four people have been identified; it is not known to whom the rest of the feet belong. In addition, several hoax ‘feet’ have been planted in the area.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada, Crime, Death, Dreams, Eccentrics

Last night I remember I dreamt of several dead British television stations

A photo of me in the ATV promo office in the 1980s.

A photo of me in the ATV promo office in the 1980s.

Last night, I went to bed early, but kept waking up with an erratic cough, so I am just as tired as I was when I went to bed.

One benefit of constantly waking up, though, was that I remembered a dream. Regular readers of this blog will know I am semi-obsessed with NOT remembering my dreams.

Once upon a time, there was no single ITV in Britain. It was a network of 15 independent companies with geographically separated franchised contracts.

For around 20 years, I worked in TV promotions – writing and producing programme trailers – for Anglia, ATV, Central, Granada, HTV, LWT, Southern, Thames, TVS, Yorkshire and for a centralised ITV unit. I also worked on programmes – for example, the ITV Saturday morning children’s show Tiswas, produced by ATV in Birmingham.

Over those 20 years in Promotion Depts, I worked on very short-term contracts – perhaps a week, perhaps two, very rarely more than three weeks, although I did once work at Granada TV in Manchester for around six months solid on a series of rolling contracts none of which (from memory) was more than three weeks long.

Last night, I dreamt I arrived in the ATV/Central ITV building in Birmingham at the start of a new contract (I had been there before lots of times) and went to the open plan Promotions Dept office at Granada TV in Manchester.

The Promotions boss from Anglia TV in Norwich was there. He was distracted and asked me to record some programme. “Look it up on the list,” he told me.

But I had not been there for a while and did not know which list nor where they kept it.

All the Promotion Depts at the fifteen ITV companies were organised slightly differently and even one department in one company might have changed its system between my visits.

A couple of people I knew from HTV got chatting to me and, when I looked at myself in a mirror, there was a small black plastic comb stuck in the left side of my long, thick, black hair. I have never had black hair though I did once have hair. It was never thick. I think, in my dream, I may have stolen the hair from Dave Davies of The Kinks, as I saw the Kinks’ tribute musical Sunny Afternoon a couple of weeks ago in London.

How did that comb get there? I thought. It must have been there since London and now I am here in Cardiff. There was dust on the front of my black pullover where I had cleaned the lenses of my spectacles.

Then the fastening of my gold-coloured (but actually brass) watch strap was not working.

“Where’s the nearest place I can get a new watch strap?” I asked the couple from HTV in Cardiff.

We were in Birmingham.

And then I woke up in my bed in Borehamwood.

The entrance to the ATV/Central studios in Birmingham

The ‘new’ entrance to the ATV/Central studios in Birmingham

What must have triggered my dream was that, yesterday, I was sent photos of the demolition of the ‘new’ ATV/Central ITV building in which I made promotions and in which I worked on Tiswas and The (originally Big Daddy’s) Saturday Show. It was a new and fairly modern-looking building when I worked there. Now it is being demolished.  At one point, I had worked there in Birmingham on The Saturday Show programme while simultaneously producing Children’s ITV continuity links in London.

There has been a lot of overlapping in my life, a bit like a dream.

Below are the photographs I saw yesterday, as posted by Tiswas fan Mark Neun:

ATVstudiosDemolition_byLeeBannister

Leave a comment

Filed under Dreams, Television, UK

An impossible ball and a granny flat plus Steve Coogan as Reggie Kray

A man was asleep in a train in a London tube

A man was asleep in a train in a London tube

Ah! The perils of long chats with people which I then have to transcribe before I can write a blog. Especially if I have to go out earlier than I thought today.

So I have to think of a shorter blog…

A few nights ago, in the middle of the night, asleep in bed, I heard a strange sound in the ceiling.

The sound of a solid ball running on wood across the floor of the loft above my head. It rolled from the front of my bedroom ceiling towards the back.

My loft does not have a flat floor. It has beams with gaps between. It is impossible for a hard, spherical object to roll across the floor because there is no floor. And the beams and gaps between have got fluffy soft fibrous insulation over six inches thick on top of them. Nothing can roll anywhere. And the sound I heard cannot have been something rolling across the tiles of my roof from front to back, because it would have had to roll uphill and against the overlapping of the tiles.

Albert Einstein in a sphere

One spherical object seen at one relative point in some time

It was a real sound I heard. Some spherical object rolling on wood.

But it must have been a dream.

I normally do not remember my dreams at all, which is a pity.

But I have been remembering them a tiny bit more recently.

Last night, this might have been a result of me waking up because my already damaged left shoulder is still sore from tripping over a kerb in darkness during Arthur Smith’s midnight tour of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh in August and falling awkwardly on the cobbles.

Or because I keep getting cramp in my legs at night.

Or because the sole of my right foot is in pain.

Or because last night I only had five hours sleep.

Two men were at the May Fair Hotel yesterday

Two men were at the May Fair Hotel yesterday

In any case, I woke up this morning thinking I must remember to blog about the two comedians who are standing for political elections – one in Britain and one abroad. Then I remembered I had been dreaming. Then I thought maybe I was only dreaming I was dreaming and in fact it was true. Then I realised it actually really was a dream but wondered why I had dreamt of that. Then I remembered comedian Eddie Izzard has talked about running for Mayor of London and that the late Malcolm Hardee had run for Parliament 1978.

Malcolm’s manifesto commitments included a cable car for pensioners to the top of Greenwich Hill… Bringing proper fog back to London for old times’ sake… Re-launching the Cutty Sark… And concreting-over the River Thames so people could travel about more easily.

He got more votes than the Communist Party and the National Front.

Since then, a cable car has been built across the Thames.

So it can only be a matter of time before the concrete mixers arrive.

On the train home late last night, I remember two people were talking.

Micky Fawcett (left) with Reggie Kray and Frances

Micky (left) with Reggie Kray and Reggie’s wife Frances

They were talking about performing as a pantomime horse over the Christmas period and arguing over whether it was better to be the front half or the rear end.

Yesterday, I also had tea with Micky Fawcett, a former associate of gangsters The Kray Twins, at the May Fair Hotel. Micky said he thought Steve Coogan would make a very good Reggie Kray in a movie.

Over the Christmas period, Italian comedian Luca Cupani told me he had been looking for a new flat. He had seen one advertised but had decided not to make contact. I thought he should. The ad read:

AFFORDABLE ACCOMMODATION CLAPHAM COMMON
CLAPHAM, WEST LONDON

Luca flats ad

A flat was offered for rental in London with no internet access

Shared bedroom small flat with limited space for a flatmate M/F.

NO TV, landline, internet, just radios. Has suited ambitious but impecunious students/workers prepared to share partitioned bedroom with a granny.

Nearest tube Clapham Common / bus 35/37/137/345

Everything above was real.

I think.

Who can tell?

Not me.

2 Comments

Filed under Dreams, Surreal

My surreal yesterday

A selfie taken by myself while asleep

A selfie taken by myself while asleep but not while dreaming

I am someone who remembers his dreams only rarely. This morning, I remembered a detail from last night.

I was with a group of people and went ahead to check-out or to book a restaurant.

The restaurant was crowded and, at the entrance, there was a piece of paper lying on a table with a partially completed painting of an ape’s face. A man then drew a single line top-to-bottom on the uncompleted face of the ape to create a nose which comprised both a left and right side.

Before this (in my dream) I had been to another restaurant where another man had been creating a painting of something else. I do not remember what. I am not sure I even knew in my dream.

I have no idea where either of these dreams came from.

In what passed for reality last night, in crowded pre-christmas London, a traditional Christmas-card stage coach pulled by two horses passed me in Charing Cross Road, near Leicester Square. Further down, a small Cinderella type spherical coach pulled by two horses was passing the National Portrait Gallery. Round the corner, inside the National Gallery there were no pictures of apes and no-one was painting.

Afterwards, my eternally-un-named friend and I went to see the play King Charles III at Wyndham’s Theatre. Lovely theatre.

King Charles III poster

King Charles III poster for the man who would be George VII

The play is plotted around some future time when the Queen dies and Prince Charles becomes king.

Though, in fact, I seem to remember Prince Charles saying years ago that he would take the title King George VII when he ascended the throne, presumably because King Charleses have a dodgy pedigree – the first had his head chopped off and the second hobnobbed with female orange-sellers. The recent Georges (well, V to VI – let’s ignore I to IV) have a solid, dependable feel to them.

The play had a good enough plot with a good enough ending but it was utterly ruined by the fact it had been decided to write all the dialogue of this future fantasy in pseudo Elizabethan blank verse interspersed with modern-day slang. I am sure this affectation was bullshitted as something deeply intellectual and meaningful and possibly even looked good on paper, but it scuppered both credibility and my will to live.

London was crowded last night

Crowded London last night,  last Saturday before Christmas

After this, at London Bridge station, in a crowded corridor, we passed a man with bulls horns on his head. A few minutes later, in a totally different corridor, a man was trying to run through the crowd dressed as a matador.

The two men appeared to have no connection.

When I got home, there was an e-mail from mad inventor & Malcolm Hardee Comedy Award designer John Ward telling me that he was now Chairman and Minister For Inventions of The Eccentric Party. He signed himself ‘The Most Honarabble Sir Dusty Wells-Fargo’. This hints, I think, that it is unwise to live in Lincolnshire.

Although Vancouver must run it a pretty close race.

Because I also had an e-mail from this blog’s occasional Canadian correspondent Anna Smith. I have no explanation for her reference to a spaniel. Nor for much else. Her e-mail reads:


Anna Smith in the Vancouver bookshop

Anna Smith, a woman with surreal tendencies

I know a couple of feral puppies just flown in from Santiago de Chile to the suburban wilds of Surrey, British Columbia. One is male, one female (in case the spaniel is gay) but they won’t be old enough to marry for a while.

I saw two different men on Davie Street who were wearing long tails: one looked like a rope, the other a rainbow-coloured horse tail.

A few nights ago, a man on Robson Street was wearing a white home-made dog-like mask. A few minutes later I saw a man wearing a white ten gallon cowboy hat, a white T-shirt and black Wellington boots. I think he was wearing shorts.

In the library, the kid at the computer next to mine was rolling a huge joint.

The librarians no longer have desks. They roam around and are difficult to locate but there is a phone from which they can be summoned. There are wicker baskets full of condoms and lube on the shelves and still a few books.

There is a lot of swearing, with people screaming “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” at their computer screens and fights break out with monotonous regularity. Everyone is used to this. They glance up to be sure it is not escalating towards them and return to their screens.

The provincial government is very smug because they just spent millions of dollars to increase the mental hospital capacity by fourteen beds.

Out in the rain, I talked with a broken-looking older man trying – without success – to sell calendars for charity. I asked him what he was going to do for Christmas and he said he was going to stay home and do ecstasy.

Earlier in the day, a couple of gay Jehovah’s Witnesses stopped to talk to me. They said they could show me how I could live for a thousand years.

“But I don’t want to live for a thousand years,” I told them.

“You won’t have to die,” they said.

“But I’m not afraid of dying,” I told them. “I have died so many times. It was not scary at all. It was totally relaxing. All the things you worry about like the water bill you don’t care any more. I did not go through a tunnel or see lights or anything and, when I came back, I was happy.”

They looked relieved… What I said to them about dying not being unpleasant really seemed to cheer them up and they walked away happily of their own accord and went across the street into a cafe to take a  break from the witnessing.


Perhaps I am missing nothing by seldom remembering my dreams.

Life can be surreal enough.

Leave a comment

Filed under Canada, Dreams, Surreal, Theatre

My dream island: my latest visit

This is not the island that I write about

This is not the island that I write about

There is an idyllic little island which, I think, is off the north west coast of Africa.

You reach it via an entrance in the basement of the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square, London.

It has lots of TV channels and they are thinking of starting a TV channel which will tell you about any programme changes on any of the other channels.

I was thinking about the island this morning as I woke up.

I was trying to figure out if this was a real place or if I was dreaming about it. What confused me was that I had been there before.

Maybe a couple of times, maybe three times.

Guardian reported on San Serriffe in 1977

Guardian reported on San Serriffe in 1977

And this was strange because I never remember my dreams – which made me fairly sure this morning that this must be reality and not a dream.

In fact, I am not sure I have actually been to the island. Unlike most dreams, there were no visual details – which, again, made me fairly certain it was not a dream. It was more like I was experiencing the concept of an island reached via the basement of the Odeon cinema in Leicester Square, rather than the reality.

All I could really see and all I really remember is the view within the stairwell leading down into the basement of the Odeon, Leicester Square, not any sight on the island.

I have been to the island more recently than the Odeon

I have been to the island more recently than the Odeon

I do not think I have been to the Odeon, Leicester Square, for perhaps a year or eighteen months.

Perhaps the Odeon chain have found a way to reach into people’s minds to practise subliminal advertising.

I guess it must have been a dream this morning. But the dream was very real. Though strangely un-detailed. Which made me think it was real, because a dream would be more vivid.

I usually write down in this blog the few dreams I remember.

If I start remembering too many dreams, I think I may have to stop writing them down.

I think it is possible you may agree with me.

1 Comment

Filed under Dreams, Surreal

The men I dreamed about last night…

ThoughtBubbleI seldom remember my dreams – which is rather sad – and usually only if I get woken up during one. This morning at seven o’clock, I woke up and had been in mid-dream.

I was in a two-storey suburban house with stairs and an unseen mezzanine floor on which unseen film director Peter Jackson was adding a voice-over narration to a cartoon version of his Lord of the Rings which strangely involved the legend of Beowulf.

I knew the unseen Peter Jackson was doing this, because there was a large flat screen television screen on the wall of the upstairs hall where I could see the images of the cartoon adventure and occasionally hear Peter Jackson’s voice filling-in gaps in the narrative.

He was speaking in a rich, stentorian, deeply-growling mock-heroic English accent, which was strange given that Peter Jackson is a New Zealander.

David Don’t did... appear in my dream last night

David Don’t did… appear in my dream last night… oddly

Meanwhile, next to the upstairs hall, in a room into which I occasionally wandered, David Don’t, the magician husband of British comic Charmian Hughes was taking out of a dusty grey tin box some torn and tattered pieces of old grey parchment on which were hand-written indecipherable words in black ink. David Don’t works in a bank in the City of London and the torn and tattered centuries-old pieces of parchment had something to do with the bank.

I remember a teacher at my school told us that one theory of why dreams exist is the brain is like a filing cabinet and, in dreams, we are filing away new information and cross-referencing it with old information.

Last night I was watching Part One of Melvyn Bragg’s excellent eight-part 2003 TV series The Adventure of English which largely dealt with Old English – Beowulf and the like. Coincidentally, my blog of two days ago had been about rich-voiced comedy performer John Henry Falle’s interest in Beowulf and Old English sagas.

The Adventure of English is, at least for the moment, on YouTube.

Last night, I also stumbled on the second half of a BBC4 TV series on How The Wild West Was One With Ray Mears which dealt with the Great Plains and included at least one dusty grey old house and earth-brick-built homes which were called sod houses. I do not remember any musty, dusty grey boxes appearing, but maybe one did.

Comedy stage performer John Henry Falle was also talking to me in my blog two days ago about wizards while David Don’t is a comedy stage magician. So maybe everything in the dream WAS connecting with everything else and all the elements in the dream had happened in the last few days.

But, then, the human brain can find a connection between anything and anything as many a conspiracy theorist proves.

Perhaps I should start taking drugs or cheese to improve my dreams.

Last night’s How The Wild West Was One With Ray Mears is – apparently legitimately – also on YouTube.

2 Comments

Filed under Dreams

I had a dream… when I was eighteen

My iPad has become spiderwebbed cracked

My iPad has become spiderwebbed cracked

My blog is posted a tad late today because I managed to drop my iPad on the bathroom floor last night and the screen cracked the into tens of superficial spiders’ webs. It still works, but the screen is buggered.

Today I discover that Apple can’t replace the screen because the whole thing is a single unit. I have to buy a new iPad at a reduced price. It has all been terribly time-consuming.

So, instead of a blog today, here is a dream I had when I was eighteen:

Me... when I was aged eighteen

Me… when I was aged eighteen

I was on the River Thames where there was a large suspension bridge with large grey girders held together with big bolts. The water in the river was thrashing like a rough Atlantic storm. The individual waves were racing with each other – each wave unsuccessfully trying to play piggyback on the previous one, moving faster and faster from left to right.

There was a wind coming from somewhere; I couldn’t figure from where but, at the same time, I did know where it came from.

Look, it was a dream. What can I say?

We wondered where we were but I didn’t know who was with me.

Somewhere in among all this water, there was a country lane and wider roads. In colour. And I was in a car.

The car drove over and down a low hill and stopped between two fields of rich, golden corn. Then the car went through a very small wood further along. I seemed to know where the wood was but could not quite remember where.

My father was in the car. He said: “It’s because the corn is not quite good enough.”

I told him something about a school outing to a forest, but I knew that forest was not where we were now.

There was still a field of corn to the left of us.

When it ended, there was green, downy grass which, a little further along, met a slight slope.

Every geographical detail felt small, homely and warm: within hand’s reach.

About halfway between the rich, golden corn and the slight slope was a dark brown rabbit, sitting on its hind quarters with long, soft ears sticking gently up towards the sky. Just sitting there on the downy green.

When we got near to the rabbit, I had thought it would run away, but it did not. It just sat there looking at us, then scampered off up the hill.

We had a dog with us. It was large and black and white and rather dirty and squarish. Like a black-and-white St Bernard which was waist-high to my father.

“Oh no!” my father said.

He had slapped the dog on its rear and it had chased the rabbit up the slight green downy slope.

The dog chased and chased and chased the rabbit. Its jaws moved as it neared the rabbit’s rear haunches and I told someone to call him back.

My aunt said: “No-one can call him back now.”

And soon the rabbit and the pursuing dog were over the crest of the hill and had disappeared to the left of dark green trees and I was in a house.

Well, I was not in a house. It was a little wooden shack. A hut.

I was looking straight out through the open door onto the scene. I don’t know what the scene was, but I was looking at it. My mother was standing beside me, to my left.

A huntsman came over the top of the hill wearing his bright red huntsman jacket but with bright, clean, bright orange trousers. I thought fleetingly: “That’s odd.”

He rode down the hill on a horse and I shouted something at him. The sound reverberated in the small hut.

My mother, with a smile and mock courtesy asked the huntsman – who was now out-of-sight to my right – some question about which way to go or which way to get out.

Then we were out of the hut with a path leading away on our left and a path leading away on our right.

And then I woke up.

I have no idea what that dream from when I was eighteen means.

All suggestions from suitably qualified psychologists gratefully received.

Normal blog service will, I hope, be resumed tomorrow.

I lament the fact that I no longer remember my dreams.

2 Comments

Filed under Dreams, Surreal