Tag Archives: dream

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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Yesterday, I saw an old woman and the publishing industry jumping off a roof

The future of traditional publishing

The future of traditional print publishing

Last night, I had a dream.

I was standing on one side of a slightly old-fashioned British shopping street, perhaps built in the 1950s or 1960s, just after the Second World War.

The buildings had right-angled edges and flat roofs – What were architects thinking after the War? Flat roofs? This is rain-drenched Britain, not some part of sun-drenched California.

The shops on the other side of the road were two storeys high and slightly set back from the road with a wider-than-normal pavement. They liked to have lots of pedestrian space in front of shops after the War. I guess there were flats where people lived above the row of shops; I wasn’t really aware of such fine details in my dream.

But I became aware, at the last moment, that an old woman was standing on the edge of the roof above the shops, two storeys up. As I became aware of her, she jumped. She was wearing a light pink, thick woollen coat. And she wore a head scarf.

When she hit the concrete paving slabs below, there was the sound of three – it might have been four – ear-deafening cracks – the sound of breaking bones. There was a slight echo as her bones broke. Her legs hit the concrete paving slabs first, then she crumpled. But she survived the fall. As she lay there, I could see her face contorting as the ever-different agonies hit her. But I could not hear her desperate screams.

“People think you’re certainly going to die if you jump,” I said to someone. “Stupid.”

I guess she died eventually.

Well, she would do, wouldn’t she…

People do.

So it goes.

Yesterday, I went to the first in a two day seminar about Self Publishing held in the Guardian newspaper’s very modern new offices. I was not initially impressed as, at this cyberworld event in their flash new-ish building, it took over ten minutes for someone to tell me what the access code for the internet was.

“Here it is,” she eventually told me, “but it’s very unreliable.”

And so it proved.

Very very unreliable.

It took me around nine attempts to actually post my already-written blog yesterday morning.

Not impressive.

I was also not impressed when the intro included the words (I paraphrase) “Penguin Books are not going to collapse.”

They were taken over by Random House in the last month. The new entity has been nick-named ‘Randy Penguin’.

In a tea break, an art lecturer said to me: “Artists have always been self-publishers when they start out.”

True. And something I had never thought about.

I had also never thought about the fact that, with books now selling online with small thumbnail images of the cover, book designs have to be less detailed and perhaps less interesting than they used to be – in the same way that, when CDs replaced LPs, the cover artwork was more effective when slightly simplified because the physical size was smaller.

The very wise and very clever author Polly Courtney pointed out that the people wheeled on to radio and TV shows to talk about some subject-of-the-moment are often actually not genuine experts – they are just people who have written a recent book about the subject.

The day’s talks made me even more certain that printed books – like vinyl records and soon CDs – are dead. Vinyl records still exist, as do VHSs.

That art lecturer told me a student had recently wanted to shoot and edit something on VHS “to give it an old-fashioned feel”.

Vinyl records still exist. I guess printed books will still exist. But the business will be in cyberspace. Print-on-demand will fill the gap as traditional publishing declines, but eBooks are the future. And self publishing.

Apparently, last year, 18 of the top 100 books sold on Amazon were self-published.

Apparently, crime writer John Locke – the first man to sell over a million self-published digital books on Amazon.com – sold his first two novels at 99p each… His third book was priced at £1.99… and then he priced his next book – How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months! – at £5.99 … It now seems to be on Amazon at £8.99 reduced to £1.88.

Other things I learned yesterday were that only the foolish self-publish in the run-up to Christmas because the current competition from traditional publishers is too intense… and there is a spike in e-book sales in January because people are playing with their new Kindles, iPads and other electronic readers.

Traditional publishing, like the woman who jumped from the roof, is not dead. But it is in agony and terminally crippled.

And, no, I did not make up the dream of a woman jumping.

Yes, I  really did dream that.

Any psychologists out there who can explain the dream, please do.

Any traditional publishers out there with money they want to throw my way to prove me wrong, please do.

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Last night I had a dream and saw a Native American not Michael Winner

Unseen film director Michael Winner

I had a dream last night.

I was in a very large warehouse. It was completely empty.

Two young men came in. Both acted like jack-the-lad Essex boys. Both were a bit twitchy, but smiling, yet I knew there was something dangerous about them. They were talking to each other and to me. They were being amiable but in a dangerous way.

The warehouse was so big its floor stretched almost to infinity. It had a horizon and the floor and ceiling and walls were a light brown, sandy colour.

From the horizon, a figure started running towards me. It was a miniature Red Indian – sorry, Native American – perhaps only two feet high but his head-dress and his head were out-of-scale and were too big for his body like in a Warner Brothers cartoon. He was in sepia and, as he ran, light tan dust clouds were created behind him.

As he approached me at immense speed, I motioned to my left and he swerved and leapt upwards onto one of the two youths. As they fought, the Red Indian – sorry, Native American – turned into rapidly-changing abstract coloured shapes and he lost his fight with the Essex boy.

Then we were outside the warehouse in an open shopping car park, but there were no cars. The Red Indian – sorry, Native American – still in the form of rapidly-changing abstract coloured shapes – was ricocheting around in random movements as if he had been radio controlled and the controller had gone haywire.

I do not know what happened then. The dream just fizzled out.

Or perhaps I woke up.

Sometimes with dreams it is difficult to know if you have woken up or not.

I had been going to write a totally different blog this morning, but it fell through last night.

Famous people are strange. We dip in and out of their lives, missing big chunks including, sometimes, their deaths.

The late late Larry Hagman of Dallas

When the new series of Dallas started on channel Five a few weeks ago, my eternally-un-named friend and I were both amazed that it co-starred actor Larry Hagman, because we both thought we distinctly remembered him dying a few years ago.

Then, yesterday morning, came the news that he really had died the day before.

Last night, my eternally-un-named friend and I went to the Cinema Museum in South London to see an interview with film director Michael Winner which, unknown to us, had been cancelled a fortnight ago because of his ill-health.

Apparently, last month, he revealed he had been told he only has 18 months to live. I had missed those reports.

Apparently he is going to sell his large house in Kensington and move into a flat.

As I mentioned in a blog last December, I sat in the garage of Michael Winner’s large house in Kensington a few years ago.

He was being interviewed for a documentary and, not unreasonably, did not allow the film crew into his house. If he was to be interviewed at home, it had to be in his garage. It could have been in his garden, but the weather was variable.

When he was making movies, he had a fearsome film industry reputation for being polite to the stars of his movies but treating underlings with a lot less deference.

Movie critic Barry Norman once stated: “To say that Michael Winner is his own worst enemy is to provoke a ragged chorus from odd corners of the film industry of Not while I’m alive!

I had seen an interview with Michael Winner a few years before our garage interview in which he claimed that, when he went to parties on his own, he was sometimes almost too shy to go into a room full of strangers.

On the day of the garage filming, he provided value for money. His answers were vivid and filled with excellent sound bites. A real pro. But he was very prickly. My cheap psychology would say he was defensively sarcastic; he put up a surprisingly defensive wall for someone so successful.

Last night was strange.

I had somehow missed the fact Michael Winner had eaten an oyster in Barbados in 2007 and, as a result, had caught the bacterial infection Vibrio vulnificus, which kills 95 per cent of its victims within 48 hours, that he had to have 19 operations over 10 weeks and been on the brink of death five times. He also caught the superbug MRSA and had to have part of his leg cut away.

He wrote his own obituary for the Daily Mail in 2010

I had also missed the fact that, last year, he married the woman he had dated briefly when she was a 16-year-old wannabe actress and he was a 21-year-old aspiring film-maker. They had met again in 2005. It sounded very romantic and very touching.

We dip in and out of other people’s lives, glimpsing only random snapshots.

As we drove home round the Elephant & Castle roundabout, my eternally-un-named friend said to me: “It’s just so random.”

“The traffic?” I asked.

“Life,” she said.

“Compared to being brought up on RAF camps?” I said.

“Yes,” she said. “Sometimes we used to be at war. As a rehearsal. The camp would be at war for two days. Life in the outside world is just anarchy.”

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Far away from topless Kate Middleton, critic Kate Copstick’s shock pregnancy…

The big story in British newspapers

The big story in British newspapers for the last couple of days has been the French magazine (and now the Irish newspaper) publishing topless photos of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.

I blogged yesterday about a very enjoyable visit to the Pull The Other One comedy club and about the origin of the word ‘Wally’.

Meanwhile, in the real world, a couple of days ago, nine men were found hanging from a bridge in Mexico and the Syrian civil war continues, mostly unreported.

Doyenne of British comedy critics Kate Copstick, meanwhile, is currently in Kenya, where she spends four months every year and where her Mama Biashara charity aims to help poor women start up self-sustaining businesses.

These are a couple of extracts from her diary.

____________________

Kate Copstick: story of an unexpected pregnancy in Kenya

Saturday

The small market is in full swing and I learn from one of the woman that my friend Janet has been taken to Kisii because she was having complications with a pregnancy I had no idea she was having (the last two ended in miscarriage) and she couldn’t afford the medical fees in Nairobi. I get a number and call Janet. She doesn’t sound good.

The baby is too big, she says. Coming from Janet – a woman who would have given Rubens himself pause for thought – that is quite something. The baby is backwards, she says. As it is unborn, I assume this refers to position in the womb, not IQ. The doctors say it might die, she says.  I say I will try to get to Kisii but I do not have much time.

Doris is only an hour and a half late (“because of jam”) but gives great feedback on the women Mama Biashara medicated and financed last time out. Pretty much all good! The ladies with the pus-ridden gums are all sorted, the man with the infected leg is still one of the Great Unwashed but healed up, some businesses are really flourishing, some are opening second branches, some rice sellers are finding out our warnings about low profit margins are true and tweaking their business to increase income.

The least successful workshop seems to have been the one where God was called upon to strike me down. (Previously blogged about here)

Businesses are going on but there is no massive expansion.

Still, the women have income.

Doris comes back to my little house and we sort through the medication I have – an eclectic mix, thanks to Zetta making almost nightly raids on her friends’ medicine chests.

The first clinic and workshop is fixed for Monday in Limuru.

How do people sleep on plastic sheeting ? I slide all over my mattress and the sheet just slips off into a ball in the corner. I feel like wetting myself just so I can enjoy the benefits of the thing, rather than the drawbacks. But I don’t.

Monday

We are guided to the dying boy by a woman up a tree on top of a hill shouting things like “I can see you!” and “You have gone too far!” down Felista’s phone. At one point, Felista gets out of the car and walks in front, taking instructions from the woman in the tree on the hill. We crawl along behind, like the first cars driving behind a man with a red flag.

When we get there, it is to find a woman who looks like a twiglet in a hat lying on an old mattress in a mud hut and a boy sitting outside. His face looks hamster-like. He is listless. Probably neither is being helped to health by not having eaten in days.

I head off back down the hill to get food, charcoal and anything else useful the settlement shops might have. Bones for soup as it turns out.

Joseph, the boy, is being ‘looked after’ by a group calling themselves the DREAM Foundation.

The Sisters of Charity of St Vincent get huge amounts of money to identify positive children ‘at risk’ in the community and place them in homes, monitor them, give them food and make sure they are getting the right medication.

This translates – in the real world – into They find children who are positive, take them to a home and dump them there. The kids have to come to the DREAM centre for monitoring (a round trip of at least half a day, costs to be borne by Felista), seem to have doctors who trained under Dr Mengele on the staff (or didn’t train at all), hand out a couple of kgs of gruel flour and a bag of sugar each month to each kid as ‘nutritional support’ and then, if the child stops responding to the very basic medication they offer (two lines of antiretroviral drugs and little else), they send them away to any relative they can find to die, as dying in a DREAM approved home would look bad on the statistics.

Joseph has stopped responding to the second line of antiretroviral drugs, hence he has been sent to die in a mud hut on a hill with an ancient twiglet as his carer.

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Before “Star Wars” men, I dream of comic Stewart Lee in a tight-fitting suit

Slow traffic yesterday was not as fast as comic Stewart Lee.

I drove up to Edinburgh from London yesterday. It took an hour longer than normal because, between Birmingham and Preston – a distance of 95 miles – the M6 motorway was clogged and we were stopping as often and as unpredictably as the humour in a BBC3 comedy show.

The good news, though, was it took so long that even my non-technical brain realised I could plug my new iPhone into the car’s cigarette lighter socket and, by putting the iPhone in the papier mâché mounting moulded by a friend for my SatNav (after some bastard thieves nicked the original in Greenwich) I could use T-Mobile’s unlimited data plan to listen to the BBC TV News channel while driving up the motorway. To be safe – of course, officer – I only watched the screen when stuck in traffic jams.

I felt as if I had, somehow, dipped a belated toe into what would have seemed a wildly futuristic world to Jules Verne or H.G.Wells.

Which is appropriate, because I am up in Edinburgh to attend a two day event organised by the Guardian newspaper at which both Gary Kurtz, producer of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, and 20th Century Fox’s former vice president Sandy Lieberson explain “how Star Wars, a film rejected by most of the major studios, was put into production by 20th Century Fox and went on to become one of the most iconic films in the history of cinema”.

By coincidence last night, just before I went to bed, I was phoned by the late comedian Malcolm Hardee’s sister Clare. She had mis-dialled. When I told her I was in Edinburgh, she asked:

“Oh, are you up there scouting something for the Fringe?”

When I told her why I was up in Edinburgh, she said:

“Oh, me and Steve (her husband) went to Tunisia last month and saw the Star Wars sets there out in the desert… We went out into the Sahara Desert… and it rained!… Isn’t that typical?… It was lovely, though.”

I then went to bed.

For unknown reasons, I woke up several times during the night, which means I remember a dream I had. It involved Malcolm Hardee Award winning, sophisticated and intelligent comedian Stewart Lee (whose TV show was yesterday re-commissioned by BBC2 for another two series).

He was performing at the Hackney Empire in London wearing a suit several times too small for him. (Two days ago, a friend of mine complained that my trousers were too short because she could see my socks.) On stage, he looked like sexually-disgraced American comic Pee-wee Herman.

Stewart’s act involved stuffing rapidly into his mouth several ham sandwiches on brown bread then trying to speak, which simply meant he was spitting and spewing out lots of little pieces of half-eaten brown bread and ham while he told for-him unusually rapid-fire jokes.

I have seen this ‘act’ before but cannot remember who did it.

The ham sandwiches were similar to ones I had eaten on the long drive up to Edinburgh.

This goes some way to explaining the content of the dream, but possibly not far enough for comfort.

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I dreamt last night of a green gash…

My mouth with a cough sweet in it.

I am still coughing in the night and I must have woken myself up again, because I remember I dreamt last night about being in a car in a city. I had just arrived by plane. The car was driving through the streets and there was a strange horizontal glowing gash in the sky, like a horizontal slash with an intense dark green inside it.

A vertical column of various cloudy greys – whooshed up from among the buildings to join the green gash.

And then, looking over, I saw between high buildings, the top of another tall building falling at 45 degrees; it was toppling over. It had a pyramidal top, like the Canary Wharf tower in London, but I was not in London; I was abroad somewhere.

It was not a nightmare, just a dream.

“Oh, that’s interesting,” I thought.

In a couple of weeks, I am probably going to Kiev for the weekend, to attend a Burns Supper on 31st March, despite the fact Burns Night is 25th January.

Kiev is 62 miles south of Chernobyl.

I drove to Greenwich last night and passed through the Blackwall Tunnel with the Canary Wharf tower’s pyramidal top flashing its white light in the night.

I don’t know which is stranger – the way the mind twists reality into surreality or the fact that a Burns Night is being held in Kiev on 31st March.

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