One of my benchmarks for judging how well my life is going at various points is whether my daily life is more interesting and colourful than my dreams are. Dreams certainly won the battle during my unadventurous school years; life scored occasional victories as I discovered adulthood; and when I was travelling a lot and stimulated by pleasant islands and weird racism, consciousness took the biscuit.
It's probably no surprise that since I slowed down and semi-settled in Davao, my waking hours (I said waking) spent churning out repetitive copy, chasing down pests and fixing everybody's financial woes for about a fortnight have been usurped by my slightly more interesting dreams. Only slightly though, as you'd be right in suspecting if you made it through any of my tedious dream journals written last year when I wasn't doing very much either.
Because I'm not doing anything worth writing about when I'm awake, here's yet another collection - more chaotic, unthemed and with mercifully brief plot synopses this time - of various dreams I've had over the last couple of months, and been able to recall and hastily note down in my bedside notepad or desktop Things.txt notepad upon waking.
I haven't looked back on any of these since I wrote them, haven't added details to make them artificially entertaining, and some of the ones written in the dark with closed eyes and a sleepy hand were basically illegible, but I strove for accuracy as you never know when this might come in useful for future psychiatry.
I'm taking a hot air balloon ride with my girlfriend and a few other tourists, inside a worryingly rickety wicker basket. We're advised to sit on a mouldy old sofa to help us brace for the descent, but with the swaying and acceleration I'm not entirely confident that health and safety has been accounted for.
Influence?: I flew in a balloon once?
This one was excitedly scrawled in the notebook upon waking, as I must have been convinced it was brilliant, but I can't read much of it. Something about an alien living among us in a suburban setting, who does some teleporting and can heal people with a pendant shaped like an omega symbol. Someone's army dad is the bad guy, who doesn't know his kid is teamed up with the friendly alien. I think it's a children's film from the 80s.
I learn I have an identical twin or clone, who is going around the neighbourhood committing crimes and generally being a dick. Fortunately, the police know I'm the innocent one and enlist my help to track him down. The rooms I am in tend to be lit by red lighting while CCTV footage shows the impostor tends to hang around in green-lit rooms, which I note in the dream is a handy visual motif, just in case I forgot which one I was. He has one of my money-stealing ex-girlfriends as an accomplice, that figures.
And We're Incesty to the Max
I am Wakko from the Animaniacs. He's the daft one with the cap and jumper, who I didn't realise until this moment had a Ringo Starr accent. We're making some kind of reality TV show and behind-the-scenes I meet up with Dot, the girl Animaniac and therefore my sister, with whom I'm in love. I would like to clarify that there was no cartoon porn involved, we just had those dream-type romantic feelings (like you do? No?) and knew our love would be frowned upon if word got out.
At least it wasn't Chicken Boo (© Warner Bros. (and Warner Sis.))
I'm back in the UK and meet up in a bar with someone I haven't seen for years to catch up, who happens to be gay. When he goes to get a drink, I overhear some jerk at another table comment on his homosexuality. I go over and defiantly make him justify his statement, knowing I might get hit but that it's okay because I am objectively in the right. Not the most exciting of dreams, even by my standards, but I hope I can be this bold/stupid when I'm awake.
Influence?: Having to stick up for human rights in every other country?
Do You Have Anything Not By Ayn Rand?
I'm drafted into some kind of impending trench battle situation. A shouty drill instructor spouts the usual cliches and we proceed to get kitted up, where I have difficulty finding shoes that fit because I was one of the less enthusiastic recruits at the back of the line. I observe that war is more like a school games lesson than I expected.
We'll be spending hours in this trench and only now do I learn we're allowed to read books. I'm very annoyed, as I was halfway through an Umberto Eco one that I would have brought if I'd known, and I'm not interested in the few they have on their shelves.
Influence?: Lackluster hostel libraries.
Cafe au Laid to Rest (I know, cheers)
I'm having quite a nice time in a cafe, chatting to a woman who has a rare 'fish memory' disorder that means she forgets her entire life every few hours (this is directly plagiarised from Dan Simmons' Hyperion, in case you thought it sounded like a good idea to steal). Suddenly, some ghoulish cyborgs burst in and start murdering people with their slicey utensil hands. I decide to restart the scene to give myself time to escape next time around, but when I exit the cafe I see all the streets and alleys are blocked by approaching cyborgs, and find out the cafe owners are in on it too. I give in to my shish kebab fate.
Influence?: Hyperion before bedtime. Maybe Funny Games too, but I saw that years ago. The baddies looked sort of like the rubbish Borg Cenobites from Hellraiser III.
© Paramount / Dimension / Miramax, some combination of that
I am one of several traumatised witnesses to a woman's horrific trampling by a horse. She screams, blood and guts go everywhere, it's very unpleasant. I come forward as a witness to clarify that it was an accident and I'm questioned in a room by an 'arson expert.' I tell him sarcastically that I don't think it was terrorists.
I'm in college, but it's a stereotypical American college. A mischievous friend and I put some 'dangerous plants' (that's as specific as my description gets) on the roof of two school buildings, a few minutes later they collapse. Holy shit, we realise, we're in trouble. Then I spare a thought for all the dead people.
While some of these I can bulk out from memory, all I have for this one is:
'Doctor Who again, I do scandalous things in a wood cabin.'
Doctor... What? II
'Some weird landscape, a hot air balloon descends. Revolution happening, I'm part of it, secret documents and winks. I'm a doctor?'
Music Mangles the Savage Ghost
I am some kind of Ghostbuster (I watched the Ghostbusters films recently). Instead of proton packs and traps, I catch ghosts using a sort of CD player thing, but when I activate it I forget I left an Opeth CD in there, rather than... the ghost-catching CD-R or whatever. The ghost does get pulled in, but is horrifically mutilated and destroyed rather than being humanely trapped like I intended. I feel sad.
Influence?: Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II. This is most definitely influenced by my own pest problems and pussy hippie refusal to murder things.
Do not stand at my grave and weep / I was already a ghost (© Peaceville)
Piss and Cheddar
I'm back at university (not my actual university) and Richard Herring is doing a show somewhere on campus - like his recent Meaning of Life project, he's not confident it'll be a success. During a lull in his performance I (rudely!) crack a joke about an aftershave he's marketing smelling like 'alien piss' and Richard seems genuinely hurt, to the point that he abandons the show and Paul Daniels has to fill in, throwing cheese off the stage rather than doing the magic he is better known for. I catch one (a big red one), as does Jackie, but hers is a stinky one I don't like, so I say we should leave it since it would be rude to take two home when other people won't have any. Really, it's just because it stinks.
Influence?: Richard Herring podcasts before bedtime. The smelly food my girlfriend likes to cook sometimes. Don't know where Paul Daniels came from.
I've let myself get talked into a seriously depressing job in some middle-of-nowhere town in the Australian Outback. As always in these dreams where I'm doing a parody of a 9-to-5 job, I chastise myself for giving up the freedom of freelance work. After a few weeks of not really having understood what I'm supposed to be doing on the computer, I flee and go back to a company I used to work for, but then get threatening letters and a visit from the Australian boss demanding that I owe him work or money. Writing this is making me depressed.
Influence?: Maybe I'm taking tales of nightmare foreign jobs in Australia too seriously.
You Thought the Rat Was Bad
I return home to find the floor strewn with beasties of all types, from insects and mice to lizards, frogs and ducklings. I regrettably squash some of them as I navigate my way across the room.
Influence?: I dreamed this the first night I dealt with our recurring rat. There may have been residual stress from a torchlit walk down dirt tracks on Gili Trawangan a few months ago, desperately trying to avoid squishing frogs (no casualties).
I have been tasked with designing a theme park ride. I walk around the artificial island where it will be constructed and am intimidated by the local wildlife - big, colourful cockroach type creatures that I somehow know are called 'Pees.' A friendly monkey climbs onto my shoulder and speaks to me. I whip out my MP3 player and start recording so I'll have proof that a monkey spoke, but electronics never work in my dreams, so I know no one will believe me.
Something about a YouTube video rip-off of the alien from Alien, called a 'Pino.' I don't know. Presumably there are further plot insights here, but I don't speak the language:
I Still Can't Look After Animals
I start travelling again, accompanied by a cat I used to know in Edinburgh who has deteriorated and become all brown and shrivelled because that always happens in my dreams.
My Nana is alive, but as always happens in these dreams about my grandparents, it isn't long before she deteriorates. Talking monkeys and Pees are fine, but my grandparents being alive is clearly too much of a stretch for my imagination. As I'm sorting through some of Nana's documents, I notice she has turned into a stick.
'Can you look at this?' I ask, presenting some scrap of paper or other. 'I don't have eyes, I'm a stick,' she replies. 'But you don't have ears and you can still hear me,' I point out. 'Yes, I don't know,' she admits. She doesn't have a mouth either.
This Was Supposed to Be Serious!
A trio of British comedy performers - David Mitchell, Vic Reeves and a woman who seems to be a mash-up of Olivia Colman and Tamsin Greig - join forces to open a bookshop. It's not part of some hilarious documentary, they just want to have a crack at the retail business, but they do film their exploits with a camcorder anyway, just for posterity.
When Vic Reeves steps outside and is attacked by actors dressed as zombies, David Mitchell is disappointed. They just couldn't resist turning it into a parody, could they? He thought they were all on the same page about this, but no, Vic had to bring zombies.
© Channel 4 / Objective
Any psychoanalysis is welcome. I'll try not to do this again, but sometimes there are hours to fill and an internet connection, you know?
Nice painting by Zdzisław Beksiński