For once, there actually are recurring themes threading through some of these dreams: construction and financial anxiety, since we've been building our house during this period. I'm also borderline evil in a few of them, and the customary lack of entertainment is alive and well.
Casually strolling by a tribal village as you do, I spot one of those bitches who stole my money, imprisoned in a primitive cage. I deduce that no one else will know she's here, and that I could probably speak to the village leaders to arrange for her release. No rush, I decide.
A few weeks later I pass by the village again and notice she's still in the cage, looking malnourished. That's about enough, I decide, and arrange for her release. As she hobbles away towards civilisation, I shout after her that we're not done. She still refuses to acknowledge me.
Make Your Face More Abstract
A few days into my new office job in a new town, I've already become disgustingly lazy at it, writing no more than two pages a day and taking extended lunch breaks to explore my new environment.
I almost pay for it when I enter a restricted wilderness area that harbours wild dinosaurs, and I might have been finished off by a disgruntled Triceratops if a co-worker hadn't come to my aid with the advice to make my face more abstract. I do so, swapping the features for symbols that the simple reptile doesn't recognise as a threat, and it goes back to chomping the grass. I'll have to remember that trick in real life.
We've moved into a large estate, cohabiting with at least one other couple, and I'm just getting ready for bed when I find a number 1 in the egg mayonnaise. A digital read-out appears, informing me that there are 13 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds remaining.
Of course, I dimly recall from childhood, the treasure hunt! Isn't number 2 buried in the potted plants out in the courtyard? I have to find them in the right order, or I've forfeited my only chance ever. It's a bit annoying that it's night time and I'm risking disturbing everyone, but I can't afford to wait until morning. Unfortunately, there's a security guard on duty and I don't want to reveal the secret to him. Never mind then. I wonder what I would have won? Ho-hum.
A troublemaker keeps stealing people's shit and causing trouble in the countryside, but he always escapes capture courtesy of snappy costume changes and accomplice alibis. I've had just about enough of him, and when he reappears out of the other side of a bush wearing a false moustache and claiming ignorance of his latest misdemeanour, I inflate the Zorb and we engage in relentless Robot Wars style rolling combat.
I wake up in the hospital and am informed that I won the fight. After 18 gruelling minutes, his lung was punctured and that was it for him. Under the rules of Zorb Combat there aren't any legal or ethical consequences for my actions, of course, and I feel no remorse. I'm happy to see the back of the get.
Unusual, feat. Terry Farrell (and Satan, whoever that is)
After success in the waking world, I continue to introduce the wifey to more TV programmes I like in my sleep. We start out with an incomprehensible episode of Farscape that even I have trouble following. Whoops, I forgot one main character is named 'Satan' (what?), that's not going to go down well when she notices.
We try some Deep Space Nine, and when Terry Farrell's Jadzia Dax shows up, my wife teases that she's the reason I like it. I diplomatically answer, "she is unusually attractive for the franchise."
Her agent can have that quote for free.
The one-sided cultural exchange continues as I introduce my wife to my breakfast "cereal" of choice. Indulgent, irresistible and frankly disgusting, the sickly torrent gushing out of the pot luck box includes strawberries and cream, choco flakes and a whole load of seemingly inedible crap. We can't get enough of it.
My notes inform me that there was some kind of story going on too, but that was basically padding between the cereal excess. Gimme more.
Chicken and Nun, Eyeball, Yeah!
I haven't been keeping up-to-date with these transcriptions, so I'm just going to leave these notes unedited and unclarified because I don't know much more than you:
seen this before, so confidently go through motions and don't question why
scary alien woman god thing after me, breaking through materials, relentless
trap by making too big and tricking into small container, then the killer: forgive her
made her human, we marry
I get symbolic tattoo on whim, based on memory of what it should be: chicken and nun, eyeball, yeah!
My Gothic Crap
I'm elected Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, which comes as quite a surprise because "I didn't even put my name down." Still, now it's happened I'm going to try my best to make everything nice.
My tiny, fictional friend Dan helps me to pack up my "gothic crap" for the move, which consists of colour-coded boxes of assorted brown and black scrap metal. We bung it into the rusted-turquoise three-wheeler that I was convinced upon waking was a recurring vehicle in my dreams (now I'm not so sure), and I generously tell Dan he can have the old banger as soon as we're done with the move, since he expressed an interest. They'll presumably sort me out with something.
We haven't even made it to Number 10 when "a gang" tries to kidnap me, but we're saved in the nick of time by "a giant American woman" (I don't remember any of this) who Dan falls madly in love with despite the considerable size difference. My parting words of wisdom as I hand over the car keys and we each begin our new lives is that he shouldn't bother buying DVDs any more. They're just a waste of money, it's all downloads now.
That's all I wrote down for that one. Construction anxiety is understandably a recurring theme. Don't worry, our house is asbestos-free - I may live in the Third World, but I'm not completely stupid.
Amsterdam Is Full of Ghosts
As an otherwise uneventful flight comes in to land, one passenger freaks out and insists he saw a Dalek trundle menacingly past on the ground below. The cabin crew do their best to calm him down, which includes trying to distract him with in-flight bread and playing his native Netherlands' national anthem - a surprisingly rocking number that concludes with the curious (and curiously English, come to think of it) statement that "Amsterdam is full of ghosts."
As the plane taxis along the runway, it passes a kids' Dalek fairground ride. An irritated fellow passenger points it out to the Dutchman, asking if that's what all the fuss was about. The Dutchman yelps in fresh terror, then seems embarrassed, and insists that wasn't what he saw, he saw a real one. Yeah, buddy, whatever.
Ghosts all over the place, but the Dutch still shit themselves at the sight of this.
The Man with the Open Sores, George Dawes, feat. Matt Lucas
Wandering around a sleepy seaside town, I'm suddenly attacked by a flock of vicious "peacockatiels" (the body of a peacock, the head of a cockatiel and the spiky tail of something dangerous).
After receiving several piercing stabs, I escape to the seafront and sit down to catch my breath, watching Matt Lucas improvise some interactive street theatre about a missing child. We realise he might have gone too far when the local neighbourhood watch marches past with placards bearing images of the fictional child and emotive messages to bring him home. "This had better not be a sick joke," one of them threatens, upon glimpsing Matt Lucas' guilty expression.
We head along with Matt to watch his professional stadium show, and during the part where he stage-dives into the crowd doing his impression of the dwarf from The Lord of the Rings (classic routine), I finally succumb to my injuries and black out. I wake up in reception to see my skin has become tight and torn all over, and large ants are feasting on the succulent open forearm. I wake up for real and don't feel so great for quite a while.
More Disgusting Body Horror
Maybe I've been picking my nose too much, I don't know, but for whatever reason my whole nose apparatus has come loose. It's a chore, having to tuck it back inside and connect up the tubes, so I only bother on special occasions, like if I'm going outside.
I don't like to go out often, since I'm always guaranteed to get hassled by that annoying kid. You can't say anything, because with that unpleasant protuberance sticking out of his abdomen he's even worse off than me. It's no excuse though, is it? Still, I console myself, he probably won't make it to 30, so that'll teach him.
Celebereavement Envy, feat. a fictional celebrity
I've recently become a bit obsessed with a fictional actress. Not in some teenage pin-up way, I just really appreciate what she's doing or whatever. After catching a double-bill of her latest films at an underpopulated art house cinema, I learn she's died and feel a bit sad.
Aren't you glad I bothered to write that one down? That was almost as good as the asbestos one.
With a Bang
We've just about finished building the walls that will shield our house from the elements, when my wife drops a figurative and literal bombshell: now it's complete, we have to detonate an explosive device in the centre to prove its resilience. It's a religious or cultural thing, so no point arguing about practicality. I just hope it doesn't do too much damage.
Probably just a coincidence that I dreamed this after we found out the electrics had all been lazily wired up wrong and had to be ripped out of the walls and reconnected over three days, leaving fresh debris everywhere. Must be.
The Reluctant Henchman
I'm the right-hand man for an evil outer-space villain. Don't ask me why, I don't seem to enjoy my job very much. It's a living?
The boss needs raw materials to power up his conspicuous spaceship that blends in as naturally with the village we've landed in as the Scott Monument does on Princes Street, so I befriend a local school teacher to gain access to the building after-hours and ransack it for timber and metal. I try not to think about her feelings when she'll see the empty rooms tomorrow and realise her trust has been betrayed. I'm a bad man, but isn't that the point?
The boss needs electricity next, so I hook some cables up to the school and make the dizzying, death-defying climb up the side of the spaceship to its spire. Things got a bit scary at this point, so I woke up. Some master villain's henchman I'm cut out to be.
Yeah, right, nothing weird going on here.
(Image: Northern Echo)
The Big Drummer Boy
It's Boxing Day, and despite being an adult who should be in control of his life now, I'm still forced to spend the day at an uncle and aunt's house and to hang out with the cousins we don't really get along with, as per bleeding usual (except that never happened and these particular relatives don't even exist).
At least these spoiled kids have a full band set-up in the garage that looks fun to play around with. They invite me to try the guitar, but I have my eye on the drum kit and take a seat despite their reservations. As I merrily pound away through our punk improv, I can tell they don't have much patience for a first-timer having fun and undermining their art, and excuses are promptly made to go back inside the house.
Merry fucking Christmas.
Against the Flow
I arrive at my brother's non-specific university city to find a desolate ghost town. It doesn't take me long to discover why, as I'm caught up in a flash flood and flushed into the sewers along with a load of other screaming people (and presumably turds).
I overhear someone shriek that we'll soon be entering the canal, and figuring that the unappealing light at the end of the tunnel means certain death, I decide not to go with the flow and swerve down a side tributary to safety. Some lazy anti-establishment symbolism there, but I was literally writing this in my sleep.
We non-conformist few have ended up in some vast warehouse type building, where we have ample alcoves to sleep and someone's even set up a buffet, though frustratingly without labelling the meat so I don't know which ones are the pork I'm not allowed to eat. Talk about your dystopias.
Skip to the End
I take a break from being evil and decide to be thoughtlessly kind instead when I find a load of puppies caged up in some kind of lab and set them free, only worrying a little that they'll end up splatted on the road or be lifelong nuisances to locals. I'm a bloody hero.
Our house is finally complete, and has even been fully kitted out with furnishings and consumer electronics without me having to lift a finger. I feel like a spoiled child at Christmas, but when we head to the market and I spy the latest Red Dwarf Annual, I prove my maturity by not buying it. I'll wait for the price to come down.
The book seller doesn't take kindly to this thriftiness and sets a bloodhound on our scent. But we're saved in the nick of time when those puppies I released earlier scamper into the room and distract the mutt so we can make out getaway. That part didn't happen, obviously. I've never had a dream with that kind of narrative logic. I just got woken up by the annoying guy that drives around the neighbourhood selling something or other and crackling unintelligibly into a megaphone at 6:30am. This house still isn't finished.
Everybody Knows Her Bright Green Van
I'm hanging out in a cozy beer garden with my Nana, politely allowing the inoffensive muzak of unambitious local bands to wash over me, when a Thin Lizzy/Rainbow tribute act takes to the stage and is sensational. Their original songs (which I suppose I wrote, well done me) are as rapturously received as their covers, and I can tell they've gained their own loyal following from the T-shirts dotted among the crowd bearing the band's impossible-to-pronounce name (three ninja stars followed by two skulls or something like that; even if that's Wingdings it wouldn't make sense).
I want to express my admiration, but I don't want to burden my Nana if it's not her cup of tea and she'd prefer to leave. Either she's picked up on my enthusiasm or just really digs it herself, because she heads towards the stage and I obediently follow.
But we're denied the amusing ending of multi-generational moshing when the gig abruptly ends and we head back to my Nana's car, which is a green version of Postman Pat's van. Driving along the pleasant winding lanes of the Postman Pat title sequence, we bump into a truck that turns out to be driven by a regular-looking, passive-aggressive man rather than a jolly stop-motion children's character and the drivers exchange insurance details as I admire the model scenery.
They're Gross But They Still Get Girls
Without realising it, I've become an obsessive collector of life-size Muppets and 1990s action figures. It started as a bit of harmless nostalgia, but it takes until I've amassed full sets of Ninja Turtles, Real Ghostbusters and Toxic Crusaders to realise I have a problem. I didn't even keep them mint in the packaging, what a fool.
I announce that I'm setting off on a cleansing pilgrimage to sort myself out, but the retreat has been utterly cannibalised by the tourism industry, there's not going to be any self-improvement here. Still, I always enjoy a wander around Teeth St. - that heritage street that was cordoned off in the 1970s when teeth mysteriously out of the brickwork - and the wave pool is fun. At least I'm not buying toys.
IRL I only had Toxie, I wasn't that spoiled.
(Image: Leftover Culture Review)
(Image: Leftover Culture Review)
Art by Zdzisław Beksiński