Monday, December 19, 2016

Dream journal: Somnium non grata edition

I was going to stop doing these. I was content to let most of my nocturnal "adventures" fade into the ether, but I couldn't resist writing some of them down in the dedicated slot on my all-consuming Notepad document, and now there are the requisite 20 of them, so here they are.

I haven't thought about any of these since I scribbled down the notes at various points over the last six months or however long it's been, so I'll see how I get on. At least they should be short. If I can contrive a tenuous theme, I'll stick it in the title. (Update: Guess not).

Setting the Standard

Browsing a bookshop, I'm pleasantly surprised to spot a familiar title: The Worst Books in the World, a scathing commentary I co-authored with someone or other a few years back. Though looking at the cover, I don't see my name.

Oh, that's right, I was just one of many contributors, wasn't I? I check the list at the back and sure enough, there's my name... though it says I'm from Cambridge. Oh, I guess it wasn't me after all. Have I been taking credit for that all this time, or did I genuinely imagine I was involved? Either way, it's a bit pathetic. My dream of authorship there.


I show up late for a Design & Technology lesson and have totally forgotten we were supposed to give practical presentations today. I hastily attempt to bash some kit together while pretending to watch a fellow pupil's presentation, but some despicable swot spots me and reports me to Teach.

After school, I get drunk (drowning my sorrows?) and my "friends" persuade me to buy the pub we're all currently paying rent to live in. Next thing I know, it's the next morning and a proper friend breaks the bad news that they also persuaded me to sell the place on to them at a great loss. Now they want me to clear out. It's been one of those days.


Our garden shed is infested with squatters informal settlers, and I can't do anything about it. They're so lazy and casual, they don't even bother to walk around the edge of the pond when heading out, they just wade through it like they're fucking dogs.


I'm walking down the street with more fictional friends and some dickhead is giving us grief. When he sees what car we're approaching, he breaks into the boot and hides, which doesn't exactly impress me. Then he starts driving the car with his mind, which is admittedly a bit more impressive.

I think he's trying to kill us, but since he can't see anything from inside the boot, his driving is erratic to say the least. We take another car and he gives chase, but we take an unconventional route back to our house and eventually lose him... or do we?

For as I scurry around the house collecting weapons, I realise no one's been watching the front door and that our adversary might now be inside, because now he's also invisible for some reason. We sit and wait to find out, one way or the other. That's the end of that one.

Le voyage dans la lune

Looking out of the window, our house appears to be on the Moon. I open the window to check, just a crack – whew, that's a vacuum alright! I close it again before the atmosphere and furniture are vented out into space.

The Forest Whispers My Name

We're having a house party, so naturally I'm uncomfortable. Especially when I go to the bathroom and see some tosspot's filled the toilet with a massive, unflushable jobbie (I wonder what that symbolises? It pops up from time to time).

I need to chill out, so it's lucky there's an idyllic sun-dappled forest right outside. As a bonus, it's haunted by a benevolent nature spirit that calls my name in a soothing maternal echo from time to time. On balance, I decide I'd rather hang out here for a while.

My Rubbish Grasp of Politics, feat. Ian Hislop & Boris Johnson

I'm struggling to understand why well-meaning Ian Hislop seems so unpopular as the new Labour leader, while at the same time Boris Johnson seems paradoxically popular even after a video is released showing him being insulting to "proles" on his walkabout. Well, that's politics! (No it isn't).

Give It a Whirl, feat. Armando Iannucci

I'm enjoying watching Armando "doing satire at a school" (I don't know what this means), and it inspires me to try some comedy of my own (doesn't sound promising).

Getting trapped in some kind of whirlwind or gravitational pull that yanks me around the school at high speed, I turn the situation to my advantage to indulge in a repetitive comedy routine. Every time I zoom past the same schoolboy, I pretend to shoot him with my finger and he obligingly drops down dead. It gets funnier every time! (I'll bet). Though after the 20th spin or so, I start to wonder what the kid's getting out of it.

Red, feat. Robert Llewelyn

I join other nerds outside a gothic cathedral where we've learned Red Dwarf is shooting today. Robert "Kryten" Llewelyn spots us and decides to put his job on the line by giving us an illicit tour, then advises us to scarper when the director shows up. That was nice and reckless of him.

Red II, feat. Paul & Barry Chuckle

In their new concept album, Red, the Chuckle Brothers sing about their voyages around the Arctic in an ice cutter, getting into hilarious scrapes with Russian pirates.

I show them my first draft ideas for a tie-in comic based on the song cycle, which they seem relatively pleased with. I don't think I'm getting paid, it's just important to me that they get decent publicity.

Pirates v. Vampires: A Poem

Pirates again. Don't know why. My friend Oliver has published a book of poems, some of which are so engrossing, I'm literally taken into the adventure.

One of them is about a pirate ship, docked in a harbour and crewed by a cowardly bunch who scramble to the walls and face away when they hear approaching footsteps. I'm not taken in by such superstition, but I soon learn what the fuss is about when the ravenous vampire women run at me. Luckily I'm holding a stake, and I stab them through the hearts and/or eyes. I feel a bit bad about it after.

Second Generations, feat. the cast of Star Trek: TNG

I don't know if I'm actually living in an alternate universe where the TNG film franchise diverged or if they've just decided to do an alternate universe story again (Occam's Razor, Dave), but the end of Star Trek Generations is different to what I remembered. This time, the Enterprise crashes into an ocean and nearly everyone dies.

The opening scene of the next film sees Commander Riker in a yellow uniform (alternate universe hypothesis confirmed) weeping over the bloated corpse of Deanna Troi, which has been fished to the surface by Data – who hilariously fails to understand the emotion of the situation as per usual!

You Don't Know Me at All, feat. Alan Moore

I'm killing some time in a comic shop before some appointment or other. I browse shelves of DVDs and Blu-rays I have no intention of buying, like I'm 13 hanging out in Asda's video section waiting for Nana to finish her shopping, when Alan Moore personally recommends a deluxe boxset of some Japanese Godzilla type thing that costs about 40 quid.

I politely decline, since I have no interest in it or the genre whatsoever, and I'm a bit disappointed that the self-styled magician could be so far off the mark.


I'm on holiday with the wife in some built-up Indian city, let's say it's Mumbai because then I can do that pun title. There have been reports of bombings in the city, but I'm unfazed and I tediously explain all the reasons why we're statistically safe. When Jackie sees an explosion with her own eyes from our balcony, I admit it's probably time to leave.

(This was in September, I wonder what could have inspired it).

A(tomic bo)m(b)usement Park

A mushroom cloud erupts at a local theme park (these fears are getting exaggerated now), and my wife is worried because her brother was supposed to be going there today. I pretend to be asleep, bravely not wanting to intrude on her emotional family crisis, and I overhear her and her sister suspecting that I had something to do with the blast (so am I fluent in Bisaya now? Plot hole!)

That's outrageous! At least, I think it is. Did I...? Oh good, her brother's turned up and he's not dead, so no worries.

Yes, Shit Sherlock, feat. Benedict Cumberbatch & Rik Mayall

I've come up with an ingenious plot for the BBC's Sherlock that even Sherlock himself couldn't solve, and they've obligingly filmed it.

Every time the smug detective passes behind a pillar, or something else obscures his view from the camera/audience, he's replaced by a manic Watson/Moriarty/Hyde (don't worry about the fine details) doppelganger played by Rik Mayall. Until our view is obscured again and he switches back. How can this be explained in-universe? Don't ask me, my job's done. It's their problem to work out.


My history class is briefed to plonk ourselves down somewhere on campus and stage a fake sit-down protest about a topic of our choice, mouthing off to anyone who'll listen. I feel uncomfortable with this clearly unreasonable assignment, and don't have anything I really need to get off my chest, so I grab a book off my shelf about the Nazis and UFOs and decide to "play" a cooky crackpot.

As I'm not an expert, I have to rely on flicking through to the pictures and talking about those to the curious crowd. Things get uncomfortable when I get to the depictions of tentacled extraterrestrial Jews. I pray for the school bell to end this madness, but in the real world a chirruping bird comes to the rescue.

Lust for Lies

The newspapers (you know, like I read) are telling the story of an old man who's decided to finally come clean about his past. It doesn't seem like he was a criminal, but he certainly got up to some mischief, and he didn't do it alone. Details of his erstwhile accomplice are scarce, but there's enough fleeting description that I start to panic, and make sure to dispose of the papers before my wife has a chance to piece it together.

I met the old geezer on a bus a few years back. He had an infectious lust for life that belied his age, which he credited to his participation in a 'game' – one that didn't have any clearly defined rules or objectives, but you knew when you were playing it. As we get up to non-descript mischief around town, I realise I've never had this much fun.

My wife's been on Facebook, and she jokingly asks if the description of the old man's sometime-sidekick she's read about is me. As if.

Inhumans, feat. Trevor McDonald and [redacted]

At a family gathering at my grandparents' house, I ask Sir Trevor McDonald (always my favourite uncle) if there's been any more news on that murder spree. He doesn't seem to want to talk business, but he gives me some maps to shut me up and I enthusiastically set about tracing the bloody locations across the Cheshire countryside.

Several weeks earlier, a Synth (like them what's from off of Humans) played by a respectable TV and stage actress (who isn't actually in it) is driving down country lanes on a futuristic space bike type of thing, when a bunch of disreputable lads cruise alongside. Not mincing words, the alpha of the pack explains that he's always fancied trying a bit of the artificial stuff, and after all, she won't remember anything that happened if she's on her way to a new owner and a memory wipe.

She agrees that his logic is sound, they pull over into a field, and a very distasteful scene ensues, excused only by a more reluctant member of the gang pulling a guilty face sometimes. But what's that watching from between the brambles? It's some kind of disembodied robot head, and he looks kind of angry...

2001: A Cake Odyssey

I pick up my niece from school and she kindly gives me a box of cakes. That's nice. I eat all of them by myself. They taste fine.

It's only after I get home and motion to put the empty box in the bin that I notice the cakes were past their sell-by date by fifteen years. A couple of family members are bed-ridden with food poisoning, and explain to me, between chokes and coughs, that feeding dangerously out-of-date treats to your loved ones and watching them get sick is the latest hilarious trend going round the school.

I laugh, admitting that it is pretty funny, and await the inevitable stomach cramps.

Art by Zdzisław Beksiński. Photos by different people.

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