Banksy’s student days (your input welcome!)

Banksy, while at Bristol University. His tutors included Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore (still played by Richard Harris) and Hagrid. Dumbledore gave him a kind of glowing, opalescent statuette which he was not to tell anyone about, “especially Minerva XX XX McGonagall” (the dream script gave her two extra middle names).

In his black hoodie and combat trousers, Banksy would climb up the outside of buildings at  night. He seemed to be fixing things – unsafe, crumbling or leaking structures – without wanting the work to be attributed to him. Maybe he just thought he’d get round to the jobs quicker than the university or city authorities would.

I often have semi-lucid dreams in which I seem to be reading a story that I’ve written; seeing a film based on my screenplay; or watching a story unfold and wondering how I’ll go about turning it into a novel. In this case, Banksy was narrating the story, and I could hear his voice, deep and distorted as it is in Exit Through the Gift Shop.  As he told me his memories, I was simultaneously / alternately watching them as an outsider, and having a discussion with him about how, together, we would write the book.

Banksy told me about a long-standing Bristolian legend, that somewhere in the city is hidden an ancient relic that would give the finder magic powers.  Many speculate but few know what the relic looks like or how to recognise it.

Did Banksy ever see the relic – or any evidence that it existed – during his nighttime climbs? “Yeah, I found it alright,” he said.  “I put it back.”

wtf, subconscious?

banksy

So, this dream features a narrative device that my subconscious often uses – watching a scene unfold only to discover that I’m writing it – and the fascination / frustration of waiting to see what my imagination will give me next, while still feeling I have limited or no control over the process. (“Murder, she watched” was another example of this.)

But since famous people, characters and locations are involved here, I’d love to know your thoughts too.  What associations do any of these hold for you?

  • Banksy
  • Graffiti and / or street art
  • Bristol
  • Bristol University in particular
  • Universities in general
  • The Harry Potter books and / or films in general
  • Dumbledore, Hagrid or McGonegall in particular

And how about these motifs?

  • A gift of something possibly magical, but secret
  • Secret names or ones that very few people know someone by
  • Old buildings in need of repair
  • A quest to find a legendary, missing relic
  • The juxtaposition of ancient and modern (or postmodern), establishment and subversiveness, global fame and local knowledge, anonymity and instant recognisability

…Or any other themes, motifs or metaphors that jump out at you?

Please feel free to comment below or send me a message; let me know what this dream content might mean for you – and of course if you’ve had any similar dreams of your own.

‘Til next time…!

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beds, boots and bad debts

Three separate but closely-blended university-related dreams in one night:

1. Arriving at the student flat that had been provided for me. It was lovely, big and light, at one corner of the third or fourth floor overlooking the big city which as night came on became lit up with neon and car headlights.

The flat seemed to only have single beds, but four of them.  My mum had driven me to the city, and stayed overnight.  She was comandeering the music we played in the flat, which I only grudgingly accepted because she was the guest.  I felt I couldn’t start making the place my own til I’d heard some of my choice of tunes there.  Mum chose the bed by one window, so I went for the furthest away.  I was looking to see if any of them were doubles; one of them looked like it might be.  I would investigate further the next day.

The bathroom walls were made of one-way glass, so when I sat on the toilet it looked as though I was right in the middle of the apartment with nothing between me and my mum, who was sitting on the end of her bed.  I was astonished when she assured me that she really couldn’t see through the wall – and she was equally astonished that I could.

2. Unpacking my shoes onto a low shelf in the apartment, I saw to my surprise that I had a dark red pair of suede boots, some knee-high disco platforms in glittery red, and some black patent Dr Martens.  I hoped my mum, nearby, wouldn’t pay attention to what I was doing and criticise my shoe-spending.  My pink DMs (which I do have in real life) were now made of suede rather than patent leather, and the disco boots had got wet, bleeding some of their colour into one pink boot, staining it a different colour to its partner.  I tried to dry them off, hoping the red colour would fade, which it did slightly.  But I couldn’t get rid of the water; droplets kept appearing around the disco shoe.  I couldn’t take the boot into the bathroom to sort it out properly because then my mum would see and be angry that I’d thrown money away by spoiling the shoes that I shouldn’t have bought in the first place.

3. Despite having not given out my address, I had a stack of post at the new place (which now looked very different, dark and narrow).  There was an A4 envelope with my dad’s handwriting on, saying “open 31.12.2003” (my 21st birthday) and with a post-mark dated to 2007.  I wondered why my dad had sent me a birthday present separately from my mum, apparently in secret, apparently long before the date, and why it had taken so many years to arrive. And now, turned up at this address.

When I opened it though, it wasn’t from my dad at all.  The letter demanded repayment of my undergraduate loan, claiming I owed over £10k (significantly more than I actually borrowed, even with interest). The company had tracked me to this address, forging my dad’s handwriting and giving the date of my 21st to trick me into opening the letter.  I spoke to him on the phone and we agreed it was a scam which I didn’t need to respond to. All other questions remained unanswered.