generally inadequate

I was writing the screenplay for my first short film, which would feature two to four original songs, played by the protagonist’s band.  I’d written some lyrics and was sketching out a tune when I realised that my songwriting is basically deeply embarrassing and that given how many actual musicans I know, there wasn’t really an excuse.  I asked my ex, two of my housemates and (I think) a friend of a friend whose band we might see support My Vitriol in a couple of weeks, if they had any songs I could use, or could write me one. The riff from a song that my ex wrote years ago stayed in my head as the dream ended.

Same night.  My art teacher hauled me up to talk about my paintings – she was annoyed that I wasn’t applying myself seriously enough, producing consistent work or looking after the pieces I had produced.  She pointed out that one drawing, on a large sheet of cartridge paper, was torn.  (There is some reality behind this.  In sixth form, I’d roll up large pieces of paper on which I had my pastel drawings, and tuck them under my arm to carry them round the school grounds.  My teacher was scandalised.)

She brought my attention to a number of box canvases, stacked up against one another, which had been painted over the last couple of years. “You see, these are beautiful,” she said.  “But then you’ve got these, which just aren’t the same standard, are they?”

I was pretty impressed myself by the first few.  Did I do those? I’m better than I remembered.  I looked closer.  There was another student’s signature on them. When I looked at the gauche watercolours I’d really produced, I could see that I hadn’t improved since I was sixteen.

Same night, small consolation. I was watching old recordings of our bollywood shows in years gone by, to see that much better dancers than me make mistakes, too.

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which is worse – disappointing sex or disappointing breakfast?

Two boys of about eighteen or nineteen, who shared a bedroom as students.  One saw his various sexual conquests as a sign of his machismo and boldness.  The other considered lust to be shameful and weak, and regularly told his room-mate that his behaviour was sinful.  In reality, their sex lives differed very little, and each one was writing a confessional memoir.  Both books featured the same sex object, a girl who both young men were regularly sleeping with, and whose name had one letter different from mine.

A would-be erotic dream where I’m in bed, possibly in a hotel, with an unidentified casual who (according to the dream) I’ve seen a few times before.  But he’s unattractively sweaty and I’m considering telling him I don’t want to meet again after today.  He climaxes (I think?) and sort of half-heartedly suggests starting again after he’s had a rest, but he sounds grumpy at the idea of having to attend to my pleasure, and I’m not sure I can stomach it anyway.

Staying the night a hotel with my mum and Sibling. We met in the restaurant for breakfast, but since I don’t do well at mornings, the other two were there before me.  I arrived just after 10am to find that the restaurant, which was Portugese-influenced, had stopped serving its breakfast menu.  Apparently, the Portugese don’t really have specially designated breakfast foods, so fry-ups and cereal were only served as a concession to unadvanturous guests before 10am.  After that, you picked from the standard restaurant menu that was available all day.  I had some kind of lightly spiced pork and rice concoction, which was delicious but not the eggs royale I’d had in mind.  Next to our table, another family (middle-aged parents, teenage or young adult children) were kicking up a stink about the restaurants total disregard to its customers’ needs. Coming over here, taking away our food-based traditions…

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…!

More fragments – a selection of anxieties

Writing a novel; I can’t remember what it was about, but I sure remember the self-doubt, wondering if what I was putting out there was at all interesting or just self-indulgent.

Carelessly splashed some water on the bathroom floor (while brushing my teeth?) and one of my housemates pointedly remarked – in front of the whole household – on how he’d had to dry it up.

A different male friend (not the one in previous fragments) was hoping for a relationship with me.  Not wanting to hurt his feelings, wondering with guilt if I’d led him on.

In reality, I was staying at Sibling and C’s house. In dream, we were all staying at C’s mother M’s house (this being the first time I’d met M; in reality, I’ve never met her).  Based on strange goings on, Sibling, C and I reached the conclusion that M had murdered someone. Not for the first time, said Sibling and C. We tried to excuse ourselves by going for a curry, to discuss how to turn M in or at least avoid being murdered ourselves. But the curry house was full of people we knew, and because we didn’t know how to explain wanting to sit separately from them, we ended up at a table with three or four others. As we were eating, a helicopter descended and M arrived with an entourage of security staff. Back in the downstairs hallway, we got into a brawl and she threatened me with some kind of weapon (not a gun… a knife? a club?).

… possibly woken up by one of the cats, in reality, jumping on the bed. When I told Sibling about the dream over breakfast, he said that nothing of the sort would ever happen; apparently M loves curry so we’d never have made it to the nearest balti house without her.