* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.

what dreans mecum?

1 November 2001
Whenever Dan wants to, all he has to do...

Dreams. I find dreams constantly unsatisfactory, because they never make sense.

And I know that sounds like a no-brainer - there you are in the Land of Cheese, carrying the sacred Gap khakis, which you know that you have to give to the sandblasting goats before dawn or you won't be able to hitch to Grosny. Except that I don't tend to have those kind of wacky, surreal dreams.

A quick diversion. At this point some clever kitten will inevitably perk up with "Oh yes, you do, you just don't remember them". I am, alas, a subjectivist. If something happened in my head, with no witnesses, and I do not remember it, I must behave as if it did not happen. I trust that explanation will be comforting when I pour said clever kitten's drink over his or her head, then shove the empty glass into his or her face. I take this seriously, and I don't brake for pub boors.

So yes, my dreams tend to be pretty realistic. Not replays of things I have done, but scenes from a life I could be having. Although I used to think that my subconscious could do with a better imagination.

I never get to be a racing driver or a tycoon, a gigolo or a hired killer. Generally, I seem to be doing the sort of things I do in general - catching tube trains, sitting at my computer working, scribbling things in notebooks and then forgetting all about them, hanging out with friends.

Speaking of of mine trained himself to need fewer and fewer hours of sleep. Apparently it's not too difficult to do, as long as you handle it right. Set your alarm ten minutes earlier for two days, then ten minutes earlier again, then one more time. Leave it there for a week. Then start the whole process again. The idea is that your body gets progressively used to functioning with a little less bed rest, so it readjusts itself to work best on the sleep available.

At least, that was the theory. It would be closer to the mark to say that a friend of mine signally failed to train himself to need fewer and fewer hours of sleep. The first couple of weeks were fine, then he got greedy and tried for the Margaret Thatcher special - so little time asleep that he didn't have time to hit the whole big deep-sleep, theta-or-whatever-they-are waves, the full slumberland experience. So little time asleep that the drool was still halfway to the pillow when he came to and staggered for the shower.

You can see where this is going, can't you? One increasingly red-eyed and irritable young man insisting with grim determination that he felt better than ever, and he had so much more time in the day. Time taken up largely in the vital pursuits of falling over, bumping into things, swearing and looking as if any minute he was going to burst into tears or take a swing at you, and he didn't know which himself.

So anyway, I'm training myself to get more sleep. An extra ten minutes a day, first by earlier nights, and then by quitting my job. I'm up to twelve hours a day, now. Pretty soon I'll have to work out some way to deal with the need to eat. My best plan so far is to skip breakfast, and keep a simple lunch by my bed, so I can wake up when the hunger pangs hit, eat quickly and get back to whatever I'm dreaming about. Sometimes that works. Other times it's like stepping into wet clothes. Everything feels wrong, and you may as well give up there and then - the events and conversations will be off, parodic. Senseless.

When I said that my dreams didn't make sense, I meant specifically that, when I wake up, no matter how much detail I pour into the bedside dream diary, some vital sense element is always missing. An explanation or an understanding of how I got to where I was, or some important bit of narrative between A and C. But it's getting better. It's always getting better. The more I sleep, the clearer things become.

When I dream, I am always better off than I am now. Sometimes it's as simple as earning more money, or having a better job. Living in a high-ceilinged flat in an unscarred New York, or cooking in a vast white kitchen with a Swedish fridge and Russian caviar. Having an Optimus Prime figure - original and Powermaster.

Those are the obvious ones. But there are others when I just feel better, where the way my bones and organs seem to lie and bind is a better way. Often, I'm with someone who fell out of my life, or out of life, years ago, or on my way to meet them. But unsatisfactory, because I never know the backstory. How I came to be resting my head on this person's stomach, or drinking green tea with that person, who left the country with no forwarding address, or celebrating the birthday of someone who never saw it.

And that's what drives me on. It has to happen - at some point I will remember in my dream and then remember in my waking life, and be able to implement the changes needed. Retroengineer the world according to that improved pattern.

This is important. It matters. And if it takes time, that's fine. I'll sleep the clock around to smoke out a better morning.

I can sleep myself to death.


This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
30 October 2003. Dan writes: My only goal
9 October 2003. Dan writes: The Knot
18 September 2003. Dan writes: The Engelbart Elephant
28 August 2003. Dan writes: The Amity Index
7 August 2003. Dan writes: This Sporting Life
17 July 2003. Dan writes: Touch
26 June 2003. Dan writes: Metadata
5 June 2003. Dan writes: Street Mate
15 May 2003. Dan writes: Usher's Well
24 April 2003. Dan writes: Medicamenta
3 April 2003. Dan writes: Weapons of Mass Construction
13 March 2003. Dan writes: David Sneddon, Bukake Secret Agent
20 February 2003. Dan writes: Mary Sue
30 January 2003. Dan writes: Bait and Switch
9 January 2003. Dan writes: What Never Happened
19 December 2002. Dan writes: Sermon on the Mount the Face
28 November 2002. Dan writes: Ballroom Blitz
7 November 2002. Dan writes: The Photographer
17 October 2002. Dan writes: Diaphragmatic
26 September 2002. Dan writes: A life in the day
5 September 2002. Dan writes: Different Class
15 August 2002. Dan writes: Story and sequel
25 July 2002. Dan writes: Fellatious
4 July 2002. Dan writes: Skin Mag
10 June 2002. Dan writes: The Ibizan book of the Dead
16 May 2002. Dan writes: The Sissons Situation
22 April 2002. Dan writes: UpsideClown and Out in Hollywood
28 March 2002. Dan writes: Nereus' Daughters
4 March 2002. Dan writes: Diomedes
7 February 2002. Dan writes: Text Only
14 January 2002. Dan writes: Civil Engineering
20 December 2001. Dan writes: Nativity
26 November 2001. Dan writes: The Wedding Band
1 November 2001. Dan writes: what dreans mecum?
8 October 2001. Dan writes: Stop me if you've heard this one before
13 September 2001. Dan writes: Mother of the Muses
20 August 2001. Dan writes: I say I say I say
26 July 2001. Dan writes: Bigger, Better, Brother
2 July 2001. Dan writes: Hecatomb
7 June 2001. Dan writes: Dispassionate Leave
14 May 2001. Dan writes: Small Town Boy
19 April 2001. Dan writes: Maintaining the Driving Line
26 March 2001. Dan writes: Cut and Paste
1 March 2001. Dan writes: Redemption
5 February 2001. Dan writes: Blyton the Face of the Earth
8 January 2001. Dan writes: Smoke Signals
18 December 2000. Dan writes: The Loa Depths
23 November 2000. Dan writes: The Limits of Melissa Joan Hart
30 October 2000. Dan writes: Shiftwork
5 October 2000. Dan writes: Dawson
11 September 2000. Dan writes: Testing Times
17 August 2000. Dan writes: Onanova
3 July 2000. Dan writes: Roboto il Diavolo

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