And then I woke up

I’m running through this field, right? Chased by something, I don’t know what it is. Desperate for a piss. There’s this cow then suddenly I’m in my old bedroom at home, Mum’s talking about my diary, I can’t believe she read it, I don’t even have a diary.

Then you, yeah I know, you turned up and want me to go out in the car but there’s no petrol and I’m desperate for a piss, so I go to the toilet but it just won’t come out and you’re on about this car. We get into town and you go off with John and I’m going down this alleyway and there’s a girl, she’s off Silent Witness, pigtails, about 11 probably, looks a bit like Michael Barrymore. She’s got this knife and she’s trying to stab me and I do this roundhouse.

And then I woke up. Mad, no idea what that was about.

I’ll tell you what it was about, chum. It was about you explaining in great length the fevered scraps of meaningless fuckwittery that make up your non-waking hours. You thought I wanted to hear about your dream, and all I want now is to hear you groaning with pain.

By definition, dreams are uncontrollable mental flashes pieced together while unconscious; they are a window to thoughts we can’t otherwise access. They seem so vivid and exciting, in those moments when we wake and snatch at what remains. We surprise ourselves that we can be so creative at night when our days are spent despising everything Microsoft stand for and imagining what Nina in Procurement would look like in an elf costume.

But let me tell you this: your dreams are fucking tedious when released from the quagmire of your mind. The things you’ve conjured up seem crazy to you because it’s your brain working contrary to how your brain normally works. My brain works very differently, usually by imagining your brain being pierced by sharp metal objects while you try to flee the terrifying war zone I’ll be sending you to if you don’t fucking cease.

It’s rampant. Justin couldn’t get out of a forest. Lisa’s boyfriend wouldn’t stop banging on about wanting a Nando’s. Pete saw Gary Barlow on a bus and went up to him to complain about traffic up Holborn Viaduct but when he got there it was Diane Abbott and she had cake.

If you knew what was good for you, you wouldn’t tell me about these things if they really happened.

Admittedly there’s a certain pleasure to be found in overhearing a dream explained by someone you don’t know, and watching the face of the victim. Hope, confusion, resignation, apathy, boredom, anger and blissful relief, all played out on the surface while the truly murderous thoughts nudge at the poor bastard’s voice box, begging for deafening release. And, yeah, when you’ve never met the dreamer in question, sometimes you do question their sanity, at arm’s length. A hippo, you say?

At the very least, relate dreams to the real world. Indulge me, and I’ll share one of my own. I was playing for Arsenal in the cup final. In a hint at what lies within, we were 2-0 down, and as a defender I was doubtless at least partly culpable for that. As another of West Ham’s remorseless attacks sailed towards our goal, I attempted a desperate clearance and duly volleyed the wife with as much power as an aimless left-foot hoof could muster. Most fun I’ve had in bed in ages.

Not all dreams are dull, but no-one ever explains their best dreams to other people, do they? You know, those special dreams you wipe off yourself with a discarded sock in the darkness. I won’t tell you who I stuck it in during my sleep any more than I would during the day, unless it’s you, I’m drunk and the police are already on their way.

Come on, tell us what really happens in there at night. It’s all right, everyone’s thought about Prince Andrew like that at least once in their life. I’ll defend until death your right to use a Play-Doh Ice Cream Castle however you like. You fucked a dolphin and tried to cuddle it after, but it swam off absent-mindedly and you shrieked yourself awake? Don’t worry, it was only a dream. Probably doesn’t mean anything.

Someone said to me the other day that Sarah Jessica Parker was quite attractive when she was younger and I’ve never heard a more chilling example of how everyone’s brain is different. The things you think are interesting, thought-provoking or ‘mad’ are the things I miss the bin with, the things I hear in lifts, the things that go in one ear and out the other in as much time as it takes me to shit after a night on the cider.

We all dream every night, more or less. Not even our own brains want to remember most of it. The best of what’s left is still houndingly prosaic to every single other person alive or dead, including your old boss, your dead grandparents, the entire cast of Casualty and especially me.

I promise I don’t want to hear about your starring role in the celebrity special Crystal Maze. I don’t know why your Uber ended up in Banjul, what your childhood pet was doing there or how that led to you and Tom Hardy sharing a yoghurt. If you tell me who you met halfway up the Westfield escalator – and I really won’t believe it – my fists will no longer be my own.

Your mind is truly special. Let’s keep it locked up so we can keep it that way, shall we?

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