Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Out Demons… Out

It appears – ok, science informs us – that we all dream.

While one lays snoring (gently or otherwise and generally dependant on the opposition’s point of view) the oft-derided other is their own respective land of nod, curled up foetal-like under the finest lightweight Egyptian cotton – their addled and over-active mind beset by demented demons and flesh-eating dragons; flatulent bank-managers wobbling over the highest-heights while staring down into bottomless credit-card-pitfalls; standing in front of towers made of cannons firing blanks yet turning the pages of children’s picture-books; walking though acres of bluebells in foreign fields ringed by hissing snakes all of whom look and sound like Gilbert O’Sullivan… asking why, why, WHY?

Is sleep a time (of day / night) when our inner meanderings come out to play; our self-tortured imaginations running roughshod and rampant; churning through the fertile valleys of our minds – like so many Don Quixote’s floundering aimlessly at that many windmills?

Wouldn’t life be better without dreamscapes; without nightmares?

Or… do they tell us… something?

Like… our innermost worries; the stuff that only comes out as deep darkness falls and we become enveloped in bible-back? And, so… if that’s the case (and I’m just surmising here) how, I wonder, do our favourite soap-star characters sleep at present?

No, I don’t mean Ena Sharples and her hairnet, Elsie Tanner or Vera Duckworth from Coronation Street – they’re all dead anyway (so I’m reliably informed). In fact, from a cursory glance at the programme the other night, most of the current-cardboard-cut-out-cast of ‘one-dimensional-characters’ look like they’ve been only semi-revived from a collective mortuary-slab, so deceased is their shared ability at ‘acting’.

No, the cast I was referring to was… the bankers – the soiled suits with matching ties and creased handkerchiefs who are playing the leading roles in the soap of the moment.

Our dearly un-loved one-eyed Prime Minister of parts of Northern Ireland, some of Wales, not much of Scotland and a few bits of urban-England has suddenly got all feisty about these hand-shandiers. He’s looked at the newspapers, seen that his Smithy-like pal Tony Blur has stolen a march on not just him but all of Europe’s leaders by being invited to an early-doors Obama led prayer meeting and thought, oh shit… this bloke is being listened to; I’d better copy and paste a few bits from one of Barrack’s recent speeches and tow the transatlantic line.

Equals… Brigadier Underpant, the single-sighted brown-dirt cowboy, has got his voluminous under-garments in a bit of a pickle; found that his political testicles have been twisted ever so slightly (ouch) and therefore has, of late, started to sound-off about the off-the-wrist-merchants who are not only saying – we’re terribly terribly sorry but, hey look, its not really our fault… They're, compounding their own crocodile-tears, by self-justifying paying themselves… colossal bonuses over and above gigantic salaries.

Good boy… Rover – you’re only three, maybe four months late.

Why something like this wasn’t addressed as the leaves on the trees began turning yellow / orange / ochre / russet and brown (sic) is, quite frankly, way beyond me – the situation was there for all to see; anyone with half an ounce of common sense could work out how bad it was going to get but… as per bloody usual, everything is left to the last minute before political righteous indignation is spouted forth on the back of an absolute public outcry.

Who knows if Obama is going to be good for his own country, good for the world..? Only time will tell.

But… as a bare minimum, he’s come straight out of the White House traps with his trainers laced up tight… and has led the charge in terms of the absurdities of the fat-cats paying themselves outrageously. He, at the very least, has had the courage of his convictions to say… enough is enough.

Yet, the Brown-dirt-cowpoke and dear, dear Captain Darling – who have held the reins in the UK for more months than its been days since Obama fluffed his inauguration acceptance – have just pissed into the gale of change and, only of late, have realized that downwind would’ve been the better option.

Proof positive, if any further was needed, that Britain needs… no, really requires… someone strong… someone who tells it like it bloody well is… at the front end of the firing line.

Maybe the bloke who’s about to start a cull of grey-Squirrels is the chap to lead the charge of this particular Light Brigade?

Caught an earful of this character yesterday afternoon on the radio and it seems that there are now too many grey Squirrels in Scotland and they need to be kept in check otherwise the red Squirrel population will fall even further. According to him, Squirrel contraception (I kid you not) isn’t the answer so, a three-year, selective, cull is now underway from Tayside northwards.

Hey little grey Squirrel, come to Daddy… I promise you this won’t hurt (much).

Listening to Squirrel-extermination-bloke was almost as good as not just the re-run of series the second of Gavin and Stacey (genius, isn’t it?) but… coming across a truly bizarre new BBC series – the Naked programmes… So far, we’ve been treated to unclothed Office Workers / Beauticians / Estate Agents. Naked Nurses, so we are promised, are next up. However, before anyone accuses me of being of long-mackintosh persuasion and simply sat in front of the BBC I-Player, eager to see bare as a badger flesh… think again.

For sure its formatted in that each episode runs along more or less parallel lines and, I suppose, it’s a form of reality-tv… but…it’s a million miles away from the pitiable attention-seekers of spoilt-older-sister or the wretched un-reality of east-dale-ward 9-blues-next-door-neighbour-oaks…. And the psychology within is… fascinating.

Essentially, its about a set of four or five disparate people who’re brought together under one roof for four days, confronting their own fears that are, in the main, (lack of) confidence based. Ordinary people who doubtless dream horrid dreams at night about (what they consider to be) their own inadequacies… or failings.

Fear – for want of a better word – of (say) public speaking; fear brought about through something that’s happened in their past such as partner-rejection or similar; fear of heights (yes, can concur with that one); fear of perceived failure; fear of being overweight and / or considered unattractive / body image; a fear of being pushed to one side or hard-work overlooked; fear of microwaves (possibly I’m in a minority of one here); fear of the dark; fear of dentists – you get the drift.

Anyway… the contestants – if that’s the right word – undergo a series of challenges that end with them all (and yes, they’re given the choice) of doing this or that final dare stark-bollock-naked… but, the starting point is always… the writing down and listing out those self-thought-of inadequacies.

That’s probably a well-worn, tried and tested form of psychology (I know not) but… that owning up to oneself of those kind of things… a sort of self-confrontation if you like… is (or appears to be) a real wake-up call.

Therefore… I reckon the makers need to commission three new programmes – Naked Politicians, Naked Bankers and Naked Any-List Celebrities.

Wouldn’t it be great to see people of that ilk confront themselves. The first two categories in light of the recent economic down-turns / credit-crunchy-bars and all the other adjectives the media are so fond of calling this D E P R E S S I O N that we’re globally entering.

The latter category in order that an entire television generation might just realize that this absurd celebrity / five-whole-minutes-of-fame stupidity they aspire to is something not to aspire to.

Besides, they’d be mentored by… wait for it… a Mr. Phang – tho’ curiously, he pronounces his name Pang – the h remaining silent.

I wonder why?

Perhaps he’s not wanting to actually admit that he’s a relative of a dentist who, at one time, had a practice on the Chiswick High Road… True or false…? The former – unlikely as it may be.

Mr Phang’s emporium was one that I was once taken into, kicking and screaming, by a well-meaning companion only to be told (that’s me, not my companion) that I was – by far – the worst behaved customer he’d ever attempted to practice dentistry on. Personally, I was ever-so-slightly put off by being frog-marched into a dentist called… before I even got to lay down in his fake-leather white-plastic reclining chair.

Anyhow, said surgery was also pictured on the original sleeve for Pink Floyd’s 1973’s A Nice Pair album cover… although, for reasons I know not of, that image has been long-since replaced (see, this Voltaire does have some relevance toward music).

In any event… this Phang (Pang-pronounced) mentor-bloke is a believer in The Lady Thatcher… nope, not the late Dennis’ keeper of the keys to the gin-cupboard wife nor, lest it be thought, a reference to the Bobby Charlton school of comb-overs as worn by Arthur, Prince of the Satanic Mills, Mrs T’s long-time bette-noir… oh no… but… a sideways glance at Phang’s belief that the more hirsute contenders would look better for the cameras when, shall we say, tidied up somewhat prior to indulging in their final task.

Ahhhh… joy. Big Muff - clearly not.

Meantime, the rain keeps pouring down with floods adding to the snow and grit-free road’s chaos of travel.

This week’s earlier Project-X meeting was shelved at the last minute due to the fact that none of us travelling into Central Londinium could actually guarantee making it to Piccadilly on time… train schedules looked like they were going to be haphazard to say the least; leaves on the line were expected; snow-ploughs were needed; overhead cables were fusing.

So, after much e-mailing and telephoning back and forth, we’re scheduled to sit around the corporate table mid-morning tomorrow instead.

And – while waiting for the appointed hour… I’ve been busy.

And, be this a good thing or not, I’ve branch-lined out somewhat. Not content with my thin-controller furtherance of Project-X, I’ve come up with another – this being called Project-I. And this (already registered www site / tho’ under construction) scheme has spawned a couple of cousins of its own… called A and C… both, admittedly, are in nappies but… each has musical parents.

However, place them all in no particular order and I’ve realized that I’ve now got Project C.I.A on the go.

Where the hell is Russell Crowe when you really need him?

My name… is… Gladiator.


Anonymous said...

Terrific... fascinating observations. The Naked series is great viewing - didn't you think that stupid pint-sized estate agent who wouldn't be filmed was so pathetic?

I like your descriptive writing style a lot, you've an execeptional way with words.

Sally, Southampton.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Neil, it's rabbit and hat.

The Dentist tale is... fabulous; I'd imagine only you could come across one with that name.

Unfortunately, here in the US, we don't get that BBC series - so, shall simply take your word for it. I'm no trick-cyclist but do believe you're correct in suggesting that is a well trodden path in psycology.

Still waiting on your next compilation!