always something

On the train to Burscough, to catch the friendly against Accy Stanley (it’s a 1-1 draw, they scoring with some assistance from our back-four having a collective brain freeze. We pull it level half way through the second half, with the kind of curved freekick-with-rebound-and-triple-Salko movement which suggests all is pretty much as was since I last took the visit to Victoria Park.)

(Oh, no, wait, there’s two un-covered stands suddenly constructed, that’s new.)

A bloke at the Baron’s bar takes a look at Sky Sports News’ coverage of Rhyl playing Belgrade in the qualifying rounds of the Champions League. “How come they’re playing Belgrade and we’re stuck with Accrington Stanley?”. Good question, well phrased, to which one answer would be “Because they’re Welsh” but that sounds insulting and disingenuous so….

Onwards to crazy dreams. The new flat has caused some elements within my deeper moments of sleep to be ever more creative than usual. Miniature trains, song-and-dance numbers, narrative structures far stronger than usual, colour when they’re usual monochrome or an unusual gold-and-black…I assume when all is settled in the real world the same will happen to that which flows through the brain at sleep, but as there always seems to be something going on this could take some time. There’s not always important things, but enough to be going on with. Worries but not of anything important, niggles perhaps. Getting by, making do, terribly and awfully English things.

I should do more with the overheard conversations I pick up when travelling to work on Class 142s juddering along the East Lancashire Line. One bloke having a whinge about swine flu (he was considering with his mate how much of an actual government-created conspiracy it all was). A few days ago I overheard a bloke propping up the bar discussing a recent claim made to him about racist views. “F’cours I’m racist, course I am,” he explained to whoever was listening, “And this bloke says to me, he says, ‘You’re ignorant, you are’, and I says to him, I says, “You’re blind and braindead’.” I’ve been beaten to “Overheard in New York” but there’s always a more local version…

Saying that, I’ve got reviews, LibDemmery, a new reviewing project, interviews, “settling in”, three weeks of work on a limited budget…..Always something. I’d complain if I were bored, I bet….


With trepidation I reach for the cash point, dig hands into train seats, curse the lack of ready-made sandwiches in my fridge. With some regret and reluctance I accept money must be spent to make money, but the pain…And inconvenience. The Halifax bank chase me from one side, angry letters from other institutions await me on the carpet: Hell, even the Liberal Democrat membership department are on my back.

Irresponsibility on my behalf? To a degree, hence the calls from the cheery-yet-menacing Halifax woman earlier. Storm clouds bundled together in the sky for greater effect. It’s why “window” has been chosen for the title of this blog, it may be a high-school level metaphor but it’s nevertheless effective; windows imply escape as much as entrapment. Only recently, with the Lakanal Flats tragedy, do we see how open windows can be held partly responsible for bad as much as they would normally suggest all that is good. With so many financial pressures, not all of which are of my own doing, my wish is for an open window which leads to greater and higher places. Not the strain of a hill, more the implied escape of a plateau at the very least. Family pride, mostly paternal, is as much to blame as the increased cost of living at a time when the economy continues to crumble around me.

It would be so easy to pretend, with pride in one piece, that I do not have nay worries at all. To talk about Michael Jackson or swine flu or Peter Andre, but to do so would be dishonest to myself and the readers who remain so loyal to this little place in the cyberworld. My worry is genuine and desire to resolve all ills strong, but the reality is far beyond the world of assured self-belief. I enjoy sitting here, nursing a pint, with the warming late-evening sun against one side of my face; it would be far more enjoyable if a curtain could be drawn, here and everywhere else.

death to politicians, and also me

So, another dream of note. Its conclusion woke me up – Gordon Brown and I think Alan Duncan but could have been someone else – in a business or shop of some kind. The owner burst through a door, killing us all with three clean gun shots to the head. Focusing here on something other than me dreaming of our Prime Minister, work instead on the hyper-realism of some of the details – shimmer of light against the windows of passing traffic, the headmasterly click-scrape-click of shoes against pavement. We ended up talking about voting reform, I think, but prior to this I am sure that the men to whom I was talking – and in my dreams they may have been a representation of Mssrs Brown and Duncan – were bouncing and skipping along elevated platforms at one point.

The assassination was a conclusion to a sprawling mass of narrative. A very attractive and buxom young woman was the lead character of an entertaining musical in which I played no part. As though the brain was channel-hopping, I watched as she stole money through some form of credit card scam, than sang about it during a song-and-dance number straight from the most camp Broadway show imaginable. Quite what this long entertaining passage (three, five, maybe more minutes, or so I perceived) was doing filtering through my consciousness I cannot gather.

I wake with a murmur of babbling recollection. Dreams fading from a stained colour to white-noise, and then disappear into translucent frames vanishing into the air. Silence of a deeper, darker form rests in the room. Onwards, push the important thoughts and considerations, onwards away from dance routines and death. Far more relevant things to consider now…For one, dreaming about Gordon Brown, good lord….

trauma in dream

Dreams are, mostly, collections of thoughts and memories sewn together by a thin and sprawling narrative. Weight and meaning is negligible. Within an hour of waking images from them fade into translucent frames of memory at the back of the mind. There is a dull, persistent throb in my head, I notice, pulsing.

In the dreams melting from instant recall, a market with an unusual layout over many floors and layers; a doctor’s waiting room with a number of entrances, into which I would enter with a silent comedian’s grace. Moments of hyper-realism in dreams always interests me – each colour and style on fabric stalls, seeing potatoes being sliced, the shimmer of water on the backs of dead fish. Having to walk through a procession of actors in costume, even sense the stutter in the walk as some blocked my path. Somewhere (or time) else in the dream a journey around a dismantled railway line, and a swooping camera shot straight from the hyperactive cinema.

The meaning of all this is clear, at least deep down. Many elements are, of themselves, meaningless; memories given a storyline as though cut-and-spliced and glued together. The resulting floatlessness knocks me, the remaining grip of sleep tightens, pinches. My natural reaction is to assume meaning, even warning, but I should know better than that.

From the corner of one eye, subtitles flash across the screen like painted snails.

angels dancing on the head of a pin

Growing up certainly has its struggles. The younger me wandered around town thinking, no, dreaming, of being a writer, going so far as to invent holidays and travel stories on the hour or so spent walking from home to an arbitrary place on the outskirts of town. Today I wonder the ease of which someone could dream of becoming younger.

Finding somewhere to rent – the concept of buying a house is total Alice In Wonderland territory – with such a tight timeframe exhausts and bemuses me somewhat. Those twin deamons, Mr Fate and Mrs Fortune, have assisted the Darlingian Bounce by brushing up house prices. Estate Agents assume my solo status offers deep pockets. Looking for rooms to rent is a peculiar game, a form of real-estate reality television game show, with total strangers many in number walking into the studio half-way through the Bonus Round waving a cheque like Hazel Blears gazumping before you know what’s happened.

I walk from each To Let sign looking similar to a minor character in a low-budget French film. There should be close-ups of my hand running across fences and out-of-focus shots of my shoes. There are clocks ticking, and spoons clattering, and fuzzy white noise from radios, and it’s all in my head, but out there is a reality I cannot find the deposit for. Never mind house-hunting, never mind finding counting angels dancing on the head of a pin, I couldn’t find a barn-door with a banjo at this rate.


Songs once had context. Closing my eyes would invite my imagination to paint new images to accompany whichever music was playing in the background. An implied audience, an assumed crowd, something close to self-hypnosis. So much repetition over the lonelier years has effectively re-written certain songs on a permanent basis. But after so many years the realisation of what is actually going on is pretty embarrassing. Singing to yourself if an empty room fitting alternative lyrics to music that no-one else will hear.

You’re too honest said a man, once, in a context of his own. My assumption was that our conversations were effectively pre-ordained. Something close to fate and fortune, I supposed then, and still do to some extent. The other quotes which slosh against the shore of night-time contemplation endanger any potential calmer dreams; you’re a very good liar, said a friend, which hurt. Not sure of the position at which I stand, now, or how far along this route I want to go at this hour. Or indeed within this month. Some dark shadow hides most of the year’s end, appearing in my mind as a darkness dissolving the calendar.

I don’t know how to take the implication that, as a writer, I can only be recommended if my work is limited to 140 characters. Polite laughter, then silence, eyes around the room and slight sips of drink. Polite smiles, voiceless mouthing of promises to sit down again but mingling needs to be done, it is a party after all, thanks, see you in a…Eyes front, inspect the fingernails. Always end on a handshake, says the old wise man, whose beard is a phone-pad scrawl and whose eyes are framed by the curves of magnetic fields. I cannot remember what became of the old wise man. Worryingly his voice remains clear but his face hides in fog and crackle. Worryingly I am starting to convince myself that he does not exist.