Further Disturbances From Dan’s Sleepy Head

Two more particularly strange dreams last night, probably owing at least slightly by the amount I drank at the SmartData Christmas meal, beforehand… and perhaps owing more to the phase I’ve been going though of consistently remembering what are usually quite trippy dreams. I’ve not been blogging them all (I had a dream the night before last, or thereabouts, in which both my grandfathers [actually already dead] died in quick succession, which was a bit odd) because I’ve not had much spare time in which to blog at all, but I can’t really not share the unusual stories my brain was telling me last night.

The Company Picnic Dream

The first of these dreams I remember because I woke up parched at about 3am, having not had quite enough water between stopping drinking alcohol and going to bed. It’s very obviously inspired quite heavily by the SmartData Christmas meal:

Simon, Alex, Gareth and I – everybody present at the Christmas dinner earlier in the evening – were having a picnic on the Aber promenade. We’d laid out a picnic rug right at the edge of the prom, where the drop-off to the beach begins, and we were eating soup from bowls. The tide was in and it was getting dark, and occasional waves would crash against the prom and splash us, so we all got off the picnic rug and dragged it further away from the sea. We were still getting sprayed and our soup was getting cold, so I suggested that we go to Paul‘s flat, nearby, where we could re-heat it.

When we got to Paul’s flat he wasn’t there, but Ruth was. She said that Paul wouldn’t mind us using his oven [!] to re-heat our soup, so we put our bowls in the oven and turned it on. Paul’s living room had distinct elements of The Flat and The Cottage to it, but the staircase downstairs was the one from my dad’s house. After a while, people started to arrive for Geek Night – just the usual people one would expect, but also two women I didn’t recognise. I went down the stairs to collect a box full of board games, and the stairs looked a lot like those at my dad’s house, but with the carpet we had when I was young.

I picked up the blue plastic box of board games [the same one that, in real life, has been used for months to transport games to and from Rory‘s place], but it was overfilled and hard to control, so I asked JTA to carry some of the games, which he did. Later, I persuaded Claire to carry some, too, although she objected to having to help. The box for the Friends & Foes expansion pack to Lord Of The Rings fell open, and I had to pick up all the pieces.

The Animated Cat Dream

The second dream of last night is far more weird and convoluted. It’s all-too-easy to find meaning in it relating to my life and the people in it, but I can assure you that if that appears to be the case, it’s coincidental – large segments of it are from a recurring dream I’ve had several times in the last seven or eight years. This doesn’t help my case for not being a fruitcake, though, I suppose. In any case:

The dream is told from a perspective in which I am an observer – like watching a film – rather than something of which I am part of with which I can interact. During the dream, I was aware that the story I was following was something I had seen before (previous occurrences of dreaming this, which is one of the far-less-frequent recurring stories I find in my dreams). Like previous times, however, I’ve had a sensation of "seeing more" in it this time around than any previous time [another common theme in several of my recurring dreams is a feeling that I’m being told a story in fragments, seeing a bigger picture every time]: a clearer picture, a more-understandable plot, and a longer and better-planned tale.

The dream is also always told through the medium of animation, and the animation style in itself is worthy of mention. It has a particularly hand-drawn feel to it, uses very strong blocks of colour, a slightly-too-small frame rate, and it is animated entirely without outlines around the characters and their features. It’s very slightly glossy, like poster paint. Those "common" bits aside, here’s the dream:

An anthropomorphic black tom cat walks up a stairwell, as seen from a "floating camera" ascending the stairs ahead of him, in a grubby, run-down old house. He has a cheeky grin on his face as he reaches the top of the stairs and enters what appears to be his bedroom, and makes the bed, while we hear his voice as a voice-over monologue. He’s trying to impress a woman he lives with in order to sleep with her. He gets into the bed.

Later, the woman comes home. She’s tall with long unkempt blonde hair, and she’s wearing a black dress, and she’s animated in the same style as the cat (although she’s the most human-looking character in the entire story). She goes to the bedroom, and it becomes apparent [from the voiceover? I don’t remember] that it’s her room, not the cat’s. She appears to be angry that the cat has crept in to her bed, and she sternly demands that he returns to his own room. He slinks out, and she follows him, watching him skulk back to his own room, where she insists that she must punish him for his impertinence. A series of kinky games ensue, and it’s obvious that what I’m now seeing is the true nature of the relationship between the cat and this woman: one based on cheeky misbehaviour, control, sex, and sadomasochism. She threatens him, and slaps him, and makes him sit bare-bottomed on a hot radiator, and as the camera pulls away from the scene we see some text appear that for some reason tell us their "safe word" (well, a "safe phrase", really): it begins "I wish I knew the name of…" and finishes with a monicker by which we know the woman. [but since waking, I don’t remember what it is]

The dream shows another two inhabitants of the house [only one of which I can recall well enough to describe] – one of these has distinctly pig-like features. He’s excitable and slightly nervous and talks with a stutter, but he’s likable and gets on well with the other people he lives with, including the other one in this scene. The two talk [but I don’t recall about what] as the opening credits begin to appear (large, serifed white letters) and the view explores the house, seeing a great deal of filth and squalor and a generally disturbing level of decay. At one point, we see an ill and dying rat bite off and eat the eye (and surrounding face) of a dead and decomposing rat.

Some time later [there’s a huge plot hole here, and I’m convinced my brain simply hasn’t seen fit to fill it in yet], a black bakelite telephone rings at the house, and the woman answers it. We hear the voice on the other end of the phone threaten [perhaps blackmailing] her, and she appears genuinely scared. She tries to respond, boldly, to hide her fear, but the voice on the phone is being played from an old-fashioned record turntable in a car parked over the street, connected to a car-phone. The cat, the woman, the pig-man, and the fourth housemate gather to discus what to do about this threat.

New aspects in this dream since the last time I had it include: a great deal more clarity on the animation style of the cat (and the woman, to a lesser extent), the discovery that the woman and the cat have a "safe word," the dead rat (the other rat has always featured, but it’s new to see it being cannibalistic), and the woman’s face while she is being threatened (previously, I’ve "been looking at" the record player at the time).

So, that’s another episode in one of my more-unusual recurring dreams (and not a common one; I’ve only had that particular dream about four times so far, as far as I can tell). Interpretations, as always, welcome, but if you’d prefer to just sit quietly and think, "wow, that guy’s fucked up," that’s cool too.