Whilst on holiday in Suffolk a few weeks ago I bought a small book at a second-hand stall at the market in the lovely little town of Framlingham. Called The Victorian Book of Dreams, it is clearly a forerunner of the little books you might have picked up at the till in Past Times as a desperate last moment Christmas present for someone who has everything (other than a book about Edwardian manners or tips for husbands).
The picture on the front cover is magnificent and reading through it has been fun; but it has made me realise that the interpretation of dreams has come a long way in the past one hundred and twenty years or so.
For example, one entry in the book states ‘Bagpipes – to dream of this musical instrument is always unfortunate; it denotes extreme poverty and you will have to labour hard all your life.’ I can’t help feeling there is some stereotyping involved in that meaning. Another suggests that should you be unfortunate enough to dream of a butcher cutting up meat, ‘some of your friends will be hanged and you will experience much misery and poverty’. However, if you dream that you or a friend is being hanged, it means you will become very wealthy. Work that one out.
How many of us have wanted to leave the ‘rat race’ (who does ‘race’ rats?) and open a cafe or tea shop? Especially one set in a village close to wonderful rolling countryside and just a few miles from the sea?I have just come back from a weekend catching up with friends from our years spent in Brighton & Hove. It is a part of the country we still love, although as soon as we left we knew the cost of moving back would be prohibitive. Classic commuter country villages with the benefits of the city scene in Brighton make it very different from the Somerset we live in now. So we make the most of our invitations back and try to meet up with as many people as possible.
So on Saturday we popped in on our old mate Chris Wilson, who I have previously remembered best as the guy who, fifteen years ago, encouraged me to drink three cocktails involving about 10 different spirits. The results were of course predictable, but less predictable at the time would have been the sight of him behind the counter of his very own cafe, making me a cup of fresh ground (and very strong) coffee.
You’re dreaming. Someone has asked you, a complete novice, to sing at a festival in front of thousands of people. Live, with a band. What song would you choose to sing in public? (given the necessary vocal talent of course). Would it be one you hear over and over again from your kids room, or a Take That standard that will get everyone singing along? Would you like it to be a song that speaks of who you are as a person, or who you would like to be – a protest song perhaps?
I had this dream. Anyone who knows me would say that me singing in public is my- and indeed everyone else’s – idea of a nightmare rather than a dream come true. But when it came to going on stage I made a pretty good job of singing this…
It is a song I have always loved (and annoyed my children with over the years as ‘mummy’s miserable music’) and I do indeed sing along to it in the car so I expect there was nothing too significant about my choice.
But thinking about it, I reckon this has got to be one of the most seductive songs ever written. I am a huge fan of Portishead and Beth Gibbons’ voice is sexy as hell anyway, but she really surpasses herself on this track.
What do you reckon? What might you have sung? What do you sing when no-one else is listening (after all we can’t all get the chance to sing at Glastonbury…)
Its daft I know, but I felt the need to share it on my blog because in a funny kind of way I feel proud of myself for getting up there on stage and giving this fabulous song a go.
I have loads to do today. I am miles behind with NaNoWriMo, I have to write a number of pitches and the house looks like a tip. ‘Oh darling’ I said to OH when I was made redundant ‘just think, if I go back to working from home I can do all the washing/ironing/cooking/cleaning…’ All my feminist instincts (and pathological laziness where housework is concerned) out of the window in order to pursue my freelance writing dreams. Now terracotta carpets are black with dog hair, the bath plughole is blocked with goodness knows what and there is nothing for dinner. And I can do nothing about it.
For the first time in years it seems, I have a cold.