nightmares, sweets and nun urinals

Last night I had the most horrific nightmare.

Like most people I generally dream in colour, but when I have a nightmare it is always in the same vivid tone – a kind of dark, high contrast black and white  (those of you with ‘Raw Fear‘ will have seen Simon Marsden’s stunning photography,  it’s not unlike this)

Anyway, I’ve never been able to fathom why this is the case.. maybe I caught a glimpse of a black and white horror film when I was a child?, or perhaps it’s a universal thing (do you dream in colour or b&w? are your good dreams the same tone as your bad ones?)

I personally think it has something to do with the abstraction of time, I even find watching very old cinematic footage disturbing sometimes, kind of like looking at ghosts..

I read of a study recently which found that people who grew up before colour television dream almost exclusively in black and white, and the rest of us in colour,  suggesting the media has a lot to do with it.   This however doesn’t explain it,  after all I don’t dream in a kind of 1980’s video hue, and I doubt todays children dream in a YouTube pixelated style.  Besides, my monochromatic reveries only apply to the dark and twisted..  the plain old surreal and sexy ones broadcast in glorious technicolor.

Back to my nightmare.  Like most vivid dreams, the intensity was more in the mood and feeling, the details of the ‘plot’ have since vanished into the ether.  Needless to say it was quite Saw/Hostel esque and involved some crazed butcher chasing me and cutting people up and me waking up caught in the grip of the primeval fear of the hunted which nearly all life on earth experiences daily.

We are fortunate that for most of us human beings such intense fear is limited to the bedroom (missus),  that said the insanity of the horrific genocide of Rwanda 14 years ago (which left behind 500,000 machete’d corpses) has flared up again in the Congo.  Africa, the world, humanity, we’re in such a bloody mess,  it’s daunting.

Anyway, I digress.  Back to the now trivial matter of mon petit cauchemar.

In the cold light of day I can see the intense animalistic feeling of hunted/hunter in such a dreamstate are related to the fact that largely dormant part of the brain, the R Complex (which has evolutionarily been there since we were even smaller and less furry) wakes up and flexes it’s crude reptilian feelings a little in the night when the more ‘human’ areas of the brain are resting or busy sorting out memories (allegedly one of the main purposes of dreaming).

Aside from this, I realised this morning I have not the faintest idea what causes bad dreams, so I wiki’d it..

“Nightmares are typically caused by illness, anxiety, stress, bereavement..”

ok neither one of which I’ve suffered from recently

“..or are alcohol related”


Ok I have to confess I am typing this with something of a hangover.

Last night was the launch night for an album I produced earlier this year for a fun new band called Elova.  A three piece (one piece of which is essentially just a wooden box),  Elova are fellow Devonians (a part of the ‘West Country’ here in the UK), and onstage are this multicoloured explosion of upbeat party pop, musically they range from 1940’s Tom & Jerry style cartoon music to soulful 70’s funk.  Was certainly a fun and different thing for me to be involved in (they kept a ‘behind the scenes’ blog if you want gory details on that).  As for the record, it’s called ‘Sweetbox‘ and you can get it (and more info etc) on their site..

The other album I produced this year, was of course the new Mediaeval Baebes record, ‘Illumination

Some of you from the USA or Europe might have caught the fair maidens in action on their recent tour, they are doing a few dates in the UK around Christmastime and then back to the US for a longer tour in the new year.  Illumination will be available generally in the new year and is available at the shows and on their website.

Winter has really set in here in London.  Cold and with approximately 40 minutes of daylight per day, it’s now the middle of the afternoon and already dark.. Later it’s ‘Bonfire Night‘ and there are already explosions in the frosty London air (great for the aforementioned hangover).  In reality, the UK’s Guy Fawkes Night lasts from September until January when the last fireworks shop in town returns to its default state of a sad looking disused unit.  It’s like our equivalent of 4th July but with hints of good old British misery and drunkeness.  I’m actually sat here with a large cup of tea, feeling quite the stereotype..

Anyway, I shall have to drink my tea and type quicker as I’m sooned to be dragged to the fireworks display at Alexandra Palace,  which this year is apparantly accompanyed by a mock German Oktoberfest (ironically the huge building was used as a POW camp for captured Germans during WW2) .. anyway it all sounds rather hideous and being a bone fide nerd, I would rather of course stay here basking in the warmth of my laptop screen.. but such is life..

I actually had the geniune Bavarian bierkellar experience a few weeks ago when visiting Munich, during which I drank my bodyweight in Weissbeir (I can’t remember if I had nightmares, nor indeed anything much of that day)

Munich is a very pretty historic looking city which oddly seems to have more cathedrals than houses, about one per street, sometimes two.  Anyway something struck me as I wandered past these huge old churches..

It’s well known that monolithic towers, church spires, monuments, Effiel Tower etc are pretty unsubtle phallic symbols… is it me or are some cathedral entrances decidedly vagina shaped?!

Perhaps it’s sexually frustrated architects, or like the phallic towers, some kind of subtle symbolism (birth/rebirth?..).  I dunno..

from the sublime to the ridiculous.. nun urinals

Nun Urinals
Nun Urinals