A familiar steep valley sleeved by towering pines. The air is sweet with sap. The path, needled and coned. This is the dream walk of always, leading me to or from a festival. I am with Phil A and a handful of others – near transparent people; fading; they barely make it through into this world, or perhaps, to them, I do not quite make it through to their world – but it is my dream, so I assume the former. Phil A is the only one I recognise, the only one with substance – however, he would never be traipsing a pine-scented valley from a festival, so proving that it is a dream.
A band plays at the fringes of the treeline. They are fronted by Siouxsie Sioux, although she is only recognisable because she wears an ancient Siouxsie Sioux tee shirt. It is a return gig. The other Banshees are unrecognisable.
Phil A (always mean in dream) says, “your band sounds like a Costco band!” Siouxsie Sioux steps away from the microphone and leans out of the shadows. She aims some choice words at Phil A, but an aircraft tears through the sky with a dreadful scream and her words are lost.
At the village of Punknowle (there is such a place, though I have only ever passed through it long ago) a skateboarder practices tricks on the cracked pavement outside the shops. His deck is constructed from an old milk crate. I watch him. When he turns in profile his nose is unfeasibly long – like Pinocchio’s, but similar to Phil A’s as it is pierced and bulbous.
Joel H is recounting the story of when he proposed to ____________. The story has changed over time. Although it had once seemed cute & corny (he’d handed his intended her shoes in the toe of one he’s secreted an engagement ring), it now has become something of an epic. The shoe is still present, as is the ring, but in this telling __________ doesn’t immediately discover the band inside. She somehow gets the shoe on and walks around for some time. Her footsteps, her life, are punctuated by flinches of pain and, he says, over a period of months her gait becomes painful to watch as she develops first a limp and eventually a grotesquely swollen foot. He is, he tells me, loathe to share the secret of her pain with her as he has decided that he could never marry a girl with such a disability. Eventually, ___________ has her foot amputated at the ankle and only then does the surgeon discover the gold ring. No one has any idea how it got there.
Sat with my back to the wall in the Aroma Coffeeshop in Lyme Regis, I am aware of someone tugging at my jumper from behind. I reach behind myself expecting to find that I am snagged on a nail or something. But as I do, I touch a hand that immediately pulls away. When I turn round there is nothing but the wall of course. Jodie J is busy constructing a tower of Lemon Drizzle cake at the counter. She tries to hide her smile behind the huge cake, but her smile is too big. “That’s the trouble with this shop,” she says at last through her laughter. “The place is haunted. That’s why we called it Aroma.” This doesn’t (on waking) make any sense to me, but in the dream it is more than an obvious and feasible explanation. She comes and sits beside me and pulls at a loose thread at the back of my jumper. It unravels and now she is constructing a tower of multi coloured wool on the table (it is similar in proportion to the cake on the counter). We are laughing, hidden behind the structure.