Thursday, 14 February 2013

FESTIVAL DIARY DAY 7 - fever dreams at the Looking Glass

Dear readers, I must apologise.
For I know that you have come to expect from me your daily round-up of the previous evening's festival shenanigans. Well it is my sad duty to inform you that yesterday I fell prey to the dreaded 'festival lurgy'. Too many days of racing from show to show in the icy cold, then sitting in hot, airless rooms stuffed with people and their various germs, meant that I was unable to go out into the festival yesterday, as my brain and body became gripped with an intense fever, and I became delirious for several hours.

I have had fevers before, but I have never in my life experienced fever dreams like these. Obviously I have spent most of my time in pubs and bars watching comedy shows recently, so it makes sense that most of my feverish mental journey was framed by the bare brick walls reminiscent of the Looking Glass basement - I went on some incredible and ridiculous adventures, but every now and then I would look around and realise I was still down there, surrounded by semi-familiar figments of my imagination, with no sense of time, no way out.

I remember a large section of the dreams consisted of a man with glasses - a twisted storyteller whose words seemed to come not from his mouth but from the darkest reaches of my mind. He guided me on an abstract journey into the retro sci-fi world of Todd Bigface, a regular guy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and wound up being drugged by a wretched and amoral scientist named Teenwolf, and turned into a super-strong, laser-packing Cyborg!

The storyteller and his multifaced assistant guided us through the curious adventures of Bigface as he struggled with his new status as a military tool, striving to overcome his reassignment and save his true love Judy from mild-to-moderate peril. It was a gripping adventure, yet a very silly one with some excellent lo-fi sound effects. The visions conjured up by the twisted storyteller were so real at times that I didn't even realise I was dreaming, but I know I was, because at various points the location, story and characters all suddenly changed - perhaps I rolled over in bed or had my slumber disturbed briefly by a cough - and then just as suddenly it was back to the adventures of Bigface and his futuristic quest... A thoroughly exhilarating, unusual and rewarding experience.

My fever must have abated for a while, because for half an hour or so my dreams became quite pedestrian, and all I seemed to be doing was smoking outside whilst chatting with all the faces I have seen most often in the last week or so, buying a drink and going to the toilet.

But then the fever returned with a vengeance, and my delirious imaginings became even more torrid, changeable and confusing than they had been before. Faces I know and love became mashed up with those of minor celebrities and characters from local folklore. My whole world became a disjointed, home-made menagerie of grotesques - by turns hilarious, confusing and terrifying. Snippets of it keep flashing into my mind as I write this: a pork chop with Tourette's; a TV bake-off with by Mel and Sue, pitting dead celebrities against one another; horrendously-clad middle aged women with mental problems dancing to a jungle version of A-Ha; a chat show hosted by Englebert Humperdinck featuring a sleepwalking mute from an obscure horror film...and Nikki Minaj! Even now as I write this, mentally exhausted and awake in a pool of fever-sweat, the images still haunt me - a Michael McIntyre lookalike shuddering open-mouthed around the stage; a deep-voiced Mary Berry spitting out her food, exclaiming it tastes like Coventry; an erotic dance by a woman with sherbert fountains for nipples; apocalyptic rave aerobics; the list goes on... and this one phrase that kept going round and round in my head all the while... something about Barbara, and Wheels... or was it Steel... no, it's gone.

I've never been one for trying to analyse dreams, yet this bizarre procession of images just seems too fascinating to ignore. But what does it all mean??? Perhaps it's my subconscious telling me I've seen too much comedy recently, and my brain is liable to turn to mulch if I keep it up. Or perhaps it's telling me that too much of the comedy I see is obvious, run-of-the-mill and has been done to death, and thus I should seek out bold, new forms of comedy that deviate from the norm, chewing up other artforms and spitting them out in a barely recognisable, semi-digested, frequently hilarious but often baffling form. Maybe this is the future of comedy, or maybe it's all just the virus warping my sense of reality. I'd best get some more sleep, and by the power of Grayskull, normal service will resume tomorrow...

1 comment:

  1. This sums up the weirdest night I've had in a long time in better words that I could ever express.