Suggested Audio Cheddar
 Hans Zimmer “Inception”
 Heart “These Dreams”
 Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)”
I’m sure I’m not alone here when stating that, of all the great mysteries in life, none are quite as mind-boggling as dreams. The very concept enthralls me and the idea of a reality that exists only in our subconscious fascinates me in the über-extreme. Indeed, it has been that way since childhood, when I consumed a wedge of extra mature cheddar like clockwork every bedtime in an attempt at coaxing from my psyche the most lurid phantasms unimaginable. Of course, being of a slightly more shadowy inclination, the more macabre these reveries the better. Waking in a cold sweat provided unparalleled delight and, when my physician prescribed antidepressants for an ongoing episode of work-related stress, my first excitable inquiry entailed any potential side-effects. When she replied that particularly vivid dreams were commonplace, I leapt from my seat like a lotto-winning salmon, pumped my fist, let out a resounding “Yippee!”, then grabbed both her breasts and gave them a light jiggle. Okay you got me, the last part didn’t happen. But I did dream it later that night.
So when a director like Christopher Nolan decides to tackle the infinitely perplexing theme of dreams, I promptly feel that overwhelming desire to once again pump my fist. Nolan has rarely, arguably never, put so much as a pinky wrong and his résumé makes for pretty formidable reading. Choosing a favorite is just as thankless task as naming the most handsome of The Proclaimers as there’s precious little between them. Memento placed him squarely on radars with its rearward-facing narrative and leisurely unfurling mystery. Insomnia followed and it speaks for the eminence of this man’s art that it is considered possibly his weakest film. While The Prestige wasn’t necessarily my bag, it was an ingenious concept executed with a surgeon’s precision. It was already becoming pretty clear that this guy shits unrefined plutonium but, when Batman crept out of the shadows attempting to make things up to the Caped Crusader’s disconsolate fan base after the rancid (but vaguely enjoyable) Batman & Robin, it proposed his sternest measurement yet.
Like a twelve-year old child genius, he simply shrugged his shoulders and pumped out not one but three nigh-on immaculate translations of the Dark Knight’s murky lore like he was taking a dump after a bowl of All Bran. It’s unproblematic to Nolan but there just has to be a trade-off somewhere surely. Perhaps he’s hung like a Chinese fisherman? Or does he just possess some kind of higher power that the rest of us mere mortals couldn’t even dream of? Speaking of which, it seemed only right that he tackle this most infinite of topics as, aside from the old evolution debate, there are none so ripe for the picking. One can only take a shot in the dark when facing the conundrum they present but Nolan mentally ingested every last piece of literature and theory, gobbled enough cheddar before bedtime to quadruple his body mass, and the result was Inception. From opening shot to the moment that spinning top appears it may topple, this film is sheer class. Not a solitary kink in its armor, it is unremitting in its barrage of sheer brilliance.
Anyhoots, this is more than an exercise in sucking Christopher Nolan’s junk bouquet, as we have far more pressing topics at hand. I’ve tackled the behemoth of R.E.M. sleep on numerous occasions previously and you’d think that means I have it pretty much sewn up right? Do I fuck, a thousand articles wouldn’t even begin to skim the surface where the wonder of dreams is concerned and, thanks to Inception, the Sandman has made a rousing return once more. That said, traipsing over old ground doesn’t interest me in the slightest as there are numerous ways in which to skin a cat. Thus, I present you the freshest pussy in my fast-growing litter, minus epidermis. Needless to say, I’ll be needing an angle, and I believe this one will make for a few raised eyebrows. I have been in research mode for the past hour, investigating a few facts about dreams that you may not be aware of. Regrettably, these findings tend to be presented in monotone and that is where I come in. Time to sprinkle a little fairy dust on said gospel and make it less laborious to thumb through.
I believe we should commence with a doozy and I think I have the ideal tidbit for such an occasion. You see, apparently some of the greatest inventions mankind has ever known have been motivated by dreamscapes. Larry Page laid his head down own night and woke up the next morning with the concept for Google, Nikola Tesla slept through his alarm but came up with the alternating current generator in the process, Elias Howe’s eight-hour stint provided us with the sewing machine, and Dimitri Mendeleyev may have soiled his bed linen but his mother didn’t have the heart to reprimand him as he had dreamed up the periodic table while unloading his bowel. Actually, I’m not so grateful for that one as I never could get my head round it. In what fucking universe does Pb equate to lead I ask you? The fact remains that this is evidently quite a decent time to grab ourselves some inspiration. Try it tonight and I’ll do the same. With a dash of good fortune (and healthy wedge of cheddar), I’ll have invented a never-ending toilet roll by dawn, making those daily bowel movements less fraught with peril.
Then we have premonition and there have been numerous cases reported over the centuries that support this very theory. Whether bona fide glimpses of the future or simply coincidence, it still translates to some pretty bizarre phenomena. Abraham Lincoln dreamt of his assassination, Mark Twain of his brother’s death, and there are 19 verified cases of precognitive dreams regarding the Titanic catastrophe. Likewise, numerous victims of disasters both natural and unnatural have received foresight by way of slumber and that chills me right down to my innermost marrow. In all my years of recording my sleep activity, never once have I witnessed anything like a premonition. That said, I almost got laid in multiple scenarios and this resulted in wet dreams if that counts for anything?
Sleep paralysis is no laughing matter as anyone afflicted will no doubt corroborate. Its characteristics include the inability to move and a sense of an extremely inhospitable presence in the room with us. The latter is particularly unnerving as it never actually feels like a dream and, instead, 100% authentic. Studies have revealed that during an attack, sufferers show an overwhelming level of amygdala activity, which is responsible for the “fight or flight” instinct and the emotions of fear, terror and anxiety. I’m sure we’ve all had the feeling of wading through water and, likewise, plummeting to a doom that never actually arrives, resulting in an almighty jolt on awakening. If I had a cent for every time I have attempted to reach a dream location, only to find my every route blocked and progress continually hindered, then I’d have enough in the kitty to buy Donald Trump a toupée that doesn’t look so fucking preposterous and still have enough for a chest wig for Justin Bieber. Of course, I’d sprinkle both with asbestos beforehand.
Next up is the rather scientific sounding nocturnal penile tumescence which basically translates to alphas getting wood while out for the count. Apparently we host up to twenty erections per single dream which equates to around one stiff prick for every two winks by my estimation. Hence the first morning piss being so troublesome as we attempt those sleepy-eyed hand stands fellas. I guess it goes without saying that my dreams are reasonably freaky interludes and, should memory fail me, then a swift peek inside my jockeys usually clears that one up, figuratively speaking at least.
Sleepwalking may be fairly seldom but this extreme form of R.E.M. sleep disorder can be potentially rather hazardous indeed. For some, this is not so bad, and there is one case of a man who is a nurse by profession, but dreams he is an artist. When he wakes to stunningly detailed portraits that he has no recollection of painting, I’m sure he’s not too put out. However, it has been known to get weirder still. One woman claims to engage in coitus with strangers each time she is under, another nonchalantly strolled through a third floor window and barely survived, and quite how one sleepwalker drove over twenty miles to his cousin’s house before slaughtering him I will never know? Dream G.P.S. perhaps?
There are also those for whom waking up at all is a wretched thought as they love dreaming so much that reality seems lackluster in comparison. This is where Dimethyltryptamine comes in and this illegal and extremely potent hallucinogenic provides a synthetic form of the chemical our brains produce naturally during dream state. I’m all for a dash of reverie but once daily is quite enough for me as, while reality can bite hard on occasion, it’s also fairly compulsory. On the flip side, we have dream-catchers and Native Americans use these sacred webbed hoop symbols to protect against unwanted nightmares. That’s no good for me as I happen to be rather partial to a good phantasm from time to time as you sure feel the wind in your sails when you wake up from being pursued by a hell beast with a thousand flailing tendrils and chronic cotton mouth.
Brain activity is said to increase while we’re asleep and, while we ordinarily associate shut-eye with rest, our cerebellums are actually at their most overworked. On the plus side, this is when we recharge our creativity although those who suffer from one particularly severe case of R.E.M. disorder are shit out of luck as they don’t dream at all. This results in significantly decreased creativity and poor performance with regards to any tasks requiring creative problem solving. Aside from this decidedly rare affliction, we all dream, whether we like it or not. Regrettably, over 60% of us are destined to have no recollection come daylight.
Meanwhile, the visually impaired are no less prone to dreams as anyone else and even those who are legally blind see imagery while they sleep. Alas, should they have been born sightless, then there are no dice on the visual front but they do still dream and every bit as intensely. There are five available senses remember. Any animal lovers amongst us will be tickled pink to hear that their pets are also partial to dreaming. That’s right, next time you watch your cat snoozing by the log fire and it begins stretching its paws and emitting bizarre audio, chances are that it has bagged itself some feline Fräulein in a back alley, over by the dumpster, and is feeding her a length of its microscopic penis. Either that or it’s the old ball of wool chestnut. Feed it some cheddar before bedtime and it will thank you in the long run.
It has been scientifically proven that we can only see faces in dreams that we have spotted in real life previously. Thus, when we’re sitting on the bus and some horribly unsightly old woman approaches sporting a hairy facial mole and beady eyes that follow us intently right up to our departure, she may well be popping up in our very next nightmare. Speaking of which, statistics suggest that our dreams are negative affairs more often than not. Indeed, the three most widely reported emotions felt comprise anger, sadness and fear. If that isn’t disparaging enough, then how about these apples? We can host up to seven different reveries per night depending on how many R.E.M. cycles we facilitate. Despite this, the average dreamer only does so for one to two hours each night. Had I mentioned that 12% of us only dream in black and white?
This one frustrates the hell out of me as 70% of characters in male dreams are of the same-sex, whereas women get the 50-50 split. Is it any wonder that men’s dreams are brimming with aggression? Again, scientific fact. To settle those fraying nerves fellas, sexual themes are just as prevalent for both sexes. I guess we’re just more prone to angry dream sex. Lucid dreaming, or conscious dreaming as it is commonly referred, affords the lucky party the ability to assume control, allowing them to fly, pass through walls, travel to alternative dimensions, and even back in time. I know right? I’d like me some lucid dreaming post-haste please. Should we not be sure whether or not we are actually dreaming, then pick up a book or attempt to read the time on the nearest clock. Neither are possible in dreamland, time stands still and literature becomes utterly illegible. However, just because the small hand on your timepiece isn’t budging, doesn’t mean you’re out for the count. Perhaps you’re just watching daytime television.
So there we have it fellow dreamers. Our brains are like intricate motherboards for our entire multifarious infrastructure, and we are unlikely ever to decipher such paradoxes. Dreams are ultimately illusionary affairs and our minds are fully responsible for every vista painted. Without them the deep red simply doesn’t circulate, which is why we are always taught to aim for the head folks. Reality may not always be sugar dusted pralines with liquor centres, but it does follow some form of decodable pattern for the most part. That said, if the choice consists of leading a barren life without excitement courtesy of the red pill or necking its blue compatriot, then I know which I’d opt for. Indeed, I’m pretty sure which capsule Christopher Nolan selected before going all subterranean and dreaming up the concept of Inception. Sweet dreams Grueheads.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2016