The moon's other face - March 11
Photo © Angela Vicedomini
It's as much perspiration as inspiration in the studio right now, but I of course I wouldn't have it any other way, as reluctant songs allow themselves to be led into the dance.
But at night from the Land of Nod dreams can be incredibly vivid and useful. If I'm especially lucky I might awake with a present of a new melody or two.
I once relived a 3am walk I actually took in New Orleans in dream form which included a fairground, a cartoon, a flying library sequence and even a production rehearsal with Genesis c. 1973. So many songs were crafted from that one dream bringing me back to myself in the best possible sense. I feel the message was "Don't be hidebound by ritual, but be expansive. Fly in dreams, fly with books, absorb all you can! Don't forget humour and pastiche."
Sometimes you might be able to control the dream as I've occasionally done. For fledgling shamans responding to the Nightcallers, sometimes there's a cliff you'll want to jump from, somehow knowing you'll fly or float and that you won't fall. When you take that leap of faith the feeling of liberation can be priceless.
Over the course of several years, a stag has played an important part in dreams for both Jo and me. For Jo it has been a stag in a magic forest which revealed creative information and was somehow animal, human, male and female. For me too the stag transcended those same boundaries whilst its glowing antlers enveloped, protected and re-energised me. It was also is if the antlers were the very fibres that connected the universe.
For those interested in the song Theatre of Sleep the title was inspired by a book of the same name. Some of the ideas come from a personal dream of being marooned on a late nineteenth century steamer which was about to plunge headlong over a gigantic waterfall. Fortunately I woke up, relieved to be back in the waking world! At that time I was going through a more introverted anxious phase.
There have been several train dream / songs, amongst others Golden Age of Steam. Here I was standing on top of a steam train as it ploughed through valleys and forests, then I rose above it and heard shunting strings along with myself singing what became the middle eight of the song. This was the original spark of inspiration before the rest of the tune fell into place. The title Sleepers on one level alludes to the sleepers on a railway track as part of the recent train theme. It was inspired by Nick Clabburn's fabulous line "All the sleepers send you their dreams" along with a combination of similar dreams that both Jo and I have had, involving claws in our feet, strange things appearing on the edge of a stormy sea and inanimate objects morphing into living beings. Through the song came a sense of lucid dreaming with the facility of consciously "turning your dream around".
One last night adventure that continues to live with me... I'm viewing a barren dried up sandy bottomed lake. Suddenly it's once again teaming with life. A ponytailed guy appears proudly showing me how he alone has re-irrigated it. The waters are translucent aqua blue like the shirt and the eyes of the man. This shows me the power of what one person can do and the wealth of creativity that's there to be tapped.
Logic has no dominion over our dreamscapes. Personal myths, letters to yourself, call them what you will, we have no option. We're handed our nightly tickets for the longest running magic show on earth...