The Dream Dustbin: Alex’s Dream

This is the second installment in Flora Phillips’ “Dream Dustbin” series, where she takes a dream and creatively reinterprets it through artistic mediums such as illustrations, photography, written verse or narrative, soundscapes, sculpture, etc.

For this piece, Flora has photographed an image that captures the essence of Alex’s dream.

Alex:

We’re in Trevs’ Bar on a vague, grey Saturday afternoon. Alex is slumped at his computer, a drowsy smile attempting to hold upon his face. I soon discover, it’s no wonder he’s in such a way, he must be positively exhausted with dreaming…

According to Alex, dreaming is a routine occupation of his subconscious. It did take me a little while to decide which one from his vast catalogue to base this piece on. Episodic, varied, colourful – a myriad of images, symbols and locations tend to make up the experiences. Ranging from a rugby match outside a manor house where a fully-bricked Victorian railway bridge stands as the goalpost, to the hero himself attempting an Indiana Jones-esque leap of faith onto a plane in the middle of a war zone. It all sounds rather epic. Why does Alex dream so much? He chuckles; “dissertations do weird things to your head…”

A Brief Summary of Alex’s Dream:

It’s a glorious afternoon on the Trevs Bar Green. Crowds are teaming like ants all around the illuminated dance floor. Hands are jutting out in a great fan – either shaking a fist to spur on the players, or gripping a pint glass… (*cue ‘Ashes’ theme tune).

Alex had dreamt of watching a highly-charged game of cricket in the centre of Trevs’ Bar, with none other than England’s own men making up the team. This does sound unbelievably impractical, but Alex’s innovative subconscious architectural skills seemed to have done justice; all around (in the infamous hexagonal lay-out), there was built an expansive, glistening “white porch/veranda thing” that people were drifting in and out of. The pleasantness and Britishness of the scene couldn’t be more exemplified.

Despite this however, after a few eagerly anticipated bowls accompanied by hoots of joy as runs were ran, all politeness and courtesy was shockingly surrendered…

Crumbs shower across the room, the pristine white tablecloth flies up in the appalled faces of the crowd as England’s captain thrusts his great palms beneath the fold-away table and heaves it up in an almighty fervour. It topples down, the piercing crash bringing all to an abrupt, dead silence. A passionate rage of defeat? A Captain infuriated by the dreadful performance of his fellow players? Alas, it was the cake.

Alex recalls his own discomfort at witnessing England’s cricket captain go completely berserk at the fact that the chocolate cake which had been provided for Match Tea was, in fact, outrageously spicy. Certainly an unconventional complaint in terms of baking. From Alex’s judgment, the sort of taste which so upset the captain was more like the dry, powdery bitterness of a spice that coats the back of the throat. An unfortunate mistaking of garam masala for cocoa? Had Alex been presented with curry that evening in college and missed out on his desired chocolate pudding? It seems an extreme case of mistaking the salt for sugar, dressed up in the hype of the cricket season and a patriotism to England and Trevs’ College Bar.

The rest of the experience seems to have manifested into a confetti show of chocolate crumbs and splatters of cream icing over the walls, stark against the whites of cricket-clad men scrabbling on the floor in dismay…

Having listened to all of this, once the story concluded I found myself sat back in quiet amazement at the level of particularity of Alex’s imagination. Yet his nonchalance and modesty whilst unveiling this plethora of dreams, is remarkable. It is undoubtedly a rarity, and indeed fascinating for someone who suffers from the tedious ‘dream-block’, never having managed to be nearly as coherent in subconscious activity as our fourth-year physicist.

As does the morning sun call to the dreamer, the stark electronic light of Microsoft Word calls to the dissertation student. This is where I left Alex, my notebook filled with words, his screen admittedly empty of them, apart from a flickering line waiting to streak letters across the page.

We wish you all the best with your endeavour Alex, the very Indiana Jones himself of Physics.

Note: If you would like to be a ‘dream donor’ and have YOUR dream creatively reinterpreted by Flora, leave a comment detailing a recent dream you have had, or email Flora directly at flora.phillips@durham.ac.uk. All submissions are welcome and the writer is more than happy to work with you to produce a piece in your preferred creative medium!

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