Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Strange Unconscious Strikes Again

Had a bizarre dream last night; told it to Chrissy and she suggested I make it into a blog update, which I thought was a great idea. What's more, she handed me a notebook and said "Here, write down some notes so you don't lose it". And she did this right at the beginning of breakfast! Let's hear it for pro-active support!

So....I'm in a large music store with Mark, and we're looking around the drums and percussion section. Mark picks out something he's going to buy- I can't remember what- and suddenly the sales in the store pick up, it creates a buzz and now everyone feels they ought to buy something. It's even said by someone, can't recall if it's a customer or one of the sales people, "When Mark buys, everybody buys!" It's said with admiration and excitement. (Non-dreamtime Mark will no doubt be very amused to hear this.)

I go over to a section with all kinds of exotic percussion, and go straight to a set of interesting looking brass hanging wind-type chimes. It has two plates that are cut out in a sort of floppy triangle shape, a bit like the profile of a lemon meringue pie; one is bigger than the other and they hang in series, smaller one below the bigger one, not touching. (Wake-world Mark actually had something made by Ufip that looked something like this, back in the Paper Bag days.) Paired with these, hanging to the left, are a series of plates set up like shingles, all of them irregularly shaped. I take a stick and hit the pie-shaped ones, and they have kind of a bell-like sound. I hit the shingles and they sound trashy. I like both types of sounds, but in this case I'm not immediately impressed. Neither of the paired sets are particularly vibrant- the bells not ringing enough, the shingles not trashy enough. It's just not grabbing me. My inner money manager thinks: no, can't see spending money on these, not dramatic sounding enough to consider. Then I get a little devil's advocate voice in my head saying, give it a chance, maybe it's supposed to be more subtle, and so I start striking at them again. This time there's a sense of something unusual happening; the bell-like sounds are starting to become vibrant and swirling, and I can almost see the sounds swirling around the chimes like little balls of light. The bell sounds and the trash sounds are starting to interact in interesting patterns, weaving a nicely evolving sonic picture.

Just as it's starting to get really interesting, I notice that the strings that have held the whole assembly suspended have gotten tangled up, and I figured I'd better straighten them up before moving on to check out other pieces. I flip them over while trying to decipher which string needs to unwrapped from where, and I notice that on the back, there's a thick, quarter-sized wad of what looks like a cross between bearing grease and old earwax stuck to the back. I'm not sure what it's doing there but it annoys me enough to even see it that I poke at it a little to see if it comes off easily.

The wad softens up almost immediately with my touch, and seems to grow, and more startling, appears to be alive! It seems to be responding to my circular rubbing motion, and to be aroused. Little eyes and mouth form on it and show a face caught up in intense arousal, almost furious and savage.

Needless to say, I'm shocked by this and stop rubbing so I can assess the situation. The little face glares at me harshly and desperately, as if to say "No, no, don't stop now!". I'm even more taken aback by this. But almost as soon as that's happened, the eyes close, the creature appears to die, and the whole mobile sags and becomes like lifeless grey ashy foil, brittle and ultra thin and ready to fall apart. The whole appearance of it as a robust metal percussion instrument is gone.

I am now confused and worried, because whatever it was, I've destroyed it, and will I have to pay for it?

A salesperson sees what's just happened and yells, "We've lost another one!". The manager comes over to see, and I try to object. Why didn't they have some kind of a sign up about it, warning customers how to handle it, or not to touch it at all? I say, sorry, I had no idea it was alive, much less any idea that it was so fragile. He says "It's OK, don't worry about, it happens, we won't hold you responsible. We'll take care of it."

"Yeah, I certainly didn't mean to kill it. It died so quickly. It was weird, it was like it was horny."

"Oh yeah, once you activate it, it's got a short lifecycle and it needs to mate right away, then it dies."

"It creeped me out, it glared at me when I stopped."

"Sure, it only gets to do this once, and you stopped in the middle! You'd die angry too!"He laughed a little.

At this point I woke up, and the dream drifted away as my daughter's waking calls from the other room brought me to consciousness. I got into the morning routine and forgot all about this, until breakfast.

After I'd written my notes down, several things occurred to me. One, I could see a purpose for this creature on the back of the supposed chime. It gave an enhanced version of the sound of the instrument it was supposed to be, one that could operate directly on the listener's mind. It would pull you in and then give you enough psychic suggestions to get you to stimulate it. I never did figure out how things were supposed to work from there, but I imagine I'd have found out had I not stopped. Would it have given birth to additional instruments? As for the shop staff, they were probably keeping quiet about the actual nature of what they were selling and figured that the little critter would snag a lot of customers without their knowing how it had happened. I also figured that the particular one that I'd checked out had perhaps been sitting there too long, and needed to fulfill its life cycle, and so pulled me in all the way. If it had been more "fresh", it might not have pushed things along so quickly, and I'd have bought it and had it at home for a while before getting sucked in and induced to help it mate and die (and so, become useless as an instrument). No doubt these things were sold "as is, no returns".

The second thing that occurred to me was that I'd just recently read a Philip K. Dick story, and that this was very much in the character his work. One of his most common plot elements is the masquerading of living, sentient beings as objects. So...Not too far of a stretch to see where that part comes from. But I do wonder why it surfaced as erotic percussion! Very odd. The circular rubbing motion is self-explanatory to anyone with experience; the disgusting appearance of the creature is totally at odds with my feelings towards (human) female genitalia, which are highly favorable, I am a long-time fan. The orange-brown earwax/bearing grease appearance has nothing to do with any kind of genitalia I'm familiar with, and in fact the only orifice that comes to mind is indeed the ear. Considering it's masquerading as a musical instrument, this sort of fits.

And there is a recent event which corresponds to this. When Chrissy's Dad was in town, we played him Atom Heart Mother and Meddle. After he left, I was looking at the cover of Meddle, which, thanks to living in a slightly less uptight age, had been restored in the US to its original UK cover, which is a picture of an ear, tinted green and orange. Someone at Floyd's label at the time of the original release found the image to be too sexual and insisted it be changed, which is how we ended up with the pink and blue rippled picture familiar to US buyers. So...there's a suggestion of erotic ear-ness.

An odd, but not unusually odd, by-product of my unconscious. It probably means something, but I'm not quite sure what yet, and I may never know. But it's amusing to speculate. Just thought I'd share.

GS, 4/3/10