Evening in the land of dreams

December 18th, 2010

We do have about an inch of snow here in London so I allowed nearly an hour to get from my London flat to Euston, where I was due to attend a dream group at the Academy of Dreams. That journey would have taken me ten minutes on my motor scooter.

I was five minutes late.

But it was not because of the snow.

I got to the 168 bus stop outside Marks and Spencer in less than five minutes. And the bus was there on the bus stand, lights up and raring to go and deliver me to my destination.

Or so I thought.

I waited, and waited. Then another 168 turned up and parked behind it.

More waiting and I was beginning to feel cold although the temperature on my outdoor thermometer was 2 degrees above zero when I left home.

Then yet another 168 turned up. No room to park, so the driver went straight on to do get out the way.

What seemed an age later (probably three minutes) bus number one came around to the stop, but with a sign on the front which said Camden Town. (The terminus is in Waterloo.)

So I waited.

By that time bus number three had come back and parked behind bus number two.

More waiting.

Then  bus number three  overtook bus number two and came to my stop, announcing that it was going to the Old Kent Road. (Inside the bus, the sign said, Old Kent Road, Tesco store. Do Tesco pay for this advert?)

I jumped on. And at last we were away.

However, at Camden Town the driver stopped, and yapped away on his mobile phone. Then he announced a change of destination. The bus was now going to Euston! A calamity for the woman sitting beside me who actually wanted to get to the Old Kent Road.

But good enough for me.

That’s reality, folks. Which has taken me away from the subject of this blog, which is dreams.

In the dominant conventional wisdom, dreams are the polar opposite to reality.

But in my own life, I have found that listening to dreams can be a useful guide to dealing with reality.

I found the Academy of Dreams on the web. I was attracted by the title. It implies a respect for dreams, which our society does not have. Not our society, nor our leaders, in the coalition and in Labour, who were mostly educated at Oxbridge.

Most of them are too young to have learnt Greek. Their philosophy comes from blokes like Wittgenstein and Freddy Ayres. Rationalist thinkers.

But the Greek elite took dreams seriously. They ran workshops on them, 3,000 years before the New Age discovered them.

And so  should we.

And so should I.

Which is why I went to Euston tonight instead of writing another blog about the folly of British judges.

Julian Assange has finally got bail. So he won’t have to spend Christmas in prison. But  that is only a temporary reprieve. In the full hearing in January the judge expects him to be extradited to Sweden.

Worse than that. The case against Assange is that he is a ‘nomad’, who is likely to flee justice. This despite the evidence that he is, thanks to the mainstream media, just about the most visible person on the planet.

Whereas  the reality is that Assange’s whereabouts have been known throughout this saga, when he has been living mostly at the Front Line Club in deepest Paddington. This is a journalist’s club for journalists, mostly working for the mainstream media, but who want to do something a bit different to the Press Club, etc.

Where I have been myself several times. So you can take my word for it. They are neither a bunch of loonies, nor a propaganda machine for any political group.

But amazingly the judge thought he would do a runner. This despite the evidence that he is, thanks to the mainstream media, just about the most visible person on the planet.

That same judge went on to refuse one of the people offering bail, John Pilger, whom he branded as another ‘nomad’.

Now, I have never met Assange, but I have known John Pilger for upwards of thirty years. And far from being an elusive ‘nomad’ I have never had any difficulty in getting hold of him through his London flat, to get him to come and talk to my students.

He still speaks with an Aussie accent. But he is also a Londoner.

Reality is sometimes more unbelievable than dreams, so I must say more about this idiot judge.

With Pilger rejected the Assange defence team had to wheel in replacements, and one of those who was acceptable was Philip Knightley, whom I have known as long as Pilger.

The joke is that he too is an Aussie. With a life history which is quite similar to Pilger’s. But his accent  is not so obviously Australian. And, quite as important, he is highly respected by the British intelligence services, who have helped him on his many journalistic coups, including Philby. And, who he has helped, by finding out things which they did not know.

So, although I don’t know the ‘truth’ my gut feeling is that the pursuit of Assange is politically motivated.

But this is supposed to be a blog about dreams.

The dream I talked about tonight is one I had about a month ago. About the time I was working for the Economist, all of 35 years ago.

The content is not important for this blog.

The astonishing thing is that for several minutes after I woke up, I thought  I was still working at the Economist, and I was plotting what I would do when I went in for the story conference today.

Until I realised that I was actually in my bungalow by the seaside. And that the then editor of the Economist is now enjoying the millions he made, as a gentleman farmer in the countryside.

We all dream, and can remember our dreams. And, if nothing else, they are a method of time travel that knocks Doctor Who into a cocked hat.

We can in the still of the  night, re-inhabit a world that has passed.

And find a message useful to us, in 2010.

It is now just after midnight. And I am having a grandiose fantasy.

Perhaps I should write just one book, showing the wonder of dreams and how  they can help dealing with the less wonderful realities of our age.

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