Friday, 15 April 2011

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

I had a dream last night about my dog Shandy. There’s nothing unusual in that. I actually dream about him quite a lot. He’s been dead now for nearly 9 years but he still hangs around my mind and I’m pretty glad about that.

It wasn’t even a particularly pleasant dream; in fact we’d ended up in a mad scientist’s house because of Shandy’s enthusiasm to explore new places and the aforementioned scientist wanted to carry out experiments on my dog and was trying to kill me whilst he did it. The strangest thing was he was making me smash up coffee mugs at gun point whilst he told me what experiments he was going to carry out (I don’t quite understand that bit!) Anyway we both managed to escape and I managed to set fire to the house as we got away so it was all ok.

Waking up though was and always is after Shandy dreams the hardest part. There’s a short moment after I open my eyes when everything seems normal again and then realisation comes flooding in and I remember why I’m only having dreams about my old best friend rather than having to fend him off as he does his very best to leap on my bed and walk all over me every morning.

I often dream about Shandy, one dream was particularly horrible and genuinely scared me. I can still remember it vividly now several years after having it and I’m not going to talk about it here. The worst dream I had about him though was also the most beautiful in its simplicity. I took him for a walk down the lane by my parent’s house and that was it. It was a normal dream about a normal day. It was very, very real though and when I woke up I woke up smiling, I was genuinely happy but then that horrible realisation came rushing back and I curled up in my bed and cried for a few minutes before falling back to sleep again. I’d love to say that I was young boy when this happened but I wasn’t. I think I was 28.

Now you might think that this makes me a bit pathetic (I mean a grown man getting upset by dreams about old dead pets even seems a bit pathetic to me and I’m the one having them!) but Shandy was a positive constant during a really horrible time in my life when I was struggling in many ways. I like to keep myself to myself so not many people knew about the mess I was in. During this period Shandy had a genuine knack of appearing at exactly the right time to help me shake myself and put the bad feelings away for a little while and I’ll never underestimate how important that was at the time.  Maybe it says something about me that I can relate to non-speaking pets rather than friends and parents but that’s bye the bye.

I write a lot of songs and during that period I really struggled to write anything that I would ever want to listen to again. I didn’t want to be reminded of bad times and I pretty much dried up (and to be honest never really recovered.) The time had a massive effect on the way I write lyrics presently and I wish that I could find a way to get back to being prolific (at least if you hear one of my songs you’ll know the words have gone through a pretty rigorous selection period though!)

Like I mentioned before though, Shandy was a constant during that period and I have many cassette (go look them up kids) recordings of me sitting in my bedroom playing acoustic versions of songs in development on my old stereo mic set up. I can guarantee that in 90% of these recordings you will at one point hear Shandy barking outside my door trying to get in or actually managing to open the door and then casually strolling up to nuzzle me with his really loud chain collar and name tag banging together loudly to ruin my current take. I never really minded though and it’s sometimes nice to dig these tapes out and listen to a familiar noise. The songs are rubbish and make me sad but Shandy’s arrival always puts a smile on my face.

My band are working on an album at the moment and maybe I’ll dig one of the cassettes out and stick some Shandy chain noise at the start of a track. That would be pretty nice I think…but on the other hand it might turn me into some emotional idiot each time I listen to it. I’ll dig the demos out and have a listen, see how it makes me feel.

I’ll keep you posted.

Some of my future blogs will hopefully be loads happier than this one… I sort of promise.

Go and listen to these guys though, they’re pretty good: