One odd thing about dreaming is that, during the dream, you travel back in time and lose all memory of your ‘future’ self. I’ve mentioned before my recurring nightmare about being back at university, with exams approaching, being lost in a labyrinthine campus, with no lecture timetable, and none of the books I need in the library. The odd thing being I always wake up in a panic and then have a moment of relief going, ‘Oh, thank Christ I’m not at university any more.’
Other dreams leave you with mixed emotions. I’m sure it’s a universal thing, but I’ll give a specific example from my life. Sometimes in dreams I’ll be a kid again, twelve or whatever, back at home with my mum, dad, my sister and my brother. And I wake up, and there’s no moment of relief, just the sad feeling of remembering that my brother isn’t around any more. He died about ten years ago. But while there is that feeling of sadness, there’s also a sense of feeling happy, that for a few hours, even just in my sleep, I forgot that my brother was dead and thought he was alive again.
Lots of complicated and painful feelings about this, and this isn’t the place to write about them. The other thing is, though, which again I’m sure is universal, is the way we remember people. It’s through hearing their favourite songs, or watching their favourite TV shows or films. I can’t watch One Foot In The Grave without hearing my brother’s roaring laughter. And sometimes, even shows he didn’t watch, I can hear his laughter, at Bubbles Devere, or the old lady pissing herself in Little Britain. He would have loved that. It’s just a complete sod he wasn’t around to see it.