Dream Jodie and Tony-Paul. I had a dream about them, which felt, and feels, terribly significant, like I should learn something from it, see something in it, but I don’t know what.
Dream Jodie wasn’t like the real Jodie. She couldn’t be, since I don’t actually know the real Jodie, and yet she somehow was.
For those of you who are not regular readers, Jodie is one of my seven and a half fans – or, to be more accurate, DANNY’s seven and a half fans.
In the dream, Dream Jodie was meant to be the Real Jodie, and I had only just met her for the first time. So far, so realistic. We appeared to be meeting up in Sheffield, Real Jodie’s hometown. Also realistic. She looked rather like my old childhood friend, Maureen Cannon, and was a rather doll-like curvy blonde in black clothes. Not too far off either.
We met up in a pub or a nightclub, early-ish in the day (around five in the evening, I’d guess) and we appeared to be getting on like a house on fire. Also, not a million miles from unlikely. I’ve always thought I might like Jodie, or at least she wouldn’t annoy the hell out me. (Think House and Wilson, although I’m not sure which of us would be playing House; it might be more a Battle of the Sarcasms. No, I’m nastier than she is. I get to play House.)
Then Tony-Paul arrived, and it all went pear-shaped. Tony-Paul was Dream Jodie’s new boyfriend, and he didn’t like me. To be more accurate, Tony-Paul didn’t trust me. If asked to guess, I’d say Tony-Paul thought I was too smart for my own good and probably too big for my boots. Tony-Paul didn’t like my ‘influence’ over Dream Jodie and he didn’t like that she knew me. His Jodie was a different girl, one who went out Saturday nights, spent her time with him in pubs like this one, and he had no time for her reading books let alone being involved with the author of one.
Tony-Paul was a thorn in my ointment. I knew Tony-Paul was trouble as soon as I saw his odd little onion-shaped head. I don’t know if this was some odd quirk of my subconscious, since I remember Jill (Real Jodie’s real sister) and her having a teasing match over Jill’s taste in runty men. Or whether it’s because I remember Jodie herself confessing to a liking for Michael Sheen, an onion-headed runt if ever I saw one, but Tony-Paul looked kind of weird. (Just realised, reading this through, that Sheen played Tony [Blair]; this can’t be a coincidence.)
He was short, for a start. Not more than five-eight, I’d say, and he had the aforementioned onion head – this odd wide forehead and a short little face with a pointy chin and designer facial hair. He was also bald. Not aged-relative bald, but trendy shaved-head bald. I could see a slight dark shadow – but I could also see his hairline was receding. There was probably a little genuine bald spot at the crown. Whatever trendification he tried – man was bald. He was also dark-skinned, Asian-looking, but third generation Asian: no foreign accent, no trace of Indian mannerisms, dress or culture – just that dark skin and eyebrows.
And, of course, he was called Tony-Paul. Not literally, but I seem to have kept changing his name. Sometimes Tony, sometimes Paul. But those names are so plebeian, so ordinary, so nothing. They were a statement of Tony-Paul’s albeit rather sinister mediocrity. This is probably meaningless to most of you, but he was exactly like a rather unpleasant potential villain in DANNY itself; some character John would fall over in a pub, some weirdo who would foolishly threaten him.
As he was ‘threatening’ me.
See what I mean? Odd. Significant. Meaningless.
I had plans for Dream Jodie. Not nasty sexual corrupt ones (why would you think that?), but something to do with DANNY itself. Again, not odd, we’ve often approached Jodie about various projects, most of which have turned to dust, but why this, why now? I have no projects planned. Not even for me, let alone Jodie.
But the oddest thing of all was, I was asking her to collaborate on a book (novel? I think so.) Right before Tony-Paul brought his unwanted little onion head into the picture I was saying to Jodie, “So you’d like to collaborate on this book then?” feeling that sense of excitement, that peculiar bubble of recognition and hope that all too rarely happens when you meet a kindred sprit.
I am very, very vulnerable to kindred spirits. I expect most people to, at best, not understand me, or anything I do, and, at worst, to take an instant dislike to me. I say, entirely without self-pity, I assure you, that I have time without number threatened people on first meeting, and this when I am lying, cheating and manipulating myself into their good graces (I mean, they feel threatened, I haven’t pulled a shiv on them). By pretending to be normal, ordinary and non-threatening. By pretending to care about their annoying little lives. By being sweet, kind, concerned, friendly – when I am none of these things.
Maybe that’s why they don’t like me. Not because I’m not a good actress, I am entirely plausible – I sign on every fortnight and convince the nice lady on my desk that I care about getting a job when nothing is further from the truth – but because they think, “She’s not like me, I know it. I feel it. What the hell is she? What is she about? Is she going to expect something of me? Is she going to wake me up, jolt me out my comfortable rut? I don’t like the look of her one little bit.”
I agree with them. I’m on their side. It’s all true. I don’t trust me either. Never have.
Dream Jodie and I had no such problem. There was no hesitation in our discussion. We were of an accord. Had we been opposite sexes, Jane Austen would have married us off post haste and described our meeting of minds as “A most felicitous occasion for happiness”.
But then there was Tony-Paul. My fly. In my ointment. How I hated him. How he sunk my gut into a pit of frustration and loss. There went Jodie, there went my book. And for nothing. A mediocrity. An illusion.
Dream Jodie was weak. I knew it. She was hoist on her own petard of obsession. And the worst of it was, I knew he wasn’t worth it. I had seen a million women make this mistake before her, and will see another million do it again before I die. Unless I am run over by a bus tomorrow.
Dream Jodie wasn’t in love with Tony-Paul, it wasn’t that. Dream Jodie was in this worst place, she revered him. He was Macho Man, a bloke’s bloke, a fake. There’s a type of man who plays at strong and silent, no emotions, no crying. He has mates, he drinks beer, he doesn’t say much, he scowls a lot, but none of it’s real. In actuality, he needs women. For everything. He needs one to cook, to clean, to wake him up, to make his tea, to wash his clothes, to pick his clothes, to buy his clothes, to show off at weddings, to meet his mum (who he sees regularly and obeys in all things). Macho Man cannot do anything for himself, and that includes feeling any emotions, or knowing who or what the hell he is, or needs. You see, women have always done all that for him.
But eventually Macho Man needs sex, regular sex, and he can’t go to mum for that, so he needs a girlfriend. But she has to buy into the whole façade of who he is. She has to pay lip service to his macho, his maleness, his toughness, while all the time ministering to his every need. She is his real-time CGI. She’s responsible for making sure the Holodeck that is his life is never switched off, and we don’t all see the little needy boy-child behind the curtain.
Such was Jodie’s trap. She ‘believed in’ Tony-Paul. She had agreed implicitly to keep this façade of his running – and there was no way me and her collaborating on a book was going to mesh into Tony-Paul’s Virtual Life.
All of this was very interesting, if unoriginal, but the really interesting question for me was, is, why the fuck was I dreaming it?
I have no intention of ‘collaborating’ with anyone, on anything, never mind a book. As far as I know (I may be wrong) Jodie has no ideas of writing a book. I likewise have no idea if she has a boyfriend, if he has an onion-head, or if she is obsessed by him. Although that one wouldn’t surprise me since obsession is what she does best, and she wears it proudly, bless her. From what little I do know of Jodie, I wouldn’t like to stick my neck out and say she’d never buy into obsessive love for a narcissist, but I do suspect that she couldn’t keep the façade thing going for long. If she was into denial and Living in His Delusion, a disorder which is beloved of many women, nothing about DANNY would appeal to her. It’s a dangerous, dangerous and stupid thing to do, but I’m going to say Jodie just wouldn’t fall for Tony-Paul. Not for long. And she wouldn’t sell anyone out for the ‘love’ of him.
So why in the name of all that’s holy did I choose to star her in my dream, put all my faith in her, only to make her abandon me to Tony-Paul?
So pressing did this dream feel I kept finding it popping into my head all day, rather like my house had been burgled and I could sense something was wrong but I hadn’t quite spotted it yet. It seemed to walk along behind me going, “Yoo-hoo! Over here!” So fed up did I get with this constant attention-seeking I actually told Max about it and asked him what he thought it meant.
We tossed it around and wondered the obvious: was it because I’d given DANNY up and I feared Jodie would just abandon the book for pastures new? Was Tony-Paul just my subconscious’ way of saying “Jodie, your ‘perfect’ embodiment of A Fan, will simply move onto a new macho man, replacing the authenticity of John and Danny with Tony-Paul, the onion-headed fake that passes for Alpha males in most stories”? Possibly. Probably. Sounds highly plausible to me.
It would be stupid and disingenuous of me to say, But why would I care? Of course I would care. Nobody writes a book to be forgotten. Not me, not nobody. But I can’t help feel there’s more to it than this. I agree absolutely that that’s a perfect explanation. My life is in turmoil right now. I’ve lost my ‘identity’. I no longer call myself a writer, something I’ve done for as long as I can remember. As I’m no longer supplying ‘product’, my tiny fan club has no reason to remember me, or my work. I’m stripping away more and more of my fragile life every day and leaving nothing to replace it. That would be enough to push anyone into dreams of Tony-Paul and abandonment, but not me.
I think this is the point. Sure I’d dream it. I did. Sure Jodie makes the perfect dream metaphor for a fear of losing my fans. (I feel I should apologise for that, but know somehow Jodie will love the idea of being a dream metaphor, so I won’t, although I do feel she is owed an apology for being used as someone fickle and stupid enough to fall for an onion-headed impostor, a cheap sinkhole estate lothario who thinks a game of pool is foreplay and simmering thuggish jealousy fools anyone into thinking he cares.) But that’s not only too simple, it’s just wrong.
There’s something more here, something it’s trying to tell me, and I’m missing it entirely. That’s why I’m writing a blog about a week old dream, because it just won’t leave me alone and I don’t get it. It’s like a film with a subplot I can’t quite grasp, a relationship that doesn’t make sense. It’s the piece of apple skin lodged in your throat, the fibre of pork caught between your teeth, the hang-nail: tiny, infuriating, and always there.
I even got to the stage of wondering if I’d dreamt something predictive. I do this occasionally, usually about really weird pointless things that are completely unhelpful as premonitions. That’s what made this one a possible; it was mad enough. Had Jodie just fallen in love with a Tony or a Paul, or even, God forbid, a Tony-Paul? Had she just met someone like him? Was she…. Oh God, no, Lassie… in danger? This would be exactly the kind of stupid prediction dream I’d have, one that was no earthly use to anyone. I actually – yes actually – contemplated e-mailing her and asking if the dream meant anything to her, but fortunately realised how barking that would sound. Yes, Stone’s gone bankrupt and gone mad simultaneously, it will be death by prescription drug overdose next.
So, if there are any dream analysts out there who think they can see what I’m missing – let me know. I, for one, am no closer to any deeper understanding of it at all. If it has a secret message for me I can’t find it. Maybe I need to read it the old-fashioned way, by creating a novel out of it. Worked for me before, although it did take me four volumes, and I never did find an answer to that one either. Maybe this one would be more successful. With a movie.
I reckon Rachel Weisz for Jodie and Michael Sheen for Tony-Paul – what d’you think? Now if I can just arrange my suicide for right before the premiere. Wait, there’s got to be a masseur. Anyone know a good masseur………..?