The Dreams of the Crazy Canyon Puppets


Here’s the story of burning trolleys, time travel, and Brum.

Did I ever tell you about the time I time travelled? Well, I mean, I probably haven’t because it’s not actually true. And that’s a fact. It’s a fact that it isn’t true that it’s a fact I’ve time travelled, but is a fact that you’re now completely confused, much like I was that night I time travelled. Or didn’t. Who knows? All I know is that I once time travelled. Perhaps. Allow me to explain. It was a dream, but a lucid dream, and I don’t get lucid dreams very often in that, that was my first and, to date, only. In fact, one could, rather easily, delve into a metaphysical odyssey regarding whether or not our reality is reality or if the lucid dream realm is actually the reality, but, let’s face it, it’s July and we’re all too hot for any kind of odyssey. Except to the shop in the dark hours of the morning to acquire lots of ice to dump in the bathtub so you’ll have somewhere rather a lot more comfortable to sleep…

There is a credible theory that time travel has always been possible in our sleep. I know it’s credible because I once saw it on that documentary about that fella who whizzes around the cosmos in that giant police box. I think he might be on to something.

When I was little, I lived in a different house in a very ‘60s British estate. Honestly, it looked like a giant concrete monster had melted on an arboretum full of angry bees and abandoned shopping trolleys. My room was at the front of the house and it was tiny. We couldn’t find a bed to fit in it, so dad bought a regular bed and cut it down to size. Now, I know what you’re thinking. The mattress wouldn’t fit. And you’d be right. So he also cut that down. With an actual saw. In the back garden. It was the type of upbringing I had. “Dad, what are you doing?” “Sawing your mattress in half.” “Okay, if you need any help I’ll be inside watching Brum.” God, I loved that show. Not the new animated bullshit, the proper one…

That said, Brum wasn’t my favourite television show as a child. I quite liked that one about that girl who used to run around half-naked in the olden days. And then there was that one with the crazy puppets in the canyon. And then there was that one with a woman who owned a plane and a dog but I was never entirely sure what the premise was. It just seemed to me like a woman taking her dog for a flight. As you do. I also vaguely remember one about a backstreet takeaway, but that might have been the dog one. I did like Sooty. That name I do remember. I bought all the puppets and used to put on little shows at Christmas for the family. I say that. Only mum ever showed up to a production. Ha, I remember this one time – oh, you’ll love this, right. I invited my brother to come and watch, and… ha, ha, ha… oh this is so funny. He – right – he showed up and, when six-year-old me asked him afterwards what he thought, he said, with a straight, very serious face, “It was complete shit.” Ha, ha, ha – oh how we all laughed… actually, that’s not funny at all. Oh. It was rather mean, in fact. Never mind, I had my beloved S Club 7 in Miami to enjoy. You know, most have a thing for Rachel Stevens, but I had a real soft spot for Hannah, must be said…

Of course, one of my favourite shows was the ball shrinkingly frightening Jeopardy. Now, I know Jeopardy is some shit huge game show over in America, but, Americans, nobody outside of America knows what that is nor has a care in the world regarding learning what it actually is. No, when I say Jeopardy I mean the time travelling alien show, filmed à la Blair Witch style. That scared the bejesus outta me. Between all the Tracy Beaker and SMART malarkey, that was the show that scared me the most. It was terrifying! Even now, it still frightens me. Basically, some Scottish school kids got the trip of a lifetime to go ‘searching for aliens’ in the Australian outback, filming the entire thing on handheld video cameras, and the aliens actually showed up and start hunting and abducting the kids! And doing weird shit to them. Probably. It ends with the few survivors going back in time to the day when they left for Australia to tell their former selves not to go! It was brilliant! And it was on at half four in the afternoon! I got no sleep! “Ally, why aren’t you asleep!” “The aliens are out to get me, mum! They’re gonna probe me in strange, new places, in strange, new ways.” They never did, of course. That I know off. I often wake up rather sore. Hmm. You know what else I loved? ChuckleVision. You know, I met the Chuckle Brothers once in Blackpool. That’s a story for another day. I never met Brum, though. I met a replica in Cumbria, but again, a story for another day…

21 years the Chuckle Brothers ran for. Remarkable, really. Sorry, the point about Jeopardy was time travel. I just really miss Brum. Anywho, there I was. Fast asleep on my half-plump bed, the other half rather saggy on account of all the sawing. I still wonder what dad did with all the discarded springs. Probably flushed ‘em down the loo. I would.

Suddenly, in the middle of the night, I was awoken by a strange and loud thundering noise coming from the hill near where I lived. You know the one. The one where the teenagers often used to congregate with stolen shopping trolleys, packing them with lit fireworks, before rolling them down the hill and running like hell. Ah, I remember many days I had to outrun a burning firework strewn shopping trolley…

I got up and looked out of my window. There, atop the hill, a huge tornado. Huge for England. I think it was a tornado. Someone could’ve let off a smoke machine in a gentle breeze, for all I knew. It certainly looked like a tornado amongst the darkness and gloom of that winter night. In a panic, I ran into mum and dad’s bedroom, but the people in there weren’t my parents. I didn’t recognise them at all. I ran downstairs, realising, along the way, that all the decor was different. And the furniture. The house no longer had the extension on the side, either. And the front door had moved.

As I headed outside, passed the poisonous berry bush my brothers once made me eat from because, let’s face, I don’t think they liked me very much, I noticed half the houses in the neighbourhood weren’t there. The storm was raging harder and harder. What the hell was going on? I ran back inside, up to my bedroom, and hid under my bed, where I fell asleep. When I woke up in the morning, still under the bed, everything was fine. Back to how it should be.

I asked my dad about this, not giving him many details about what had happened to my younger self. “Ah yes, there’s a story, more of a legend, around here, that, when the estate was being built there was a tremendous storm and a huge tornado touched down on the hill.” Seriously and honestly, I had never heard that story before. I had no idea. The really creepy part is, that, years and years later, dad got some old photos out of the loft. “Here son, I’ve never shown you these before.” They were pictures of the house when it was bought, looking just like it did in my ‘dream.’ I didn’t even know it had an extension before then! The wallpaper and everything matched. And the creepiest part? A photo of that night, the night of the storm, a photo of the hill with the tornado atop. And there was a little boy standing in front of the hill… No, that bit is not true, but the rest is…

To this day, I don’t know what happened that night. The logical mind naturally assumes I was told about it and shown the photos, but I don’t think I was. And I’ve never had a lucid dream since. Hmm. You might be wondering why I’m telling you all this, and that’s because I enjoy my sleep and I’m not getting any lately, what with this neighbour’s garage still being built, starting work at ludicrously early hours and carrying on until the dead of night. Being British, I’m not above complaining about this, but definitely wouldn’t do it to their faces, so, in a way, I suppose I’m trying to do two things. One, hope they read this and get the hint. And two, use it as a cautionary tale. Dreams are not just dreams, but windows into our very souls. I don’t get my precious, precious beauty sleep, I would’ve never found out about that storm. I would’ve never remembered the poisonous berry incident. And I would’ve never married Nazaneen Ghaffar. She’s my celebrity crush. Shut up, I know she’s the Sky News weather girl…

Admittedly, it was a pretty long-winded way of telling some irritating arseholes to shut the hell up, but what’s the alternative? Find a huge sheet of fabric and write ‘SHUT UP, YOU NOISY JACKANAPES!’ across it, draping it over the half-built garage in the middle of the night so when the builders arrive in the morning, they’ll be so startled by my unusual protest they will, indeed, shut their noise? Actually, that’s not a bad idea, but I couldn’t do it alone. Sounds like a job for the Chuckle Brothers.

I think I still have their number…

English writer, author and blogger, the wonderfully named Brian Lovestar (b. 1972), once wrote: ‘When you go to sleep, where do you really go?’

Peace Out :|:

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To Contrive & Jive
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