Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dream, semiotic, symbolic

The modern English “Dream” comes from the old English noun Dream: gladness delight, ecstasy, mirth, rejoicing, melody, music, singing, minstrelsy.
The verb dryman, means to sing aloud or to rejoice. Though the noun drymann means a sorcerer or magician. Music as magic.

So the obsolete meanings in English: Joy/pleasure, gladness/mirth rejoicing…the sound of musical instruments/music. Melody, minstrelsy melody noise sound.

Music as dream, as sorcery, time travel, rejoicing. Mirth. A dream of something worth while and very ancient.

Up the mountain to play on a Friday night for a change. I’ve driven that road almost every Sunday for three or four years. I’ve driven down in the dark so many times, but never up. The familiar road now totally unfamiliar; disorientating. Somehow it evokes so many night drives the car curves upwards and time starts to slip.

The pub sits on a slight rise; light streaming from windows. Smoke from the chimney. The moon’s up. Walking in from the car park; the dark wall broken by the windows which frame colour and light inside; outside dark quiet, cold. Crossing an abrupt threshold, into light and noise; music and voices. In daylight there is liminal space. Here there are borders/edges/abrupt transitions. It’s like falling asleep and entering a different space which seems to have come unmoored from its context.

We play. We dream: rejoice, celebrate, laugh. Make music. But also dream in the modern sense: caught in fluid dislocations of time. Song is Kristeva’s semiotic, but the songs and the singer co-exist in monumental time. Singing as time travel, diving into the song and finding only other songs and memories of their performance… words and melody unreeling images: Molly Malone, the tart with the cart. In the rare old times, we ride on to the red rose café where I tell the story of my cousin, Arthur Macbride and what we did to the recruiting sergeant. Leaving Liverpool via fisherman’s green we meet Captain Farrel, wishing he was back home in Derry, who is doomed yet again to get held up in some dirty old town.

If this were a dream then the narrative would slide around a corner and looking up I’ll find myself back in the Fisherman’s arms in Golant twenty years ago. But in the real world, in monumental time, I am still there, in the fisherman’s arms, twenty years ago, Mick’s coming back from the bar with the drinks and the rowing club boys are making so much noise I can’t hear my guitar, let alone tune it. Who cares. It’s a Friday night. The moon’s up. We will stagger home later, up Harry’s hill, pausing to look down at the moonlight on the boats moored in the Fowey.

If we’re lucky the Owl will be sitting on the gate.

After Ten O’clock the place empties out. The bar becomes a score after the orchestra have left the stage. Even the light seems tired and flat, unable to shine off anything. The echoes have retreated to the corners, unable to sound. It’s a comfortable space. A few late arrivals wander in and ask if there is any music.

Driving down the mountain, far too tired, what a friend used to call road stoned. drifting round the bends, drifting in and out of memories of night drives and night conversations, not really sure If I’m awake at all.

I’m convinced I’ve just been to Heorot.

Fortunately, I’m home, parked, asleep, before Grendle or his mum can put in an appearance.

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