The odd things that flutter into the wild and dyslexic mind of Jamie Spence in the intense seconds before he wakes. They always cause terror, sometimes genuine wonderment. This early, Sunday morning was of no exception. A cocktail of eclectic strangeness prevailed. His brain was a heady brew and it was going to be a difficult few minutes for him.
His latest palaver began in earnest at 7.52am. Outside of his room, a beautiful, summer day was begging to be born, bees were buzzing and birds were scatting jazz. Not here though, here was a kind of bedlam.
The first reel of the dream to be shown in the cinema of his mind was of the iconic band, ‘The Stone Roses’, and revolved around their now legendry, baffling, appearance on BBC2’s, The Late Show. It was the famous night when there was a power cut halfway through the performance of their classic song, ‘Made of Stone’. If you cannot remember the incident, or did not have an interest, this is what actually occurred.
Almost out of nowhere, and just as they were reaching their stride, all their equipment went dead, including the microphones. There was no sound whatsoever. The ‘Roses’ response in the immediate aftermath of this disaster was feeble, almost amiable. At the decisive moment, the majority of the band slouched off in a big sulk to the Green Room, probably to have a few beers and a bit of a laugh about it all. One man remained though; he was the singer. His name is Ian Brown and he stayed for the duration, in full view of the nation, shuffling this way and that, as if he wanted to go to the toilet. Ian made a half-hearted protest that was just about audible. If you had listened carefully, you can hear him mumble, “amateurs...amateurs...we're wasting our time here lads.” This whiney outburst was aimed at nobody in particular, well maybe except an imaginary friend. The ‘rock god in waiting’ took on the attitude and dull swagger of a teenager being refused half a pint of lager in a Mossside pub for being underage.
But. The reverie was not over yet. The presenter of the programme, Tracy McLeod, appeared like a magic trick and desperately filled in the time, whilst the eccentric, little Manchester man, (remember, his name is Ian) continued to give it his all in the background. Tracy took on the manner of a steadfast schoolmistress, part Joyce Grenfell and part Hattie Jaques. She firmly told him that ‘We’ll sort it out in a minute’. She and they disappointingly never did.
The saddest thing about ‘The Stone Roses’ on the Late Show was that up until that moment, they were the coolest band England had produced in years. After this disaster, well, they were kind of rubbish. They only made one more album and it took six year to complete. Not very rock n’ roll at all really, or maybe it is.
Never mind though, in the world of Jamie Spence, there is a glorious redemption for them all. At 7.53am, in Jamie’s little room, with beguiling butterflies flapping outside against the windowpane and a heat haze rising, the outcome of the Late Show was very different indeed.
It is Jamie, (and not Tracy) who played the role of the frazzled presenter of the show, (he even sports her jacket, and is wearing a blonde wig) Seconds after the power failed, the now sneering Ian Brown enthusiastically jumped off the stage, and wrestled Jamie to the ground, slitting his throat with a rusty razor. He then hungrily gorged on poor Jamie’s blood for good measure. The rest of the band then returned, naked, drug fuelled and smeared in hot, baby oil. Tracy also reappears (where in the hell did she com from?) on the back of a roaring lion. She joins Ian on lead vocals and is clad in tight, zippy red leather. Together they all perform the Beatles song, ‘Helter Skelter’. It was all nasty and quick, (and now extremely rock n’ roll).
Jamie, in his fragile sleep, was visibly upset about this; he gurgled and frantically strummed on an imaginary guitar, (Stratocaster, American Vintage ’57, black varnished). If there had been any witnesses in the room, they would have immediately presumed that he was having an epileptic fit and probably called for an ambulance. He was having an absolute nightmare!
After that, at exactly 7.54am, everything calmed down and got somewhat better for Jamie. The second part of the dream was much more pleasurable and simple. In fact, a genuine moment of pure, unbridled brilliance. The the Match of the Day cameras were even there to record it. Gary Lineker was in the studio in London wearing a nice shirt, as were the usual team of pundits. Hansen, Lawrenson and of course, old Wrighty.
The occasion was the only goal he ever scored for his schoolboy football team, (Berry Boys United, under 14’s, injury time, right hand corner, left footed volley, keeper never stood a chance. It was like a ballet).
Jamie, was thrilled about this excerpt, it occurs almost every night; he never loses his touch. There was a hint of offside though, and he always loudly disputes it. In his opinion, the ref was unsighted, not just a drinking mate of his Dads. Gary Lineker would often wink at Jamie from the studio sofa, and then make a snide remark to a complaining Alan Hanson. Nevertheless, a goal is a goal, is it not?
This fantastic moment in the whole history of the beautiful game was nothing but just a brief interlude. In fractions of seconds, the dream chose to travel decidedly weird once more. The new images were played out like a flicker card.
It was of a teenage girl, walking up the hill, to the old Bluehouse play area in Basildon, his hometown. This girl had racing green eyes, a mole on her cheek and she was blowing, soapy, giant, bubbles. Jamie cannot recall her name; he worked his way through his mental, black contact book to no avail. This annoyed him to the point where he involuntary and repeatedly kicked his right leg in the air, like a can-can dancer. The duvet becoming a frenzied phantom. The green eyes scenario added to the confusion too. He never dreams in colour. That was an unmitigated first.
He conceded for the sake of resolving his confusion, that her name must be Katie Masterson, a girl that he wrote terrible poetry to when he once went on a family holiday to Wales, (he recites some of the shameful lines and calls her name out, repeatedly).
This settlement of mystery satisfied Jamie for a while, but the film was not yet complete. Not by the longest of chalks. At 7.55am, with sweet children running, laughing and playing hide and seek in the tree-lined car park outside, the whole epic took on one more, peculiar and extremely disturbing twist.
In the final seconds before consciences, and in glorious cinemascope, there were compelling, psychedelic, and swirling visions of something truly terrifying. Namely, a giant, enticing, puff pastry, sausage roll, (heated and wearing a bobble hat).
Obviously, this is excessively too much horror for Jamie to comprehend. He exhaled a short falsetto scream, and then opened his eyes. He was in a dripping sweat.
What he saw were stained white walls, punctuated with appalling paintings of vicious looking clowns. The rumble of trucks on the motorway outside and aircraft humming above. Bridget, his wife is beside him, snoring as if an express steam train bound for Palookaville.
Jamie Spence is awake now. The day is here.