Dulltown UK: Today’s ancient Egyptian deity is the goddess Ammit with the head of a crocodile, front part of panther, and rear of a hippopotamus; she is the devourer of the heart at judgement. (Ammit)
No, no, I really shouldn’t eat cheese late at night – I never learn do I? Last night it was a sandwich with crumbly Lancashire and the odd tomato in it around 11 o’clock – that’s just asking for crazy dreams…
Stop, no, try to stop, I seem to be stuck playing the same repeating blues scale riff endlessly! I don’t even seem to be able to change the key… but look here, this seems to be a cobbled Parisian street, why am I here? It’s narrow and it heads off uphill… the cafe is in what looks like an old railway carriage, or is it now a tram? One or the other… My companion, a friend whose name I seem to have forgotten, leads me up the thick well-worn wooden steps and we go inside. It is all newly decorated – long and tube-like with monochrome pictures in very thin black frames on the walls – a table is screwed to the floor by the big window which looks out onto a row of cute shops that have brightly coloured flapping canvas awnings.
We sit down and slide our hands over the nice smooth grey Formica table top with its curved metal edges… the round-faced pretty girl walks up and says, ‘You haven’t been here before, have you Dave?’
‘No, I suppose not…’
She sits down with us and slides a white plate with a slice of toast on it towards Stewart, that must be his name but I don’t know anyone called Stewart. She picks up a carafe of thick yellow liquid and pours plenty of it over Stewart’s toast, it look s very bright and yellow now it’s out of its carafe and on the white plate. ‘Is that honey?’ I say.
Someone replies, ‘No, it’s Olo-oil.’
She starts feeding Stewart pieces of toast and O-oil using a dessert spoon.
In the next compartment I can see a tall man with bad skin, and a short black beard, wearing a black hat – he’s playing a guitar, but there is no sound. He raises his head and looks at me, he winks in a ‘knowing’ manner… I don’t know what I know…
Stewart seems to have gone, but the girl put an open magazine in front of me and says, ‘Have you seen this? He’s an American artist…’
A black and white and colour photograph showing a drawing of an arid desert landscape with near and distant cowboys in big hats standing facing out at us. It looks pretty competent, but I’m not really impressed by it, I manage to say, ‘Oh, that’s nice…’
‘You are not looking carefully enough Dave.’ She points with a pale skinny finger to one of the cowboys. ‘See…’ she says.
The cowboy under her finger becomes hollow and then fades away, to be replaced by two smaller cowboys one at each side of the now empty space. I look around the drawing and the same thing is happening to all the cowboys… The landscape is filling up with smaller cowboys. She abruptly closes the magazine and says, ‘See!… I told you!…’ and she begins to laugh. I look up at the man strumming the silent guitar, he is laughing too… I know now that it is Paul Gauguin, even though I don’t really know what Paul Gauguin looks like; but that is not too unexpected, this is Paris after all… Perhaps I’d better wake up now… (P G)