Monday, 23 November 2015


I sit, a man alone at my desk
Writing 'bout a world I used to know
The bitter taste of memories is like ashes in my mouth
I feel as if I'm wading through the snow
Wind whistles in through cracks in crumbling brick
Robe wraps warmer round
Numb fingers grip pen tighter
Tears are coursing down
The pane is rattling in the frame
Fire gutters in the grate
Wish I had started sooner
Soon it will be too late

Pale light spilled in at the window pane
As your fingers kissed the keys
Your soul poured out like the beating rain
That was buffeting the trees
I stood back in the shadows
And watched you as from afar 
I know I was sometimes in your thoughts
But never in your heart

And hazy now in my mind's eye
Is the memory of your face
Like an old tattoo grown blurry with the years
That time can fade but not erase
And you could have been my countess
I'd have chucked it all for you
But you never even knew my name
Nor even wanted to

And while my regret is bitter
For the love I could never show
You have more of me within you now
Than you could ever know
And I will live forever
In the hearts of those I love
And sometimes, just sometimes I think
That might almost be enough.

© John D. Buchanan 2015

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Dream 21/11/15 – "Of Premonition and Consequence"

Last night I dreamt I watched this amazing short film called "Of Premonition and Consequence" that I discovered on YouTube. I was like, "I've got to tell everyone to watch this!" and was so gutted when I woke up and realised it was just a dream, I decided I had to make it.

It was all about this kid called Nicky who's at high school in this small town in the late '70s/early '80s and is the singer in this hard rock band that is already really successful and is playing massive arena shows. He is signed to a major label and has this real roguish, rockist manager who has paired him with two older, more experienced session musicians for his rhythm section. The band's main draw is its two guitarists, sexy identical twins called Elizabeth and Shannon who are classmates of Nicky and who have long, wavy, jet-black hair. Nicky's dad hates the whole rock 'n' roll thing and thinks that he should give it up in order to focus on his studies. He is concerned that Nicky is going to get into hard drugs or break his neck stagediving or something.

The story hinges on some sort of supernatural being that can take the form of anyone it wishes. It takes the form of one of the twins. It is perhaps a vampire or some other sort of life- or soul-sucking creature. It uses sex to lure its victims and of course Nicky is lured by it, thinking it is Elizabeth wanting to shag him. He gets gradually drained of life à la Lucy in "Dracula". People think he is on drugs. He always goes to the school's third-floor broom cupboard/chill-out room at lunchtime but finds it is shut or verboten now, so goes to the second floor and finds there is a whole massive bar there, dimly lit, all made of weathered dark wood, real fire burning in the grate. This is where he meets "her". It's kind of a magic place, like it feels as though it shouldn't really exist. Other people are also affected, like the two old rocker rhythm section guys and maybe the manager. There is farcical confusion over who shagged Elizabeth or not.

He probably dies at the end. The being should be exposed but not destroyed. It escapes or vanishes back into the woodwork. The final scene is a big close-up of Elizabeth's face (or is it her?), tears trickling down her cheeks, reciting the words of one of Nicky's songs which encapsulates the plot perfectly (it's akin to "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac, but more melancholy, with the word "dreams" in the lyrics). There's a sense that perhaps the creature has fallen in love with Nicky as well. The last shot pans away across a field, autumn trees, a shiny, curved-front, steel-and-smoked-glass building prominent, some local business. The whole thing has a colossal Liz Hand/Anne Rice vibe.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Dream 20/10/2015 – "Net"

Last night I dreamt in incredibly fine detail a Canadian sci-fi horror series called "Net", created by David Cronenberg and starring Kevin Bacon as a Pop Tart-eating lawyer. It was all about this boy genius who, back in the '70s, creates this incredibly powerful artificial neural net that instantly became self-aware and so powerful it can alter the laws of time and physics, make people age 40 years instantly, bring the dead back to life, make you travel in time, etc., and he and his brother use it as a toy until the FBI get involved, then the kid goes missing, never to be seen again, and the machine disappears, presumed destroyed, and all the schematics are lost. Then, years later, the kid's brother, played by Bacon, gets sucked back in when all the weird shit that happened years ago starts happening again and he realizes that the machine, and possibly his brother, are still out there, and he spends the rest of the series looking for it as it travels through time wreaking havoc.

There's loads of old green-screen BBC B computers, grainy antique film stock, men in suits, 50s FBI agents, bodies with cataract eyes, scenes of the kid aging 40 years in 30 seconds (truly disturbing). There's also a female character who is disabled in some way. When we first meet her she's dragging herself through the snow on an old-fashioned 70s skateboard, putting electronic tags on lost dogs in the wake of some sort of disaster (an earthquake?). Voiceover: "I felt it was the only way I could atone." She works with Bacon, who keeps trying to get her to eat Pop Tarts. Her mother sends her to work with Frosties. Perhaps she is a cop or a lawyer too. There was even a behind-the-scenes featurette about how Cronenberg came up with the whole idea but had no money so just went to the place in rural Canada where the guy from Starz was filming another series and shouted across the road at him does he want to give him some money to make this amazing new show. It was partially shot in Gary, Indiana, the home of a huge special effects house.

In the title sequence, all shot in grainy dim tones of red, curtains open on a dark stage. We see legs sitting in a theatre box, hands holding a crystal ball. It starts to glow and a woman's screaming face appears. It slips from the hands onto the knees. Printed circuits are visible around the inside of the ball.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Dream 03/10/15

I've been staying with some friends of mine, a couple with two young children, but my habit of staying up late partying is disturbing the kids' sleep and the dad is eager for me to leave. I've got nowhere else to go so I'm begging him to let me stay; I tell him I'll even sleep outside in the carport in a sleeping bag. He says he'll think about it.
On my way to the bus stop I meet an acquaintance, a big brassy black girl who used to au pair for the couple in question. I tell her my woes and she tells me that the kids used to really annoy her, not least because they were forever going on about how "dad chose the A". It transpires they had a sign on their bedroom door made from those little wooden letters and "dad chose the A". I ask what the sign said and she tells me it was "Ich bin Russischkind" ("I am a Russian child").
"Why was it in German?" I ask. "Surely it should have been in Russian? Besides which, they're not Russian, she's from Slovakia."
"No she's not," she replies, "She's American! I ought to know, I worked for them."
I'm sure she's wrong but decide not to labour the question. We part. It's only later that I realize the sentence doesn't even have an "A" in it.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Dream 24/06/14

I  have to go on a long mission on the bus to a run-down supermarket in this tatty town centre, which is the only place to get an ingredient I want. It's somewhat convenient for me though, as a friend of mine runs a hairdressing salon next to the supermarket, so I can visit her at the same time.  As I'm walking round the supermarket I meet this sexy goth girl whom I vaguely know who tells me she needs a haircut, so I take her into the little salon, which is deserted, and introduce her to my friend. She sits down in the barber's chair and my friend starts giving her a rather severe feather cut. About halfway through doing the haircut, she suddenly announces that it's lunchtime and that we need to go to the cafe next door before it gets too busy. It turns out that the cafe has become famous on account of its amazing macaroni cheese, which has been hyped to the heavens by food bloggers, and is now deluged by Hoxton foodies every lunchtime. Promising the girl that we'll only be five minutes, she leads me next door into the cafe, leaving her sitting in the barber's chair with her hair half cut.

We're the first lunchtime customers in the cafe but the old Italian guy and his son who run the place are already madly busy. Dozens of piping hot dishes of macaroni cheese are already plated up and sitting on the counter, like half-poured pints of Guinness on the bar of a Dublin pub. The old guy greets us, we each take one - my friend tells him to put it on her tab - and we sit down at a table and start eating and gossiping. It really is remarkably good, and we're so busy nattering away that it's only half an hour later that we realize we've left the goth girl in the barber's chair.

Hurriedly we dash back into the salon, but the girl is gone. I feel guilty so I go out to look for her. It starts to rain. Eventually I find her huddled in the doorway of a delivery entrance at the back of the supermarket. She is crying so I sit down next to her and put my arm round her and comfort her. At first I think she is upset about her hair being only half cut, but it turns out that she is in some kind of trouble with this psychotic drug dealer guy.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Dream 08/02/14

I'm in the new Andrew Lloyd Webber musical "Lots + Lots!!" which is based on book and lyrics by Lerner & Llep. It is over three hours long and the music is stunningly beautiful, the best he has ever written, like a cross between Adam Guettel and Tori Amos. The plot has an anthology structure, with four unconnected segments about ordinary people who do extraordinary things. One is about a woman scientist who discovers a new ultra-amazing molecular multivitamin extracted from citrus fruit that can be used to help treat depression. Another is about this girl who has a choking paraphilia and pretends to hang herself with her belt to freak out school bullies. A female friend and I are in this segment. On the school campus we have to fight our way through a densely packed cornfield to get to the main building. We meet the girl who tells us her story then we see her doing her thing (hangs herself by her belt with her toes just touching the floor, gets pleasure from choking). We get worried that one day she will accidentally kill herself. When we decide she's had enough we take her down, dress her in her pyjamas and gently lay her in bed.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014


Jonah DeSoto is renowned as one of the world's greatest explorers, always ready to put himself in danger in the pursuit of scientific truth... and the occasional bit of treasure. But his globetrotting lifestyle puts heavy strain on his relationship with his wife Nicolette, who shoulders the burden of looking after both their sickly son Timothy and her infirm mother. After Nicolette's mother dies in a bizarre accident, she makes Jonah promise that he will be there for Timothy's ninth birthday party, which the boy must have in hospital. Jonah arrives back in London in good time, but his treasure-hunting past finally catches up with him and he is swept up in a fantastical adventure that results in him missing Timothy's birthday party, leading to a ferocious bust-up with Nicolette. In the doghouse with his wife and in danger of losing her to his ladykiller best friend, Jonah must find a way back into her good graces before it's too late to save his marriage and his relationship with his son.
© John D. Buchanan 2014