In which The Author explores more of his interior landscape
There’s another place which turns up fairly regularly in my dreams. It’s never the same twice, although my general impression of the place doesn’t change.
It’s a big rambling indoor market spread over two floors. It’s like a hybrid of the old Kensington Market and the Emporium in Cardiff’s Castle Arcade – neither of which still exist – but much bigger, and with unexpected sections heading off in all directions. I’m usually there on my own, wandering aimlessly around stalls selling trendy clothes aimed at youngsters, CDs, computer games, and other paraphernalia aimed at the youth market. Occasionally there’s a tiny hair salon tucked away in a corner, or a café filled with dreadlocked arty types. More often than not there’s a little place selling fetish clothes and magazines. The market’s usually full of customers browsing, but I seem to be looking for someone in particular – and I can’t find that person anywhere.
In my dreams this establishment is part of the landscape of whatever town I happen to be visiting. A few weeks ago I dreamt I was in an old cathedral town in the west country, and the market was there. My subconscious city was very different from either Wells or Salisbury (which I’ve visited only once) but I still found myself drawn to the market. A while ago I dreamt I was in a town in the Marches, and the market was at the bottom of a steep hill with busy traffic on both sides.
At least twice it’s been in London, but never in the same location. This London version of the market is usually completely devoted to the fetish scene, with dozens of stalls selling all manner of things. I usually buy a handful of magazines whenever I dream I’m in this place.
Last night, I dreamt I was in Bath – but it’s not Bath as it actually exists on the ground. Pulteney Bridge was in the right place, and the little park where youngsters play in the river on sunny days was there, but the city itself was completely different. Needless to say I found my way to the market, and spent a considerable time wandering around. I was wearing a long dress, which I’d previously changed into in a hotel room, but nobody gave me a second look as I went from stall to stall. There was a black-haired girl wearing tight leathers and a dog collar sitting in a cafe, so I wondered whether to buy a drink and sit nearby. In the back of my mind it occurred to me that my mother would have collected my stuff from the hotel and put it in the boot of the car. I’d have to go and meet her wearing my dress, which I wasn’t looking forward to. I think I smiled at the girl, but she ignored me.