And on the sixth Fit, the Barrister slept.
Played here by the
notorious Continental steamer, Martin Heidegger, (right Zeit up and left
Sein down) the Barrister has been overwhelmed by the fumes of cheap
plonk and the Beaver’s well-turned ankles and has sunk into a torpid slumber upon a thickly inked lawn.
Our reader, who
eschews cheap drink and chorus girls in favor of the headier vintages
of Carrollian verse, will note that the Barrister has been furnished
here with dreams in the plural. He or she will nod knowingly, perhaps
even smugly, for every Carrollian worth their mustard and cress is
cognizant of the Master’s mysterious penchant for dreams.
fact, Lewis Carroll never met a novel or poem in which he didn’t feel
obliged to stuff in the odd bit of dreamwork to move the plot along, and
by providing the luckless Barrister with an multiplicity of dreams our
poet may be betraying his own crypto-Hindu sympathies! Classical Hindu
epistemology, bursting at the seams as it does with a nightmarish
superfluity of dreams and illusions, all of ‘em nested one within the
other, would have been pure catnip for the likes of Carroll.
artist is aware that there are those amongst us who will object to the
above theory, they might mutter darkly about a certain virulent strain
of Neo-Platonism run amuck on the playing fields of Eton from which
Carroll may have been infected, rather than some curry-inflected
metaphysics hailing from god knows where. Well, they can toss their
Neo-Platonic influences into the dust bin as far as we’re concerned, for
it’s Hinduism which has the pukka goods on Runaway Idealism and
this Floating Metadream We Call Life. Like the Red King in Through the Looking Glass,
we are all of us, readers, artist, poet and Barrister, dreaming of one
another and if we ever do wake up to find out what’s Real, well, what is
Reality anyway, huh?
After mentally digesting all of this, the
less tolerant reader will start things off by giving this over-heated
illustrator a gentle boxing about the ears and a light touching up with a
lead featherduster. They will then will reach for their Bradshaw of the Future
(our preferred etymological opium den) and look pensive whilst they
peruse the pedigree of the word "dream", a word which in Old English
meant "joy" or even curiouser and curiouser, "music".
aside their Bradshaw with an insouciant pshaw, the less tolerant DR will
then gird their loins and push their way past the more tolerant DR
(still asleep and reeking of cheap plonk and ankles, no doubt) and
towards the well-inked anthropomorphic forks afflicted with the Amorous Gigantism of Inanimate Objects,
the Beaver’s size 9 chukka boots, the winged goblets and obligatory bar
of soap, the Man-Ray-smiles and the cloth-headed judge-and-jury — all
of ‘em merely a smokescreen for the 9-piece band ensconced in their
band-shell in the background of this etymological-cum-epistemological
And what is this joyful music
that our dream orchestra* is producing for the benefit of our dream
Barrister? Is it the melodious warblings of some Hindustani songstress
afflicted with a keening adenoidal distress? Is it the rock ‘n roll
oompah-oompah of some hipster, Platonic cave-dwellers? To find out, dear
readers, stay tuned for next week’s episode of The Hunting of the Snark!
readers might even be more bewildered than usual to learn that this
illustrator is afflicted with the syndrome
of musical dreaming; for many years his dreams have been provided
with a sort of involuntary cinematic soundtrack, not of his choosing
although usually of a classical nature. On occasion a bit of pop rubbish gets
by, the theme to Star Wars or suchlike, but this artist is the sort of high-minded fellow who thinks nothing of walking out of a bad film or dream.