It’s a blue day in the country, the birds are singing in the dreams; it’s thunderously good to be alive. It helps that I’m sipping a Pimms at the B-man’s country house. It's a lovely pad, airy and bright, a perfect venue for the summer barbecue that’s in full swing. Much wine does flow. B flits from guest to guest, the proverbial life and soul. I retire to the other end of the immaculate lawn, exhausted as always by the prospect of socialising. Someone’s had the same idea: standing at the back of the garden is a tall melancholy fellow. He’s holding a glass of white wine and looking out at the countryside beyond with an expression of dreamy lugubriousness. He's wearing an insouciantly rumpled suit and a check shirt. I know this man: it’s Elbow’s lead singer Guy Garvey, a lovely man by any measure, indeed one of the Greatest Living Englishmen. My next sentence leaps from my mouth unbidden.
"Hey Guy. Love the new album!"
He looks at me. His eyes narrow. I’ve said the wrong thing.
"How have you heard it?"
Oh dear: It's not out yet. In fact, it’s not out for some time. So, the way I have heard it is this: I have downloaded it. Illegally. He knows this. I die inside, quite exploded by my own petard. This garden party has turned awfully chilly.
Ok, so I should confess immediately that the above was a dream I had a few years back. Vivid as you like, but happily a dream nonetheless. Talk about the anxiety of the long-distance downloader.
One of the best songs from Elbow’s second album A Cast of Thousands is “Not A Job”, the chorus of which turns on a dream that remains, in this case tantalizingly unexplained:
The dream again nobody understands
Walking through the long grass on your hands
It's not a job to do today
Sleep it off