Last night I had an Oxford United dream. It wasn’t drunk or high, and I don’t generally have surreal dreams. But this was weird. I don’t know what it means. So I thought I might as well write it down.
I am in a bar in The Future. I mean, not in the sense of the Cantina in Mos Eisley. I’m in a generic pub/bar that you might find anywhere in the world. Oxford United appear to have become a big thing, because I am not in Britian. In fact, I know exactly where I am; I’m in North Korea.
I don’t know why Oxford United are big in North Korea but they are; I have been transported from now to then without the benefit of experiencing the bit in the middle. I assume North Koreans find some kind of affinity with the club’s Kassam years.
Yes, I am in a bar in North Korea, which I have travelled to in order to watch an Oxford United game. In this bar is James Constable and Matt Green. Because this is The Future, they are now ex-players; slightly thicker set, but it’s clearly them. I’m not surprised to see James Constable and Matt Green in a bar in North Korea, because the game I’ve travelled to see is a charity ‘Legends’ game between Oxford and York City; a re-run of the Conference play-off final. This appears to be a big thing in North Korea.
I introduce myself; Matt Green shakes me generously by the hand, while James Constable, without a hello or anything, turns to me and launches into a detailed description of every goal he ever scored for Oxford. It is a relentless, unnecessarily detailed, practically autistic depiction of every. Single. Goal. Every pass, cross, shot, header, run. He doesn’t ask my name, or even look at me particularly. It’s as if he’s spent his entire life being asked about the goals he’s scored and he’s simply given up with pleasantries and gone straight to the meat.
It is such a barrage, Matt and I sit and listen to him, unable to cut in, stop him or get away.
After some time; somehow, I get away and go to the toilet. I open the door; it’s a largish room; like a disabled toilet. Covering the walls in this toilet in a bar in North Korea are photos of Oxford United games. More strikingly, there’s a headless mannequin in the middle of the toilet with an Oxford United shirt from the play-off final on it. I say headless, but on closer inspection there is a head, a tiny tiny head on a regular sized mannequin. It’s the head of James Constable. A tiny model head of James Constable on a full sized mannequin’s body dressed in an Oxford United shirt in a disabled toilet in a bar in North Korea.
With octopus tentacles dangling from below. Well, sort of, more like the wispy thing that trails out the back of a jelly fish, but it’s moulded from wax. It’s a grotesque sight. I feel intimidated by public toilets anyway, but this is another level.
I navigate around it and prepare to go to the toilet. I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn, startled, and see nothing. I turn back again and sense something. I turn again and spot, in the wall where the toilet roll should be, a slot like a letter box. As I turn it’s just snapping shut. Someone, or something, is there. Instinctively I reach inside and feel a hand being pulled away. I’m being watched. And am in North Korea, where people are watched all the time. I begin to panic, I need to get out of the toilet to get back to James Constable and Matt Green in the bar. But I’m locked in a nightmarish Oxford United shrine. But then, Oxford United are big in North Korea, perhaps Green and Constable have become… Them? I panic more. I am a long way from home.
At this point I’m woken up; “you’re making some really strange noises”. Might heart is pounding, the toilet in the bar in North Korea fades from memory and I am back in my bedroom.
And this means?