Recently, I’ve been doing talks at schools. Yes, me!… I know. This has been on behalf of world Book Night, that has ended up a battle cry for the dreamers. Because there is, it would seem, the industrial genocide of dreamers dreams. The recent idiom of fame hungry was prevalent. When I asked, What do you want to be when you leave school?
“Famous.” Was a popular answer.
Okay, famous for what?
“I don’t mind.”
We live in a time of celebrity. Celebrity meant something very different once, it was a term given to someone celebrated for their talent and for their enduring graft to earn a place in the public eye. Celebrity now is a generic term, for reality television celebrities that on the face of it, could quite possibly be clinically retarded. They get laughed at for utter stupidity and that is their talent… being stupid. Since when has such stupidity been something we value? Or am I the only one who feels a bit uncomfortable with how these people are rolled out and laughed at. It is a bit like Britain or America’s got talent, where they show the nutters as much as the talented. If they just showed one weirdo for us to laugh at, it would be deemed bullying. But as they trawl and supply us many weirdo’s it is entertainment? For example, Joey Essex, from the only way is Essex, when asked “Who were Richard and Judy?” The answer being television presenters and household names in Britain, he answers,“Are they the ones who invented the world?”
He wasn’t joking.
However between the idiots and the academics are the dreamers.
Do you remember when you were a little kid say seven or eight years old, and you would be at a friends house? There was always one kid, maybe that kid was you, who said “the carpet is larva, the couch and chair are boulders, the stairs a mountain and the bedroom a castle.” Back then the dreamer was celebrated and the leaders. The dreamer kid had the power to suspend reality, invent worlds and take his friends with him. He could turn a few shitty trees into knights with swords and dragons.
What happens to those dreamers with time? They are told to stop being a fantasist, stop dreaming, get your head out of the clouds, knuckle down, “You will never be anything unless you quit daydreaming and do your maths.”
A pillow of academia is pressed over the dreams and pressed down hard, then held, till it suffocates them. The kid forced to work on weaknesses, rather than strengths. Schools need to hit those ratings. I fear for how many kids are processed and placed on the defective pile, because they weren’t shiny enough. Imperfect in a mainstream way, and so shitted of school, sub-standard academically, but once truly gifted with ideas.
As we get older still, the grammar Nazi’s arrive, or the smart folk who love nothing more than to mock those who may struggle with the craft side of the written word. So the dreamers, for fear of ridicule commit dream genocide. I have openly said that I did and still do struggle with the written word. It is only because I have spent forty years fucking up, working shitty jobs because I had no belief in my ideas due to the legacy of being told I had no worth, being academically poor, that caused the trench of disasters that inspired me to write. Now I write for other people on various platforms, bits for television, bits for magazines etc. My ‘success’ I know was a freak accident, but thank god for those who didn’t give up. Didn’t let their dreams die. Because if it wasn’t for them, we would have no Harry Potter, no Kick Ass, no Shaun of the Dead, no Fight Club and no Dr. Zeus.
The academics even pour scorn on dreamers success. J. K. Rowling is often sighted as a shitty writer and holes poked into the structure and prose of Harry Potter. You know what, thousands of children curled up on a bed were transported to a world of wizards and dark evils, hanging off the words of magic that flowed form mums and dads mouths, and if anything like my kids, every night, would be the chant “Just one more page.”
Anyone who says Harry Potter was shit can fuck right off. It wasn’t a book, it was a transport system and a reminder to little boys and girls that it is okay to dream of being a wizard.
Every talk in the class, there was the quiet kid, the odd one. The one who likes Dungeons and Dragons, or wants to be a vampire, slowly getting marginalised and forgotten. So that by the time they leave school, and because he didn’t fit the box provided, is already years conditioned to being invisible.
I have nothing against academics, for some vastly clever people are sorting the millions to get my film made, my editor Paul Swallow, will endure my failings and get my manuscript perfect. Because the reality of the situation is we need each other. But without dreamers dreams, there would be no story to tell, and no film to make. Schools need to put their arms around the dreamers and say ‘Okay – so what have you got? Let’s get it on a page and see what we can do with it.’ because dreams are fast becoming a rare commodity.
We owe it to the bed time stories of future kids, and to the characters that have not been invented yet, to the next hard boiled detective, to support and nourish those dreams and give the dreamers a voice.