Shropshire Star

Mark Andrews: I might be The Fall Guy, but at least my dream came true

I had a dream. A dream of a world without war, where everyone lives in mutual respect of each other, and no-one ever wants for anything.

"I'd rather be driving an Austin Maestro"

Well actually, that's not strictly true. What I actually had was a dream about a remake of The Fall Guy, where Lee Majors swapped his pick-up truck for an off-white Austin Maestro. Allegedly to make it seem more relevant to the present day.

Yes, I know. There are one or two holes in this idea, not least that the pick-up truck was about the only memorable aspect of the so-so action series about a down-on-his-luck stuntman moonlighting as a bounty hunter for the FBI. Or something like that, I can't really remember.

So the idea of a now 83-year-old Majors dusting off his Stetson to fly across an open drawbridge in a piece of 1980s British Leyland junk – that would almost certainly disintegrate the moment it hit the ground – is probably a non-starter. Which actually makes it a bit like an Austin Maestro.

Also, if they wanted to make the Fall Guy more relevant to the present day, Majors wouldn't spend his down time sitting in a bath-chair puffing on a giant cigar. He would be sucking on a cherry-flavoured vape while filling out the health-and-safety forms and risk assessments required for scaling glass-fronted skyscrapers in search of fugitive cattle rustlers. Or explaining to his local magistrates why he had been caught doing 36mph in a low-traffic neighbourhood.

In mitigation, I don't get any say over what I think about in my sleep, or which bits I remember when the alarm clock goes off. For example, I do remember, probably a good 25 years ago, waking up one morning with a very vivid recollection of stealing a bus, and fretting over how it might impact on my employment prospects. For the benefit of any cold-case review police officers reading, I'm pretty sure I never actually stole the bus, it was just a dream.

Then there are the dreams which you remember clearly the moment you wake up, but half an hour later have completely slipped your mind.

According to Sigmund Freud, our dreams are a 'royal road to the unconscious', but I've no idea what that means either.

Freud reckoned our dreams represent a wish or impulse that has since been repressed. According to his theory, our brains censor our dreams so that their true meanings become toned down or distorted. And it is the job of the psychoanalyst to uncover the true meaning.

This would obviously be great news for the psychoanalytical industry. The problem is, taking that theory to its natural conclusion would mean that if my imagination were freely allowed to let rip, my dream would be about an elderly man performing death-defying stunts in an Austin Ambassador. Which sounds like your average episode of Top Gear.

An alternative theory is that we use our dreams as a defence mechanism, to prepare us for threats we are likely to face in real life. Dreams allow us to face our fears in a safe simulation, a dress rehearsal for the real thing, to practise the cognitive mechanisms necessary for threat perception and avoidance. This does seem slightly more credible, in that my nightmares have at least provided me with the opportunity to war-game my defence if I am ever called to explain myu decision to slam an 80-seat double-decker into the front window of McDonalds. Having given the matter some thought, I think deny everything or do a runner are probably the best options.

What is far more interesting is research that found people who are woken up mid-dream are markedly more creative and productive. One study showed that people who were disturbed while dreaming were able to solve up to 35 per cent more puzzles than those who were not. So when we see some dozy old duffer nodding off in the House of Lords, we should not assume they are lazy or over the hill. We should be grateful that they are fine-tuning their minds to come up with an inventive solution to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

Anyhow, while writing this column it has been drawn to my attention that moguls in Hollywood are actually in the process of bringing back The Fall Guy as a movie. It will be dreadful, of course, as these remakes invariably are.

But unlike those who dream of peace, tolerance and plenty, at least I might see my dream come true.

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