Our family had just moved into a large but derelict detached house. My wife was weeping because the new house wasn’t clean enough to let our babies crawl around so I agreed to ride my pushbike to the shops and buy some cleaning materials.
It was exceptionally sunny so I wore a big brimmed hat and dark spectacles. As I approached the shopping precinct I noticed a commotion and saw that a pop band were coming to the end of an outdoor warm up concert. It was apparent that they were there to promote their bigger show later that evening at a local venue. I could hear people in the audience saying that they still sounded good even though their lead singer had not appeared on stage. I liked the music too and was intrigued to find out the name of the band. I rested my bike up against a wall and made my way through an old stone archway which led into a covered walkway. I was surrounded by a jostling crowd of people all eager to make their way forward through the passage. I asked some of the people ‘what’s the name of the band?’ but nobody answered me. We reached a barrier and the door staff began issuing numbered tickets which were being used as a lottery to allow a small number of people to pass beyond. I said to one of the door staff ‘I just want to know what the name of the band is’. Inexplicably they gave me a conspiratorial wink and let me through the barrier.
I found myself in a large marquee decorated with ornate topiary. Waiting staff were giving out free drinks and snacks. At least four of the people in the room wore gold masks. Some were sitting on plush red velvet furniture. People who I assumed were part of the entourage greeted me as if I was an old friend – I just kept quiet in case they realised I wasn’t supposed to be there. After a while I was told to put on a gold mask and was ushered through a long tunnel which led out to a stage. I was ushered towards a microphone stand at the front of the stage and looked out at the audience. Apparently I was the singer in the band. I wasn’t quite sure what to sing, or even if I could sing but actually the music seemed strangely familiar so I just sang what came into my head spontaneously, which happened to be fully formed lyrics, and it all sounded quite pleasing to me. After one or two songs I gradually remembered that this was a self-hypnosis trick I was playing on myself every night of the tour, with the collusion of band members and friends, in which I had been giving myself post hypnotic suggestions to take on a false identity and have total amnesia, and yet be able to find myself on stage each night without a hitch.