Hold my arm and close your eyes.
Maybe we can wish our way from this place. It was a horrible month.
Quiet. It sounds so quiet. Don't open your eyes just yet. It still feels warm like the flames are nearby.
What was that? Did you touch me on the shoulder?
I'm going to carefully open my eyes.
You can open them too. Oh you have already.
You've seen. It's Basil Rathbone touching my shoulder.
You don't know Basil Rathbone? Hang on a minute. I'll talk with him first. Then I'll let you know more about him. You have a look around. I think we are in New York.
He was very flattered I knew quite a bit about him.
Let's tell you about Rathbone. So you recognize his face. Probably not surprising. He was one of THE actors who played Sherlock Holmes in several films. I think there's only been about three actors who have played that character almost definitively. The guy who played Doctor Watson in his films is a totally different matter. Definitely one of the worst.
But I knew him also as playing villains in films. He played Sir Guy of Gisbourne, the sword fighting main villain in The Adventures of Robin Hood for example. He was flattered that I knew he was an expert swordsman - well, fencer as he described it.
For a moment everything changed and I felt I was sword fighting him.
We were fighting up some stone stairs in a castle. Everything seemed to be unreal.
But then somehow it changed again.
We were sword fighting again but this time I somehow felt in control and he was off balance.
I started to remember where I was and who he was. I expressed, "You're Lord Ravenhurst."
He then sneered clicked his fingers but everything was back here where we are.
He was frustrated as though thing hadn't changed how he wanted.
So he dismissed me. I ran back here to you.
You didn't see that? Or did you?
As they stagger towards us they blur. Some of them seem to now seem to be wearing uniforms.
Look under our feet. It's not rock and dirt terrain anymore. It's flat and somehow marked with lines. Are we on a road? Is it a runway?
What? You're attracting my attention. You can see the sea. We can see seawater. We're not on a road. We're on a warship. Look at those people staggering towards us. They're wearing naval uniforms.
Oh no. I have this horrible feeling. Look behind you. Can you see any military aircraft? Don't look up. Not in the sky. On the platform we're standing on.
Okay. I'm going to turn. I have this horrible feeling.
That is an American Phantom aircraft. I know what they are. I had one as a toy when I was a kid. And this aircraft is pointing towards us. We're on an aircraft carrier.
No, it's not about to take off. It's worst than that. You see those rockets under the wings?
Look at that rocket over there. Move out the way. Quick. Move out the way.
That one's just fired by mistake.
IT'S GONE RIGHT PASSED US. I know what this is.
I'm afraid to turn.
Oh God I know what this is. Remember Vivian Leigh? We know she died in 1967 and we're in July of that year. The month when a rocket exploded on an aircraft carrier near Vietnam. I read about this. Over 130 officers killed on board. 160 plus were injured.
I don't want to see this. I don't want to see this.
So much suffering.
Where are we now? We seemed to be trapped in a kind of limbo for ages and then...
We standing on some weird grassy area. No building's close by.
Oh this doesn't feel good.
That pretty woman walking over there might help.
I'll shout to get her attention. "Hello! How are things?"
Very strange. She's not even acknowledging us. Oh she is. Now she's not.
Hang on. I'll go and talk with her.
Well that chat took some time. Sorry about her shouting. She was also coughing so much I could hardly understand anything she said. She was Vivien Leigh. I didn't know her name until she mentioned her ex-husband. At first she said he was called Larry and then she told me the things he'd achieved and I twigged she was talking about the famous actor Lawrence Olivier. At that point I realised who she was. She was crying so much about him and how she'd prefer a short life with him than a long one without him.
She knew they'd become divorced and blamed herself for their breakup. She wanted to become or felt she'd become Lavinia. At first I didn't understand her then she got angry and shouted the name of the play over and over at me.
A horrible play from Shakespeare. It was horrible because it was so gruesome. I never want to see it again. Lavinia was a character who was raped and horribly mutilated.
She kept comparing herself to Lavinia. In between her coughing fits she kept blaming herself and hating her looks.
She didn't want to speak to me again but she did say it was July 1967.
That I know was an extraordinary month with terrible events. More disasters in that month than in half a dozen years.
Where had she disappeared to?
Maybe she ran into that glowing fog - like dense clouds of sparkly dust slowly floating towards us.
Moaning - can you hear the moaning?
Groaning from men speaking different languages. I can't make out any words. Different languages.
There can you see?
Men staggering towards us. They've got faces smeared with dirt, blood and gold dust.
I've tried talking with John Tolkien but it seems there's no point.
His religious views have become ever more important to him in trying to understand the world he's now in.
He doesn't understand how people from different times could be talking with him and it was even more confusing when other people he's met have complimented him about the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.
To him it's 1973 and he keeps saying he wishes to go up to Heaven and meet his wife again. He repeatedly recites religious verses in Latin - it's very hard to talk with him. He's disappointed I don't understand spoken Latin - I can read a bit but I've forgotten so much it since my teenage years. He was even more disappointed I'm actually Church of England, not Roman Catholic, and that I don't understand this strange place either.
Let's face it, this place is certainly very different - even beyond the high fantasy in his novels.
Hmm? What was that you said?
Oh, yeah well 'high fantasy' are books like 'Lord of the Rings'. Tolkien feels he's trapped in a present day fantasy. To be honest with you I think He's got a point.
No - don't disturb him. He's praying. To be honest I hope we do get his wishes because I really didn't know what to do now.
We need to find that necklace in 1955. Maybe it'll help us. It might a bit of yo-yoing to different times to here and to whenever but I know we'll eventually get to 1955.
Okay let's hold hands and close our eyes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed with my other hand.
Oh, at last you've decided to join us.
Where have you been? Stop being elusive. We found this cave and a couple of other people were here - I don't know where they went - we chatted with them until everyone got tired. Then we settled down to sleep and...
You were gone. What year did you find yourself in? What was that? 1973?
Don't tell me. You were admiring Pablo Picasso's last paintings?
No? The concert Led Zeppelin threw at Tampa Stadium? Ah, I caught you out! You're a Led Zeppelin fan I take it. A concert bigger than the one the Beatles threw at Shea Stadium apparently.
Oh you're not a Led Zep fan. Anyway it was 1973 you were in. Is that right?
What you mean you don't know? What was on the TV where you were? The Watergate scandal - so it was definitely 1973.
Hm? Oh you're asking where I was? I think it was 1967. I don't know for certain because it was all hazy and swirly. Well it was like I was on the set of the Yellow Submarine film.
Yeah I know that was a cartoon and that makes it even worse. It was like I was in a mixture between film trailers and news announcements and people saying things I didn't understand.
Sorry I lost you then. I was having weird flashbacks.
Now where did you put that necklace?
What do you mean you don't have it? I passed over to you and then-
Oh no... When you got put in prison they took away all your belongings didn't they?
And that means we've got to go back to 1955.
It took me so long get to you last time and I think I was lucky then.
Hand on a minute. Who's that sad looking old guy behind you? Ask him. John you said? John who? Yeah, go on ask him again.
Well? He misses his wife. Yeah, well I'm deeply sympathetic to him. He looks like a nice guy. What else did he say? So he was a university professor and is lost in some weird way. Wonderful whatever. What's his last name?
Sorry? Say that again? Tolkien. You're sure? John Tolkien. In other words THE J. R. R. Tolkien. Wow.
Does he have anything to say about how we get out of this place?
Right now - keep close. If we walk carefully in this direction we should find a cave.
Yeah, I know it's very weird not having houses around us or even roads or paths or anything.
Hmm - sorry? You're saying I sound like I've been here before?
Okay – stop for a minute. Mind your foot on that protruding rock on the ground - or is it a chunk of concrete from a building or something?
Anyway. Yes I've got a confession to make.
Over the last few days I've worked it out if you're in a building you can't get out. The doors won't open so you stay in whatever time you're in. If you're outside you end up in limbo like this. You can't do anything unless you find something to be inside - like the cave I mentioned - or holding some special jewellery pieces.
Yeah, you get it. The necklace we found is one of them.
I've never been in this- well, it's not a city anymore but this kind of place.
No, I don't know how to use that necklace yet but if we go to that cave we might see someone who could help us.
Oh, by the way there are some people you can't trust around here.
What do you mean 'now you tell me'?
We should be reasonably safe. Just don't talk to some guys and duck when they throw something at you.
Come on. Let's start walking again.
Okay here we go - there's a cave. Yeah it's one I found a few days ago when you were in prison.
You see, at that time I didn't know what was happening. I saw some angry fighting amongst several people going on in the distance but I didn't go near it.
So I ran in the opposite direction. Eventually, I met a group of philosophers discussing the natures of reality and how what we see and feel are not what we are yet they are what we are.
I can't quite remember how I discovered the cave whether I was led to it or it developed as a result of my need to have security in my ways of thinking. Or somebody else's needs.
Let's go inside the cave and sit down.
If you fall asleep that's good but always remember when you wake up you'll be in one of the days I mentioned and you'll be in a different time. Whether we'll get separated who knows...
It feels so strange.
Up there we can see the plane getting closer and closer.
You know we don't have any chance of escaping this crash.
It's so close. One of the aircraft wings has fallen off. The plane is falling. It's now skidding along this road. The other intact wing tearing the houses apart. The nose of the plane is getting closer and closer
Screaming. I can hear screaming.
The light around us is getting brighter and brighter and now...
Can you feel it?
The heat. Can you hear the huge sounds of crashing and screaming. The heat.
It's so powerful.
But can you hear the voices? Russian voices. French voices. French children.
Oh, the pain. I feel the pain. I feel the anguish. I feel the anger. The confusion.
Hold my shoulder. Don't let go.
I don't where we are. I don't know who we are.
It's twisting. Everything's twisting.
We're somewhere? Are on the road? Are we in a car? Are we in an ambulance?
And then nothing.
Everything is a jumble around us. Everything's twisted around us. Metal. Wood. Plastic. And smoke.
Is this what it's like after 5pm?
I bet it must feel wonderful walking in the open air instead of being locked up in that cell. Yeah I know it was actually only overnight for you. (For me it was a week.)
But... You must be starving. Come on - we'll go and get some food. Now it's 1973. Some of the things I picked up for hardly anything when it was 1955 are now highly collectable in 1973. So I've got some money. The strange thing is whilst I'm holding US dollars, because it's 1973 the American dollar has been devalued 10%. So it might be a good idea to try and find some American kind of place to eat. (Instead of trying to exchange this money for some other country's currency.)
1973 is quite a strange time. President Nixon just been sworn in as president after his second election victory. Of course you and I both know he's not president for another four years. In fact the Watergate scandal starts the middle of this year.
Hang on a minute. Can you hear something?
Yeah it's some sort of sounds coming from above.
Over there. Look at it. It's some sort of- it looks like a- you know, like a Concorde plane or something.
Hang on a minute. Someone next you is trying to attract our attention.
I'll talk with him.
Oh, he's now decided to walk off.
Did you hear what he said then?
You weren't listening were you?
Yeah I know It's a bit distracting seeing a plane falling pretty well direct at us.
Alright we'll run now quickly.
You noticed how that guy wasn't terribly bothered about the plane?
Look over your shoulder. The plane's really close. We've got no chance of running away in time.
But he said it seems everything will be fine. I don't know what he meant by that.
Apparently it crashes every week at this time.
Hi, I'm back. I didn't forget you. I take it the police have been okay with you even though you've been locked here in solitary.
Well, I heard them mocking you for not being real but I've got some good news.
Hang on - here - I'll just dig it out of my jacket. Check they're not spying on us through that door's hatchway. The police didn't search me too well before coming in here. Let's face it they think someone who's not real can't escape.
We'll go with that one. It's given me an idea.
First of all - have this to eat. It's a Marathon bar. Yes I know you can read the label - sorry about that. It's an American candy bar. It's just been released in 1973. I don't think it melted very much in my jacket. Yeah, it's like the British CurlyWurly bars.
Okay, the guy from 1973 - he's called Alan Watts. He knew exactly when he'd die that year. I had so many philosophical discussions with him about the ancient and modern ways plus of course the concepts of life and death. i know this place is constantly messing with time.
Alright, alright, I know this isn't getting us anywhere.
Okay first of all - did you like that Marathon bar by the way? - sorry - back on track.
We'll go to the prison cell door, ask for exit and then I'll mess with the guard's head a bit. You pretend to be looking around and not particularly interested in what I'm saying to him.
Okay you can now go. You served your three years but because you're not real you can't be kept in here anyway. Just be polite to the guard as we walk out. Don't look at him.
Just walk casually to the prison entrance.
And we're outside.
The guard's head is now in a bit of a mess. Effectively he assumed I was from 1967 (I gave him a bit of a rundown about the Beatles music group and the Sgt Peppers album). He thought you were also from that time and then I talked to him about Christopher Mayhew, the Labour MP, who took some psychedelic drugs whilst being filmed for the Panorama BBC TV programme in 1955. I showed him my Marathon candy bar - yes I got one for me as well - and pointed out how he must be seeing things because it was launched in 1973 especially as Sgt Pepper had given it to me.
It also means you've been in prison for six years - and he didn't feed you during that time. But I told him I'd let him off because he was obviously feeling the effects of those hallucinogenic drugs. And since you were you were a part of his make believe world anyway and he should let you go. I told him now he could just simply write you've served your sentence. I didn't let him think about how was you came to be here in 1955.
I think I'm having hallucinogenic trips just from thinking about all of this.
Now I'm starting to think about Lucy in the sky with diamonds and that necklace we found.
I'm sorry you were in this prison cell for so long. Let me sit next to you. Don't worry the police have let me visit for a few minutes.
Wow, these prison beds are so hard. It's amazing you were able to sleep.
Alright, alright, don't look at me that way. You won't be here much longer. Those three years will go by very quickly. I'll explain. Honest.
Look I didn't know they were going to put you in jail.
I've just spent so long explaining to them we weren't trying to rob the bank. We just got the times wrong.
It's a strange bloody place. Glance over at the small hatch in the prison door. We're often being watched. No one looking at us? Good.
I'll tell you. On Mondays and Tuesdays it's 1963 here. On Wednesdays and Fridays it's 1973 except for one Friday every month where it's 1983. Now Thursdays - and of course we got here on a Thursday - it gets complicated. From 8.30 to 11.50 something it's 1967. From 11.59 to 14.00 it's 2018 and from 14.00 to 17.00 it's 1955. Got knows what it's like after then. All they know it's somewhere where radios weren't invented and other things... I kept getting a headache listening to them.
We got here just before 14.00 and so it then changed to 1955.
And because you're not real you're seen as a security problem. They might even try to 'cure' you whatever that means.
I spent ages trying to convince them I'm not mad or some kind of drugged out hippy from 1967 who's been mixing with an underground New Romantic movement from 1983.
Don't ever try to do mixes of Beatles and Duran Duran music here. It's illegal.
Yeah, I know you're freaked out being imprisoned here for three years. Well you did have to touch the wrong photo didn't you?
We'll work something out. I'm due to see a guy from 1973 who might help us.