London by Lockdown

A podcast about falling in love with a new city in the middle of a pandemic; remaining curious and open in strange and chaotic times; and about making it work.

Latest Episodes

16

July 07, 2022 00:57:23
Leaving London

Leaving London

In this episode, hear about why we left, how we left, our last two London adventures, and the toll London took on Craig’s mental health. If you go to England, you bound to turn mad — Olive Senior ‘I’m quite alright with that’ (Not Quite Right For Us)   My images of London are illusions. My two years in London was a mess from go to whoa. I understand that moving to the UK a month before the outbreak of a global pandemic and the subsequent isolating lockdowns wasn’t in my control, but the fallout from all of that took its toll. Even with London by Lockdown in my corner — which was designed to connect me with the people and places around me — at times I floundered. I started doubting myself, my art, my sense of self. I love living in cities. I was excited to move there, but, as a migrant, I couldn’t get a lock on London. The place is never still. London’s a shyster, never commits to one thing or another, a chameleon wearing a wolf’s skin and dressed in sheep’s clothing. A nervous energy infuses it, always fidgeting, twitching, tapping a finger, jumping between random topics, foot tapping, leg shaking up and down under the table. London sits at the base of a bowl in a sedimentary basin, where over the years all the rivers have been turned into sewers and all the forests cut down. When you’re looking up from the bottom of this hole, it’s hard to see beyond the rim. And yet, those rivers, they haven’t been completely silenced, because parts of London are sinking. Just down from us, walking ...

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March 24, 2022 00:12:52
Bonus Episode: More From the Migration Museum

Bonus Episode: More From the Migration Museum

Hear about Shona’s da’s story; learn about the highland clearances, the 10-pound poms, and how people fashion intimate connections and meaning in countries far from their place of birth; and travel through 400 years of UK Departures and Arrivals. (Two years ago today, the UK locked down.)     Dear Migration Museum, Hope you’re well. Just a note to let you know that I loved volunteering with you and it was really important to me. I know it might sound a little strange, saying that, given I wasn’t there too long, but you’re just such a brilliant place. (I know I don’t have to tell you that.) When I first visited you as a punter, it hadn’t struck me before that I was a migrant. I’d grown up with so much UK media (mostly BBC productions on the ABC), and even now, the UK is presented as ‘the same’ as Australia; that we both understand each other’s cultures perfectly. Again, I don’t have to tell you this, but that’s not true. The difficulty in navigating London is that it’s all so similar, but there’s a tilt that makes everything awkward, more confusing and difficult, and it’s just askew enough to discombobulate me without my being able to put my finger on anything specific. Shona and I both knew going in we were travelling to the belly of the Colonial Beast, but I didn’t realise how ingrained that thinking is; how colonialism is celebrated in so many contexts without any reflection; and how the idea of ‘born-to-rule’ permeates. (But of course, you give us the other perspectives and stories.) ...

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15

February 20, 2022 00:25:56
NOT the British Museum

NOT the British Museum

A fete in a cemetery, a tiny underground mail train, and a museum in a shopping centre. Come and celebrate everything that’s NOT the British Museum. ************************** Nunhead Cemetery Open Day Bug hunts, whittling workshops, crypt tours, a petting zoo, ice cream — a ‘typical’ open day. It’s spring and there’s still a chill to the air, but after months of lockdown we’re enjoying being outside. Before arriving if you’d asked me who’d be at the open day I’d have said three history buffs and a dog — but the place is bustling with hundreds of people: market stalls, a community choir, a ‘murder of goths’ (about 30, I’d say). The cemetery is being re-wilded, and as the forest reclaims the place, the wildlife has returned — mostly birds and squirrels, but on one walk we took here in the depths of the winter lockdown, on an overcast day with snow all around, we saw foxes darting between the gravestones and trees. Today, though, there are too many people for foxes. We finish at a pop-up cafe near the Scottish Martyrs monument, with tea and scones and jam. My nan used to make scones like that. The five Martyrs campaigned for parliamentary reform, and for their troubles were transported to Australia in 1794. Mail Rail (Postal Museum) Tunnels running east–west under London carrying narrow gauge driverless trains and delivering millions of letters a day. What more could you want? Royal Mail began as the personal mail service of one of the English kings. Some time later, if you could afford it, you could send letters where the recipient paid for them ...

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October 11, 2021 00:24:12
NQRFU — Travel

NQRFU — Travel

The idea of travel brings with it the promise of exotic places filled with interesting people, and images of glittering beaches and crystal clear water, or adventure, relaxation, or even a family holiday. But that’s for those who are able to come and go as they please: one person’s exploration is another’s exploitation. For many, ‘travel’ has been ‘not quite right’ for centuries, bringing conquest and oppression, inequality and ecological disaster, prejudice, and at times walls to keep out ‘the other’. Celebrating ten years of Speaking Volumes, this anthology is a warning shot, an affirmation, an education ... These forty writers — new and established — speak volumes, invoking their experiences of outsiderness and their defiance against it. In forty short stories, poems and essays — by turns wry, gentle, furious, humorous, passionate, analytical and elliptical — these forty writers, new and established, speak volumes, invoking their experiences of outsiderness and their defiance against it. In this episode we’ll hear … ‘i am no less’ by Michelle Cahill; ‘We Wait’ by Rafeef Ziadah; and Prologue from ‘Abolition’ by Gabriel Gbadamosi (voiced by actors Joe Hughes, Danny Nutt, Owen Oakeshott & Rex Obano). Our guide is actor and author Pauline Melville. InformationMusic composed by Dominique Le GendreNarration by Lucy HannahExtra music & SFX by Epidemic SoundAvailable at all good bookshops, or you can order from Flipped Eye PublishingProduced in collaboration with Speaking Volumes. ...

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June 30, 2021 00:21:42
NQRFU — Love

NQRFU — Love

Love touches us all at some point — from dependable familial bonds to the warm comfort of childhood pets, from the heady perfume of romance to the cherished appreciation of community, culture, country. The physical and emotional connections transcend barriers, cross generations and borders. And yet, love can sometimes be ‘not quite right’, taking where it should be giving, causing destruction — even as we still love. Celebrating ten years of Speaking Volumes, this anthology is a warning shot, an affirmation, an education ... These forty writers — new and established — speak volumes, invoking their experiences of outsiderness and their defiance against it. In this episode we’ll hear ‘The Pilgrimage’ by Amina Atiq; ’Knot’ by Leonie Ross; and ’The Apocrypha of O’ by Gaele Sobott. Our guide is poet, novelist and musician Dr Anthony Joseph. Available at all good bookshops, or you can order from Flipped Eye Publishing. Speaking Volumes live literature organisation. ...

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14

April 23, 2021 00:15:55
The Scoop

The Scoop

A series of hard-hitting tidbits about London life, including an insight into the cultural icon that is Henry Hoover. ************************** The pandemic isn’t linear or coherent. I started writing an article about my claustrophobic thoughts about an unknown lockdown. A city that once paid no attention is now all ears, in the wake of sirens marking time — as the only time stamp they move through the streets faster than anything else. The sirens cut loud, continue for longer, can be heard from farther away. Consequences: Listening to the wind I dream all sorts. I dream long and strange and weird. We still can’t see the horizon. Confusion; contradictions; dithering. Any article about the pandemic is merely a jumbled mess, because as much as we fumble for stories — my bread and butter and the things we all turn to to make sense of the world — none exist. About this time every day the family next door comes into their backyard into the sun for about 15 minutes. The kids’ shouts are pure joy and happiness. London: Pandemic Epicentre. TouchDown Feb 23, LockDown March 24. The London I stepped into is an episode of ‘Black Mirror’. Let’s hope we get through this in better shape than Charlie Brooker’s protagonists. A friend’s dog that has never barked at planes before, when they were a constant overhead, now barks at each and every isolated and intermittent plane that flies over. In April 2020 I read a piece about goats coming into the Welsh town Llandudno. The author writes: ‘The world’s metropolises ... are now silent save for the strange duet of birdsong and sirens.’ I love that sentence and wish I’d ...

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