What’s it like to be twelve and in lockdown
In this short bonus episode our niece Kayla has recorded her reflections on the ways Covid-19 has impacted on her and her friends.
We love everything about our nieces and nephew: their creativity, their questions, the songs they sing, the art they make... Every time we video call Tom and Sadie, Tom needs proof that if it’s day there, then it’s night here, and visa versa. Sadie has impeccable comedic timing for someone so young (she really does). And Kayla, who’s almost a teenager, loves, among other things, reading, writing and drawing. The artwork for this episode is hers. She’s a winter baby, and I met her a few hours after she was born — wrapped in a blanket and beanie. It’s hard to reconcile today’s independent 12-year-old with the tiny human who could hardly open her eyes back in 2008. I was on my way to live in Timor-Leste with Shona (she’d already left Australia to take up her new job) and didn’t know when I’d be back, so it was important to be there for those first hours, days and weeks of Kayla’s life. I’m not sure if humans do the same thing as some birds, but there’s an imprinting thing that happens where the babies imprint on a ‘suitable moving stimulus’ (ideally a parent bird). On the off chance humans do that as well, I wanted to be there. So, whether she likes it or not, Kayla’s stuck with me. Tom’s a runner and a climber, and Sadie’s into anything and everything her older brother is — she does not like to be left out, and fair call, too. The youngest is always pushing to be included. In saying that, they look after each other. We miss them all. Even in Australia, where we lived, Meanjin (Brisbane), is a long way from Tom and Sadie in Naarm (Melbourne), and from Kayla in Canberra, so we don’t always see them as much as we’d like. Being so far from home at the moment with so few options to return in the near future, it’s the video calls and photos bringing us regular updates on loose teeth, artworks, science experiments, cricket, ‘Bluey’, skiing, books, cubby houses, backgammon, trampoline-ing, lego, grazed knees, star wars, afl, and butterfly wings that keeps us going.
Opening & Closing Credits by Unregistered Master Builder
Background music, ‘Touching Moments’ by Ketsa (Free Music Archive)
Background music, Markus J Buehler Viral Counterpoint of the Coronavirus Spike Protein (2019-nCoV)
Twitter & Instagram: @LDNbylockdown
In this episode we turn our attention to those everyday sounds we often overlook: the creaks, the squeaks, the buzzes and the pops that we build our daily soundtracks around without necessarily noticing. ************************** Whenever travelling in a new place it’s easy for our attention to be hijacked by the grandiose: the British Museum, Tower of London, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge. End to end, our flat is a modest 32 footsteps. At first, when we paused to listen closer, all we heard were random, almost opaque, individual noises, but as we refocussed our attention — maybe as we plodded into lockdown, maybe as we fell into restlessness and insomnia, maybe as the world we knew ground to a stop — patterns of composition, harmony and story took shape. And it was the familiarity of these stories that comforted me, despite having never listened to them before. I found a grounded counterpoint in an emerging world that isn’t mine (or yours, for that matter — it is too much to say here it’s now the virus’s). For me, lockdown is like sleepwalking though a restless Dream-Wake hybrid world punctuated by fatigue, insomnia and curious dreams that, dull at their edges and obtuse and fractured, create No Time. And I’m not alone, lockdown has spawned a world-wide epidemic of weird, mysterious and self-contradictory dreams. In this soundscape, we explore, and in part decipher, the mental and physical landscapes of London during lockdown. Through the intricacies and half-spaces of a recurring dream about leaving a house — any house, my house, your house — we attempt to uncover the overlooked stories of our homes. Thanks Opening & Closing Credits by Unregistered ...
In this episode we reflect on a confusing couple of weeks and try to make sense of events that almost don't make any sense at all. ************************** During February and March we were house hunting. My memories of those confused weeks are thin — I’d just arrived from the other side of the world, and as much as I search for a linear and coherent story, none exists. I remember having to shake off claustrophobic thoughts before going into potential homes for house interviews; the intricate combinations of smell and light and sound; and the time before physical distancing. Our precautions came with caveats and weight: we didn’t shake hands, we used hand sanitiser, we Zoomed if we could. I flinched at every cough. As potential housemates, we discussed move-in dates, rent and bills, all without hashing out what ‘our house’ might look like if we, strangers, were plunged into indefinite 24/7 lockdown, except that’s one thing we needed to discuss. We all spoke as if coronavirus was happening to characters in other people’s dreams. But Shona and I had a hard move-out date, the lockdown’s bottlenecks had created myriad uncertainties, and the weeks were slipping away, so we increased our budget; began looking further afield, despite loving Leytonstone; and, somewhat reluctantly, decided no housemates. We also sent a ‘hail Mary’ email to Shona’s colleagues (when all bets are off …). A friend of a friend had a flat in south London. Four days later, moving day, March 24, Day 1 of lockdown: the removalists arrived three hours late, then we took an uneasy Tube trip across town to a part of London we’d never visited, holding an unsigned contract ...
How much Iso birthday fun can two people have? ************************** I arrived four weeks early: induced, tiny, underfed. My ‘origin story’, according to my parents: when the doctors heard my heartbeat weakening, they induced; once born, they used tissue-sized nappies. Details are thin on the ground, but I’m the eldest, so I imagine my parents were really stressed and probably didn’t have all the information themselves. From what I can gather, the placenta wasn’t working so well (when this happens growth slows to maintain essential organs: brain, heart, kidneys). The placenta transfers nutrients and oxygen from mum to bub. Our friend Sally, a midwife, explained it to me this way: ‘Placenta is like an oxygen tank, and if it stops working it’s very hard to survive.’ If doctors see a placenta malfunctioning it’s often better to deal with the challenges of prematurity (immature organs that might not work perfectly) than a fully defective placenta. Sally again: ‘You’d rather be in a leaky boat than underwater with a faulty tank’. Having said that, being premature, even today, holds risks, but here I am 47 years on. And since I’ve been old enough to wag school I’ve taken my birthday off. I try to enjoy exactly where I am, but that’s not always easy. We lost mum the year I turned 40. My family crammed into a hospital room with crappy blue curtains and catchpenny furniture, and sat around my tiny disappearing mum. What I remember, though, is when she ate half a piece of my birthday cake, the only solid food she’d eaten in weeks, and smiled. She did that for us. I found it difficult to find light in my birthday ...