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.)
When I first approached you about volunteering I was suffering anxiety. I’d never had this before, and was having anxiety attacks — I didn’t know what was going on. I ended up working with a counsellor. Covid in London broke me. At the time the MM was perfect. So open and generous and caring.
Could you please let everyone I worked with know I really valued meeting them and enjoyed my time there. One regret is that I didn’t get to be part of the MM for longer and get to know each of you better.
Take care and stay safe.
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 your intrepid lockdown travellers tackle the big food questions. ************************** What are Romanesco broccoli and celeriac and what do you do with them? What’s the great “jollof rice controversy”? How hot is too hot for a vindaloo? Shouldn’t we all eat cheese scones every day? Are vegetarian Scotch eggs worth it? ThanksOpening & Closing Credits by Unregistered Master Builder Touching Moments by Ketsa (Free Music Archive) Markus J Buehler Viral Counterpoint of the Coronavirus Spike Protein (2019-nCoV)BBC SFX Archive Information & WebsitesUK Landworkers Alliance. For the ‘World Famous London by Lockdown Cook Off’ RecipesVegetarian VindalooCheese Scones Jollof Rice (it’s so good we included two links): here and hereVegetarian Scotch Eggs ContactFacebook: @CraigsAudioWorks Twitter & Instagram: @LDNbylockdown Available linktr.ee/LondonbyLockdown ...
It’s almost the end of 2020. As a special gift for getting through a hard year, in this bonus episode we share one of our all time favourite pieces of radio, and a holiday classic: ‘Xmas in Merimbula’ by Kayla (then aged 8). ************************** Some 30 years ago, aged 17, I first heard The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale of New York’ and fell in love with the city, the band and the song — and all the complexities and contradictions within. Unlike so many other Xmas songs, there’s nothing sentimental here: “It was Christmas eve, babe; in the drunk tank. An old man said to me, ‘Won’t see another one’. And then he sang a song: ‘The Rare Old Mountain Dew’. I turned my face away and dreamed about you.” It’s not a song of solace, but a cautionary tale. There but for the grace… As the years have passed, ‘Fairytale…’ has migrated in from the margins. Nowadays it’s played in supermarkets, and since 2005 it returns annually to the top 20 charts — MacColl’s beautiful voice (she grew up in Croydon, South London, not far from here) perfectly counters McGowan’s character’s dirty murky syntax. And when listeners turn from McGowan’s scowl to MacColl’s songfulness for comfort, they fall victim to a beautifully rendered ambush: “They’ve got cars big as bars, they’ve got rivers of gold, but the wind goes right through you it’s no place for the old.” Who are these people? I get preoccupied with a song’s words. In retrospect, I always have. I listen to songs as a writer, zeroing in on utterances, while Shona draws meaning from the music, listening as a musician. She plays guitar, ukulele, piano, and sings. I ...