In this episode we see if Craig can make a new friend during lockdown.
Between mid 1990 and early 1991 I had a recurring dream (Grades 11 & 12 at Lake Ginninderra College). I’m sitting in the shallows of a lake... I’m unnerved because a near drowning a few years earlier means I don’t swim. Thunder, lighting and wind convulse the water into a wave that propels me from the land. I’m lucid, but can’t control the dream. In a second, day is now night, I’m at the opposite shore at a bonfire party of friends (current, future, past, lost). I’m greeted heartily as I make my way to warm near the fire. I know them all, but recognise none.
A friend hands me a glass.
I scan the crowd over his shoulder.
‘We lost her at the beginning.’
‘Where have you all come from?’ I ask, but wake before he answers.
In the first month of 1991 a friend tragically drowns while swimming in Lake Ginninderra. I’ve not dreamt that dream since.
My 2020 dream occurs the week I’m flying to London, and is set at Lake Ginninderra College. I’m speaking to a friend, known but unrecognised, when one of his mates steals my wallet. Despite knowing the culprit, I pretend to canvass the whole school. My friend’s in a gang, so when I get to their hangout, everyone, except my friend, crowds me until I leave. I repeat the process — dreams within dreams? — until, in time, I find my friend alone. We search the place and discover every artefact that’s ever been stolen at the school, collated and stored. I wake before I find my wallet. Within a month of arriving in London the world is locked down. I’ve not had any ‘covid dreams’ since.
These two premonitory dreams — thirty years apart — are indelible. I have counter-intuitive relief. Sure we have no idea about the virus’ long-term implications, health or otherwise, but the world’s frame has never really made sense to me, so now that the system’s fragilities are so obviously laid bare, we see what we’re up against, and we know how to win: radical empathy, compassion, connection and friendship.
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)
BBC SFX Archive
Information & contacts for the people and organisations featured in this episode
London Renters Union
Mutual Aid London
Radical Empathy Podcast
Hill Talk Facebook: @hilltalkshow
Maame Blue Writes and Headscaves and Carry-ons available on Spotify
Twitter & Instagram: @LDNbylockdown
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This episode uncovers lost rivers, a smelly ogre and a magical reawakening. ************************** Once upon a time there was a river... I love rivers. The Birrarung (Yarra) in Naarm (Melbourne); the Murrumbidgee skirting Canberra; how the Maiwar (Brisbane River) psychologically and spiritually dominates the city of Meanjin (Brisbane) like no other river I’ve encountered; the powerful convergence of the Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan) and Djarlgarra (Canning) rivers in Mooro, Goomap (Perth); the contradiction that is the Thames (I’ve still not spent any time with it); and the lost River Peck, a tributary that gives its name to Peckham, a neighbourhood to the south west of Telegraph Hill (which sits at the northern tip of what was once the Great North Wood). Once upon a time there was a river... The story of Australia, the driest inhabited continent, begins and ends with water. The original colony site, Kudgee (Botany Bay), didn’t have fresh water, so another site “with a run of water through a very thick wood” was found at Warrane (Sydney Cove). This was the “Tank Stream” (named after tanks cut into the sides of the bedrock to capture and store water). As the colony’s main water source, it was so fouled by the colonsiers that they soon had to cart water in from a nearby wetland. When that ran dry, they ventured further west on the promise of a “Rio Grande” or “Mississippi”, and on the back of the myth of an illusive inland sea (a tale for another time). Today the Tank Stream is lost under the streets of Cadi, Djubuguli (Sydney). I heard this growing up, but didn’t know England had a rap sheet as long as ...