the dream courier ... visits

Last night Jean Vengua came to me in a dream. She's as elegant and beautiful as I'd always imagined she would be. Mark Young was there too although, this is perhaps peculiar, since I've met Mark but haven't met Jean - his visual image was absent. Well - such blessings. The sad news is, I don't remember the dream very well, only some of its constituent parts. I'm reading Doris Lessing's Mara & Dann and the main freight of the dream came from that. It was a long series of inexpressibly poignant disappearances of cultural artefacts from African towns. Everything from pieces of coloured cloth to words on paper was sifting away to nothingness. Contrast that with a highly cluttered apartment which, in its layout but not its contents, resembles this one where I live. We were making arrangements for an event of some kind. I'd like to say it was the photographing of the dream fragments before they disappeared but I'd be making it up. This organising was mostly being done by telephone but the phone kept getting lost under drifts of paper, books, clothes ... and then it, the phone, rang one more time, in the next room, and Jean came through from answering it to say it was for Mark ... and that's when I 'met' her for the first time. And it was good.


hanging gardens

Yesterday I went to have my photo taken. Something I don't like to do, but this had been organised for me after I failed - for a variety of reasons that I won't go into - to arrange it for myself. It went ok I think, who knows, the photographer was gentle & kind &, in conversation, interesting; his wife & daughters too. While we were sitting having coffee afterwards I saw great splotches of yellow hovering before my eyes & felt unsure as to what was happening: perceptual distortions? neurological problems? my liver? This was in a part of Glebe where I lived for several years back in the early 1980s, in fact, you could see my old building out the window of the terrace house where TC & his family live. I walked around there afterwards. The flat I lived in appeared to be empty. The building was rather decayed, the years had not been kind to it & I wondered what the rental on #1 might be now? Not that I'd want to live there again. There used to be a couple of beaut gum trees in the garden alongside of the block that the landlords had cut down one day because their roots were getting into the pipes & causing plumbing catastrophes in the building ... I won't go there either, suffice to say, I will never forget, no matter how hard I try, what I saw bubbling up one day in the bathroom. Later I planted a jacaranda & a banana there, also, there were ginger flowers & one year sun flowers too. All that's gone, some kind of weed-tree has taken over the whole strip, with weed-grass growing beneath them. There's a wide concrete area outside the balcony of #1, the roof of the car garages underneath & in the far corner of that expanse I put an odd kind of pot made out of a tyre & who knows what else. Painted yellow. In the soil within were planted succulents of various kinds, non-specific, aloes & such like, cuttings of which I'd retrieved from various places round about. They had proliferated. Gone wild. Spread across the concrete and over the lip to hang down above & past the garage doors. I must not have looked at this quiet corner of Glebe, up behind the Kauri Hotel, for twenty years, yet in my mind it had kept on existing as an ideal, the way things do: a great spreading jacaranda letting fall its purples, colonies of banana palms, with their hands of yellow & black fruit, the scent of ginger flowers ... strange how the succulents, that I'd never thought of from that day to this, at the same time denied and fulfilled this vision of a hanging garden.


Here's the link for Laura Kroetsch's podcast ...


gardens of light

Tuesday, was mumbling over a review of some art books I was writing when I noticed holes in my vision ... sounds weird, but that was the feeling. Parts of the screen were missing from my visual field, especially the left visual field. Wasn't much point in proceeding so I left the screen to look at a draft print out in the next room. Same deal, bits of words were missing, though if I scanned up or down or sideways, I could recover them. Had some shopping to do so that's what I did. Was feeling normal (apart from the visual glitch) until I stepped outside. It was a blue day, hot and dry, about 11 am. In that bright glare I could see a series of pale coloured zig-zags, red-yellow-orange-green-blue-indigo-violet, swarming in my left visual field. Kind of like what you see if you tilt a CD, bottom up, to the light. Things looked strange, with the other-worldly, hyper-real intensity that precedes a faint (I used to faint quite often when I was a child). In the Supermarket I saw Mark Mordue, a local writer, whom I've met once but never conversed with. Been meaning to bowl up and have a chat next time I see him, but I was feeling too strange. He was examining the fine print on some packet or other in aisle 5. I made the check-out and accomplished my purchases without alarming anyone, but still couldn't shake the pre-syncope feeling. Kept thinking of a word, scotoma. Did I have a scotoma? What is a scotoma? When I got back home, I took a couple of panadol and wondered if I should lie down for a bit. Didn't seem possible that I could drive a cab in this state but, half an hour or so later, I was back to normal. Later, during my shift, I noticed the intermittent pain I get in my left ear was back and realised I'd suffered another bout of the infection I picked up on Flores in late 2004. This was completely disabling at the time, for two or three days, and took another week or so before I recovered. I've had a couple of other, milder repeats since then, usually when I've been exhausted or run down; this, I guess, was a third, even milder and not accompanied by the main symptom on the other occasions, loss of balance. And, no, I don't think it was a scotoma. The visual effect, though not associated with pain, was more like the fortification illusion migraine sufferers get. Or the Garden of Light.


News from New Zealand ...

I see that book reviewer Laura Kroetsch is about to name Luca Antara one of her four Best Books of 2006 - it'll be on National Radio tomorrow and podcast and the URL should go up on the NatRad website immediately afterwards.

Wish someone would do something like that here.


... in dreams

A most peculiar dream last night, in which I worked out a modus operandi by which you could photograph the action going on in dreams. It made perfect sense at the (dream) time, what you did was rehearse & then re-stage the energies at play, then expose them to real world emulsions (it was clearly pre-digital); the same process, I remember thinking in the dream (or dreaming in the think) would work for photographing the past, should you want to do that. This was not primarily a technical question, it was psychological, or perhaps psychical; machines were not the issue, tissue was. Stupid, maybe, but all day I've been walking on air.
Then there were all the different ways you could tell someone to shut up. Life was talkative in those pre-TV days, families would gather around the radio after dinner to listen to their favourite serial.

Three I remember with mingled affection & alarm:

Oh, dry up!

Put a sock in it!


(my favourite):

Give it a bone!

... as if the voice were a barking dog, I guess.

& maybe it is.


By Jove

For some reason I've been mulling over things my parents used to say, many of which you don't hear much any more. Someone stupid, my Dad would say, was bone from the neck up. Someone he didn't like was a nasty bit of work. Something good was corker. When you absolutely agreed with something someone said, you said: Too right! In the same way us kids used to say, if we really meant to do something, No fear! Couple of other expressions referred to unusual or remarkable people: She was an original. He was a character. I guess these are still quite familiar, even if they're not heard that often; but what about this? Both my father and my mother were in the habit of saying, many times a day: By Jove! As in: By Jove, it's cold today! I can even remember my mother walking into a room to announce something with the words: By Jove ... When I was young I had no idea what this meant, and heard it as a generalised, probably meaningless, exclamation. It seemed even stranger when I learned, a few years later, that they were in fact invoking a Roman god, actually Jovis pater, Father Jove. They must have picked it up from somewhere like The Admirable Crichton, and probably all their Teachers Training College friends said it too, but Jove still seems a peculiar deity for school teachers in the remote King Country of New Zealand in the 1950s to swearing by.


Pam Brown is generous & perceptive about Luca here.

While over here, Stephen Davenport comments.

As for me, I've been missing this site & feeling like the decision to dedicate it solely to Luca issues was a mistake. I thought that White City might replace it but that place has somehow arrived with a formality that makes it difficult for me to chat there. Although I do like to publish on it from time to time.

... so ... I'm back here in 007, which I'm calling the Secret Agent Year.


chief biscuit says some sweet things about Luca here - thanks, Chief! (I always feel like Maxwell Smart when I say that.) &, there is another Trip Book due from AUP this winter ... I hope.