Thursday, December 16, 2010

Small town bar

It is winter in Mjölby. I have just got to a newly opened bar near the train station. A troubadour called Loke is going to sing some old country-classics at this place tonight. I step into a small room with a bar and a stage. My clothes are wet and outside it´s dark and the snow is falling.

I keep my outdoor clothes on because there is no place to hang them. At the bar, which is made of steel and looks like a buffet, some bearded men with leather-hats sits muttering over their glasses of beer. By my side is a tall women wearing a very short black skirt and black leather corset.

The owner of the bar is a man from Linköping. He has opened this bar especially for those who moved to Mjölby and are having a hard time to make themselves at home.

The background music fades out and the lights turns on. The owner enters the stage, he is a bit fat, wears glasses and a blue-checkered shirt. He welcomes us to the opening of his new club. Then Loke, the troubadour, comes on stage. The crowd applauds and the lights are dimmed. Before he starts the show he takes a look at the crowd and says: "I want to dedicate this song to all of you who moved here from Linköping, believing you would find a café where you could sit down with your new friends, but never found it. This song is for you…"

Ten percents of the population in Mjölby are alcoholics. I often see a bearded drunk man wearing a leather hat by the train station.

// CD

Friday, November 12, 2010

The baseline for coordinates

Earlier here, we have been asking what kind of observations, what kind of parameters, one uses in order to deduce where one is in a dream. Of course very often the actual dream landscapes are created using scraps of several different locations from memory, and the actual spatial semaphors (signs signalling where one is) used might relate to just one of these, or several – or just additional signs added without being based in the biographical landscapes the dream landscape is built upon (an example: there is the devil so I must be in hell; or, there is a sign saying Mogadishu so I must be in Somalia). But often, these spatial semaphors can be secondary to the immediate knowledge of where one is, if the location is part of the explicit execution of the dream. This immediate knowledge might also contain a delimitation against places where it's not, and it may either coincide with, take sides among, or entirely contradict, what the spatial semaphors are saying. The little dream I'll be relating is just a small example of this more general observation based on a larger dreaming experience. And furthermore, it starts nicely with a spatial metaphor getting a material expression.

As the conclusion of a long dream of idiotic joking, self-aggrandising, and amorous complications, I'm feeling frustrated over the whole mess, and in order to be able to get an overview, I take my bulldog and start climbing the steep hills of the little town. The bulldog is huge, with a spike collar and an enormous mouth; it is Maldoror's bulldog. The inclination is just like a Norwegian city (Narvik or so), but the vegetation is nemoral and the buildings are English; anyway I don't need to interpret such signs because I know I am in Greenwich, and I feel a certain need to emphasise that this is of course not Greenwich Village, New York, but the real Greenwich, the starting point of all coordinate systems.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Watch out for the pelican council

On the childhood island, I want to take a bath, or I am just convinced that the water is a good place to be, but it is frustrating that the main jetty points to the northeast, which means that when standing in the water next to it, spying out eastwards, one is standing in the shade and it gets cold. I'm standing there anyway.

A coot comes swimming towards me, and I notice common coots are beautiful birds. The next bird is a grebe, calmly sailing by me very close, and I'm thinking it's a good thing with the shade after all, when I stand there rather immobile I become like a heron and form a part of the general environment. When the grebe passes it changes, grows bigger and darker, eventually it becomes a cormorant.

I am standing there in immobility and shade. Around mere there are huge birds, continuously and diffusely uttering a low uninspired cackling, indolently yet threatfully, like when one has to make way through a crowd of lazy large gulls occupying the jetty. I thought these birds were cormorants, but they are actually even bigger and have very long beaks; they are pelicans!

A small company of my relatives comes down to the beach, and walk out into the water next to me. It makes me angry, the pelicans won't stay calm; pelicans smell so bad, and they can be so aggressive, they will raise hell for this. But my relatives have a strange ability, in their resolute hostility, to drive the pelicans in front of them, they are just swimming away, towards the northwest in the strait. A beautiful cousin forms the rearguard, she is somehow the prisoner of the others, at least she can express her dissent by keeping her distance while slowly walking through the water. I keep her company, and tell her about the danger of the pelicans, but it is so pleasant so I'm thinking that if I could wade through life with her I could stand the pelican smell. Cormorants do smell worse after all.


Towards the Tintin gate

/.../ The important thing about Tintin City is that you get there through a particular epistemological break, which is called the "Tintin Gate". The Tintin Gate is the centerpiece in a new school of mysticism, the prophet of which I will now become. The fact that I am now homeless will make it difficult for me to get into the restaurants to have breakfast and convince the tourists, but of course many other prophets have been poor and ragged creatures too. Perhaps someone will lend me a bike, and I can bike around and eventually find someone who offers me breakfast. I will have a yellow robe, and I will know six different words for snowball, this is very important.

After other adventures, in a commuter train stopping halfway between stations, I open my computer as a book and read about life in sunken Atlantis. I am somehow struck between the similarities of social and architectural organisation between Atlantis and Tintin City, and I get very enthusiastic when I read that the most holy artifact in Atlantis is the "smoking heart of motherhood", a piece of ember issuing a long trail of bubbly smoke that looks like the seaweed forming the long hair of a medusahead. This is obviously analogous to the state of things on the other side of the Tintin Gate. There are engravings illustrating all of this, with pastoral lovers running around performing strange rituals in underwater ruins (the engravings look like 18th century post-alchemical preromantic mystic christianity emblems rather than actual alchemical allegories).


Sunday, October 24, 2010

In Arcadia

To complete my posts about pastoral landscapes, I once dreamt about the mythological / utopian Arcadia. The sketch above depicts a water-terrace arrangement on the slope of Mount Helicon, which the dream situated there. I have written more extensively about the dream here.

" /.../ at the vast terraced slopes of Mount Helicon (as I´ve seen it depicted in alchemical illustrations) with a bewildered look of concentration on his face, while the well-springs of the rock´s inspirational muses were bubbling and forming huge dandelion-like water globes behind him."

Friday, October 22, 2010

Heaven and Tax-Refund

I´m attending a political lecture, where Kristian Kristansson, editor of Kris, is just stating:

"People actually believe that the taxes they are paying somehow returns to them."

He shows an illustration of this:

Then another illustration is shown. It reminds me of Waldemar Lorentzon´s Cosmic Mother, but instead of that painting´s mother-figure in the clouds a flute-playing Pan-figure appears:

At the same time these words are accompanying these pictures:

"Panpipe tones in the boy-depth
Clouds descend into the landscape
One rejoices at the soft sincerity of the sky"
/ NN

Friday, October 15, 2010

Looking Down


An old woman sleeping in the vast landscape of her blue dotted dress.


Habitable exoplanets:

Taeniura lymma. An attractive bottom dwelling fish:


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Hibakusha Free State

A dream of Africa from last night:

My friend H and I find ourselves confronted with a map of Africa. There are only a few names printed on it, we are to come up with the names of all the countries. At fourteen, I wouldn't have hesitated, now we have to guess a lot. We start at the east coast, south of Somalia, with Tanzania and Mocambique.
Then there's a rather large country with a free state, named Hibakusha, in the middle. Liberia? No, no, I know where Liberia really is. Big country encompassing Hibakusha Free State? I have no idea. H produces the name, but I can't hear it properly, and don't ask for it, as we move on to the next one, between South Africa and Congo Kinshasa.
Again, I can't remember the name. We are told by a third person it's Zambia. That puzzles me: it's five times bigger than Zambia should be. And where is Zimbabwe on this map? The borders seem to have changed.
South Africa is easy, we pass over it more or less without a mention. And then, on the west coast, which one is that again? We get a hint from the third person: the misty mountains with gorillas. We hesitate. Namibia. I have a feeling something's fishy, those rain forests should be a long way up north, shouldn't they? Oh well. Angola is next.

[Madagascar is missing from the map, but in the dream I don't pay attention to that. And although Zambia is somewhat enlarged and the shape a bit distorted, the dream-me had actually mixed up Zimbabwe and Zambia, while the third person's information in that case was more accurate.]

/ IÖ

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The coastal life of tomorrow

In the future, when the sea level has become prone to changing back and forth by tens of meters within just a few hours, the most convenient way to move along the coast – or indeed live by it – will be by kayak. The only situation bound to cause some confusion, is when you have stayed the night on a very narrow shelf in a vertical rock wall. You may wake up to find the sea surface has dropped by several meters, and the kayak, tied by its handle, is hanging straight down the granite wall.

/ IÖ, 9.9.10

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Cormorant commons

Tonight I had a political dream of geography, which reminded me we need to start looking on dream space in terms of commons. Now, in the dreamscape, how does colonisation occur? What is private property and what is commons? How do we change a place from one to the other? Is the dream in itself a common, or a potential common which we share by telling and pooling our dreams?



I am walking home from Tumba station in the middle of the night. It's a noisy night, drunk teenagers everywhere, and pools of their urine. I am taking a shortcut through a vast sparse shrubbery. Many voices warn me against this route; it is supposed to be packed with flashers. That seems to me to be an effective quasireligious taboo rumour, because everybody knows it, nobody goes there, not even the flashers, so it is a beautiful abandoned free zone, without all this urine. But, as it is spring, the stream is flooded, and I can't cross where I want. I have to go back and find another route. I could stay on the railroad bank, the railroad tracks must make a bridge over the stream. When I reach the bridge, I realise this is where I have to climb the fence and cross within the restricted railway area. It is also a somewhat dangeous jump I need to do to get onto the bridge, but since it is winter there is a vast slope of snow that would cushion my fall if I wouldn't make it, so it is a good opportunity. But before I jump, someone greets my from below. It is a botanist friend. She asks me why I'm not taking the stairs. Well, of course I could do that, at least if it gives me the pleasure of her company. She is on crutches, and during our climbing the stairs I occasionally have to help her, and I enjoy the physical contact.

main dream:

There is a vast area of parkland outside the central city, which either has been, or will be transformed into, a commercial funfair, unless we present a good plan for how to use the space in making an open popular park, a common. The area is very clearly defined, it reminds me most of the Northern cemetery in Stockholm, or Crystal Palace in London. But just like any vast parkland, some borders are blurred, and that's those parts where there is neither public access nor clear walls or fences; the area with maintenance buildings, plantschools and large composts. In this case, it is the southeast parts.

We are studying the map. My idea is to structure the area in four quadrants, and each quadrant into three columns, thus representing the twelve months of the year. Other people have made synaesthetical suggestions for most months, but the problematic southeast corner (november-december) remains. I start working in november. I divide the column into rectangular slots and starts digging in them, like flowerbeds or large graves. I am "the digging man" of the old version of the official emblem of the swedish academy of sciences. But I still don't know what this amounts to. So somebody explains to me: November has to do with Incest. I am given a long phrase of wordplay which I don't remember clearly, something like "Inner conceptual sinister incense-gardens of incest". It only makes me think of Octave Mirbeau. Incest? But the only person in this dream that I've been attracted to was my botanist friend! Someone explains to me: no, it has to be incest, but it is not any incest, and definitely not the "nasty" kinds, no this is the "innocent" male adolescent pornographic fantasy, it is about consenting brother and sister, or consenting healthy son and young beautiful mother! I still don't understand the point.


A major demonstration, with some serious plans to annihilate some buildings by spraying them with some magically corrosive acid. Thus it is imperative that we are not stopped by the police before we get there. Several of us are very nervous and start out in different directions, and the plans to intercept and join in with the demonstration develops into a cartographic delirium. We have started out from a southwest Stockholm metro station (Aspudden or Telefonplan), and the main mass of people may already have passed Övre Malmgatan (what?), but they will have to arc and get back south again at a particular broad triangle of park adjacent to the main park, be it Solna cemetery adjacent to Northern cemetery (Stockholm), or S:t James's park adjacent to Green Park and Hyde Park (London), but it is called Mala Straka (Praha), and we could take a shortcut just going straight east on Nevskij Prospekt (Petersburg), and I know for certain that we are still in Wien and not in any other city.


Interesting dream. While we develop tools to understand dreams in terms of commons (suggestions?) there is also a perhaps easier task: "Other people have made synaesthetical suggestions for most months": Please contribute with suggestions for general themes of the other months than the incestuous november!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Sacred Geography Headwear

A great atlas lies spread all over the table in front of me. A map of the lower and central Norrland, with creamy yellow fields and bright green lines. I study the map with interest, almost aware of its fleeting nature. I look in vain for the name Cat Sand, which I think is either the name of a city or a mountain. Instead, I make a completely different discovery: a few tens of mil east of the Great Lake in Jämtland lies a lake which has remained hitherto unknown to me. It is about the size of the latter, and according to the map it is called Ural.

The map turns into reality in front of me. Now I can look out over Ural from a location at its closest beach, while the lake imperceptibly must shrink; for a black Volvo car is emerging in the growing forest silhouette on the far shore.

Two male persons get out of the car. One has a head which consists of the flame of a candle, the other's head also emits light but is white and round as well, like a snowman's head. Recognizing them as my brother and a friend of his, I wave at them.

Right then I hear a voice from out of nowhere:

The eyes are washed by a new water, from outside, from the air.

The lake between us is gone and I can talk to my brother and his friend who owns the car. By now they have ordinary heads. We are in a forest of tall pines, which are so thinly spread out that they could drive through with their car and park there. Patches of snow lie between the pines which make me think that it's April. They tell me they gather the snow and build pyramids of it around the pine trees. I doubt it, but a look at the nearest pines and I can confirm that it is true: each bole really has a snow pyramid around its foot, about as high, wide and sloping as an ordinary snowball lantern.

I ask them if it is not difficult to build these pyramids.

"No, it's similar to blowing one´s nose," my brother answers unassumingly and looks away.

"Yes," his friend agrees, "or to a dog covering up its excrement."

For some reason or not, my brother takes up his driver´s license and shows it to me. It is a "dual" license: on the same piece of plastic there are two different names with different photos. The first name and photo is my brother´s, but the second photo is just a black box, and beneath this box it is printed:

Robert Frost: The Mending wall.

This is an American poet and a famous poem by him, which I recall having read in an anthology a long time ago, but I do not remember more than the title right now. In my hands the driver´s license is then transformed into a LP record sleeve. A blue pyramid and a blue face against a star-strewn night sky. The band name, or disc title, which I have never seen or heard before,


makes me associate to a quaint blending of cultural styles : New Age and Punk. I contemplate the picture on the cover, especially the head. Could it be, I ponder, that the face of this image in some emblematic fashion is using the rock-crystal-topped pyramid as a wig or a hat? And I think:

"The face is interestingly crafted, since it neither looks entirely male nor female, neither entirely European nor Oriental or African ..."

Then the voice from nowhere is there again. It feels closer this time, as it takes up my train of thought and embroider upon it with kind of enigmatic lyrical stanzas, of which I am only able remember the last two lines:

The judge before his sword
Smiling before the last water

/ NN

Monday, September 27, 2010

Diagnostics at the waterline

A seashore, two friends and I. Further away, there's a man working in a garden or an orchard. He is far away enough for us not to ask him where we are. We have been suddenly transferred to this place while reading aloud and discussing a text depicting that very gardening activity; in a children's book, perhaps, or some publication concerning food.
We don't know where we are, and we can't ask the man. The landscape is restless and varying, with great contrasts in altitude, and a rich, unfamiliar vegetation which indicates we're not in Scandinavia (not even the Norwegian coast, despite the steep cliffs). I look at the sea.
"What if this is the Mediterranean", I say.
The others become silent and ponder the possibility. In my head I try to picture the coastlines of France and Spain, because if the sea is the Mediterranean, this place surely would have to be within that region.
I think of a combination of three characters that would be diagnostic:
1) To confirm this is a sea at all, we'd have to taste it. But for some reason I don't feel like tasting the water.
2) If this is the Mediterranean, its surface should have a distinctly green hue. It does, partly, show a blue-green shade, but I'm not convinced it's enough.
3) I feel the temperature of the water with my hands.
"It's warm", I state. "That means this really could be the Mediterranean."
But I'm not yet thoroughly convinced. I think it feels warmer than the Atlantic would (and that's the only alternative sea), but my experience may not suffice.

/ IÖ

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Sinusiniri Bay

I’m living at a hotelroom by the coast and I’m just about to go to bed. Kalle and Mattias look by, and point out that it’s full daylight outside, and it would be nice to take a walk in such a bright night. We start to do that. The news reach us that there’s an attack on an American naval base at the “Sinusiniri Bay”. The name comes from the fact that the bay is formed like a sinus curve. We want to go there to see what’s going on. Mattias gets his Mac up and starts to do different searches. We use a searchprogram where one can place out different ships etc to search for their specific formations. We are, however, a bit uncertain as to what should be included in the American naval base. A square platform, some battleships? The search program suggests different areas: A map over London (with a possible sinusformed bay), Venice, a map over the “solar observatory” in the middle of Africa. Nothing suggests the place where we want to go. Niklas joins up and we go to a restaurant to eat. The food portions are too small, everyone returns them, except for me who is happy with ham, ananas and rice.


Thursday, August 26, 2010


I was on a quiz show with an American youngster wearing hip-hop style clothes. He got a map of Iceland and looked at it. The island was almost completely covered by glaciers on the map. The game show-host asked the young man what he knew about Iceland. He answered arrogantly: "Iceland? It´s like the icepole of the world." With that answer he won a trip to Reykjavik. I was also going to Reykjavik to take part in an exhibition outside the town hall.

Onboard the plane I read about Icelandic architecture and common Icelandic phrases. I noticed that there were a lot of starving children on the plane, on field-trip or maybe on their way to the exhibition. The children were being entertained by some people skydiving with polar-bears. Town hall in Reykjavik looked a lot like the opera house of Sydney, fronting a large futuristic piazza.

The night before the exhibition I was walking through town. I discovered that a lot of the small wooden houses where public baths, maybe the city had been built by perverted Romans? The streets were full of dirty water and I had to watch my step. Back at the hotel I studied a map of the city and saw it was divided into two districts. The old part of town had the structure of a wagon-wheel. A large church represented the hub of the wheel. The new part of town was called Bergen, had a grid plan structure and was about five or six times as big. A wide river separated the two areas and I came to the conclusion I was looking at a map of San Francisco.

How do we shape our inner cities in our dreams? Picture postcards, memories, atmosphere etc.

/C D

Sunday, August 22, 2010

dream travelling in august

During the past week or so I have had a series of dreams elaborating some of the dream geography themes often covered here. The dreams were very long and full of details so they were hardly blog-suitable. As my friends were reproaching me for this, I have now picked some of the central geographical highlights and am presenting them piecemeal here (Surrealist headquarters 1-4, Travelling with surrealists 1-3, Yet another strange route to Göteborg). I'm adding the important disclaimer that the major part of the dream accounts and most of the detailed descriptions are left out and for any purposes whatsoever much of the significant content may lie in parts here excluded.


Surrealist headquarters

After long waiting, I am being let into an apartment in Marieberg, Stockholm, where there is some surrealist activity going on. I had been walking around in a suburban shopping center with a visiting foreign surrealist, whose name I can't remember, and as my surrealist friends here have been taking apart and only halfway reassembling my computer, I can't search for the name in my files.

I am walking through the city at night, in a very good mood. If I am in such a good mood, why don't I go into a pub and mingle with the other nightwalkers, isn't there a place that I like so much around here? But of course going into a pub is usually quite de-enticing and perhaps it would be too much of challenging fate anyway. Nevertheless I keep thinking about this place, perfect for meetings as well as for social hanging out, its details are just like the famous "Harlösa Grand Café" in a small village in Skåne, but it lies within reach of the big Stockholm Northern Cemetary, and looks out over the trainyard north of the Central Station.

Inside I find Erik B sitting there having his lunch, entertaining the other customers with paranoid political comments, as if he was of the ordinary local alcoholic character gallery. I sit down at his table, and at first I try to make him lower his voice, but then I realise that some of the other customers are actually far more into his monologue than I am. So instead I start flirting with the waitress, who is also the owner, and the only member of the staff. She gives the impression of being a stranded spy from another planet or dimension. I offer her my help. She says she would much appreciate if I would come by during her lunch break to have sex with her.

At that point we all go out to see the sunrise from the Barnhusbron bridge, and a big confusion reigns.

The thing I actually enjoy about lucid dreaming is to attentively look around in fantastic landscapes. And on the other side of the narrow sound there is a beautiful islet. In fact it is the islet facing my childhood bathing place near the family summerhouse, but much more dramatic. It is actually so dramatic that I don't think more about lucidity. The islet is just a big granite rock in the sea, the higher parts are exposed rock, surrounded by ordinary "hällmarkstallskog" (again that word with no everyday english equivalent: a semi-open granite bedrock scots pine forest with lichens and lingonberries). The open area, like a bald crown, has two buildings, one ordinary archipelago house (early 20th century two-storey red-and-white villa with a glass veranda and many carpenter ornaments) but one house which looks older and sinister, it must be a chapel, in the shape of a cross with a semicircle, it looks like a ruin from an alchemical engraving, it could be an elaborate columbarium or something even worse. Some steep but not high cliffs, interesting vegetation (very much like Fredhällsparken in Stockholm). It looks like this would be magnificent new headquarters for the surrealist movement. We would go climbing there, in the sunshine it would be like "Picnic at hanging rock" and if it rains it will be "Wuthering heights".

I have to get there immediately. I somehow launch myself swimming in rocket speed, and when I quickly reach the eastern tip of the island I realise there are houses there, and a lot of people bathing, hidden under the weeping willows leaning over the water. I slow down as I turn westwards to follow the shady coast of the islet, and there I find a small pier. I go ashore and find myself in a huge open barn, with large containers of stuff, and various computer and surveillance monitors.

I am taking the westbound train the southern route from Stockholm. I am impressed by the dramatic primeval forest. We are climbing a hill. I am told that this is such a wild area, and the rise is so steep, that only some trains make it, the others have to turn back to Stockholm. The mountain we are climbing is the famous "Södermanland's watershed" which is symbolically and geographically the divide between western and eastern Sweden, western Sweden being drained through Vänern-Göta älv-Göteborg and eastern Sweden through Mälaren-Stockholms Ström. (In fact, I am making this up. There is a geographically important hilly region in this direction, but that is further in, namely the Kilsbergen hills of Närke, representing the border between the hilly Norrland terrain and the south-swedish plains; but there are no larger hills in Södermanland.)

We make it up the hill. It is extremely beautiful, with this wild forest and the vast view. And we just keep rising. Eventually I see a vast sea, with some big islands. Somebody tells me it is Hjälmaren, and for some reason I accept that (even though Hjälmaren is actually a completely unimpressive shallow plains lake). Everybody gets off at the summit station, where there is a small tourist café. I think this is so great. The whole national park that we are in should be proclaimed the terrain of the surrealist movement, and we should have all our meetings there.

Travelling with surrealists

There is a surrealist taskforce in postcatastrophal New Orleans. What the taskforce is for is not clear, we are mostly snooping around, occasionally finding abandoned children or taking beautiful photographs. Not only is it dangerous because all flooded areas are full of alligators, there are also several sites and buildings discovered to be full of human skeletons, seemingly in ancient roman armor. Johannes and Chris are frustrated and insist that no irrational explanations can be allowed. I, on the other hand, am getting convinced that it really is a matter of a chaos nexus opened by mathematical-magical manipulation. It seems to have to do with the swedish pension system. If I can just calculate when the people born in 1965 will reach pension age, I might be able to solve this. But I fail to do the simple calculation before waking up.

I keep walking astray, and I find myself again only in Bucuresti. It resembles Uppsala, I only find dull residential areas, and no good place to spend the night. Because now my entire travelling company catches up with me. It is a fairly big group, including people from different surrealist groups I've been in over the years. Anna and Emma, both hardly taller than a car in the street but extremely hardboiled with leatherjackets, chewinggums and sunglasses, reproach me for having rushed ahead, and especially for still not having been able to arrange lodging. Fredrik knows what to do, he calls an anarchist friend back in Stockholm and asks him to call the swedish information service and have them book a hotel room for us. But during this, all our children, who are mostly Fredrik's responsibility, sneak away. One of them hides under the car, and threatens to rush out into the street at any moment.

On a biking tour with a large group of surrealists, going through a small town (english or hungarian), taking shortcuts over vacant lots (nice atoposes). I am getting lucid and trying to make people react but in vain. It rains and reminds me of Ludvika in Dalarna, Sweden or of Tromsø in northern Norway.


Yet another strange route to Göteborg

I keep seeing a strangely shaped balloon in the distance. Spying from the bedroom window of the apartment where I grew up, I notice that the balloon is shaped like a grand piano, and it is moving fast. The fact that it is not an ordinary commercial balloon makes me interested, and I realise I can fly with my boy bedroom, so I take off with it. It takes some effort to gain height, and I am surprised how hilly this part of town is, I have to steer away from colliding with mountain sides and tall buildings all the time. Soon I lose track of the balloon, and I land at a table in an outdoors restaurant, on a hill in Göteborg, next to a big hospital. I ask the guy who already has the table if he minds, and he doesn't, so I pick up the menu and study it.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

bus #7

To the subject of public transport:

In a rural landscape we are waiting for the bus. It is a late spring afternoon with a setting sun and the air getting chilly, the place is a small-scale agricultural area, with a typical rural main road, cattle-grazed pastures with sloe shrubberies and invading small inlets from the sea with alder forest.

Bus # 7 arrives, it is our bus, I climb onto it, but Jonas, who is the tour leader, keeps waiting, holds people back, I don't know why, and eventually the bus takes off, with me but without everybody else.

I realise that what I need to do is just to get off the bus at a good spot and wait for the next one.

But we are in Göteborg. There are few nice places and I don't find my way very well.

It is however remarkable that the bus will pass through a normal house, descend the stairs in the house, and emerge at a patio facing the sea. That is a good place to wait. But it takes such a long time, it becomes night, several buses go in the other direction and a few with other numbers in the right direction. I start talking with some seamen/drunks hanging out there, and eventually with the old couple living in the house.

(the group may be the cormorant council or some other group. The setting for the opening scene resembles very much a place on Ljusterö in the Stockholm archipelago)

(Somebody said there was a popsong about Göteborg tram # 7, which I can't remember having heard.)

(I just noticed that in my novel about "Art and the Deathstar" there is a dream from approximately three years ago which is partly similar, where I am waiting for an evening tram in a rural landscape outside Stockholm (in that case one of the big Mälaren islands rather than an archipelago island) and instead gets a ride with a car taking me into Göteborg.)

(The unexpected and undesired shortcut to Göteborg from the outskirts of Stockholm is obvious, but what i find most interesting in this dream is the the fact that the dream bus route has no respect for private property and the sacredness of the domestic sphere, it goes through somebody's house when it needs to)


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


London has become the latest capital to introduce a one-way system across the whole city.

This type of traffic system is known as a Piccolo.


Friday, May 14, 2010

geobiographical dream

The introduction to this dream was an awake reflection, which I have posted on the icecrawler instead, uncertain how narrowly to interpret the dream geographical focus of this site... So go there for an introduction. The dream went as follows:

Midnight in the suburb where I live, I am trying to intervene in people's lives with supposedly scandalous revelations, for example shouting that someone's red car is actually red. But I also have far to walk along the edge of the residential area towards the forested hill. Only a small fence keeps me from walking in the forest instead (a normal "hällmarkstallskog" semi-open lingonberry-lichen granite bedrock scots pine forest), so I cross it, and soon reach a beautiful vantage point by dawn.

(Next step is in a student corridor not far from where I grew up, I am breaking up with an old girlfriend in a sleepingbag on the kitchen floor. She is less angry than I expected, she is talking about how much time she will now have to rehearse with a theatre group. I fear this theatre is going to keep haunting me for the rest of my life.)

On the actual street where I grew up, I see a lot of old entomologists, and the reason is that there is a conference in our old apartment. I join them on the way up, but some jokers bend up the floor of the elevator, so we are all looking down into the shaft. I am afraid of heights, and I yell at them furiously. They don't care, but somehow I manage to save myself into the attic. The attic is a huge hidden place in certain horror movies, in a haunting light of dawn. It is divided into two parts. The northern one is like one of the attics at the natural history museum, and I particularly remember a stuffed sea turtle lying on top of a cabinet. It takes me some time to find the passage to the southern one, where the sea of pillows is, and I throw myself jumping in there with the children.

But someone's calling me, I am wanted down in the apartment. Unwillingly I comply. It is now a big apartment from the upperclass city parts. An ex-friend, apparently living there, says he wanted me to meet someone who came on an unexpected visit, namely the comicbook character Olle Ångest (≈ Ollie Angst). The apartment is huge but horse-shoe-shaped and rather narrow, there are doors leading out and to different staircases in every single room. But the whole apartment is furnished to be a surrealist apartment, meaning that it looks like a cramped old antique shop, with musical instruments, anatomical models, and old clocks stacked everywhere. My ex-friend, and his ex-girlfriend now chambermaid, have had to move around a lot of stuff to open the door where I came in, and the door where Olle Ångest was knocking. But the apartment is full of people, mostly teenagers, some in their underwear (like me) but most in ugly suits, looking like 60s mods from a documentary, and like in a documentary they explain to me: "We modern youth like to do the new thing. We want to surprise you. For example, we come on social visits early in the morning!" Can one of these people actually be the real Olle Ångest? None of them look angst-ridden.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Vertical Geography: Afterlife

Dreams of the afterlife, heaven, hell, rebirth, are the most profound dream-experiences I´ve had. Sometimes we wake up in fright when we die, but in some cases we can keep on dreaming to see what comes next. Sometimes we dream of a place we know is the afterlife, or maybe before life.

Some years ago I had a dream I was walking along a river in a neighborhood where I grew up. By the river I met a girl from my school and her parents and sister. It was dark and the company was illuminated by a hovering lamp-post. I asked if they wanted to join me for a walk, but they said: "We can´t speak to you, we are dead." I figured that I had to die too and asked how. They looked at me with strange eyes and said nothing.

I started walking around the neighborhood. I found all the houses deserted and a grey mist was in the air. In one house was a radio I could remember from another dream but I just walked by, to the back of the house. I stood in front of a window through which I could see the backyard. I jumped right through the glass and when I fell into the grass outside I sunk into the ground.
I woke up in the underground, inside a long and damp tunnel made of green cloth.

It was very tight and the only way to move was to crawl. Outside the tunnel I could hear the sound of washing-machines. At the end of the tunnel everything went black and I woke up by the river without any wounds from jumping through the glass.

I walked over to my friend and her family again and told them that I now had seen what the afterlife is like. They looked at me with sad eyes and said: "That´s not the real afterlife" and walked away with the lamp-post hovering above them.

In another dream I found myself standing before a stairway somewhere in space. I could see a light at the the top of the stair and when I got there I could see a 20 meter high statue with its arms pointing straight out the sides. The statue consisted of yellow and red gems. I couldn't´ see the face of the statue because of a strong white light that covered the head. (I was reminded of the dream when I visited the Louvre, walking up the stairway to the Nike-statue). Some nights later I visited space again. This time I saw all the planets and everything in the universe as pieces in a jigsaw-puzzle and god a squirrel looking at it.

Recently a friend of mine died. I didn't dream for a week after I heard about his death. The first dream I had was about him. We were somewhere in the wilderness surrounded by yellow grass. The place was very peaceful and all my emotions were in a strangely perfect balance, faded in a comfortable way. We talked for a while like we had just met yesterday.

But I was curious and told him I was writing about dreams of the afterlife, and asked if he could tell me something about the other side. Right then, someone called him on his cell phone. He answered the call and talked for a while. When he hung up we chatted some more until I asked again. He smiled and told me he had to go but gave me some vague instructions how to write this text.

Are there any ways to prepare oneself to get to the other side while awake?

Are there any common symbols, apart from what we have learned or experienced, in dreams of the afterlife?

What are your dream-experiences of the afterlife?


Friday, April 2, 2010

Spoken waymarks and xenoglossia

When lost, might it be possible to use language as a hint? Although in reality, the mobility of people means that languages don't necessarily reflect the current geographic position.
While dreaming, I frequently find myself speaking Finnish, searching for words and struggling with grammar. That can happen anywhere, but it usually does mean I'm not at the place I call home, a small village on the west coast of Finland where the Finnish language is almost absent.

The other night, I wandered into a myrtillus-type spruce forest, where the rotten snow of March covered the forest floor. Moving in a semi-circle, I reached the edge of a village, hills and fields reflecting the sunlight from bright green grass and crops. It was spring. Two farms could be seen. I tried to reach the gravel road behind one of them, but was unable to do so without crossing the yard, and thus was obliged to enter the house.
Convinced I was somewhere in northeastern Finland, I started the conversation in Finnish. The family members answered in Swedish, however, and I realized this was no further away than the village next to mine.
[The rest is a bit off topic, but I enjoyed the moment.] The father of the pale, dark-haired, adolescent sister and brother was born some distance up north and, accordingly, was a very religious man. He showed me an army jacket worn thin and littered with textile patches (surprisingly crustpunkish). One of them depicted a lion or a griffin in black on red, and read "Kurdistan". Apparently he'd spent an important time of his youth there, and now wanted to commission a new patch from me to replace the old, fading one.

A failed attempt: a dream where I'm in a tourist bus, looking out at a putative Andalusian landscape. There is nothing to confirm my belief, however. No road signs. Everyone in the bus speaks Nordic languages. At the front, Stephen Fry is talking into the microphone, but at awakening, I don't know whether in English, Spanish, Swedish or Finnish, only that he spoke at length, and (not very surprisingly) was very eloquent.

Also, analogous to perceptions of place (and cases where you're certain you are in a specific place although there's nothing in particular to prove it – even contradictory evidence), you may experience communication in a language you don't know. Any experiences of being able to speak or understand a completely alien language?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The chimney house

More vertical geography:

I've just moved into a new apartment. I live on the upper floor of a converted house, and my friend SD lives on the ground floor. A chimney runs up one side of the house, and we each have a window which opens into the chimney.

The inside of the chimney is airy and well-lit, and lined with bright books. If SD ever happens to be by the window downstairs, or is looking for books in the chimney, I can attract his attention by waving a shiny pencil, and he will climb up the bookshelves to come and say hello.

Later on, while we're inside another building, there's a frightening episode when deep fissures open up in the ground, and angry vampires hurl human bodies back and forth. But the verticality is less pronounced during this episode, in that I'm not able to see very far into the fissures, and certainly not about to try climbing down them.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


We have been talking about how one's actual geographical orientation in dreams functions. Especially the non-euclidian aspects of dream geography, and the multiple overlayering of place. But these are usually based on secondary analytic responses. What is the psychic operation we actually perform within the dream to know where we are? I posted a piece on "associative geography" at the sister icecrawler site two months ago, but I could have posted it here as well.

However, in dreams, the determination of place can be considered part of constructing the very place in the dream, and so the geographical knowledge may come much more directly and be a part of the place itself. When it isn't, one keeps jerking with imagining overlaying of the various places which have provided buldingblocks, or mere mnemonic associations.

But there are single dreams where we actually ask ourselves "where am I" and invent on the spot a method of investigating this. This is one of the basic questions of the cormorant council. Please give us your examples.


PS mainly for those who read Swedish, I just posted a long dream including geographical themes (and some dream art), and a heroic appearance by the people behind the cormorant council as an explorer's expidition at the hälleflundran blog. For some reason I had written it down in Swedish.

Friday, February 26, 2010

My love is better than the dead cinnamon buns - The Shortcuts, Peepholes and Wormholes of Dream Geography

One theme of dreaming and creativity, which is especially valuable to us considered from a poetic perspective, is the discoveries of special objects or phenomena that opens up impossible doorways between hitherto separeted spaces (or spatialized mental states) and times. Below in the comments area we will begin to gather accounts about poetic shortcuts, peepholes, wormholes and other dimensional collisions. The investigation launches off with this wildly illustrative report from CD.

My love is better than the dead cinnamon buns

One day the phone rang in my room, I got up, left my body in bed and answered. It was my mother who called. She said: It's raining outside. I looked out and there were a couple of feet of water on the street and the sky was black. I hung up and sank into my body again, I lay there for what seemed like the endless eternity. The phone rang again and I went out of my body to answer, it was my mother again. This time she said that it was snowing outside. I looked out and there was half a meter of snow on the street, the sky was white. When I hung up this time I started to wander around a bit, outside of my body that is. I walked down the stairs of the terraced house to the lower floor. The entire lower floor had gold-colored walls, curved as in some Orthodox church. I went over to our cat who sat on a bookshelf. When I reached out my hand towards him, a small hole opened in him where I could see my ceiling. I was aware that I was in bed. When I pulled back my hand, the hole was contracted. I went over to my sister who sat and talked over the phone in the kitchen. On the wall hung a framed tapestry or what to call it. It had a black velvet background with pink text "I am the queen of my castle" in graffiti-style. I heard someone on the phone asking for me but my sister said that "He is up there hallucinating" and waved me away.

So I went out into the terraced area and touched things like mailboxes and the asphalt. Everything felt like it was real, I even licked the bricks of our house. I walked around the street for a moment while flowers shot up from the asphalt and withered. The sky was a blue tarpaulin with dollops of whipped cream as clouds. A bit like in Toy Story, one of my favorite movies.

When I was heading towards a playground in the area, I heard the sound of engines above me, looked up and saw the Spitfire and Messerschmidt planes shoot at each other and form long streaks of smoke. At the playground, there is a small hill and a sand pit really. When I arrived at the hill it was a high mountain with snow on top and people were standing on the top and around watching the air battle. On the way back towards the house I met a man who somehow radiated an inexplicable feeling that he knew me, was my relative, a close friend. I still remember his face but I can not in any way describe it.

It dawned on me that I could take this opportunity to sneak in to the houses of neighbors I didn´t know. There was an old lady, a danish who used to curse at all the kids on the street. I thought it must be interesting to see how she has it.

Once I was standing at her door it had been replaced with a huge marble arch with glass doors, like a mixture of a church and a bank. I opened the door and there inside I was met by everybody I've ever known, almost like a surprise party. All patted my back and threw streamers. I was aware all along that it was not for real, although I could feel things, taste things, move freely and fully explore this state of mind. I went further into the neighboring house through a dark corridor. The participants of the celebration became fewer and fewer the farther in I went.

Eventually I came to an underground parking garage with a concrete ramp leading downwards. My curiosity led me to continue down into the underworld. When I had walked for a while, certainly 50-60 meters below ground, I saw a room behind a thick pane of glass in the concrete wall. Inside stood a piano, which I practiced on as a child. My piano teacher who was a big fat woman with thick fingers also sat in the little room. A dirty yellow light was thrown out from the room out on the concrete. Through a door at the end of the room a man and a woman dressed in 1950´s fashion appeared, the man wore a suit, wavy hair, was smoking a pipe and wore a pair of thick bakelite glasses. The woman had red dress, blond hair and wore pearls. They sat on opposite chairs and wept. Somehow they were my parents and the piano teacher was the therapist. She delivered them a long speech and I knew that I wanted to come in from the darkness of the parking garage.

I thought that since everything took place in my imagination, I should be able to think away the glass pane. So I focused on the absence of it and ran towards it. It was a big bang and I felt the pain in my head.

I started to go downhill again and I heard my piano teacher play the piano and singing "my love is better than the dead cinnamon buns".

The farther down I went, the darker the music became and finally it sounded like iron bars beating against each other (I had bought Kraftwerk, at that time newly released album, Tour De France. The iron bars music reminded me a lot about some songs from that record.) Now I was tired, barely managed to proceed any further, I began training to visualize a door in the concrete wall. It was difficult and I began to feel some ecstasy and a completely crazy playfulness.

Suddenly I had a door in front of me, a sheet metal door resembling those found on boats. The music had transformed into a runaway heartbeat and I was afraid, while I felt I was increasingly losing control. Megalomania began to take over. I came through the door and entered a large saloon with levers of slot machines around the walls and circular tables with smoldering ashtrays and unfinished drinks. Heart beating faster and faster.

Farthest back in the auditorium someone was sitting in a chair, hidden by a newspaper. I approached with quick steps, both scared and curious, tore away the paper that hid the unknown person's face.

Behind the paper was a woman with brown page-clipped hair and brown eyes. I was sucked into her pupil, into the darkness until it turned gray then white. I began to see the ceiling again, took a deep breath and it felt as if I had not breathed for weeks.

My eyes smarted, I must have lain in bed staring at the ceiling all along.

/ Christofer Dahlby

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Gift of Cartography

The perception of the world
like a Trojan Horse

Friday, January 15, 2010

Dreaming of Africa, continued

I’m going to participate in a conference, in order to stop the privatization of Africa. Different African delegates will be at the conference, where Western businessmen will divide and sell different parts of Africa to themselves. It’s highly absurd and unmoral, and I’m supposedly participating as a unified representative of Africa with the goal of stopping the act of selling. I’m a bit unsure who gave me the mission, I’ve never met the Africans and all that I can put forward are moral counterarguments. I’m especially uncertain about my legitimacy since I’m a completely external participant. I’m running around in the big conference centre, the actual meeting is in western Africa, but I’m in the eastern part and it has to take a lot of time to travel over an entire continent, but soon the conference begins! I finally arrive at a meeting that has gathered a large amount of Africans, but they seem to be mistaken, the meeting is all about coffee and different samples is given away. I continue to run towards the western part.

Monday, January 11, 2010

On the sea of sound and vision, direction down

This dream displays the Cormorant Council in action, doing some mobilis in mobili dream-geographical thinking/discovery.

Noted dream geographer MF invites a group of people for a tour around the Stockholm archipelago on his yacht. This is all nice, but everybody agrees that we need a specific destination. A woman of the group then invites us all to spend the weekend in her parents´ home in Skåne, should we go there. In order to avoid an embarrassed silence following this more insolent than ridiculous suggestion, I try to joke about it by absurdly agreeing with her. "It´s in the north of Skåne, so it´s really only a few kilometres away from Stockholm." Noone gets the joke, so I begin considering if this absurd geographical assumption is actually true. Instead we enthusiastically decide to go to the Canary Islands.

The navigational chart on board the boat shows the vague outlines of a great sea monster that can be further discerned by connecting some dots on the chart with a blue ink pencil. This is actually how you navigate on this ship. There is no steering-wheel or rudder, just this chart and a pencil to set us going. As I start connecting the dots the sea monster soon appears around us, surprisingly in the form of intensifying sound. As the sound gradually takes the shape of a song or a melody we realize we have arrived at the Canary Islands. Again surprisingly, the Canary Islands are situated beneath us instead of somewhere on the horizontal plane - and to get there we have to climb down a lead line.

The dream to me signals two themes and their possible interrelation.

First, "sound-geography", which could account for synaesthetically percieved journeys or landforms, possibly derived from music or other sonorous structures.

Second, "vertical geography", which could retell hell-visits, rabbit-hole plunging, abyssal exploration and the like.