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)