15th December #32 

The background to this SDE is the review meeting of facilitators held during the day and an exploration of the possibility of relocating to Tent City University in the occupied UBS building nearby. We had been to Finsbury Square to find the organisers to arrange a review meeting and to recruit participants for the SDE being held at 5 – 6 this evening. We were noting how un-occupied the site looked.

At 5.00

2 Facilitators

3 part time participants

4 dreams

We note how muddy and slippery the ground is. One facilitator wears high heels and it brings into sharp focus the disparity between ‘city’ ware and the sartorial needs when living in an encampment exposed to the elements.

A group of people are near the Events tent and we approach them to invite them to the SDE.   A woman expresses interest but cannot come this evening. There are two other women filming the conversation and I ask them who they are. They say they are making a documentary about poets and rappers. I’m not sure if they are filming, but I continue answering their question about social dreaming and suggest they ‘Google’ it for more information and leave them to seek more recruits. I see the other facilitator has been standing in the background to avoid any chance of being filmed.

A young woman is sitting next to the Events tent and we ask her in. She tells us that she is about to go to a street party at Piccadilly Circus and that everyone will be going – that’s why no-one is on the site. She is persuaded to come into the tent and tells her waking dream/aspiration then a dream from sleep.

1.    Dream/Aspiration (w) – we all live happily together on earth, humans and animals. I will teach tigers – my favourite animal – not to kill for meat, though I might let them have some.

2.     Dream  (w) – I’m in a helicopter under water. It’s all made of glass so I can see all around, all the fishes and sea life. It is vivid, colourful and beautiful.

She asks us for our dreams, but we don’t offer any, but ask her about the helicopter that is usually in the air but now in the sea. She says it’s strange, but wasn’t strange in the dream.

Association:  A facilitator remembers the helicopters that hovered over Tent City earlier. The dreamer did not know about that but remarked that they like to watch, but asks ‘what can you see from above? You can’t see what people are really like from an enclosed space like a helicopter.

This dreamer leaves to go to the party.

The facilitators sit together in the tent and discuss the question of holding the sessions in the UBS building, the filming activity and what we may be representing by holding that space.

3.    Dream (f) – I am a model for the day (never something I’ve aspired to) and arrive at the venue with 5 hours to prepare. I wonder why it takes so long to do hair and make-up, etc. Then I’m told, angrily, that I’m late and unprepared. I get angry because they haven’t shown me my dressing room and have left me wondering what to do for 5 hours.

Association:  Sometimes fashion shows take place in marquees, this striped tent reminds me of that sort of venue.

A man is passing the tent, looks in and is invited to join. He says he has no dreams and is hiding from a drunk who has been following him around. We have a discussion about Social Dreaming.  He is on his way to the Occupy everywhere fancy dress party in Piccadilly Circus and points out he is dressed as an airman.

4.  Dream (f) – I keep dreaming about the ending of a residential event, like a group relations conference. I see people I’ve been close to leaving and I feel at a loss not knowing what to do.

Association:  Tent City is a closed community but is in a process of flux. People are moving to St. Paul’s and/or the UBS building.  There may be feelings of loss and uncertainty here.

It’s nearly the end of the session time when an older-looking man comes in. When asked, he says he doesn’t remember his dreams but responds with one when told it can be a dream from childhood.  He has one from age 10.

5.  Dream (m) – I’m in a crowd of people all walking in the same direction. To the right I can see fairground things, roundabouts, swings and stalls. There is an old man on my left who waves to me to follow him. I have to struggle through the flow to reach him. I find myself in a tunnel that leads out to a narrow ledge that is becoming narrower until I can’t continue. I look down and see the brightly lit people far below walking into a big cave. I look up and see black nothingness. I seem to be both looking up and down at the same time.  I see this old man’s face years later and recognise him as my father.

Associations: Tent City especially the new blue and white stripy Events tent that also links to the image of the stripy marquee where fashion shows take place, and the idea of the circus and the destination of the street party goers flocking to Piccadilly Circus which, it is pointed out, is presided over by Eros. The image of the Pied Piper leading the children into the mountain as revenge for not being paid for ridding the town of rats.

There’s a conversation about being left-handed and that it comes from the Latin word ‘sinister’ and that left-handed people have often been persecuted because it is thought to be an attribute of the devil. The dreamer, a facilitator and a facilitator’s mother all are left-handed.

The story of the Pied Piper seems to resonate with money, debt and revenge and with it a sense that many old stories and words are disappearing from the younger generation who are trying to re-invent an idealised world that will bring about the same disillusion that we all have to experience. In some ways it feels that we project the human life cycle onto a world that will carry on without us.

'Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.'

Facilitators: Jacqui Sirota and Olivia Joyner