Reasons to Dream

01 Mar 2021

By Natalie Jayne Clark

Coincidence is bizarre, and whenyoung’s 2019 album Reasons to Dream was recommended to me just as I sat down to write about The Fountain’s Evening of Quarantine Dreaming. Have your dreams changed in this pandemic? Your sleeping visions and also your hopes for the future, I mean. Mine have.

This night of poetry and prose and music distilled to me four salient reasons to dream:

1.To change society

Heath Commons opened the evening. Through his poetry and surrounding insights, some highly relevant concepts rose up to meet me. He said: ‘you can only con the people for so long’ and he questioned whether we can trust the ‘skewed’ news. If the press is false, or bought and paid for by elite and is no longer researched and free, then how can we change society? If we are not truly informed is this a democracy? He talked too of alienation – we are living in our bubbles and hearing other experiences through the lenses of these news machines. We must dream beyond, we must question, we must seek our own ideals and answers. He also said: ‘times are heavy but everyone knows times move on’ and by dreaming we can dream of a time beyond ours – a different time. What do we want in the future?

2.To contemplate life and death

Salena Godden read silky extracts from her debut novel Mrs Death Misses Death. She began: ‘spoiler alert: we will all die in the end.’ Godden talked of us taking charge of our own lives, choosing our own heroes, fighting for our lives and what is right. She queried the definitions of human, of death, of loss, and we too queried with her. Through dreaming, we can see life and death in all of its forms and ground ourselves in the here and now.

3.To remember what we have lost and what we need

Poet Janette Ayachi read mesmerising poetry with a mesmerising backdrop of trinkets and lights, telling stories of cities being taken over by monkeys and stating ‘new life threatens to begin’. This quarantine has forced upon us restriction after restriction but with these we have found new paths of creativity and new appreciation for what we miss and what we need. She wondered when we will feel the ocean again. Not see the ocean – feel it. I have seen my friends and families on screen but what I lack is touch. In my dreams, I not only see myriad friends and family, but I hug them. It’s been strange seeing who my dream visitors have been and I wonder why my mind dwelled on them that night.

4.To discover and ponder the unknown

The camera shifts and it’s an instrument that takes centre stage, being played by Adam Stafford. There are layers of looping, high-pitched worries, jumping and leaping, whooshing and water… and in the pauses we can breathe and wonder what these mixed sounds might mean. The music is both familiar and unfamiliar, both questioning and answering, comforting and jarring. In our dreams we mix and remix, learn and unlearn and we can find new in the old and relate old to the new.

This year’s The Fountain’s Evening of Quarantine Dreaming has left me much to dream for and I wonder how your dreams have changed this quarantine.

If you missed The Fountain's Evening of Quarantine Dreaming you can watch again with this link until 26th March.