I am interested in North Korea and in the content of dreams.
Last night, I went to New Malden, Surrey, on the outskirts of London, with comedy afficionado and occasional Leicester Comedy Festival judge Louisette Stodel. Each of us was buying the other a belated birthday meal. So, appropriately, given her family background, we went Dutch.
We went to New Malden (her suggestion) to eat because I have been to North Korea twice, it interests me and New Malden has the largest population of North Korean ex-pats in Europe. In April this year, reportedly, around 700 of the 25,000 Koreans living in New Malden were from North Korea. New Malden’s total population was said to be around 90,000.
Statistics seem a little vague. A 2015 report in the Independent newspaper claimed New Malden had a population of just under 29,000 and 10,000 were Korean, 700 being North Korean.
Whatever… I was hoping for a little bit of suburban exoticism in an outer London borough. Sadly, New Malden was a bit bland, although it did have a fair number of Korean restaurants, a fish shop selling Vietnamese ‘swimming blue crap’,
one restaurant with a printed and priced menu which also had a pink post-it note under plastic saying “PLEASE NOTE: PRICES MAY VARY”
and what appeared to be permanent Christmas lights on the lamp posts in the main street.
The local Methodist Church also appeared to be having a Korean Festival but, as the banner was in Korean script, I was a bit vague on the details..
However, over our sundry kimchee courses at the excellent Treestone BBQ restaurant, adjoining the ‘swimming blue crap’ fish shop, the subject of dreams came up…
JOHN: So the other night, you had a dream about my garage?
LOUISETTE: I dreamt it was going to become an underground theatre.
JOHN: … and I was running it?
LOUISETTE: You were going to show me what you had turned your garage into, because you had had this brainwave and you had said: “Louisette, I am going to turn this into a performance space.”
JOHN: And did I?
LOUISETTE: I didn’t get any further. I think I woke up.
JOHN: …in a cold sweat of fear?
LOUISETTE: No, I just thought: Oh! I think it’s quite nice, the inside of that garage!
JOHN: You’ve never seen it, though.
LOUISETTE: No, I’ve never seen it in reality but, in my dream, it was very bright and there were glowing balloons and bulb lights and…
JOHN: Glowing balloons? Not just ordinary balloons.
LOUISETTE: Glowing balloons.I don’t know why I dreamt about the inside of your garage.
JOHN: Was the garage going to be for arty performance stuff or comedy?
LOUISETTE: I didn’t get that far enough in my dream.
JOHN: I think you’re going to have to go back into your dream and check.
LOUISETTE: I know what the outside of it looked like. It had a pair of rotten old wooden doors, not an up/down….
JOHN: But I have an up/down and over metal door…
LOUISETTE: I’m sure you do, but this was a dream. It was a dream!
JOHN: And did this come out of another dream that preceded it?
LOUISETTE: No. And I woke up in the morning and I thought: Oh, yes, John HAS got a garage.
JOHN: …but sadly lacking in glowing balloons…
(This dream seems as inconclusive as the population of New Malden. ANY OPINIONS GRATEFULLY RECEIVED on what the dream was about – especially the “glowing balloons” and the “pair of rotten old wooden doors”…)