Kathryn Gray & Stuart Fallon
Generator Projects, Dundee
Driving first out to Londonderry, about an hour or so west from Sydney along the motorway, I discovered an old mixed tape. I turned the volume up as loud as the tired car could muster. Between anthems we discussed the meeting ahead and our ideas. Curious to unpack the history of you finding Linda, the diary and correspondence, the coincidences and recurrences, the distances between here in Australian suburbs to Dundee.
It was dark when we arrived in Londonderry, and it took us a while to find the right street. I think there were some dogs barking as we approached. A brick house, not quite finished, with a garage door underneath and stairs angling up to the front door. It was a familiar sort of house for these parts. Different for me was the broader semi-rural landscape. I suspected there were more trees, space, animals and labour beyond what was visible then. I wondered what you thought of this space, your first impressions in Australia beyond the city.
Linda greeted us warmly, with soft tones and a sense of inevitability. We were ushered up the stairs to the sitting room to join her family. A floral couch in front of a large television. Together we discussed at length the diary, the encounters, spirits and portent. We negotiated memories of families and of Dundee. It was late when we packed up the equipment, our thanks and goodbyes. Much quietly-spoken zealous conversation on the drive back into the city.
A few months later we were driving west again. Having understanding now of where and how to work together, we left early in the morning to meet Linda and step beneath the garage door.
Under the house was a beautiful provisional space. The red brick was also the interior walls. There were a table and chairs, a fridge, kettle and camping stove, clotheslines, clothes and boxes orchestrated throughout. Linda made us tea and served us stew, and we sat at the table together in the makeshift kitchen. We started the conversation again. Revisiting some stories, of you and Linda finding each other and your concern (quickly abandoned) of meeting strangers over the internet. You both spoke richly through recollections of Mary and Dundee streets. Linda was so eloquent speaking of her childhood and her experiences beyond the common material plane. She talked to us for hours without contrivance or misgiving. There was no sign of her partner Dave, asleep upstairs.
Linda pulled out her drawings and artifacts from somewhere, you looked through each and every one of them.
The wind started picking up outside, it began to whine and there were thuds inside and out. There was the sound of the roller door stirring. I was alert, ready to protect the equipment. As the door rolled up two large enthusiastic dogs materialised within our rarified space and I did my best to hold the cameras and laugh through the chaos. You entered the shot stage right, wearing a grey marl teeshirt that faded admirably into the field of vision.
A few years later we drove again west to Londonderry. We met Linda at her clinic, a series of quiet rooms with skeletal diagrams and space for therapy. There were long moments punctuated by a clock ticking as Linda read Mary's death certificate. We were again invited to her home.
This time we entered via glass doors; the provisional garage and camp setup under the house having been replaced by a kitchen and wooden fittings. We ate sandwiches and presented Linda our questions and notes to consider. The transcripts swiftly became prompts for her stories. We walked the afternoon out across the property, paced and listened to the landscape. Facts willed, sifted, certainty across generations and happenstance.