In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
Samuel Coleridge, Kubla Khan
Girl it looks so pretty to me
Like it always did
Like The Spanish City to me
When we were kids
Mark Knopfler, Tunnel of Love
Where do you go to dream for England?
You pay to live in the Dreaming Spires - average student debt on leaving education is twenty five grand. And in Newcastle you cannot sit inside, chatting, dreaming, reading, writing, drawing, except for the outlay of the price of a coffee. That lasts an hour, give or take, so not bad rental - two quid an hour for the use of a table. But it's still rental.
Church buildings should be dreaming spaces - as should mosques, temples, all places of worship. But price of entry is too often doctrinal conformity. The same goes for shopping malls - love us, love our capitalism. Libraries are great. But shhhh!
Home then, after work? But the best dreams are dreamt in company. The dreams that change communities - surely they should be dreamt as communities? The dreams that change work should be dreamt at work, out loud... and not imposed on others, as Kubla Khan in Xanadu imposed his.
Perhaps the Spanish City Dome has a future as a gathering space for dreamers. It has been inspired by poetry, inspires lyrics. It's watched over by statues of the muses of dance and music. And our town, like pretty much every other, lacks places indoors where the community can gather freely to dream, delve inside its daily activity, celebrate the story that kindles underneath.
Could it happen? Honestly, I doubt it. Not yet. Until then, and perhaps it's no bad thing, and shouldn't change, everywhere's fair ground for dreaming on...