It isn’t often I come across a work that’s quite as special as Lucid Lovers, the new audiobook by musician and spoken word artist Potent Whisper.
While being at its core a story about two lovers, it conveys, interwoven with metaphysical elements, a pure, intense romance – while also being firmly embedded in the world in which we live today. I was moved by its intrinsic beauty as much as I was by the narrative and the experiences of the characters. But having said that, I feel like no amount of words will do it justice. This genre-defying feat of storytelling really must be experienced in order to be appreciated.
Excerpt from Lucid Lovers audiobook
Samer and Ahlam
In Lucid Lovers, Potent Whisper has managed to create a love story for the ages. It is, no doubt, Shakespearean in more ways than one. The work contains so many different elements of political, social and philosophical commentary that it succeeds in speaking almost to the entirety of the human experience.
Samer and Ahlam are an engaged couple from Sudan. We get to see the sincerity of their bond and feel the intensity of their love for one another. Like any young couple, they long for a secure home and prospects, for themselves and their future children. The search for this security will cause them to part ways – but does this really mean they can’t be together? To any ordinary person, the answer would be “yes”. But when we look beyond our material existence, beyond the physical plane and into the metaphysical, we may actually come to realise that ‘together’ could just be a state of mind.
Obviously, out of context, this makes little sense. But even as we’re listening, Potent Whisper is highly skilled not only at drawing us into the narrative, but also making us question things we assumed to be true. To be real, rational, possible. You may not walk away agreeing with him, but there’s no doubt that he will make you ask these questions in your mind.
With the concept of ‘lucid dreaming’, Potent Whisper has managed to add a fantastical element to what might otherwise have been an ordinary story of separated lovers in a hostile political climate. Lucid dreaming, for those unfamiliar with the term, is the practice of ‘becoming conscious’ while you dream. Is it real? Does it work? Regardless of your views on it, the suspension of disbelief is part of the journey. As a listener, opening yourself to the idea that anything is possible only adds to the enjoyment and the overall experience of Lucid Lovers.
“Dreaming is resistance”
In fact, one of the central, and most impactful, elements of Lucid Lovers is the theme of dreams. How dreams, rather than being fantasy with no impact in the real world, can actually become empowering. And how in a world where the disenfranchised are stripped of power, dreaming can be a form of resistance. As Potent Whisper says:
…we’re told that dreams are not for real, or that they’re stupid.
‘Cause they don’t want a world that’s ours,
They just want us working hard.
They won’t let us dream,
They want us living their illusion.
That’s why dreaming is a radical act.
Dreaming is resistance.
To dream is to imagine that the world could be so different.
Imagination soon becomes a move towards a vision
And a vision we can work towards to change our whole position.
So never let them tell you not to dream or what to dream of.
Go to sleep, live your dreams, then wake up and dream on.
There are so many reasons why this audiobook deserves to be listened to – by everyone, and at any point in time. But in modern-day Britain, Lucid Lovers is the antidote to the despicable “human zoo-watching” with which our broadcast media has become so comfortable.
It is essential listening particularly for the way in which it humanises asylum seekers. It’s also captivating, endearing, and more than a little therapeutic. All the good stuff that I want injected right into my veins.
The Canary has interviewed Potent Whisper for his thoughts on this new project. You can read the interview here.
Here it is, the full Lucid Lovers audiobook, free for your listening pleasure:
You can also download a free copy here.
Featured image via Lucid Lovers, used with permission
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