#278 Over the neighbour’s fence



“I’m expecting to join just a handful of other people for the class, but I arrive to find a huge queue, leading up to a hardwood fairy lit space. Turns out this is a serious community. Mostly white, and almost all middle aged and older.”

Do you ever pause and fantasise about your neighbours’ lives? The ones you don’t know who live across the road, shop at the local supermarket and catch your train to work. The distance is strange, they could be leading completely spectacular or unexpected lives and we wouldn’t have a clue.

For our first episode of the year, we’ve got two stories that bridge strangers within the same community.

“East meets West” by Adbullah Sankari

Ilona Abou-Zolof escaped East Berlin in the 70’s to be with her husband. They quickly migrated to Sydney and have lived in Bankstown ever since.

In a Western Sydney high school in 2016, a year 9 drama teacher asked her students to interview a person from their community and learn from their lives.

This piece is an edited version of the conversation 14 year old Abdullah Sankari and Ilona had about her lucky escape and how it feels to be free.

Ilona Abou - Zolof

Image provided by Ilona Abou-Zolof

Made with help from Anjali Roberts and BYDS, and with thanks to Sir Joseph Banks and Ms Joyce Conte. Additional editing by Caitlin Gibson. 

“The Challenge” by Pip Leason

(Language and content warning)

In the new year, Pip wanted to leave his comfort zone and try new things, so he signed up to his local Tantric Sex class. Then he remembered he has a teeny tiny phobia of physical contact.

When the class came around, the Tantric Sex community was not what he was expecting.

Supervising producer: Selena Shannon

Music: ‘Raga Jog’ by Ravi Shankar, ‘Title theme from Bombay Talkie’ by Shankar Jaikishan, ‘Ignition Remix’ by R. Kelly (Performed by Jinja Safari for triple j ‘Like a Version), ‘Wade in the Water’ by Eva Cassidy


Executive Producer: Selena Shannon

Vic state coordinator: Bethany Atkinson-Quinton

Host: Jess Hamilton

Episode Compiler: Tegan Nicholls

Community Coordinator: Chloe Gillespie

Image by Bill Lane