Thursday, February 25, 2016

Natasha on the balcony

 "That night, alone in new surroundings, Prince Andrei was unable to sleep. The night was fresh, bright, and very still. In front of the window was a row of pollard trees, black on one side, silver on the other. Beneath the trees grew lush, wet bushes with silver-lit leaves and stems. Farther back beyond the dark copse a roof glittered with dew, to the right was a tree with branches of brilliant white, and above it shone the moon, nearly full, in a pale, almost starless, spring sky. Prince Andrei leaned his elbows on the window ledge and his eyes rested on that sky.

Those in the rooms above were also awake. He heard female voices overhead.

"Just once more," said a girlish voice above him which he recognized at once.

"But when are you coming to bed?" replied another voice.

"I won't, I can't sleep, what's the use? Come now for the last time."

They sang a musical passage together--the end of some song.

"Yes, how lovely! Now go to sleep, and there's an end of it."

"You go to sleep, but I can't," said the first voice, coming nearer to the window. She was evidently leaning right out, for the rustle of her dress and even her breathing could be heard. Everything was motionless; the moon and its light and the shadows. Prince Andrei dared not stir.

"Sonya! Sonya!" she cried. "Oh, how can you sleep? Only look how glorious it is! Ah, how glorious! Do wake up, Sonya!" she said, sounding almost tearful. "There never, never was such a lovely night before!"

Sonya made some reluctant reply.

"Do just come and see what a moon!... Come here.... There, you see? I feel like sitting down on my heels, putting my arms round my knees like this, straining tight, as tight as possible, and flying away! Like this...."

"Take care! you'll fall out!"

He heard the sound of a scuffle and Sonya's voice: "It's past one o'clock."

"Oh, you only spoil things for me. All right, go, go!"

Again all was silent, but Prince Andrei knew she was still sitting there.

From time to time he heard a soft rustle and at times a sigh.

"O God! O God! What does it mean?" she suddenly exclaimed. "To bed then, if it must be!" and she slammed the casement."

War and Peace - Book 3, Chapter II. Tolstoy.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Fear of mirrors

Sigmund Freud thought he saw a stranger entering his train compartment. "I hurried to help him but was quickly taken aback when I realised that the intruder was none other than my own image reflected in the mirror of the connecting door. And I remember that this apparition gave me profound displeasure".

The Summa de Officio Inquisitorii of 1270, warns of the evils of all reflective surfaces: lacquer, glass, jewels, swords, water. It advises readers to avoid anything which might catch their reflection. It's more than a warning against vanity - it's a distrust of the mirror-world. The devil, or something analogous to that, controls the kingdom of reflections.

17th century thinkers are equally disturbed by the doubling -or tripling- of their own image, A French orator named Jean-Benigne Bossuet asks in a sermon, whether in anguish or curiosity it isn't clear:

"What is this image of myself that I see more deliberately still, this lively apparition in this running water? It disappears when the water is disturbed. What have I lost?"

Mirrors existed in antiquity. The Ancient Greeks and the Romans prized them though they were a poor relation to what we know now - nowhere near as big and clear. They were handheld, darker, with a dimmer reflection. Their reflections really were like ghosts, fainter than ours, more a part of the texture of the reflecting surface. Emperor Nero, so they say, had a mirror made of emeralds.

After the hall of mirrors in Versailles, something changes. Mirrors become commonplace and our own reflections stop being astonishing. Because now everybody has mirrors and cameras and film. No one is aware of the symmetry anymore, the dividing line between them and it. Other than the smallest children, we've mistaken our reflections for a part of ourselves.

Friday, September 11, 2015

the best of the Clientele record

oh yeah, forgot to say - this is out on LP and CD:

And the Clientele are playing a one-off show at Islington Assembly Hall on October 23rd, with none other than psychedelic legend Mark Fry supporting us!

We also made an extended spotify list of our favourite songs which didn't make it onto the LP. In case you wondered. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Never anyone but you despite stars and loneliness
Despite the trees mutilated at nightfall
Never anyone but you will follow her path which is mine
The further you go the bigger your shadow gets
Never anyone but you will greet the ocean at dawn when I, worn out with wandering, 
coming through dark forests and nettle bushes, walk towards the foam
Never anyone but you will put her hand on my forehead over my eyes
Never anyone but you, and I renounce lying and unfaithfulness
You may cut the rope of this anchored ship
Never anyone but you
The eagle imprisioned in a cage slowly gnaws on the patina of the copper bars
What a deception
It's the Sunday marked by nightingales singing in the tender green woods the boredom
of little girls staring at a cage a canary flutters around in while in the empty street 
the sun slowly moves its thin line along the hot sidewalk
We'll cross other lines
Never never anyone but you
And I alone alone alone like withered ivy in suburban gardens
alone like glass
And you never anyone but you.

Never anyone but you - Robert Desnos,