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Michael Curran
Insomnia X

Who is speaking in Patrick Kellier's The End?

We see highways, municipal parks, and more grand architecture. A taxi ride followed by yet another, flocks of sheep, blocking the roadway, ad hoardings and railway stations. What is ending is always introducing a new beginning. This urbane, world-weary timbre is the voice of a creature condemned to travel on, a vagrant, who sees all with eyes that are at once knowing and empty.

"And so I arrived in Rome, bringing with it my head and all its foolish contents."

An extraordinary melancholy persists throughout, conveying the sense of someone who has seen everything, made voyage after voyage, perpetually on the move, a witness to history, to ever-changing landscapes.

There is an old Dutch tradition, mentioned by Sebald, that of covering mirrors and all canvasses of landscapes after a death," so that the soul, as it left the body, would not be distracted on its final journey, either by a reflection of itself or by the last glimpse of the land now being lost for ever" The narrator in The End is totally alone and covered by a veil.

The view is not real, only a painted curtain.

Confess. You too are worn out. I long to rest with a lullaby serenading me to sleep.

My last postcard is of a carving, a winged woman surrounded by owls and aptly or not it is Lilith, the queen of the succubi. The word lullaby originates in the term Lilith-Be- Gone, the soft gentle song to drive away evil before entering into dreams.

The day was calm and still.
Still from The End by Patrick Keiller, 1986
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