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In the city of Toulousewwwwwwwwwwwwwww.eddiecastellan.com

I love Toulouse; it's a warm, vibrant and cultured city, sunny in the glow of its distinctive red brick; la ville en rose as it's known. It was there that I at last began to write real poems, with the four originally separate pieces that eventually became Toulouse Quartet.

Quartet is a kind of A-Z streetmap of images, starting with the deliciously lop-sided cathedral of St Etienne and the medieval book and picture restorers' shops; the highly-decorated bridge mouths on the great River Garonne; the dustmen, a fifth-floor apartment in the Arab Quarter, an Irish bar and the city's extraordinary number of beautiful women.

Dusk is set in the giant central square, La place du Capitole which looks like a white-on-black Mondrian at night. Equations of Thomas Aquinas is about Les Jacobins, the very weird church where the great Catholic philosopher lies buried. Its proportions are megalomanic and its acoustic is like the soundtrack for a horror movie.

Fermat, of Last Theorem fame, was another of Toulouse's finest and lived close by; so he gets dragged in to give Equations its mathematical touches. Toulouse has a huge student population so Solitary, ebonite, strapless and trilby was written in a tiny bar in the Arab Quarter during a live gig packed with young people.

 

 
Nightfall on the River Garonne in central Toulouse
Photos: Martin Castellan
The Basilica of St Sernin

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