Quand je suis dans une chambre obscure, je me plais infiniment à voir au travers d’une fenêtre un immense horizon vis-à-vis de moi
– Giacomo Casanova, Mémoires écrits par lui-même

Approaching the window, your eyes are transfixed by a square of glass on which you read these words, traced with the point of a diamond: «tu oublieras Henriette.» You will forget Henriette. Eight dusty rust-red volumes of nineteenth-century French. How many hundred pages to get to Henriette?

It’s awkward ducking into the club. One minute you’re walking along the street, the soul of discretion, the next you’re the whole of perversion in the eyes of passers-by. Alas. But no such considerations influence the two large bouncers standing on the mirrored floors. Your loose possessions are tabulated, a pass is issued, and the next step is within.

Me rappelant à l’instant le moment où Henriette m’avait écrit ces paroles treize ans plus tôt, je sentis mes cheveux se dresser sur ma tête. Recalling the moment Henriette wrote these words so many years before, I felt the hairs stand up on my head.

The glass between the foyer and the interior of the club is opaque, seamless, uninscribed.

It takes time to acclimatise to the strobes, the dazzling screens, the smoky atmosphere. A drink must be acquired. The barmaid is dressed in a yellow halter and scanty thong. She is pleasant enough looking, but the thong looks painfully tight and out of place. Her voice is high-pitched, childish. The money issued is poorly printed paper, good only for in here. It can be exchanged later, outside, in the real world, for legal tender.

If you sit right at the tongue of the stage, the performance is more intensely there. To one side, at the higher tables, it is a matter of contemplation. And a bare-breasted girl is already dancing, strutting, gyrating there, to remixed versions of the latest hits.

Her thong is soon pulled down, and – naked save for her platform soles – she begins to make her round of the tables. As she comes closer, the faint goose-pimples, the pallor of her flesh convince one that she is, in fact, real – that this is no illusion. There is indeed a naked girl right there in front, albeit

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