“What did he call it?” she whispered.
“An alethiometer.”
There was no point in asking what that meant. It lay heavily in her hands, the crystal face gleaming, the golden body exquisitely machined. It was very like a clock, or a compass, for there were hands pointing to places around the dial, but instead of the hours or the points of the compass there were several little pictures, each of them painted with extraordinary precision, as if on ivory with the finest and slenderest sable brush. She turned the dial around to look at them all. There was an anchor; an hourglass surmounted by a skull; a chameleon, a bull, a beehive…Thirty-six altogether, and she couldn’t even guess what they meant.


“It is a darker record. There’s lots of violent imagery. Sometimes I’ll hear a drum pattern and it’ll sound to me like rolling hooves or clashing swords and all this Joan of Arc imagery starts cropping up. The music itself is quite tough and hard. I wanted something to echo that sound. To me, this album is almost like a battle cry. People thought I might be coming back with something more ethereal and twinkly; I wanted to come back with something tough and heavier.”


“Then came the most exquisite moment of her whole life passing a stone urn with flowers in it. Sally stopped; picked a flower; kissed her on the lips. The whole world might have turned upside down! The others disappeared; there she was alone with Sally. And she felt that she had been given a present, wrapped up, and told just to keep it, not to look at it — a diamond, something infinitely precious, wrapped up, which, as they walked (up and down, up and down), she uncovered, or the radiance burnt through, the revelation, the religious feeling!”


“[…] Realising I do have these two extreme sides in my character. One side is quiet and nurturing and calm, then I have a very self-destructive, chaotic, impulsive side. They contradict each other and I guess the album was a way of trying to make sense of that and bring things back together.”

“[The album is] definitely not about trying to be vindictive. It’s about being honest. This could’ve been a break-up record. But it was much more about trying to understand myself.”