Clemence and I | A real friendship

Clémence DesRochers, who was godmother of the organization Les Impatients from 1995 to 2019, maintained a correspondence with one of its members, Siou Deslongchamps, for 10 years. The man with mental health problems has just published a book based on texts by the 88-year-old artist, some of which are unpublished. The press had the privilege of witnessing a meeting between the two friends.

Posted at 06:00

Pierre-Marc Drivage

Pierre-Marc Drivage
The press

“It’s a good move I’ve made in my life to help him live a little bit, I think,” confirms Clémence DesRochers, looking at Siou Deslongchamps with her still bright blue eyes.

Living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Siou recently discovered that it all stems from an autism spectrum disorder. This explains, among other things, that he prefers to stay away from the crowds, such as this evening in May 2012 on the occasion of an Impatients event in the cabaret La Tulipe. It was then that Clémence first noticed him. He had just sung a text of his own on stage which he normally had to recite. “His look hit me when I saw him with his big sausages,” she recalls with a laugh. Then I noticed that he was shy, that he stayed away from other people all the time. †

After a short but touching discussion, Clémence Siou proposes a handwritten correspondence. The multidisciplinary artist decorated with the National Order of Quebec and the Order of Canada therefore sends him a first poem, inspired by this meeting where Siou had entrusted him to be like a music box, to be “cracked”. Siou prefers to call it real friends, a text that he will put into song, like five other texts that Clémence wrote for him over the past 10 years. It is exactly this piece that was to close the show he was going to give in Café du TNM in June 2020, but which was canceled due to the pandemic. It is now the poem that closes the book of the show that never happened, but which eventually allowed Siou to express his talent even more – he graduated in fine arts.

“Clemence had proposed to exhibit my drawings in the hall of the TNM at the same time as my exhibition. The idea found its way and I therefore decided to illustrate the texts of the book with my drawings,” says the one who is also a hawker journalist for The Itinerary — he was an intern at The press last summer with the author of these lines. “In the beginning of our correspondence, it was difficult to read what he wrote and he made mistakes, Clémence recalls. Now that we understand what he writes, he has really evolved. But what about? Am I there for something? †


Siou Deslongchamps set Clémence DesRochers’ lyrics to music.

“You’re part of it, that’s for sure,” Siou replies. What was really important to me was the contact we maintained. To answer you, in the beginning it was so hard, just take the pencil and then try to write. But I forced myself because I was too happy, I wanted to answer you out of respect too! As I started to get better, it was important that you got me into action. When I force myself into action, I think of you. †

A unique object

The book Clemence and me is therefore a unique object, printed in only a hundred copies, an independent project made possible thanks to Éditions Galoche, the production house of Clémence DesRochers and her wife Louise Colette. It is presented as an illustrated show programme, divided into three parts, the first about Siou, the third about Clémence and the second about a meeting between the two artists.

If you listen to the text of the poems, it cannot go any deeper. We don’t say nonsense to each other, we talk to each other because we have something to say, fix or comfort each other.

Clemence Des Rochers

The text Clemence and meone of the three signed by Siou in his book, is exactly the answer to the request of Clémence, who needed comfort after the loss of her big black cat in the first moments of their correspondence.

Certain poems are also accompanied by the chords of the melodies created by Siou, the piece Loyal childhood friend is even printed in staves – thanks to Marie-Claire Séguin, who helped Siou take notes on her melodies. “Music is no longer noise for me, it becomes creativity, it becomes expression,” explains Siou. And if there’s ever one person who needs to express themselves, it’s me. It’s been inside for so long that now I need it to come out, I have to share it. Clémence said to me one day: “Siou, you have talent, give it to others.” I now understand that the most important thing is to share, no matter how much I create that in my corner, it is not satisfying. †

Finally, Siou will be able to sing some of the texts that Clémence wrote to him, because the author David Goudreault, artistic director of the Great Night of the Poetry of Saint-Venant, invited him to take the stage on August 20. Clemence promises to be there.

The organization Les Impatients offers creative workshops (painting, drawing, comics, etc.) to people with psychological problems. On the occasion of the 30th anniversary, the organization presents the exhibition Nice to meet you in the gallery La Poste 1700 from May 6 to June 19.

Clemence and me

Clemence and me

editions Galoche

Two poems by Clémence à Siou that are part of the book Clemence and me

Real friends

life is a music box

You often have to crack your feathers

With strange metallic noises

Come shake your soul and your body

When your heart beats fast and too strong

Go away, go away to the Botanical Garden

Stand in the Museum of Fine Arts

Nature and art

are real friends

Which help to forget death

Draw trees, weird birds

Let the music box sing

Go away, go away to the Botanical Garden

Stand in the Museum of Fine Arts

My life is a music box

I often have to crack my feathers

With strange metallic noises

Come shake my soul and my body

Song for Lucas

My friend told me:

write me a melody

That you’re going to play the harmonica

Memory of my dog ​​Lucas

A tune I could whistle

On the path where I walked

So long

With him

Now that he’s gone

write me a melody

Who looks like the dove:

Black notes calling her

I promised my friend

I will write his melody

I will play the harmonica

For his dog that is no longer there

An air that could prevent

My friend is crying!


Contrary to previously published information, the Enchanted. e is presented in 1700 La Poste from May 6 to June 19, not from June 6 to 19.

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