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The ten-year-long March - click opera
February 2010
 
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Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 12:42 pm
The ten-year-long March

I'm writing my column today, so I could just have sent you off to look at hatsuhana, the first cherry blossom of the season, as reported by the BBC. But then I had a better idea -- what about a little formatted content guide stretching back ten years, and covering the kinds of things I was pondering in my writings at about this time of year? A long march through March?

1997
On Unsuccess

It's March 1997, I still have two functioning eyes, I live in London in a penthouse overlooking Barbican tube station. Tony Blair is still two months away from election victory. I'm rather angry that Ed Ball has called me a "fucking middle class wanker" for dissing Oasis. But insults aren't the way to hurt me. Being my friend, and getting to number one in the charts, and telling me that I could too -- that hurts. So a friendly "ouch" goes out to Jyoti Mishra of White Town, currently riding at number one in the UK singles chart with Your Woman.

1998
On Transgression

It's a year later. Wearing an eyepatch for the first time in public, I'm talking about free speech on a panel at the ICA. I'm sitting next to Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab, and the MC is Tony Wilson of Factory. I describe how I feel I'm morphing between two types of animal; the "national transgressor" is a satirist who finds himself tied to the establishment. The "pluralistic intervidual" is post-national, a web citizen. "In the hyperstimulant rush of this new world (digital TV, internet, pull not push, bits not atoms, moral disintermediation) we are increasingly operating our own 'censorship' by NOT PAYING ATTENTION," I declare. "Transgression is the other side of the medaille d'honneur called Consensus. Transgression is how Consensus, which often is doomed to being merely reactive, gets its dirty work done."

1999
I Love My Work


I'm just starting "Stars Forever". "This collaboration is so weird, it's more intimate than sex. It's like borrowing people's souls, remaking 'The Incredible Journey' through their bodies in a tiny space capsule full of musical technology. I have a feeling this album is going to be my best ever... Time goes at a different speed when I'm alone with my recording equipment, it really is an invocation of spirits and my emotions change. Normally cool, restrained, polite, distant and shy, I suddenly overflow with tenderness for people when I'm working."

2000
Electronics in the 18th Century

I've moved to New York and am performing in a webcast cabaret at the Knitting Factory with Torquil Campbell of Stars. I'm the Earl of Amiga, he's the Duke of Atari. Or is it the other way around? Here's a little excerpt: "Everywhere you go in the 18th Century you see John Malkovitch. God knows why, but it gets bloody annoying. Malkovitch in a huge powdered wig, Malkovitch with painted beauty spots, Malkovitch bowing low to a milkmaid and looking up with a dirty twinkle in his eye. I went on the Grand Tour of Italy and there, in Naples, was Malkovitch, sporting with a Countess, wearing baggy britches and buckle shoes. I went to Venice and there he was again, lying back in a gondola, sharing witty thoughts with the Doge. Fuck you, Malkovitch, get back to the century you belong in! You've completely ruined my holiday."

2001
Organic Cafe

And now (pay attention at the back, there!) I'm about to move to Tokyo to live with my girlfriend, Shizu, in Meguro. "I'll be playing some shows in support of the Japanese release of 'Folktronic', producing a mini-album for a Japanese artist, and just hanging out, riding a folding bicycle, as neat, small and silver as a pair of travelling scissors. I'll be cycling by the river, under the cherry trees, towards the Organic Cafe.... It's a tall order, I know, to expect the world to be reshaped in one tiny trendy Tokyo cafe. But one thing's for sure. The revolution won't be happening at Starbuck's."

2002
Hell's Furnishings

In the month I definitively leave New York for Tokyo, this article appears in Metropolis magazine. I'm both attracted and repelled by the way Japanese video store Tsutaya has put "A Clockwork Orange" into a promo section called "Good Furniture". When I witness 9/11 and a Japanese friend (now dead) says it's "beautiful", I experience the same feeling that something is very wrong.

2003
War as Fiction

Bush Junior has invaded Iraq on pretty fictional pretexts. I'm skeptical and angry. "Might does not make right, and might alone -- without charm, without diplomacy, without willing suspension of disbelief -- cannot turn fiction into fact. Realities have a habit of intervening. Even the war games the US army staged in summer 2002 to model an invasion of Iraq ended in the US losing -- a result so embarrassing that the games were played over again until the desired result -- a win for the US -- was achieved... 'The new American century' is a fiction which has already failed disastrously, alienating and revolting global audiences, who are now interrupting it with cat calls, paint bombs, slow handclaps, civic disturbances, and other, more violent, shows of dissent. If it were just a film, it would probably never have got past the studio heads."

2004
Tatartronic

I'm in Udmurtia, near the Ural Mountains that divide Russia from Siberia. It's enflaming my imagination, making me plan an album called Tatartronic. "What's really making me dream is the ex-Soviet Central Asian Republics. Uzbekistan! Samarkand and Tashkent! The lands between the Black Sea and the Caspian! Border disputes with the Chinese! Those scary Chechens! Old men drinking tea in dusty towns under snow-capped mountains! ...Think of my album as basically Mongol-Tatar in spirit. Think of it arriving in a whirl of beating hooves, stealing what it wants from the places it passes through, and forcing its cherry-picked riffs and tics through new territories until all the memes are spliced with something else, and form some imaginary, unimagineable new culture. Tatartronic is coming!" Some of this stuff -- not much -- ends up on "Otto Spooky".

2005
Uma in Seoul

I channel Uma Thurman, who stares down on Seoul, South Korea, from a Vuitton billboard. I compare her with Kim Jong Il, who stares down at the other Koreans a few hundred miles to the north. And sure, Uma is a woman, but Kim Jong Il is at least a Korean. Two different imperialisms?

2006
Avant Grizzlies and the Great Generation of Downtown

I'm in New York being a performance artist. Visits to the Wooster Group's production of "The Emperor Jones" and a show about the Downtown art scene in the 80s get me reflecting on what happens when experimentalists grow old and grizzly.

26CommentReplyShare


(Anonymous)
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 12:15 pm (UTC)

What thick glossy hair you had back in 1997! Oh, the ravages of time...


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 12:22 pm (UTC)

When I read back through your old essays I become wistful for times and places that I never experienced. Your optimistic outlook for technology in the 1990s is quaint and endearing. As are your hair/facial hair choices.


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mandyrose
mandyrose
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 12:50 pm (UTC)
Aaw, a decade of Momus.

That was kind of sweet. I've been going with my current beau for ten years, off-and-on, and we've always kept up with you... I remember all of these incarnations! After ten years, we now have a five-year-old child, and we're now a lot more relaxed (read:"tired") and graceful (read:"wizened", or "eldritch").

I remember I was always not sure what to make of you (strangely, it took me a while to warm up to Gainsbourg, too-- crazy), then I sort of accidentally took acid one evening, and by morning I told everyone that Ping Pong was the funniest thing I'd ever heard. You'd unwittingly (?)created great acid rock...

Friends and I still say, "I'm going to hospital today, because I ate too much chocorate"...

I sold you and Shizu a piece of folktronic fluorescent knit fabric on ebay, do you remember?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)
Re: Aaw, a decade of Momus.

Wow! Folktronic fluorescent knit fabric sounds cool, not sure what happened to it. Perhaps it's in my boxes, which are now finally in transit and will be restored to me in Berlin shortly.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC)


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scottbateman
scottbateman
Scott Bateman
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 02:15 pm (UTC)

No fair--I wanna sit next to Laetitia Sadier, too!


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 02:41 pm (UTC)

If you ever fall on hard times your Korg Mono/Poly should fetch $650 or so.


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charleston
charleston
Bonham C
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 03:34 pm (UTC)

I love your 1999 piece.


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)

Not even close to expiration time Nick...you know that you're still a banana with a bit of green on the bends, just don't enter the refridgerator/no chilling out and things will expand like a womans waistline after three children.
ps-nice Bruton.
love,
John FF


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 04:17 pm (UTC)
Oasis

I have never listened to Oasis with any pleasure. And I'll admit to being a wanker, but not a middle class one. They are just bad (and the following year, Gallagher says the same about the previous LP: "But this one's really good..." until the next year).

Momus, I was hooked on from the first line of Tender Pervert, on a tape that was recorded too slowly.
Stephen Parkin.


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alphacomp
alphacomp
Digital Video Camera
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 04:49 pm (UTC)

Coincidentally enough, I stumbled upon a used early pressing of the Little Red Songbook yesterday with that infamous song still included.

Is it too late for the karaoke contest?


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freesurfboards
freesurfboards
freesurfboards
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC)

For fun and as sort of a homage I wore an eyepatch one night while bar hopping. It amazed me how angry people got about it. While in the bathroom I overheard someone yelling to his friends about it.
At one party someone asked me sarcastically if it was real or fake, so I told him fake. He then became really apologetic and wouldn't accept that it was fake. He kept saying "It's ok if it's real, really! Don't worry, I don't care if it's real!"

Just seeing the wide range of reactions people had towards an eyepatch in one night made me wonder if you still get these sort of reactions from people.


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zzberlin
zzberlin
hh
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
patch me up

I've worn eye patches for a couple reasons. One, when I used to wear contact lenses (have since had LASIK), I would periodically lose a contact and would wear a patch till I got the lens replacement.

One time walking up to Boalt Hall on the UC Berkeley campus I was wearing an eyepatch and this guy came up to me and asked me if I was in some gang. Turns out there was this Oakland gang that wore patches as their sign to each other. Weird!

One time some other guy walked up to me on the street and asked me if I was a gangbanger. I didn't even know what that meant! I thought he was asking if I did gangbangs. I was like "uh,,," Later found out gangbanger just means someone who runs around with gangs.


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jimyojimbo
jimyojimbo
Dr Jim
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)
Re: patch me up

Ha ha. See, I would have thought wearing an eyepatch messes with depth perception (Momus?). They must be called The Couldn't Hit A Barn Door With A Shotgun Gang.


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peacelovgranola
-
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 06:02 pm (UTC)

thanks for the update on the cherry blossoms!

k and i are leaving for japan this friday, and have been hoping we'll be able to see some of those during our spring break there, next week.

although, i will most likely not be posting any "sakura gone wild" videos over at the journal upon our return to the states. sorry.

when do you and hisae leave for the island empire, by the way?



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dddario
Dario
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 06:49 pm (UTC)

The first anonymous comment is right. It's like watching at another Nick! are you really the same nowadays?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC)

I think I look a bit batlike in that Stars Forever picture. I was on steroids and immunosuppressants, and they really changed my weight and hair growth -- made me hairier, and fatter. They also changed my personality.

I like the way I look now better, to be honest.


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dddario
Dario
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 07:29 pm (UTC)

"I like the way I look now better, to be honest."

You certainly look better now.


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cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Wed, Mar. 21st, 2007 08:43 pm (UTC)

Personally, I consider what you wrote during the time at the Whitney Biennal as one of the best reads of 2006.


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pay_option07
pay_option07
Thu, Mar. 22nd, 2007 12:24 am (UTC)
Wank it up

It's March 1997, I still have two functioning eyes.

97 really sucked.


Whose Oasis?


The following might explain some of what's not around anymore.


Abstract

This article analyzes effects and implications of New Public Management (NPM) when implemented in the civil service systems in New Zealand and Norway, focusing especially on the effects of devolution and contractualism on political control. Using a transformative perspective, we interpret these effects as a result of a melding of environmental factors, polity features and national historical-institutional constraints. Norway scores low on both environmental and internal factors enhancing administrative reform, furthering a soft version of NPM and small changes in political control. In contrast a combination of external pressure, weak countervailing cultural forces and 'elective dictatorship' in New Zealand produces a radical version of NPM, resulting in a weakening of central political control.




http://www.statsvitenskap.uio.no/ansatte/presentasjon/person/stvtc1-eng.xml


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pay_option07
pay_option07
Thu, Mar. 22nd, 2007 12:28 am (UTC)
Re: Wank it up

I'll get all this right someday!

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=312823


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jimineuropa
jimineuropa
Thu, Mar. 22nd, 2007 04:42 am (UTC)

My first encounter with prince Nicholas was 'Hairstyle of the devil' on students' late-night TV, but soon afterwards I found a second-hand copy of 'Circus Maximus', which showed me he was more than an acid-tongued Pet Shop Boys imitator, much more. And then I found a link to his first website - I remember getting lost in the essays, spending literally hours reading them all in reverse chronological order, to the extent that I actually forgot about the musical side of his creativity until a couple of years ago, when I started catching up on what I'd missed. It's been close to 20 years now. Long may you cast your eye over our world! :)


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(Anonymous)
Thu, Mar. 22nd, 2007 08:24 am (UTC)

Hi Momus. I salute the transition you make from 1997 to 1999. The points you make in 1998 remind me somewhat of the political philosophy of Slavoj Zizek. Benjamin.


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