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Matterzones - click opera
February 2010
 
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Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 02:29 am
Matterzones

This might be an obvious point to make, but we matter differently in different zones. We give some zones the horn -- for those zones we are a gigantic Matterhorn -- while, for others, we don't matter at all. When I played my show in Sweden this weekend, for instance, I could see the matterzones quite clearly from the stage. There were a few people at the front for whom I and my songs mattered intensely. They sang along with the lyrics -- knew them better than I did, in fact -- they requested obscure songs, they shouted out "We love you!" Further back I could see "looming smilers" -- people who loomed and smiled, seeming quite glad to be there. Around the fringes were "semi-pros" -- photographers and recordists intent on getting good images and sounds, guestlist people, DJs and organisers and fellow musicians checking me out. Then over by the bar were "chatting drunks", completely indifferent to the show except as a noise source they had to compete with to be heard. In "Mistaken Memories of Medieval Manhattan" I always go jousting during the medieval sections, and on Friday night I jumped off the side of the stage and went jousting up and down the bar. I usually encounter grins when I joust, but this time it was if I were invisible, a creature in another dimension. The lighting was different in that zone, and the sound from the speakers was muffled. People were there for completely different reasons than the people in my crowd -- to get tanked on tankards of ale, basically, as students have done since the time of Beowulf. I was out of my matterzone.

I thought again about matterzones the following day, when I got to Copenhagen, a city I don't know and had thirty hours or so to discover. This time it wasn't me doing the mattering, but different zones of the city itself. I got very interested in the different ways different media reported particular zones. I had, basically, four sources of information: a copy of the Time Out Guide to Copenhagen which I browsed in a bookstore, the guide and listings section of an English-language newspaper called The Copenhagen Post, a Japanese magazine's Copenhagen special edition I spycammed in a sushi bar, and recommendations from Click Opera readers who knew me and knew Copenhagen.

A zone like the Norrebro district mattered differently to these different reporters. For Time Out, Norrebro was a neighbourhood on the turn, a place of riots and street robberies and ethnic tensions. This wasn't my impression at all while walking around it; although there were streets full of African hair salons and cheap international call centres and muslim groceries, they were right next to thoroughly bobo streets featuring sushi, trendy streetwear, organic delis and yuppie babyclothes. It all seemed pretty well integrated, just like it is in Kreuzberg. The Time Out guide was out of date, or exaggerating for effect, or aimed at nervous suburban types, or just being terribly British and class-conscious. Meanwhile, Click Opera readers who actually lived in the area gave me cycling and bar tips, and the Japanese magazine focused on charmingly traditional, high-quality crafts workshops and gourmet delis in the area.



It fascinates me that things can matter so differently. Cliches like beauty being in the eye of the beholder and one man's meat being another's poison and de gustibus non est disputandum go some way to explaining why matterzones matter as differently as they do. But, from my view up on this matterhorn, I just want to say that I love the co-existing diversity of matter-narratives. Just as the different ethnic communities in Norrebro with their different-yet-coexisting senses of what matters make the area exciting, so a room full of different matterzones is an interesting room. I think my nightmare world is one in which things are all assumed to matter the same way to everyone. And yet, isn't that precisely what I love about Japan, where "somebody says what we're already all thinking, and we laugh"?

23CommentReplyShare

funazushi
funazushi
funazushi
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 05:13 am (UTC)

This is why I enjoyed your piece on Hitotoki Hiban. You can enjoy a city through someone else's eyes on a very personal level. Guide books being what they are you tend to get the lowest common denominator in terms of experience. I remember having to rely on Lonely Planet guides during my travels and being very frustrated with them. I think that your request for things to do in Copenhagen was a great way around the "crowded planet" problem. When I travel I always try to find a food market to get a sense of the place. The path to a person's heart is through their stomach after all.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)

i like mr curry but i feel am not helping you
i wish we could be
but not stuff is to real
did you see mr child
i fear not
i hope we can laugh one day
i remember you friendly space
keep singing my friend
i love you dearly
x


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 06:02 am (UTC)

I missed Mr Childish and just had a quiet night in with some sushi and The Pythons autobiography, which was actually jolly nice. I don't really have a punk heart, but I do have a python.


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microworlds
microworlds
Sparkachu Maelworth
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 06:19 am (UTC)

Don't worry Momus, if you ever came up to me and pretended to joust, I would probably join you. Or just laugh hysterically until I start to cry. Or both!

Also, every time someone mentions "the Matterhorn" I almost always think of the Disneyland ride. I guess I can blame it on my parents for dragging me there almost twice a month every month growing up. Have you ever been to Disneyland, Momus?

I've also been wondering if you've ever tried gouda cheese. When you went to Holland you gave me a huge craving for gouda, and I've eaten about 2 pounds of it today after my dad bought some from the store.


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electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 11:04 am (UTC)

The word ´Matterhorn´ just makes me think of Kevin´s hard-on :(


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electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 11:03 am (UTC)

MASTERY

Does that even exist?


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youllstillbe
RQ
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 11:49 am (UTC)

Nørrebro *is* looked upon as ethnically tense by most of Denmark too because, by Danish standards, it's a flashpan of races. But for people actually living there it's a lot more tame, and compared to a lot of other cities, quite unified. The only real problems in the area are between Faderhuset and homosexuals, Faderhuset and muslims, Faderhuset and abortion seekers.. oh and Faderhuset and punk kids.


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youllstillbe
RQ
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 11:49 am (UTC)

p.s. I've no idea what a "flashpan of races" is either :-\


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inuitmonster
inuitmonster
inuitmonster
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)

What is Faderhuset?


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youllstillbe
RQ
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)

A Christian group (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faderhuset) that sparked this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iupbxsHGlAA&feature=related


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 11:54 am (UTC)
MZ's

Matter zones are reliant on receiving feedback. Be it visual, written or financial, artists and the like will only find out their matter zones when they see / read / hear what others think. Like you looking across a crowd, or reading comments on your blog. For those of us who receive no feedback, how do we find our matter zones? If it is reliant on being appreciated on your own level, then surely friends are our matter zones? If this is the case i may start referring to my compadres as MZ's.

wewillbecome.com


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 01:31 pm (UTC)
Re: MZ's

Surely a matter zone is when you matter to anything BUT yourself, so pleasing yourself isn't a matter zone?


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 02:58 pm (UTC)
Re: MZ's

I don't believe in Matter zones. I was, in layman's terms:

"Taking the piss"

wewillbecome.com


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microworlds
microworlds
Sparkachu Maelworth
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 11:14 pm (UTC)
Re: MZ's

I'm just LOL'ing at the thought of Momus posting that image in response to someone. Or the thought of him posting a cat macro.


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gu88766
gu88766
joshua of the wired
Mon, Feb. 4th, 2008 05:53 am (UTC)
Re: MZ's

for a second i thought he was the creator of the infamous image.


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electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
it´s a classic

http://whatyouseewhenyoudie.ytmnd.com/


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anglerfish96
anglerfish96
anglerfish96
Mon, Feb. 4th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC)
Re: it´s a classic

I think my synthesizer needs the cat hair blown out of it. :(


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contentlove
contentlove
Content Love Knowles
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC)

in the matter zone
blow the matter horn
it does not matter much
not so much anymore

I am not anti-matter
somethings do matter more
as a matter of fact
I love the matador


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)

I thought that mountain looked familiar -- it's the one on the back of Goldfrapp's "Felt Mountain".


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 07:37 pm (UTC)

They're both shots of the same Matterhorn shot through the same trees, but on different days, and from slightly different angles:





Edited at 2008-12-13 01:35 pm (UTC)


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)

Well, Norrebro can be tense and dangerous - a girl was raped last night. We have had drug related shootings in the street between ethnic groups trying to control the marked.


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petit_paradis
petit_paradis
erik
Sun, Feb. 3rd, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC)
momushorn

people wearing vibskov in berlin already!

http://stilinberlin.blogspot.com/


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 5th, 2008 02:24 pm (UTC)
matterzones

My sister was brought up in Nigeria and I was brought up in sunny Leicester, England. After 30 years apart, she came over to stay with me in London. One day I returned from work to find my one of my 'limited edition' Campbell's tomato soup cans (I obtained from Tate Modern Warhol exhibition when I worked there) open, empty and thrown in the bin.

My sister said "...But I was hungry"


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