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De venustas Emmy quantum - click opera
February 2010
 
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Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 11:17 am
De venustas Emmy quantum

1. The learned Lucretius wrote De Rerum Natura; a treatise on the nature of things. I wish to write, today, De Venustas Emmy Quantum; a treatise on the hotness of Emmy the Great. There was a picture of, and a passing textual reference to Emmy on Monday, but all we said there was that she doesn't have a beard (insert Chaucerian ribaldry here), and I think she deserves something slightly deeper.



2. Since a lovely woman is like a tree in the full splendour of pre-aestival blossom, this might become a regular series. We've already had a De Venustas Lovefoxxx ("concerning the hotness of Lovefoxxx, Inca-Lycra queen of the 00s"). Like Lovefoxxx, Emmy the Great (née Emma-Lee Moss) is partly Asian; she was brought up in Hong Kong, but lives in London, where, apart from singing folk songs, she's a rollerskate waitress at Viva Cake, a "rock 'n' roll tea dance" held once a month at the St Aloysius Social Club, near Euston.



3. I don't plan to talk about Emmy's music here at all; that's not the point of the De Venustas series; here we are concerned only with venustasity and its manifold mysteries. For those who complain that this is "objectification", check out Emmy's blog of "stuff I've written for other people... you'll notice I talk about Graham Coxon a little more than is appropriate. I don't know why."

4. Ah, Graham Coxon. "I see Graham Coxon in Camden so often that I dream about him sometimes," Emmy confided to Sweeping the Nation. "I'm worried one day I'll walk up to him and start talking." May I make this observation, and be done with it; all the girls I've loved have had a thing for Graham. I asked Hisae why this morning, and she said "He's just so perfect. Nerdy, but in a good way." Considering what an ugly man I am I haven't done badly at all, but if I were Coxon I could have shaken the beautiful blossom tree and been showered with petals.

5. When, on Monday, our room was filled up with Emmy's warbling as I watched video after video of her on YouTube, Hisae asked "Why are you listening to that terrible music?" I explained that it was because of the hotness of Emmy the Great. Hisae watched for a while, but couldn't see it. Attempting to explain, I said something about bare legs and early Joan Baez, but found that the only explanation that worked was "She looks a bit like you!" (It's true, and I'm a lucky man.)



6. Hotness buttons: girls in floral dresses, girls with legs and feet tucked neatly under them, sitting on their beds, literate and literary girls, girls lying in their bedrooms with pencils and pens and other stationery, sketching and doodling and drawing, nice middle class girls thinking of going to Goldsmiths College to study English Literature or Fine Art, girls blowing on folk instruments and inflating balloons and thinking of putting them down their dresses, wholesome ingenue girls reading books and sipping milk. How could they put all these signifiers in one video? They did:



7. Sipping milk "as if butter wouldn't melt in your mouth" is an ingenue staple; a previous Click Opera De Venustas, Kumi Okamoto of Konki Duet, sips milk in a short film she made for her film class. Milk is an unashamedly mammalian, mammary, mama-like drink, a drink symbolising the wholesomeness of femininity.

8. In every-man-for-himself vigilante-style Western culture, milk is obviously a drink for girls, and even girls should be men and drink harder stuff in their videos. Shameless milk-drinking is more likely to feature in Asian videos, and to me Emmy's provocatively feminine style (she looks great in Eley Kishimoto!) relates to that Asian context.

9. Emmy's room looks like a Hong Kong room. Something about its comfortable, cute, floral kitsch style reminds me of the Notes by Naive blog, or HK friends Sunshine and Lik, or the style of singer Dejay Choi from HK band Pancakes, or the early films of girlcentric HK director Wong Kar Wai, or generic romantic HK comedies where being cute, twee, floral and feminine isn't a class signifier or a sign of weakness, but something winning, and where the conservative vanity of girls who can play this card to win is winning too. Oh, and I've just remembered that Milk is the name of the main Hong Kong style magazine!



10. In Hong Kong there's a strength and even a sort of Hello Kitty stridency to the milk aesthetic, a sort of pinky glare of girliness under harsh fluorescent lights. In Japan things are a bit different; you wouldn't be quite so arrogant and in-your-face sexy with your winsome tweeness. For instance, Hisae found Emmy's name immodest: to call yourself "the Great" just wouldn't do in Japan's more collectivist culture. (We have a friend in Berlin -- let's call him Ben -- who DJs under a name we'll call "Bentastic", and Hisae is always laughing at how dasai this is.) But anyway, the Japanese can be more aggressive and more eccentric -- think of OOIOO, and the primal womanliness of the bands I've clustered under the rubrik of Matsuri-kei. If China is a down-to-earth, family-oriented culture -- hence the power of milk -- Japan has more matriarchal roots, and more female deities (including, of course, the sun goddess).

11. However, it would be a mistake to see Emmy as too wholesome. Although this interview starts with her telling us how she and a bunch of friends "decided we'd like to put aprons on and bake cakes", it continues with "I like to talk about pee and poo... I won't talk to people unless they talk about poo and pee, that's it". On her Flickr page Emmy snaps a porn free news kiosk and titles it "free porn", or entertains us with Hong Kong shop signs saying "Willy Convenient Supermarket", "Gaylord" and "Bogey". And in her Black Cab Session she does the song that talks about "when love was just a feeling that ran out between my legs onto the back of my dress, onto the clothes that I was wearing".



12. And then there's "City Song", with its line about "they pulled a human from my waist, it had your mouth, it had your face, I would have kept it if I'd stayed". Ah, I said I wasn't going to talk about the songs, but I am. Emmy would have been sensational -- just the way nature made her -- even if all she did was bake cakes. But the songs are where she really earns the epithet "Great".

55CommentReplyShare

electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 10:54 am (UTC)
what do you on your trampoline?

Obviously you need to stop using the Britpop RPG as your dating agency.


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rinusvanalebeek
rinusvanalebeek
rinusvanalebeek
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 10:57 am (UTC)
gabriel in the streets of london



I always have this habit of historicising listening. It took me months to find out that the Kate Nash song was an uptempo and girly version of say hello wave goodbye by soft cell.

I can understand you end up with joan baez...
by the way, tea!
I saw some great tea stores here in Vienna yesterday,
you must be able to buy your stash there,

greetings from the strangely silent capital of austria,

rinus


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 11:42 am (UTC)
girls girls swirls

she does seem real sweet..
i have been alone for so long , its like feast or famine.
those greek girls really messed me up..
are asian girls the best ? is it ok to compare..?
swedish girls seemed so open and fun.
french ones kinda hot and tricky.
my favourite so far was irish with italian


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eustaceplimsoll
Eustace Plimsoll
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 11:53 am (UTC)

Thanks a bunch! I was quite content with being dismissive of Emmy the Great... that rendition of 'City Song' is lovely. Even raised a few goose bumps despite myself.


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eustaceplimsoll
Eustace Plimsoll
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 11:58 am (UTC)

I ought to qualify that with the observation that her American inflections are a bit annoying.


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cerulicante
cerulicante
cerulicante
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 01:50 pm (UTC)

Emma is a pretty asian girl. If all she did was record old people drinking mexican water and shitting themselves stupid, you'd praise it as the pinnacle of Human musical evolution.


Your judgement is suspect anytime sideways vagina is involved.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)

Ah, you would like an objective assessment of sexual attractiveness. Good luck finding that, Cerulicante!


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SEX-BOT 4000 - (Anonymous) Expand

cancercluster
cancercluster
cancercluster
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC)
graham c. um'ing and ah'ing

http://www.vbs.tv/player.php?bctid=1399286289&bccl=Mjg0OTUyNzA0X19FVEM


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milgram
milgram
demand characteristics
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)


It's nice that you can be so open about liking submissive caricatures, and the dire musical exploits that make them appear even more helpless and unthreatening… i mean, wow, that's really something unique in contemporary culture and totally nothing to do with a oppressive patriarchal/racist stereotypes.

ps, Since when was wong kar wai's work "girl centric"? what absolute tosh.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 03:15 pm (UTC)

Is Emmy a "submissive caricature" because she likes to bake and drinks milk? Never underestimate bake power, nor milk power!

Who's being more misogynistic here, me hyping her or you slandering her?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 04:38 pm (UTC)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was taking ages to load and I think Emmy might well find it offensive if / when she looks at this thread, so I screened it.

[Summary: animated gif of tons of spooge arriving on Emmy's face, courtesy Kumakouji, removed cos I don't want to watch that on an endless loop all day.]


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
bah...

I'd bang er.


Alex P.


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Re: bah... - (Anonymous) Expand
count_vronsky
count_vronsky
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC)

Hmmm... obsessed with MILK.

Has a name that breaks down to MOM + U.S.

What's next... an APPLE PIE post?



"I think she deserves something slightly deeper." naughty momus made me giggle.

(and a thousand times YES to the pink scarf Emmy.)


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count_vronsky
count_vronsky
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 10:21 pm (UTC)
blackmomus


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councilestate
councilestate
danzig with the stars
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC)

Well, Hisae is certainly right about Graham. Hahahaha, and I appreciate Emmy's fangirliness over him.


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pay_option07
pay_option07
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
Memories

Memories of Stockbridge Mass and the Red Lion Inn.
Anybody out there remember Arlo?
Woman artists seem to like love and loss.
Milk carries to much alternative psycho baggage
so Ill save myself from squirting it all over this blog!


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pay_option07
pay_option07
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 08:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Memories/no imbedding

Surprised this never made Nippon.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4Y4RlkblNM


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 07:03 pm (UTC)
Graham / Girls

My wife likes Graham Coxon too.
It's strange isn't it?


Re: 6) How about girls who put pencils in their hair to hold it up?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Graham / Girls

Pencils in hair = venustastic!


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)

Hisae knitting, knitting.


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microworlds
microworlds
Sparkachu Maelworth
Wed, Feb. 27th, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)

I'll tell you a funny story. I went to dinner in Japan at the house of a famous TV comedian, Suidobashi Hakase. He's a protege of Takeshi Kitano. It was quite a gathering, with legendary author and tattooed hardman Ishmaru Gensho also present. We tucked into sushi prepared by Hakase's bald manservant.
Hakase had just published a book in which all his friends narrated their early experiences with masturbation. Kitano and Gensho had whole chapters to themselves. In the middle of supper, my girlfriend announced that I was fond of gansha, a more modestly-scaled and intimate version of bukkake. I blushed, but Hakase and Gensho seemed delighted that I had taken the trouble to learn Japanese customs, and from that moment on I felt like they'd accepted me into their club.

Hakase later married Chie, one of the two girls with whom I was living at the time. She had first introduced herself to him with a playful photo of herself dribbling condensed milk from her mouth. Apparently this is quite a common method of flirtation -- a lover I had in Japan that same year produced, on our first date in a cafe in Nakameguro, a portfolio of photos of herself, one of which featured herself in an open white National Standard zip top, with some white substance trickling down her chin onto her breasts.

-- Momus (Momus), Friday, November 7, 2003 4:10 PM (Friday, November 7, 2003 4:10 PM) Bookmark Link


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(Anonymous)
Thu, Feb. 28th, 2008 05:22 am (UTC)

..... a contested discursive zone between nineties youth and the dominant ageing babyboomer generation who are clinging to their own nostalgic youthfulness, and redefining their own ageing process accordingly. The age ‘battlefield’ involves...... a fight for ‘control of its (ie., youth’s) meaning, investments and power’, a fight ‘to articulate and thereby construct its experiences, identities, practices, discourses and social differences’. It is timely to unpack one aspect of this battlefield by examining the shifting discursive formations of ageing masculinities in popular culture.


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count_vronsky
count_vronsky
Thu, Feb. 28th, 2008 05:32 am (UTC)
poop poem for emmy

The Beautiful Bowel Movment

Though most of them aren’t much to write about—
mere squibs and nubs, like half-smoked pale cigars,
the tint and stink recalling Tuesday’s meal,
the texture loose and soon dissolved—this one,
struck off in solitude one afternoon
(that prairie stretch before the late light fails)
with no distinct sensation, sweet or pained,
of special inspiration or release,
was yet a masterpiece: a flawless coil,
unbroken, in the bowl, as if a potter
who worked in this most frail, least grateful clay
had set himself to shape a topaz vase.
O spiral perfection, not seashell nor
stardust, how can I keep you? With this poem.

-Updike


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electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Thu, Feb. 28th, 2008 10:30 am (UTC)
Re: poop poem for emmy

GTFO to James Joyce.


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(Anonymous)
Thu, Feb. 28th, 2008 10:43 am (UTC)

I honestly thought it was your wife...or whatever, the girl who is often pictured with you.


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gubia
gubia
maureen
Sat, Mar. 1st, 2008 09:05 am (UTC)

de venustas nobuko hori

now!


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newterritories
newterritories
Sun, Mar. 2nd, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
HK Bedrooms and Domestic Space

Hello-- I like pictures of creative girls' bedrooms as much as the next creative girl, and Emmy The Great's is certainly cute. But I've got to say I don't really see any visual connection to a typical Hong Kong bedroom or domestic style.
http://flickr.com/photos/emmythegrizzle/2070639853/
1) Too big (even judging by the single wall that seems to extend beyond the edges of the frame!), 2) Riotous plants (rare in HK, especially of the non-lucky bamboo variety), 3) Vintage-seeming patina to the furniture and some objects (instead of everything looking like it was bought at Ikea or Price Rite, or for wealthier girls, G.O.D. or Franc Franc), 4) The large rawly-rendered drawing of a woman's face (not cartoon-cute, or graphic designy-slick), 5) Not enough STUFFF! No plastic/shopping bags stuffed here and there to maximize space, no books stacked beneath the desk, etc.
For a much more typical view of HK interior spaces, check out the great HK artist Warren Leung Chi Wo's series Domestica Invisibile (these photos are not staged in any way).
http://www.leungchiwo.net/domest/4.html
Again, cute bedroom. I wish most HK apartments were this roomy!
- Samantha


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Mar. 3rd, 2008 10:40 am (UTC)
Re: HK Bedrooms and Domestic Space

Interesting points, Samantha -- I might have been more convinced, though, if I hadn't followed the link to Domestica Invisible and found Caroline Chiu's bedroom!


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Jul. 23rd, 2008 01:01 am (UTC)
Wholesome?

She's not all that wholesome:

http://img58.imageshack.us/img58/7241/id10hn5.jpg


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