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Clickswansong - click opera Page 3
February 2010
 
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Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 12:36 pm
Clickswansong

In the middle of an interview (in French!) for culturemag Chronic'art in Paris last week, I found myself -- without really planning to -- dropping a bombshell "exclusive" (which, of course, this entry is now de-exclusivising). I told Olivier Lamm (whose own player_pianoblog is pretty great) that I would end Click Opera on the eve of my 50th birthday, in other words on February 10th, 2010. Unless something fairly radical happens to change my mind, that's the plan. From now until February will, therefore, be the last few months of Click Opera.

Now, most people, when they end a blog, just publish less on it and migrate slowly to Twitter and Facebook, or wherever. But I wanted to make a bit of a dramatic fanfare about this, because I think it'll make for a more interesting and dramatic final few months. It's not so much that I want to hear people wailing and gnashing their teeth and begging me to change my mind, as that this might prompt me to cover new topics or try new things in the final days. Instead of seeing readers ebb away slowly, we might even see an increase, a final rally, and a new tone of mutual appreciation and love here.

The last days of Click Opera will feature a trip to Japan, since I'll spend much of December and some of January there. And that's nice, because Click Opera has been about Japan quite a bit, of course, during its six year existence. Posted on Friday the 16th of January 2004, the very first Click Opera entry (now sadly bare of pictures) celebrates now-defunct Japanese magazine site Magazo, and picks six of my favourite Japanese magazines. Only two of them are still in print.



That first entry received just three comments. The first was from me, and said: "First. This is the first entry in Click Opera, the record of the clicks Momus is making as he operates his iBook on a daily basis." To which an Anon signing him/herself as Zachary Daiquiri, Esq, replied: "Can I assume this will be a delightful journey, exploring everything this side of Erasure?" And a LiveJournalist known as improvduck (whose journal has now been deleted and purged) added: "I was wondering when Momus would invade LiveJournal! I'm a very young admirer." Ah, very bliss was it in that early dawn to be alive, to stretch and see for the first time the strange sun of a new planet!

So why am I ending Click Opera? There are lots of reasons. We're coming to the end of a decade, and I've seriously spent about three solid years out of the ten generating copy and fielding comments on this blog. I had a great time doing it, but what it meant was that, after a fairly nomadic and adventurous first three or four years, the decade saw me mostly rooted to a chair in front of a screen. Because I don't do things by half measures, I became pretty much a full-time blogger, and the ugly word was even added to my name: I became "Nick Currie, blogger..." (writer, artist and musician followed somewhere behind that froggy word).



Now, lots of good things came out of blogging. I had an exciting reason to get up in the morning. I managed to sift and panhandle the web and find things of value, things that reminded me why it was good to be alive. Click Opera gathered an exceptionally intelligent, forthright and challenging group of readers with whom it was a joy to chat and even to spar. I learned an enormous amount, daily, from these people. From you. And I never banned the Anonymae, because you can't learn anything without being challenged.

Click Opera got me into surveys of the world's best blogs, and landed me commentary jobs with Wired and The New York Times, Frieze and Art in America. In other words, although Click Opera itself didn't pay me a dime (it even cost me money to host), it did lead to remuneration in all sorts of fairly direct ways. And yet none of the paid blogging work I did had the same vitality, the same zing. My writing elsewhere, for money, with editors, with adverts, usually bored and disgusted me. And it usually got, you know, three comments. Something died when I tried to do for money what I wanted to do for love.

So why end it? Why why why?



Because the LiveJournal platform I'm using is being wound down (it has a skeleton staff of 8 right now, I'm told). Because there's a kind of tumbleweed feel to my Friends List these days, as people migrate to Twitter (and "ship" their inconsequential tweets back to the old haunt as if to place a big "Nothing to see here folks!" sign over both locations) or Facebook. Because I don't feel that blogging either can or should be as big a part of the next decade as it has been of this one. Because I wonder what would happen if I put the energy I pour daily into this blog (and I've established a great working routine!) into something like a book, or something else. Because I think it's good to force yourself to change, just for the sake of change. Because I don't want to be a fifty year old man whose life revolves around a blog. Because I don't like some of the conflicts Click Opera has engendered, the hurtful battles that spiralled out of control when I crossed swords with people like Marxy, Alan McGee, or the ILX messageboard. Because I've probably said everything I have to say about my opinions and worldview, on a certain level (which isn't to say that the positions I've adopted have won or been accepted; many will never be). Because switching to another medium (fiction, for example) will be a way for me to put those views and hunches and feelings into new and fresh relationships with each other. Because it is possible to over-expose yourself, and popping up somewhere on the internet every single day is definitely one way to do that. Because I now have other forms of visibility: lectures, panel appearances, conferences, interviews in the press, performance art interventions, concerts, columns, books, records, journalism; enough to satisfy even the most rabid attention-hound.

Because (new paragraph) I don't like the chain letter pressure to come up with something interesting every day, or the way that a couple of missed entries lead to a whole week in which nothing happens, and how I care about that and battle to bring the ratings back up. Okay, I've cited this before as a plus, calling it the Scheherazade Challenge, but look at poor Scheherazade's motives for inventing a new tale every day: all the king's other wives were killed. Is that the kind of pressure I want in my life? Have I considered gardening as a hobby?



What will I do instead of Click Opera? Well, I don't know. Something will replace it, but I don't know what that is at the moment. I'm thinking about going back to my Daily Photos and monthly essays (with their superior art direction and total lack of comment facilities) on the website I maintained from 1995 to 2003, imomus.com. There was something rather magical about just issuing these non-reality-adjusted statements, accompanied by immaculate visuals, whenever good ideas occurred to me. Sure, Click Opera has been a sort of karate course, and its comment facility has taught me to be more dialectical and -- above all -- the skill set of prolepsis, of anticipating reader objections. But is a more moderate, accessible and dialectical me really what the world needs? Doesn't the world need an immoderate, outrageous and concentrated me, just laying out things that only I could think, no matter how wrong they may be?

So let's see what emerges, come February. Someone so ADD-ish, novelty-crazed and restlesslessly intellectually curious, someone who loves the internet as much as I do, will no doubt not be difficult to locate on the web. But who knows, perhaps I'll start a new blog and not tell anyone who or where it is, and just see if I can hide there, doing something a bit different, waiting to be outed.

I look forward to spending more time with my family. Wait! Hell! You people are my family! I look forward to spending less time with you, then. Let's see what it feels like. And let's enjoy these last four months to the very hilt, like a beautiful click-aria at the end of a beautiful click opera.

138CommentReply


(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)

As skittish as I am about an unqualified statement, this has been my favorite blog. Given the reasons you mentioned, it seems like a smart thing to end it. Thanks and good luck.

-Jace


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jdcasten
J.D. Casten
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 03:40 pm (UTC)
Looking Back

Looking forward to the next four months and what comes next.



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tropigalia
tropigalia
Dewy-Eyed Disney Bride
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC)

it was a goddamned crazy ride


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)

You shouldn't have announced it, that takes the trip-reset surprise out of the ocd suicide. Everyone's got an opinion & you've just read mine...you can erase my comment if want to see what it feels like Nick before you quit this thing. I'll even keep it anon; sort of.
-John Flesh


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
For all those years of freshness.

Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge and time. I've learned much reading click opera. I've always felt that you were strongest as a writer, a tale spinner, and the new books and possibility of more to come excite me very much.

Ryan Sullivan


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)

it was never the same after twit opera finished.


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vertigoranger
vertigoranger
VERTIGORANGER.REKAY
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)

That's sort of true. A coincidence I guess.

I've been reading you since before there was an imomus LJ too, and so will look forward to whatever you do in the future. Thanks, Nick. it's been educational.


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mitchco
 
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)

Your reasons are all very, well, reasonable, but like others, I must say I will miss Click Opera. I've been reading for about five years, during which time your blog has provided inspiration in the form of vicarious living (oh, the midwestern american winters that I've weathered reading and dreaming about your life elsewhere), and also in the form of intellectual sustenance and challenge. Now that you're taking leave, I suppose that I'll have to be less lazy and go forth and attempt to find these things on my own. It won't be quite the same, however-- thank you, Nick, you've been a marvelous tour guide, unreliable and otherwise.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC)
End of a decade

I'll miss it, but I understand why C O has to end. Funny, '89 saw your Cherry Red companions Felt call it a day too, I'll therefore I must shed a tear for C O like it did Felt's passing. C O is dead long live C O! x


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pay_option07
pay_option07
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 05:12 pm (UTC)
my family

It's an emotional security blanket and got me out of whatever. You are always there Nic, steady and even tempered however hot ,the insanity became.
Looking forward to the next few months.

Maybe you can draw a few parallels between the art interpretations from the republics and the socialist camps as viewed by different nations.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)

I predict that Momus will continue the blog, but scale it down to photos of carnivorous plants from the Pinebarrens, which he will explore on Johnny Depp's dime.


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parchesss
Parches
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)

This might be my first non-anonymous entry, but I've been reading this blog every day since I discovered your music back in March and enjoyed it tremendously. I spent two months almost exclusively listening to your music (and looking for it around the world, as you might remember), reading your online work, and discussing you with my friends.

I can honestly and without exaggeration (though not without a little corniness) say that your work has changed my life, and I have no doubt that whichever medium you choose to migrate to, it will be profoundly nourishing to take in your work.

Thank you.


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mananath
mananath
mananath
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)

what's with the antarctica photo on the lower, lower, right corner?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)

I don't know, I was just collecting interesting pictures of huts and mobile residential vehicles at that point, preferably featuring dots of red in the picture. Such is the visual logic of imomus.com. It's rather less rational, rather more intuitive, and prefers to intrigue than to explain.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)

In the time left please could you run another "Click Opera Selects The Greatest Cultural Figure!"?


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milky_eyes
milky_eyes
milky_eyes
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 06:01 pm (UTC)

well, good luck mr. famous!

Its a cold world out there, dont forget the ones that made you who you are... and remember to write home once and a while... even just to say hi... for old times sake.

remember to be polite, and dont let your new found acceptance influence your thinking. Always stick to your guns and trust yourself. If someone in the real world gives you a hard time, and is offering you money for something you know isnt right, move on...


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farblust
farblust
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)

Hello Mr Currie,
I am ever so grateful for all the efforts you poured into sharing life-affirming things with us all. My arc of knowledge has been broadened so much all these years. I also have to thank you for showing me the depth and diversity of Western culture and for showing your perspective on Japanese culture. The way and focus you look at Japan is starkly different from how I have seen it from Hong Kong.

I will enjoy the rest of the 4 months, and I hope you will produce interesting projects in the future.


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diggets
diggets
diggets
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)

Nick,

Love the blog -- it's all that brings me to LiveJournal these days. And for what it's worth, I'd love to read a book by you. Fashion-Art-Politics-Design-Architecture-Music?

Make sure to harvest your LiveJournal posts before you leave! Lots of good stuff here.

Change is good.


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