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Everything you know isn't a panda - click opera
February 2010
 
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Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 12:28 pm
Everything you know isn't a panda

A new decade is a time in which to declare "everything you know is wrong". A fresh decade is a time to jettison secure old knowledge and grope around for new. Since a new decade is just around the corner, let's start groping now.

Forget the places you've been going on holiday, and go on holiday instead to Beirut.

Do not expect to learn about the world through journalists.

Any Obama backlash will simply help usher in someone worse. Skip it.

Your mother holds a key piece of information, essential to your happiness. All you have to do is ask her the right question.

Blogs you check habitually are the wrong ones because they tell you nothing new. Try switching to Letters of Note, correspondence deserving of a wider audience. Certainly, the letters collected here are from the past. But they very readily suggest parallel futures -- for instance, a future in which Andy Warhol isn't famous.

You've been trained to talk about "sexualisation" without paying due attention to the fact that God and Freud (possibly the same person, long grey beard, knows everything) made us sexual from birth.

The everyday contains everything you need for a religion.

Stop expecting new musician Y to be "the new musician X". And stop expecting old musician X to be the new musician X.

You have been underestimating the colour yellow.

Conspiracy theories waste your time. It's all a big conspiracy.

Your body will thank you for using a bicycle every day during the new decade. Using bicycles will become a condition of using computers successfully too: the correspondence between them will become clearer over time.

The teens are destined to be the decade in which we'll finally stop wearing jeans. It'll be a slow sputtering process, but why wait? Ban the jean from your wardrobe starting January 1st by this simple rule: each time you find yourself reaching for jeans, reach for hose instead.

You thought a new decade was a blank slate. It's not; it's a rebellion.

Drums are finished. Except for kettledrums and gongs.

You know too much about LA and not enough about Laos. On the internet and in "the real world" you're consistently looking in the wrong places for inspiration. Why is that? Partly it's because the things that could really change you make you scared.

This is the decade in which you will finally make the switch from quantity to value. One ramification: you will move from an expensive place where you have to do a lot of meaningless work just to exist to a cheap place where you can exist easily and can therefore afford to dedicate yourself to work that really means something to you.

The penny finally drops: people who drive cars just end up seeing a lot of roads.

You have not been eating enough mushrooms.

No computer game beats computer chess.

Your enemies are your best teachers.

Watch Indian TV.

No previous decades are to be revived this decade. Make a little more effort with the shapes of things, please.

Cognition, not recognition.

Pretend to be older than you are, not younger.

Everything you once fried, you will now begin to bake.

Read the Mahabarata, watch the 1988 TV series...



...or seek out the Peter Brook theatre production on DVD.

You will probably be happier amongst people who think as you do, but they might be located on the other side of the world.

You will probably be happier amongst people who think as you do, but you might have to make them with your body.

You will probably be happier amongst people who think as you do. They are hidden next door, but to befriend them you will have to learn a new language.

You will probably be happier amongst people who do not think as you do.

Nothing could be better than a market at 5am, but to experience it you will have to get up earlier and brave the cold.

Learn to make things with wood.

The person who perfects seawater desalination will become rich beyond the dreams of kings. Why not make that person you?

Everything you know is right, but that was then and this is now.

Wherever you plan to go, go next door instead.

Eat more fish, and breed more fish.

64CommentReplyShare


(Anonymous)
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 11:42 am (UTC)

"The penny finally drops: people who drive cars just end up seeing a lot of roads."

Thanks for your thoughts. Reminds me of skimming through Book of Scotlands and discovering it's a collection of ideas rather than an examination of how to change Scotland for the better.

For me, the teens will be the decade of love, after ten short years of not having felt anything. I will make the teens last forever.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 12:05 pm (UTC)

Well, we've established that we're going to call it "the teens". That's something!


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC)

More on the race to achieve cost-effective desalination


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 12:47 pm (UTC)

never think you're smart enough to understand what's happening.


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supaa_rabbito
supaa_rabbito
-かた-~(´□`)~
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 12:47 pm (UTC)

These are so great.
I've been trying to ban jeans among my classmates, but laziness is such a disease right now (in them).


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bluesman
bluesman
Two-Dog
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 01:08 pm (UTC)

I agree with you about jeans. I'm tired of wearing someone else's uniform - also, even the baggy type tends to constrict my nadgers.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 01:15 pm (UTC)

To be perfectly honest, I think it'll take two or three more decades for jeans to fade out completely. People move agonisingly slowly, and things which should be measured in decades are measured in generations. This is because, for the most part, people would rather die than change their ways.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)

So...this is the decade where we all turn into Momus in the 00s?


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parallel_botany
parallel_botany
Doña Nadie
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 01:26 pm (UTC)

Chinese restaurants in Germany have much better fortune cookies than Chinese restaurants in the States, if this article is any indication.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)

Ha ha ha!

Back-handed compliments are back!


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The Jean Genie - (Anonymous) Expand

(Anonymous)
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 01:58 pm (UTC)

Why does "jettison the old, in with the new" sound like robotic statement to make?

Victorian moralism is no longer what the young need to fight, it is the tyranny of parents who have seen it all before, but never seem to leave them alone.

The way to avoid an Obama or Blair backlash is to not get sidetracked by representatives in the first place. Speak your own mind instead. Yes, you can.

The magazine timescale died with magazines. Decades are replaced by nows and eternities.


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st_ranger
st_ranger
Palimpsests of a Secret Whistler
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 09:43 pm (UTC)

Agreed. If we're going to jettison the old, why can't we start with the people?


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand


(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand

pay_option07
pay_option07
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 02:27 pm (UTC)
do not think to make things meaningless

Eat more fish, and breed more fish.

My pet Garibaldi in the pic above doesn't want me to eat him though,
he has hinted to me about bumping off his wife.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 02:40 pm (UTC)
Re: do not think to make things meaningless

Fischcessory to fischmorder!


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 02:32 pm (UTC)

This reminds me of the "Fresh" essay from 1999 or so. Awesome stuff.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)

I know people who already live their lives like this or will be doing it in the "teens" (notice how we're struggling with phrases for the '00 and '10 decades despite them having come and gone thousands of times before - but we just weren't thinking that way or using language in the same way).
The problem is that the people who already live like this don't use maxims or analyze their lives in this way and I'd argue that the moment they'd start thinking like this - they'd stop living like this.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)

Did you do a 1999 essay on the coming decade? If so what did it say? If not, can you remember what you thought the noughties would be like?


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)

I wrote an essay entitled Goodbye C20, Hello C21!. In it I made a few statements and predictions, personal and public, about what I thought the new decade (and century) would be about:

The Modernists, those fantastic risk-takers and rule-breakers...Good morning Arnold, good morning Pablo! Welcome to the 21st Century. It's a place where you are still important.
I think this proved right. The worlds of art and architecture have rediscovered Modernism in a big way in the last ten years. A return to Modernism has featured in Altermodernism, or whatever we're calling "the thing that comes after Postmodernism".

I have some personal ambitions for C21. I want to live in New York and be a British dandy in the manner of the late, great Quentin Crisp.
I actually moved to New York a couple of months later, and lived there for two years. Left for Tokyo after 9/11, then spent most of the decade in Berlin. Towards the end of the decade The Guardian said I was shaping up to be Ivor Cutler, not Quentin Crisp.

I want to travel a lot in the Third World, because whenever I see places like India or, I don't know, Syria on TV I find them beautiful and exciting to look at.
Still feel this way, but haven't been there yet. An aspiration for the teens, then.

I want to create more elaborate worlds than I've already done in Momus records, in music but also in interactive multimedia or even books.
Apart from interactive multimedia, I think I achieved both of these ambitions.

I want to construct a baroque postmodernist castle above the clouds somewhere and live in it surrounded by delicate oriental girls. And make babies. I want to live in surroundings of chipboard, transparent plastic, fluorescent light, LCD projections and flat plasma screens. I want to wear ludicrously bright clothes with data conduits sewn into them by lower east side jewish tailors. And I want there to be great art, musicians and multimedia people and dancers and artists who astonish me and tempt me to copy them.
Didn't make babies, didn't live in a "baroque postmodern castle above the clouds", but was surrounded by delicate oriental girls. Chipboard, transparent plastic, fluorescent light, LCD projections were supplied in large quantities by the art world, which I moved closer to. Bright clothes, not so much. Data conduits -- was this a prediction of the iPod Touch, without which I am never seen? As for great art, musicians, etc, Berlin did supply a pretty impressive environment for this, backed up by annual stays in New York.

In fact, I want C21 to be nothing less than a second renaissance. I want cars and cigarettes out of the picture
Car companies fell like flies, and cigarette smokers were banished from public places, so this stuff did pretty much happen, though cars are going to take longer to oust.

and I want the polar ice caps saved.
That didn't happen; they melted even more quickly than people were predicting.

I want everybody to upload as much as they download on the internet (that's the new moral imperative).
Web 2.0, with its easy-upload buttons, really brought that a lot closer than it was in 1999.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
mandyrose
mandyrose
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Hello

Hi, Momus.

I'm already doing most of this stuff except for the jeans. Fuck it I'll wear what I want. Haha.

I will say that you photgraph of Laos? If that's what it is? Has a prominent Ailanthus tree, also known as Tree-of-Heaven, in it. This is an aggressive alien that takes over huge areas and kills native vegetation. I think one of the trends in the future will be less traveling, once we figure out that bilgewater and seeds really don't need to be circulated willy-nilly, and once we figure out that reestablishing psychic bonds between intimates in our lives and inside of our own selves is more useful.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 07:12 pm (UTC)

ITS LIKE CAPITALISM AND COMMUNISM HAVING SEX, with lots of sperm on the face


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eptified
eptified
H. Duck
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 07:26 pm (UTC)

"you will move from an expensive place where you have to do a lot of meaningless work just to exist to a cheap place where you can exist easily and can therefore afford to dedicate yourself to work that really means something to you"

Yes I will.


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)

Right On Nick! This is a page I like to share the words with.
-John Flesh


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(Anonymous)
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)

"I want to create more elaborate worlds than I've already done in Momus records, in music but also in interactive multimedia or even books. I want to be a sort of Scheherezade or Baron Munchausen of the information age. I want to construct a baroque postmodernist castle above the clouds somewhere and live in it surrounded by delicate oriental girls. "

Isn't this a sort of mission statement for Click Opera (expanding 'interactive media' to include blogs?). It's a pretty elaborate Momus-world we've been immersed in for half the noughties.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)

What a nice thought! Yes, I suppose a blog is "interactive multimedia" when it's got video and music and comments on it.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 03:03 am (UTC)

C'est absolument ce qu'il fallait que je lise aujourd'hui. Merci!


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 09:05 am (UTC)
Jean Genet

Hello Nick, DW here. There is something comfortable-in-one's-own-skin about occasional jeans-wearing, so long as it is not chronic. Consider 70s Warhol. It was the post-orgasm of his creativity, and the frequent visage of his jeans-wearing during this time, in Montauk or Manhattan, is pleasantly incongruous with what is expected of him. Similarly, when David Bowie appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to debut "Ashes to Ashes," his jeans-wearing seemed intended to short-circuit viewers expecting to see something overtly other; it was a freshly post-Berlin Bowie evoking Dean, baffling enough for Carson to hedge after the performance and decide not to invite Bowie to be interviewed. In the case of Burroughs, daily jeans-wearing in Lawrence Kansas appeared to have a philosophical basis -- the best way to subvert and survive is to superficially blend in with one's environment. In each example is an element of healthy sarcasm in the jeans. Genet wore jeans on occasion as well, though for some reason Sartre demured. No, wait, I do remember seeing pictures of Sartre wearing jeans in the 70s.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 09:36 am (UTC)
Re: Jean Genet

Having just looked at the Jonny Carson Ashes to Ashes on YouTube, I have to say David's sporting a pretty awful look there...


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 09:23 am (UTC)
predictable gratuitous american jeans rant

What is so dull and terrible about jeans? Their inherent Americana? Ties, khakis, English dressing, traditional garb--American jeans are just another facet of this style of dressing, though less exclusive. English formalism was to be out with the punks, but such a dismissal made it all the more appealing. Now Savile Row retro fetishism is rampant in a casual global culture that hardly calls for cufflinks or pocket squares.

A brilliant invention and a hateful texture, denim is a thing to be slowly attacked, worn in. Everyman couture will not cease to hold appeal, and jeans combine the French with the American. Worn denim is the luxury item of the worker stranded in capitalist scarcity, is blandly potent, constrains the body erotically, and will therefore stay around probably indefinitely, unless jeans are shown to cause cancer, and even then....they remain as old guard cool and stupid as the cigarettes and cars you so despise. I predict with the fall of America such things will only be seen as more fascinating, as the teens progress. What nation invented the very concept of "teen?" Here's hoping "the teens" have nothing to do with teenage dreaming, but the noughties certainly amounted to a lot of nothing. Indeed, let's all pretend to be older this time around, if not wiser. Why not pretend to be children, full of awe, instead of adolescents?

It is already common in the fashion world to wear jeans ironically, to layer them beneath skirts, or over more creative garments. They are no more or less threatening or constricting than an overcoat, or any other tailored garment with a visible statement of purpose. Sure, it would be better to all wear saris and beautiful yards of scarves, but there's an Isadora Duncan for every garment. Abolish the bra! Forget underwear at all. Jeans worn straight--forget it. But queer denim makes perfect sense, and I don't mean "premium" or selvedge.

Quentin Crisp...really? Now if he said not to wear jeans, then people should listen.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 12:35 pm (UTC)
Re: predictable gratuitous american jeans rant

Any single trouser style which "might endure indefinitely" and is taken to be "universal" (a kind of pensee unique amongst garments) needs to be opposed vigorously on principle.

Edited at 2009-11-09 12:36 pm (UTC)


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 09:50 am (UTC)

My Momus predictions for the teens:

1. The music will fade away. You may do a couple more Joemus-like collaborations, you'll do guest vocals on other people's albums, but you won't do more than one more solo album. You'll continue to perform your music for another five years or so, but in the end that too will fade away, replaced by readings, performance art pieces etc.

2. The teens is the decade when you will finally start looking and feeling old. Your hair will finally go. One of your parents will die. You'll lose interest in what twentysomethings are wearing or listening to. You'll embrace being old. Your inner Ivor Cutler will emerge.

3. There will be a crisis with Hisae. As she hits her mid-thirties, she'll realise she desperately wants a child. Despite her reservations about hafus, she'll want a child with you. She'll also want to go and live in Japan.

4. You'll publish several books - more novels, and perhaps some polemical non-fiction. You'll also get interested in film - either writing screenplays or fronting documentaries.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 12:12 pm (UTC)

I'd love to go with you to your local Turkish market, cafe, imbiss, or other meeting place -because as we're constantly reminded, you're down with Berlin's largest immigrant group- and listen to you explain to them, in Turkish or German obviously, the error of jeans.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 12:25 pm (UTC)

Do you think they might rough me up for that, then, anon, or is that just a bit of feckless Web 2.0 passive aggressive projection on your part? You know, muslims as Web 2.0 hooligans ever ready to beat up people you personally disagree with on Web 2.0 opinion platforms? What a glorious straw man destiny!


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
tyrsalvia
tyrsalvia
Autumn, Suburban Machiavelli
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)

Added to my "Best of 2009?" memories. I adore (most of) these.


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beverlyhillscop
Andrew
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC)

I feel compelled to respond and criticise many of these statements as being counter-productive, offensive, or just plain ignorant. The thing is - you know what's wrong with what you've written, but you published it anyway. It annoys me that you play the advocate, and people actually take it seriously. Don't get me wrong, I've always enjoyed your thought-provoking writing, Nick. This post just bothered me.

Andrew


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)

I would like to apologise to the colour blue for "you have been underestimating the colour yellow". Oh, and for the zing about blue jeans. No slight intended, blue.


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