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click opera - Having nothing to say, no words but the words of others, I have to speak
February 2010
 
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Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 11:03 am
Having nothing to say, no words but the words of others, I have to speak

I'm looking in the mirror and I have a dog's head. It's a small dog, rather well-groomed, with a bear-like snub nose and golden-brown hair. I have to go somewhere, see an art exhibition in rural Turkey, catch a train to the mountains... Oh, wait, that was a dream. I've woken up. I don't feel so great in the mornings -- a bit stiff. I'll be fine once I have some tea and move around a bit.

I jump up off the futon, leaving Hisae to doze. The rabbit lopes after me, down the corridor -- via the bathroom, where I pee and brush my teeth -- through the living room, into the kitchen.

Fuck, it's still totally white outside. I'm peering short-sightedly out into the courtyard garden as the kettle boils. This winter is just a tedious permatundra, more like Moscow than Berlin. I don't think I can take another like this; subzero, and everything locked under treacherous ice and snow for months. You never want to go out, but then you get cabin fever. Got to move somewhere warmer. Osaka, Athens.

I'm in my pink Habitat dressing-gown, the one I bought at Republique in Paris when I moved back to Europe from Japan in late 2002. Wearing this thick toweled garment, I feel like a prize fighter about to step into the ring. This, if anything, is my blogging garment; my pajamahadeen battle dress. I lie back in the reclining chair that faces my big, bright iMac screen. Check the remote control for the Japanese vibration device built into the chair; no light. The rabbit may have bitten through the power cable again. Fuck! I could do with a bit of a back massage.

After a cup of tea I feel better. Not just because my limbic system is flowing again and my stiff limbs are moving, but because there's a slight tingle of adrenalin now, a mixture of challenge and anxiety. My body is being led by my brain, which feels alert, crisp, purposeful. In a couple of hours I'll publish an illustrated article which people all over the world will be able to read. They'll start commenting on it almost immediately. I'll make the last editorial tweaks, and field the first comments, lying in my bath, reading my iPod Touch.

But first the big question, the Scheherazade question. What to write about? This is the key part of the process. Basically, it's about redemption. I must find something inspiring and exciting in my daily round of webpages, something I want to relay, repackage, expand on, interpret, rail against, connect unexpectedly to something else.

It's a bit like alchemy, turning base metals into gold. I'm actually rather unexcited by most of the stuff I read in the tight circles I make on the web. Let's see, on the Guardian news pages a law lord says the Iraq war was illegal, and British universities are having their budgets cut. You could do a piece on how those connect (Britain spent so much on the war, and later on bailing out the banks, that now they're chopping off bits of the future-national-brain to pay for it), but that way lies a bottomless pit of bitterness.

No, we want something a bit more arty and colourful for our topic. Check the Culture pages. Because when everything else is winter and gloom, culture can be glitter and bloom. Hmm, Gil Scott-Heron's back, and someone's written "an explosive new history of anti-semitism" which "has liberal intellectuals in its sights". 200 comments by lunchtime! But no thank you.

At this point I'm wondering if I have a "stub". A stub is a TextEdit document outlining an idea for a blog piece. It's usually just an URL and a few lines of notes connecting that topic to a photo and a few other topics. I open a folder marked "2010 alias" and arrange the files by type. There's one about Alan McGee closing his Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts ("i got fed up with being in other people's personal real life shite drama's so closed them all down.it feels like freedom", he writes in his MySpace blog). Nah, lay off McGee, let him be free. I shall also be released soon.

There's a stub entitled "Modern Painters mystery" which is about how the art magazine's Wikipedia page mentions nothing about the origins of the much-relaunched title. The Modern Painters disambiguation page says "for the art magazine founded by Peter Fuller...", but the actual page doesn't mention Fuller at all, nor any of the umpteen editors and companies and headquarters the mag has gone through over the last decade. I'm sure there used to be a Wikipedia page mentioning some of these things, and the corporate gloss that now stands in for a proper account of Modern Painters strikes me as a kind of Orwellian propaganda -- the kind of thing Marxy is always complaining about re: the Japanese Wikipedia, in fact.

But no. Bringing Marxy into it would feel terribly 2005, and bashing Modern Painters would feel wrong too, because they covered me at generous length in 2003. Ha, what about a waspish, self-mocking piece saying that every media outlet that covers Momus is doomed to go on the skids shortly afterwards? Then I could say that failing to respond promptly to Tokyo Art Beat's request for a TABuzz feature recently has been my way to spare the troubled website (currently requesting donations) "the curse of Momus"! No, but that's stirring it, and the TABBERS I met in Tokyo this trip were lovely people.

What about a Japan-themed entry? Aha, there is a stub for one of those. It's about Wim Wenders' late-80s film Notebook on Cities and Clothes, which is about Yohji Yamamoto and video imaging technology. I saw it when it came out, and it fits (along with Chris Marker's Sunless and Elizabeth Lennard's documentary on Ryuichi Sakamoto) into a fascinating subgenre of Western takes on late-Showa Tokyo. There's a really interesting sub-theme in Wenders' ruminative, oblique film about peace-as-war. Yamamoto says that commerce has been, post-war, Japan's way of holding its head up in the world, and that it's pursued like a peacetime war effort. Japan doesn't really have that attitude any more, though maybe China does.

Anyway, blogging about that would be a good opportunity to link to Toog's excellent interview with Elizabeth Lennard. God, how I admire Toog's blog! If people should read any blog after mine stops, they should read his. And Toog himself is really an inspiration: the handmade book of poetry he sent me recently, for instance, the one that looks like a passport to higher states. What an elegant project! To take orders for a book of poems then write each one by hand! It's monklike, it's quirkily humourous, it's exactly the kind of stubborn gesture that commands interest and respect in an age where it's far too easy to launch culture electronically.

Speaking of "too many words", I still haven't settled on a topic to blog about. But maybe -- since I've written about trying to find something to write about -- that's no longer necessary. I can just blog about blogging. The medium is, after all, the message.

Remember that piece I wrote, A cup of tea? Mischa Shoni had written asking "Momus, what should I blog about?" It was 2006, and everyone was supposed to blog. So I did an entry saying you could blog interestingly about anything, even a cup of tea. It was one of the first blog entries to use numbered paragraphs, which later became a bit of a Click Opera signature (I later discovered Alain Badiou did the same thing). It made Mischa happy, and got 80 comments.

Well, I don't think I'm going to blog about cups of tea again -- Click Opera ends on Wednesday, and I don't want to repeat myself -- but it might be a good plan to drink one. For some reason Samuel Beckett's line about how "having nothing to say, no words but the words of others, I have to speak" pops into my head. Maybe that would be a good title for today's entry.

I raise my pink-clad body up out of the vibrating, reclining chair (I seem to have spent a big chunk of the last decade cranked back in this "driving seat", facing the big iMac "windscreen") and head for the kitchen. Instead of the wireless mouse, I click the button on the kettle, and soon the fresh water is chuckling to a boil. It's coming up to 11am, time to post. But what'll I use for pictures?

59CommentReplyShare


(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 10:22 am (UTC)

I will definitely miss your blog!!


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rhodri
rhodri
Rhodri Marsden
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 10:26 am (UTC)

Ditto. Why Wednesday in particular? Did I miss a lengthy explanation?


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 11:58 am (UTC)

It ain't over until the fat lady blogs about what she's blogging about!


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 11:58 am (UTC)
comeback

Momus, I was actually thinking about how you might feel due to the fact that you will end your blog and also a part of your daily life in two days! - you might be a little bit nervous, even afraid or just extremely happy to get rid of the hole burden.
You might even regret your decision to stop the blog on Wednesday. But whatever happens, please never make a comeback in some years!!
I personally never liked the idea of a comeback, never in music and especially in sports - what about blogging I ask myself - would I restart following your blog when you would decide to reopen it in lets say 3 years - I hope I would not click through your opera at that time - there is always an end to certain things.

Nevertheless thanks for the last couple of years,
W.


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petit_paradis
petit_paradis
erik
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 12:30 pm (UTC)

after you end the blog you could start blogging about your post-blogging life.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 12:56 pm (UTC)


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slime_slime_sly
slime_slime_sly
slime_slime_sly
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 12:39 pm (UTC)

I've had a lengthy love-hate relationship with your blog since you started it, quitting reading it in periods when i felt the thoughts contained in it were dominating my own too much, becoming a bit of a "blogger groupie" when i first moved to berlin, even having occasional random dreams with you (none of them sexual!) so this going to be a sad goodbye. I was around 21 years old when I started reading you and much of what was said here went way over my head back then, so I didn't dare comment much, but the glimpses of other worlds you offered were always illuminating.
Looking forward to meeting you in Osaka if you move there!


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 12:58 pm (UTC)

Why, are you in Osaka now, Mario?


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 01:38 pm (UTC)

I'm a bit disappointed, Momus. I thought you'd try to do something interesting to end the blog with, working up to a nice bit of intrigue or something. Instead, you've gone into self-reflexive mode, like a sitcom in its last season. You've only got two entries to go, put some thought into it, man!


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 01:43 pm (UTC)

Nick,

You've just had the dubious accolade of being quoted on 'quote unquote' on radio 4!


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 01:45 pm (UTC)
Radio 4

Hey - You just got a mention on radio four gameshow 'Quote, Unquote'
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007lnfq

I co-run a gallery in London also, we're showing Oliver Laric at the moment. You produced a voice over for one of his Versions videos!

http://www.seventeengallery.com/

so... HELLO!

Paul Pieroni
www.ppplondon.com


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 02:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Radio 4

Hello Paul!

A solo London show for Oliver Laric is a good move!

I'm told the quote on BBC R4 is from Ben Goldacre, who's often commented on Click Opera. Not sure which line of mine he quoted, though. Maybe "famous for 15 people"? Have to wait for the Listen Again file to become available.


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parchesss
Parches
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 02:13 pm (UTC)

Momus, have you ever considering publishing an anthology of your best blog posts?


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC)

course he bloomin' has.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 02:35 pm (UTC)

Your last blog entry -- let me write it! Give me your password, let anon do it, that would be subversive! I wanna do it!


E.H.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 02:45 pm (UTC)
You think it's the end?

You think it's the end?

Look at Bowie at Earl's Court during his Ziggy phase - it's just the same. It's a bloomin' publicity stunt, that's what it is.

He's going to pretend to be one of those academic types - you know like when Bowie thought he was a painter.


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 02:51 pm (UTC)
print opera

so it's only two more days left from the click opera countdown. let's take today's comment section to write my personal parting words instead of wednesday's farewell party.
reading your blog was amongst the most enjoyable and inspiring parts of my daily routine during the last years. a click opera thought each day keeps the shrink away. especially in those long days during my bread-winning job at the tv station. i could rely on that i receive my daily dose of fresh thoughts through click opera before lunch break. if work didn't let me dig too deep into the matter, i usually used the office's laser printer quite liberally and transferred the daily post including comments to paper (world climate forgive me!). so i had my click opera moment mostly in the subway, old-fashioned non-screen-reading on my way home, a stack of paper on my knees. that's the reason why i would have been one day behind with my comments. so print outs of click opera are all over our home. your userpic is on the back of shopping lists. cut-up versions of your thoughts will bear a second life on to-do-lists for the next couple of years. my children know your avatars ("dad's pirate friend nick") because since years they do all of their drawings on the back of those printouts. so me and my family will go on living with the paper copies of your livejournal even when it's closed. in this way some of your past thoughts will randomly appear in the future and this might help upon the lack of click opera... anyway, i am sad.
happy birthday in advance, nick.
eRiC, berlin


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 02:56 pm (UTC)

Full bodyのフランスワインがいいかも。繊細さもあるし。


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bikerbar
bikerbar
bikerbar
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 03:09 pm (UTC)

your blog has been a great inspiration for me
sorry to see you go, though it does add to the mystery


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)

Dr Ben's Momus bit on Quote Unquote (mp3, 2.4MB, 3mins 13secs)

Those lyrics, in full:

Seven million people died in the Great War
A bout of influenza quadrupled that score
Why pimp to posterity, why should they admire us?
All the heroes of Valhalla weigh less than a virus

(Morality is Vanity)

And when she left me I felt no jealousy
For company I had this fantasy
I imagined her without me in ecstasy
Alone or amongst women only

(Amongst Women Only)

My sperm is not your enemy
Hold it in your hand
You hold -- you know it's true --
The future of Man!

(My Sperm is not Your Enemy)


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cityramica
cityramica
cityramica
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
tea

golly this showed up in the google alert i have set for my name rather quickly.
i haven't been here in a while, but i'm sad that it will be over.
incidentally, i just started a new blog but i don't want to call it a blog and it is SECRET (in all caps).
<3 nick. you changed my life over the years, for what it's worth.

xo
mischa


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milky_eyes
milky_eyes
milky_eyes
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)

the format though not 'original' highlighted an interaction of different layers quite well.

1) you the task master, would blog almost everyday, flipping through subjects in a mostly but not completely random fashion

2) you supplied many links throughout every post that clearly pointed arrows from your "ego" to the outside world... creating a nice flow and defused a lot of the self important elements that may have otherwise began to develop, and allowed for a lot to ponder as a 'viewer' or commenter.

3) the comments from regular 'personalities' allowed for there to be a familiarity, again not pointing back to you... but shared in a give and take way...

4) the comments by the anons allowed for a darkhorse element, chaos sort of. Never being able to pin a comment on to a specific persona.... pleasent or crude... or sometimes with a name attached... like finding a bottle in the water with a message.

5) you sometimes, and ofter exchanged with the comments... raised your persence but this time, as a commmenter... on behalf of the published post view (either as joker or straight debater)... integateing your idea not as the 'word', but as something worth debating... or even sidetracking completely to a differnt subject that was raised


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)

Well Nick, its been a pleasure. I shall look forward to your return under the essay guise. I'd also like to let you know that my friend Selwyn Harris managed to mention you in his feature piece with Seb Roachford in this months Jazzwise. Keith


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farewellinfinito.blogspot.com
farewellinfinito.blogspot.com
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 08:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you

I'm not good at saying goodbye and I'm really sorry I've never commented on anything. Thank you for keeping me company for so long. Really.

Catarina


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC)

Momus thank you for being you...

i never wanted someone who i never met or spent time with to just leave my life, i know you probably wont do your monthly coloums again becuz you are an innovator and you prove time and time you dont repeat yourself, but its still sad.

momus thanks for like 5 years of thought expansion, music i can listen to whenever that never gets old and for actually teaching me an odd sort of respect for my elders.

its too much, i cant say more, i fucking love you dude....


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(Anonymous)
Mon, Feb. 8th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC)

Nick,
As a longtime undereducated fan and reader, I would appreciate to no end if you kept a simple list of your ongoing book habit on imomus.com. Maybe start it back, year wise, as far as you can remember and then continue on past this.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 9th, 2010 12:37 am (UTC)

It's fate telling you to dump this blogging lark and go write some more good songs like you used to. Blogging has sapped all your energy long enough. I look forward to the post blogging albums. Exclusivity is making a comeback along with some clever songwriting I hope.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 9th, 2010 01:29 am (UTC)

re: your previous berlin rants... i just about broke my wrist falling on the ice and have to add something.

have you noticed the spate of vandalized small businesses in neukoelln, west of hermanstrasse? a turkish owned storefront on the corner of herrfurthstrasse and weisestrasse, one side some kind of investment place run by a man, the other side some kind of party supply store run by his wife (always charming to look into, her side is pink and his is blue). as of 2 days ago the exterior windows are covered in bright red spray paint, poorly rendered anarchy signs, etc. pathetic. it's completely covered and will cost a lot of money to clean up. there's a feeling of kristallnacht about it. these pussy neukoelln anarchists would rather smash up a small business in a poor neighborhood than take a real risk by directly confronting the state.


mieke


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 9th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
a techno-proust

1. entry reads like a techno-proust for some reason (meant as a compliment)

2. why don't you guys take your baths in the evenings, in the proper japanese style?

3. your achievements here are indeed legendary and of great importance in the history of the internet. please keep at least to your old imomus style of occasional essays so everyone can stay tuned to what you're up to...


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 9th, 2010 03:48 am (UTC)

though I'll miss your daily writing, I am happy that you decided to stop it and focus on something else.
I feel that this era of blogging and social networking dissolved all of us in a big tepid soup ( can I use tepid ?) where everything is vaguely connected and similar.
It's time to escape the soup !
Now I am sure you won't be like a past Momus from 98 or even 88, but you will find stuff to surprise your public and keep it addicted to your work.

Gambatte Kudasai.

Florian Perret.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Feb. 9th, 2010 09:33 am (UTC)
Interests

Momus,
since you have plenty of time after Wednesday, and as a small return for the hundreds of inspirations you were sending out generously, there is a nice opening of a show in a Berlin based Gallery this Saturday 13.02.2010. The work is basically about "your" topics (Japan/Architecture/Art). I already saw the exhibition in Vienna and liked it a lot:
http://www.galeriekrobath.at/archiv/08-09-2009_g/

Enjoy your future life,
W.


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(Anonymous)
Wed, Apr. 21st, 2010 12:28 pm (UTC)

Please please please come back

-A


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ztz42
ztz42
ztz42
Tue, Feb. 5th, 2013 01:29 am (UTC)
My reply

Also I raise my pink-clad body up out of the vibrating, reclining chair too.
And I wrote it in Poodle Elthon Fiery Dance


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