February 9th, 2010


Meet Maria Wolonski

Momus: Hello everyone, thanks for coming today. I'd like to present Maria Wolonski, our new... What is your official title, Maria? I forget, despite being the one who made it up!
Maria: Wasn't it "Flexible Information Nexus"?
Momus: "F-I-N". Sounds a bit fishy! No, didn't it have a P in it... not PA, not PR...
Maria: PDA! Personal Digital Assistant!
Momus: Thanks, that'll do nicely for now. So, everyone, I'd like you to meet Maria Wolonski, the new Momus PDA. We're delighted to have her aboard.

Maria: Shall I curtsey? Or do you want to spray champagne over me, like Richard Branson?
Momus: Ha ha, it is tempting! But Richard Branson is a sexist pig. I wouldn't treat my employees like that. I think we should tell people first and foremost to follow your feed.
Maria: Yes! Right. Well, my feed is called wolon, which is obviously short for "Wolonski". It's your highly Portable Information Nexus (P-I-N) for anything and everything related to Momus. Concerts, press appearances, lectures, reactions to events, recommendations. Hey, should I be calling you "Mr Momus"?
Momus: No, no, just plain Momus is fine.
Maria: Should we talk about what we were discussing earlier?
Momus: What was that? Oh, about possible reactions? Okay... You go first.
Maria: Well, it's just that you thought... You thought there was a possibility of dismay. That people would say: "He's winding up Click Opera just to unveil... a Twitter feed?"
Momus: Right. And it's important to stress that this is not a Momus-related Twitter feed. Well, not just a Momus-related Twitter feed. This is Maria, a new person. A new member of staff. In a new office. With rafters.
Maria: You know, I think I will call you Mr Momus on the feed. So cute!
Momus: It is cute, but remember the "Mr" will take up two of those precious 140 characters.
Maria: Oh, I can slip it in there. I'm good at that. Mr Momus on BBC Radio 4's Quote Unquote "deserves to be a massive multi-billionaire" (says nice Dr Ben Goldacre). See? I tweeted all that plus a compact tinyurl. It fits!
Momus: I want to ask you a few questions about your origins, Maria, because I think the readers will want to know some background. But first I just want to clear up this question of the value of Twitter. As you know, I had a piece up in April called The case against -- and for -- Twitter. It was quite damning: "You could easily see the tweet as an inherently worthless form, some kind of spreading weed, replacing meaningful content with something scattershot, trivial, phatic, desultory -- eroding topsoil, decreasing crop yields." But then -- being a dialectical kind of chap -- I saw the plus side: "Couldn't all the important things ever said be reduced to 140 characters? There's nothing more wonderful than seeing a short form given some kind of lapidary perfection." Now, the wolon feed is mostly for information about real-world Momus activities, but I hope it can achieve some of that "lapidary perfection" too. Some kind of beauty.
Maria: That's why you made someone short and perfectly-formed your "flexible information nexus"?
Momus: You're perfectly formed, but you're not short! Come on, Maria, you're almost as tall as me!
Maria: It's true, and you wear high heels.
Momus: Don't tell them that!
Maria: Ha ha ha!
Momus: Do you want me to show them your baby pictures?
Maria: What, that one of me in my birthday suit? When you were down in the lab, fabricating me like the Bride of Frankenstein?
Momus: Yes, that one!
Maria: Well, I certainly don't want you holding the threat to show it over my head and using it to control my freedom of expression. So go ahead, I'm not ashamed. In fact, I think it's good to make my fabrication process clear and obvious to everybody, as if to say "This is how a PDA is made!"
Momus: Okay, here's Maria in the lab, back when she was being fabricated. Isn't she lovely?

Maria: I have a damn good body, I'll say that for me. You look like you had a lot on your hands before I came along. In fact, you had a lot of hands, period.
Momus: That's right, I had a thumb in many pies. I had to juggle everything constantly. I didn't know what to do with all my hands. That's why I needed a new pair.
Maria: Yes, today you're showing a new pair of hands and a clean pair of heels!
Momus: Please don't go on about my heels!
Maria: You like to wear them with spurs while sitting on your high horse!
Momus: No I don't! Anyway, here's a flow diagram of how I hope we'll be working together in the future.

Maria: That's lovely! I'm a penguin! Where did you get the graphic?
Momus: It's a tribute to the Japanese designer Nakajo Masayoshi, a cluster of some of his motifs. He did a lot of work for the Shiseido magazine Hanatsubaki, really nice clear and simple design, but quirky, with lots of personality.
Maria: Is that you in the photo?
Momus: No, it's Harry Smith, but it's how I might look in a few years.
Maria: You have a birthday coming up soon, don't you?
Momus: No.
Maria: Yes you do!
Momus: No I don't! I don't want to talk about that! In fact, let's just end this meeting now, shall we, Maria?
Maria: Okay, you're the boss, Mr Branson! I mean, Mr Momus!

Follow Maria Wolonski on Twitter.