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Outlandish! - click opera
February 2010
 
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Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 10:07 am
Outlandish!

The true eccentric never believes herself to be so; all she sees is that other people seem increasingly bland, and have a tendency to brand her in increasingly exaggerated, lurid ways. The same day I was berating the world for wearing jeans, the London Evening Standard's free commuter paper London Lite ran a review of my Thursday night show at the Spitz which, while essentially positive, painted a rather frightening picture of a person way out on the margins of society, flirting with madness.



For reviewer Joe Muggs, my performance was "tiring, even uncomfortably close to insane". "Scotsman-turned-world-citizen Nick Currie - aka Momus - took the stage in pyjamalike suit, ludicrous Beatle-wig and his trademark eyepatch, with only a laptop for accompaniment," Muggs wrote, mentioning my "mind-boggling" blog and "unashamed wonkiness". The headline to the piece ran "Mad Momus is an inspiration".

"You do look pretty close to madness!" commented my mother, who famously refuses to walk down the street with me these days, afraid that people may throw a straitjacket around her. "Glad they are saying some good things though."

At the Tate Gallery last night the "uncomfortably close to insane" line was running through my head as I lay face down on a table in the august and imposing Room 9 of Tate Britain, filled with heroic Victorian military and naval scenes, early Turners, and a screen showing scenes from "Funky Forest". My hands, bound at the wrists by invisible ropes, twitched violently as I simulated being anally raped by an invisible medieval knight. In my mind it was perfectly clear that I was playing The Lady of Shalott, and that exactly such scenes could well appear in any one of the paintings hanging on the walls nearby. Early Momus songs were inspired by exactly the kind of perversity I'd see in paintings at the Tate and the National Gallery.

Apparently when No Bra played this same room, the sudden appearance of Suzanne's breasts almost made the organizers halt the performance -- again despite the fact that many of the paintings and sculptures nearby featured scenes of bare-breasted women. The Tate also requested the artists performing to "please decline from using any pornographic or violent video footage within their performence". I immediately cancelled plans to show images of The Rape of the Sabine Women and Judith with the Head of Holofernes, or make any reference to The Bible or, indeed, the new Stephen Fry comedy series, the trailer for which features a parrot shouting "Fuck me! Fuck me! Come on my tits!"

A great range of normal human behaviour veers "uncomfortably close to insanity"; even the most eccentric or extreme art doesn't show the half of it. Still, I'm grateful to the Tate (in the shape of funky culturepreneurs Adrian Shaw and Dexter Bentley) for letting me perform under the paintings. You can also hear me today live in session on Hello Goodbye, Dexter's show on Resonance FM, between noon and 1.30pm UK time. The webstream is here. I promise not to sing any rude words or be at all mind-bogglingly mad in the interview.

54CommentReply


(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 10:17 am (UTC)
evening standard are renowned for their insight into things cultural

as far as im concerned the show on thursday was uncomfortably close to fantastic, wigs'n'tits'n'all :)


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jermynsavile
jermynsavile
jermynsavile
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 10:59 am (UTC)

The QI advert has been around for a while now, and in true viral fashion seems to have developed a life of it's own on YouTube etc. It's a great advertisement - in fact it's a great and illuminating piece of social comedy too.


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charleshatcher
charleshatcher
charleshatcher
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 06:42 pm (UTC)


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ishinagami
ishinagami
Isaac Fischer
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 11:01 am (UTC)

Its those eccentric things thats what i like about you Momus. You'd be boring without them or worse like every other artist which would completely destroy what makes your music appealing to me.

Best of luck, keep being insane.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 12:04 pm (UTC)
The Wonkiness Of Momus

The London Lite review when read in full is actually quite complimentary, it's better to see you be applauded for supposed eccentricity (however misappropriated) than to see you being perceived as a rebellious-in-a-conformist-way pop/rock icon. Eccentricity by dint of it's leitmotif of being true to oneself is healthier mental behaviour than conformity with it's central tenet of suppression of expression in favour of bland acceptance. Tell your Mum to hold back on the straitjacket bearers until you don those Levi 501s!
Thomas S.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 12:05 pm (UTC)

Apparently when No Bra played this same room, the sudden appearance of Suzanne's breasts almost made the organizers halt the performance

Overhead:

"This appears to be getting out of hand. We could have our 2008 funding compromised. And the repercussions if the press get hold of this...shall I pull the show, sir?"

"Hmmm....no...no...let her continue..."


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 12:09 pm (UTC)

A case of 'Carry On Up The Tate' then.
Thomas S.


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qscrisp
qscrisp
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 12:23 pm (UTC)

I don't think you're mad. I don't know if that's at all reassuring coming from me.

I did take some photos at the Tate gig, too, but they were, without exception, very blurry. I might upload them, anyway.

Nice version of The Rape of Lucretia I just heard there on the radio.


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beketaten
beketaten
Juliet
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 02:09 pm (UTC)

Hah. People don't have the slightest bit of imagination when it comes to other people doing things they might not necessarily have thought of--it's like "Oops...Here comes the crazy train. I'd better call it crazy just so other people can hear me saying so."
~*~*~*~
Whilst I do realize that the true eccentric doesn't do things mearly to be strange, but rather out of a true sense of calling, I do understand why other people can call people like us clickOpera-ers (for lack of a better noun) "eccentric" or "nuts" etc. But like the true "eccentric" I am, I dismiss such accusations.
w00t w00t.

And for the record, I think simulated anal rape and things like parrots saying "fuck me! come on my tits!" are perfectly in keeping with and sane in light of today's social scene.

Kudos, Mo-Man.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)

Talking shite as usual, but then that's "perfectly in keeping with and sane in light of today's social scene".
mixu62


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 02:25 pm (UTC)

Funny this, coming from a modern art museum whose artists on display (in some cases) resemble No Bra, in that they hang their reputations not on the beauty of their work, but on its simple shocking and transgressive presentation.


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qscrisp
qscrisp
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC)

Here's one from the Tate Britain gig:



Here's the album:

http://my.opera.com/quentinscrisp/albums/show.dml?id=184621

Sorry it's so blurry. I blame the camera.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 04:36 pm (UTC)

your just too crazy for me momus.

get over yourself


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beketaten
beketaten
Juliet
Sun, Jan. 7th, 2007 02:38 am (UTC)

Who says he's self-obsessed?
There are so many things wrong with what you just attempted (and failed) to imply that I'm quite sure further comment will be wasted on your knee-jerk, self-righteous catcalls of "craziness".

In discussions such as these, you = fail. Clearly. Get over YOURSELF and the "cleverness" of the brevity of a comment like this.


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eptified
eptified
H. Duck
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 05:11 pm (UTC)

I don't think madness was the right word for it.. "dementia" might be closer. (A combover? Really?) But it's wonderful to see people who are wrapped up in normative values colliding with you and coming away asking questions.

Did you hear the 'band' that opened the show? You could expend some of the bile you inflict on harmless denims on far more deserving targets, y'know. Charlatanry..

Ah well. Are you planning to post the remix of Summerholiday1999? Cause that was bitchin' poignant.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
Eyepatch & Lyrics

The most interesting thing for me was the you were reading your own lyrics off your iBook. This shows that you don't know your own work very well... and for those watching carefully, it showed that your had moved aside your eyepatch a little to be able to see the lyrics better. As I imagined - the eyepatch is just an affectation and you can see perfectly well.


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(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Eyepatch & Lyrics

Mark Smith does that - comes onstage with a carrier full of lyrics, and can spend most of the song looking for the right one - and he's a genius.

I always enjoy your dancing and miming. I especially liked the mime for 7th Wife at the ICA, when you pretended to play a keyboard: but now I see you with a huge silver cloak. Which shows that the mime was effective.


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charleshatcher
charleshatcher
charleshatcher
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 05:45 pm (UTC)

I'm uncomfortable with this idea that there is an authenticity to eccentricity. It's so v. rockist, and like everything rockist, it's really just rather silly.


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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand





ex_mimic736
THE MMCSIS
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)
RESONANCE FM = JOHNY BROWN!!!!!!!!!

JOHNY BROWN FROM THE BAND OF HOLY JOY HAS A SHOW ON RESONANCE FM THATS WHERE I FIRST HEARD OF IT!!!!!!

I WONDER WHAT YOU THOUGHT OF THE BAND OF THE HOLY JOY WHEN YOU WERE A YOUNG THUG COMING UP IN THE HOOD

23.00 Mining For Gold Johny Brown
there is a soundscape involved and guests with words and instruments and stuff and....

ideas actions memories dreams and what have you

sometimes it occurs in other manifestations like live gig or play or drama but mostly it is radio...


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
Re: RESONANCE FM = JOHNY BROWN!!!!!!!!!

I was mates with Johny back in the 80s, we recorded in the same studios sometimes, and he was at all the squat parties. Yesterday I met David Coulter, another ex-Holy Joy person. He's now working with Tom Waits and Damon Albarn.


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mongoltrophies
mongoltrophies
yasser mohammed apoplipo
Sat, Jan. 6th, 2007 06:47 pm (UTC)

i'd been wondering about this text message i received on my phone: "ah! he's taken to wearing wigs." now i don't have to remember to ask for an explanation.


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