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Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 12:02 am
An Employee's Guide to the Scots

"In not one but two forthcoming books, artist, critic, and one-time unwitting pop star Momus challenges readers to imagine different worlds," says Interview magazine, pointing its readers towards an interview by Matthew Evans entitled It's Momus' World.



I'm reading in the video here from a finished copy of The Book of Scotlands, which comes out in Europe within the next couple of weeks, and in the US in mid-August. There's a bit in the Interview interview that touches on this Employee's Guide text:

Matthew Evans: The quotation on the front of your new book reads, "Every lie creates a parallel world, the world in which it is true." You like alternatives.

Momus: Well, Picasso said, "Art is the lie that tells the truth," and it's not a terribly radical statement. It's always been that you can tell truth through fiction. And this idea also comes from nuclear physics.

Matthew Evans: In what sense?

Momus: Well, in the sense that for every reality there are many parallel, co-existing states.

Matthew Evans: Because the physical world that we're accustomed to is not at all the physical reality discovered in the realm of physics?

Momus: Quantum physics says that there is an infinite number of possibilities and parallels to the one that we know, and every event is also played out in a parallel world. It's kind of a crazy idea, but someone called Saibal Mitra at the University of Amsterdam says that if you could back up your memory in case of a catastrophic event, you could actually revert to that back-up and find an alternative world in which the Earth didn't explode or collide with Mars. In The Book of Scotlands, I present a series of parallel Scotlands that aren't tied to the theories of quantum physics, but instead to the idea of delirious speculation. And if you look at the steps being taken towards Scottish independence right now, they're being dealt with politically in very dull and boring ways. So if you just feverishly speculate numbered but random Scotlands—because in the book, it's a random sequence of possibilities—you can imagine many ways in which different things might happen.

Matthew Evans: So part of the book's purpose is to reveal the current efforts towards Scottish independence?

Momus: That's the general context, although I don't really talk about it specifically. I'm more interested in the possibilities that could arise from that context, the crazy peripheral and unlikely scenarios.

Matthew Evans: But some of the content seems to be about places other than Scotland.

Momus: They might be about Japan. They might be about a company working in a Third-World situation bringing a manual to its employees, saying, "Don't trust the Scots, they might be terrorists. They might be trying to infiltrate our company."

Matthew Evans: It reminds me of the Instructions for American Servicemen series that were passed out during WWII to culturally prepare soldiers for France, Britain, or Japan.

Momus: Those types of manuals continued in Japan after the War, only they concentrated on how to do business instead of warfare. And each one presents a conflicting picture of Japanese etiquette, a conflicting idea of what Japan is.

The entire Interview interview is here.

20CommentReply


(no subject) - (Anonymous)
imomus
imomus
imomus
Wed, Jul. 1st, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)

Ha! I like how it's all relatively restrained and academic until the six minute mark, when suddenly they unleash words like mad, fanatical, diabolical...


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 12:59 am (UTC)
Accent

Your accent sounds like BBC Radio 4 plays when they have an 'American' character.

Try prodoosd and substitoot instead of prodyuced and substityute.

Other than that, excellent - love the joke about the drinking water.


ReplyThread

(Anonymous)
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 01:09 am (UTC)
Re: Accent

For the first time in ages I managed to catch a fresh click opera without having its contents revealed in 140 characters or less by some Twit on an unmentionable (anti) social networking site...

Let's see - bet it's something like "I sometimes talk in American accent when being interviewed about my book. I have a book coming out don't you know!!"


ReplyThread Parent
tropigalia
tropigalia
Dewy-Eyed Disney Bride
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 05:06 am (UTC)
Re: Accent

and that is why that dude writes twit opera and you don't


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 08:43 am (UTC)
Re: Accent

Twit Opera has a penchant for Bowie quotes. I can't help feeling that he may be none other than our man Momus himself.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 08:53 am (UTC)
Re: Accent

Or it could be David Bowie himself, who "can't help thinking about me" every time he attempts to summarize me.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 08:57 am (UTC)
Re: Accent


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 09:43 am (UTC)
Re: Accent

Effortlessly cool, even with a fairly humdrum song. Come back David.

Interesting though that all those themes of alienation, solipsism and return to childhood were already in place on his first solo single.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 10:00 am (UTC)
Re: Accent

All British art rockers sang about alienation, solipsism and return to childhood in the mid-sixties.


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 10:43 am (UTC)
Re: Accent

effortlessly cool

Cool is effortless by definition. Which is why try-hards like Momus can never be cool.


ReplyThread Parent
imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 11:58 am (UTC)
Re: Accent

Well, you clearly put very little effort into being an arbiter of cool, which of course makes you very cool indeed!

If only we knew you name, or had an address we could send postal orders and fan mail to!


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Accent

"Cool is effortless by definition. Which is why try-hards like Momus can never be cool."



Don't you know that it's a fool who plays it cool, by making his world a little colder?


ReplyThread Parent
pay_option07
pay_option07
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 11:35 am (UTC)
Parallel Worlds

I don't know if the art of story telling in Japan has similar characteristics to Garrison's yarn spinning.


ReplyThread
viceanglais
viceanglais
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 11:40 am (UTC)

Hey, that there's the feller who narrated "Psychopathia Sexualis". Seems to have got himself outta there and a job in a government bureau or somesuch. Well done, I say.


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 12:06 pm (UTC)

Excuse me just one minute, there's a critter on the line!


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)
Film rights

"I'm seeing Johnny Depp as The Employee, La Roux as Ginger Kid. Terry Gilliam to direct."


ReplyThread Parent

(Anonymous)
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 06:41 pm (UTC)

I'm curious as to where you got the idea that Buddhism is about being "detached from it all"?
(It's a rather pedestrian impression---and a prevalent one, unfortunately).


ReplyThread

(Anonymous)
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 06:50 pm (UTC)

Interesting reading. You wouldn't be surprised to know that some of the same things were said about the Vietnamese during the war, particularly by people like General Westmorland; almost word for word, too ("the people there value life less than we do," etc.)


ReplyThread

(Anonymous)
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 08:36 pm (UTC)

Isn't there a law that says that whenever you invoke quantum physics in a discussion about topics other than quantum physics, you lose? In almost all these cases, mentions of quantum physics are attempts at pulling an argument from authority, borrowing from the presumed or actual high status physics has in the public opinion. In other words, quantum physics of course has nothing to with what you say. But you know that, you just wanted to sound intellectual. (Now here's something you've never been accused of.)

[There is an interesting story in the, quite decidedly one-way, attraction of quantum physics to PoMos. Perhaps PoMos feel, quite decidedly wrongly, that being similarly impenetrably by lay persons and making similarly contra-intuitive claims makes quantum physics an ally.]


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Thu, Jul. 2nd, 2009 08:40 pm (UTC)

No, I think it's just that quantum theory, and particularly the many worlds part of it, appeals massively to fiction writers. It tweaks the imagination. Not tweaks, boggles.


ReplyThread Parent