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Clickswansong - click opera Page 2
February 2010
 
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Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 12:36 pm
Clickswansong

In the middle of an interview (in French!) for culturemag Chronic'art in Paris last week, I found myself -- without really planning to -- dropping a bombshell "exclusive" (which, of course, this entry is now de-exclusivising). I told Olivier Lamm (whose own player_pianoblog is pretty great) that I would end Click Opera on the eve of my 50th birthday, in other words on February 10th, 2010. Unless something fairly radical happens to change my mind, that's the plan. From now until February will, therefore, be the last few months of Click Opera.

Now, most people, when they end a blog, just publish less on it and migrate slowly to Twitter and Facebook, or wherever. But I wanted to make a bit of a dramatic fanfare about this, because I think it'll make for a more interesting and dramatic final few months. It's not so much that I want to hear people wailing and gnashing their teeth and begging me to change my mind, as that this might prompt me to cover new topics or try new things in the final days. Instead of seeing readers ebb away slowly, we might even see an increase, a final rally, and a new tone of mutual appreciation and love here.

The last days of Click Opera will feature a trip to Japan, since I'll spend much of December and some of January there. And that's nice, because Click Opera has been about Japan quite a bit, of course, during its six year existence. Posted on Friday the 16th of January 2004, the very first Click Opera entry (now sadly bare of pictures) celebrates now-defunct Japanese magazine site Magazo, and picks six of my favourite Japanese magazines. Only two of them are still in print.



That first entry received just three comments. The first was from me, and said: "First. This is the first entry in Click Opera, the record of the clicks Momus is making as he operates his iBook on a daily basis." To which an Anon signing him/herself as Zachary Daiquiri, Esq, replied: "Can I assume this will be a delightful journey, exploring everything this side of Erasure?" And a LiveJournalist known as improvduck (whose journal has now been deleted and purged) added: "I was wondering when Momus would invade LiveJournal! I'm a very young admirer." Ah, very bliss was it in that early dawn to be alive, to stretch and see for the first time the strange sun of a new planet!

So why am I ending Click Opera? There are lots of reasons. We're coming to the end of a decade, and I've seriously spent about three solid years out of the ten generating copy and fielding comments on this blog. I had a great time doing it, but what it meant was that, after a fairly nomadic and adventurous first three or four years, the decade saw me mostly rooted to a chair in front of a screen. Because I don't do things by half measures, I became pretty much a full-time blogger, and the ugly word was even added to my name: I became "Nick Currie, blogger..." (writer, artist and musician followed somewhere behind that froggy word).



Now, lots of good things came out of blogging. I had an exciting reason to get up in the morning. I managed to sift and panhandle the web and find things of value, things that reminded me why it was good to be alive. Click Opera gathered an exceptionally intelligent, forthright and challenging group of readers with whom it was a joy to chat and even to spar. I learned an enormous amount, daily, from these people. From you. And I never banned the Anonymae, because you can't learn anything without being challenged.

Click Opera got me into surveys of the world's best blogs, and landed me commentary jobs with Wired and The New York Times, Frieze and Art in America. In other words, although Click Opera itself didn't pay me a dime (it even cost me money to host), it did lead to remuneration in all sorts of fairly direct ways. And yet none of the paid blogging work I did had the same vitality, the same zing. My writing elsewhere, for money, with editors, with adverts, usually bored and disgusted me. And it usually got, you know, three comments. Something died when I tried to do for money what I wanted to do for love.

So why end it? Why why why?



Because the LiveJournal platform I'm using is being wound down (it has a skeleton staff of 8 right now, I'm told). Because there's a kind of tumbleweed feel to my Friends List these days, as people migrate to Twitter (and "ship" their inconsequential tweets back to the old haunt as if to place a big "Nothing to see here folks!" sign over both locations) or Facebook. Because I don't feel that blogging either can or should be as big a part of the next decade as it has been of this one. Because I wonder what would happen if I put the energy I pour daily into this blog (and I've established a great working routine!) into something like a book, or something else. Because I think it's good to force yourself to change, just for the sake of change. Because I don't want to be a fifty year old man whose life revolves around a blog. Because I don't like some of the conflicts Click Opera has engendered, the hurtful battles that spiralled out of control when I crossed swords with people like Marxy, Alan McGee, or the ILX messageboard. Because I've probably said everything I have to say about my opinions and worldview, on a certain level (which isn't to say that the positions I've adopted have won or been accepted; many will never be). Because switching to another medium (fiction, for example) will be a way for me to put those views and hunches and feelings into new and fresh relationships with each other. Because it is possible to over-expose yourself, and popping up somewhere on the internet every single day is definitely one way to do that. Because I now have other forms of visibility: lectures, panel appearances, conferences, interviews in the press, performance art interventions, concerts, columns, books, records, journalism; enough to satisfy even the most rabid attention-hound.

Because (new paragraph) I don't like the chain letter pressure to come up with something interesting every day, or the way that a couple of missed entries lead to a whole week in which nothing happens, and how I care about that and battle to bring the ratings back up. Okay, I've cited this before as a plus, calling it the Scheherazade Challenge, but look at poor Scheherazade's motives for inventing a new tale every day: all the king's other wives were killed. Is that the kind of pressure I want in my life? Have I considered gardening as a hobby?



What will I do instead of Click Opera? Well, I don't know. Something will replace it, but I don't know what that is at the moment. I'm thinking about going back to my Daily Photos and monthly essays (with their superior art direction and total lack of comment facilities) on the website I maintained from 1995 to 2003, imomus.com. There was something rather magical about just issuing these non-reality-adjusted statements, accompanied by immaculate visuals, whenever good ideas occurred to me. Sure, Click Opera has been a sort of karate course, and its comment facility has taught me to be more dialectical and -- above all -- the skill set of prolepsis, of anticipating reader objections. But is a more moderate, accessible and dialectical me really what the world needs? Doesn't the world need an immoderate, outrageous and concentrated me, just laying out things that only I could think, no matter how wrong they may be?

So let's see what emerges, come February. Someone so ADD-ish, novelty-crazed and restlesslessly intellectually curious, someone who loves the internet as much as I do, will no doubt not be difficult to locate on the web. But who knows, perhaps I'll start a new blog and not tell anyone who or where it is, and just see if I can hide there, doing something a bit different, waiting to be outed.

I look forward to spending more time with my family. Wait! Hell! You people are my family! I look forward to spending less time with you, then. Let's see what it feels like. And let's enjoy these last four months to the very hilt, like a beautiful click-aria at the end of a beautiful click opera.

135CommentReply

theholyinnocent
don draper's gin-soaked conscience
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)

While I'm sorry to hear about the end of the blog, I certainly understand why you're putting the kibosh on your blogging activity. I've really enjoyed reading click opera over the past year or so. And yes, I even found it educational--which makes it sound kind of boring, but it's not, honestly!


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constructionism
constructionism
constructionism
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 01:18 pm (UTC)

As you wish. I prefer visual blogging to (ugh) Twitter. I like reading livejournals for the pictures. I wish more people cared about visual communication on the internet.


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stanleylieber
stanleylieber
Stanley Lieber
Thu, Oct. 1st, 2009 02:28 pm (UTC)

+10000


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reflejos
reflejos
erasmo spicker
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 01:23 pm (UTC)
A letter from a reader

I applaud your decission, let's see if you are able to do it. It seems like a good way to really end it without having to do it in the moment. Something Jon Elster elaborates in his book "Ulisses and the syrens", the way men do force themselves to do something. It is true that you began to repeat yourself, for example, yesterday's entry was beautiful, but you have had almost the same entry 5 times minimum. But i had a little new, your new experience, new links, new fotos...

I have read your blog for many years, now it's not daily, the experience is not as intense when what you said was new, but it became like a drug, like a habit. It has been beautiful to see the world of someone, to follow his steps, his musings... I think this project has been the dream of science fiction many times, but never happened this way.

My life was influenced by your writing. I became an editor, and I call myself a "designer" since reading it. I did a magazine, exhibitions, books, conferences, a project for a cultural center, and all of them had something I read here. In my magazine, piedepagina, I published a translation of your text about Bellow that I found so beautiful. I did a page with your favorite entries in order to show my friends your best pieces.

I bought two of your cd's, in part to "pay" you, and also to know you. Your "best of" and "otto spooky", I love some tracks of the first and the second has growth with the listening. But they were side experiences, because reading the blog was the real experience, following some of the debates, and specially following the links, to the pages, but specially to the ideas. (I really loved reading Saul Bellow's Herzog, it was my favorite book that year and I felt so close to his mania of thinking).

I think Baricco in his book The Barbarians, explains very well why your blog has been such a big thing (even if being in the vangard of times, you seem to keep considering your books and records something more "important"), and why maybe if you stop blogging you will always be called a blogger. You where there in the moment, and you where the one for it.

To my friends, who laugh about me, I say my "teacher" momus, but much more like a "master" in the oriental tradition.

So, momus, I thank you. Goodby.


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
Re: A letter from a reader

Thank you! I'm still here for four months, though!

I really loved reading Saul Bellow's Herzog

Ah, yes, and in the terms of that novel, Click Opera is best defined as a "five cent synthesis".


ReplyThread Parent
neil_scott
neil_scott
Neil Scott
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 01:28 pm (UTC)

Personally, I'd love it if you used the time to trawl the click opera archives and edit them down in Momus Guides To . . .

It would be a shame if it went down with Livejournal (speaking of which, I think there are a few exporter apps out there).


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neil_scott
neil_scott
Neil Scott
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 01:31 pm (UTC)

Also, there has been a big move in the web design community towards art directed blogging. See:
http://gregorywood.co.uk/journal/top-5-reasons-to-learn-to-dive
http://dustincurtis.com/dear_american_airlines.html
http://jasonsantamaria.com/articles/royal/


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks for nearly a decade

Been reading iMomus.com (your old daily thoughts), your blog, and other forms of written word for nearly a decade. Have enjoyed your world adventures, and daily notes. Thanks - really.

I would hate to have your work be lost forever and recommend
that you port your live journal to some more stable source just for archives and adventure...

The following offers a back-up tool for the dying live journal platform.
http://community.livejournal.com/lj_nifty/107602.html

Looking forward to the next few months, new adventures...

Robert


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Thanks for nearly a decade

You know, I did back the whole thing up a couple of months ago to some LJ-compatible service, and I'll be damned if I can remember what it was called or where it is. Dreamweaver? Honeyhost? It's funny to make a copy of something so big then lose it!


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)

I've had breakfast with Click Opera for almost five years. I'll miss it so much.

thank you and all the best Nick

gary (another long-time almost-lurker)


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)

Ditto to the click opera for breakfast for the last five years!!

Thank you and looking forward to the next four months too.

Still lurking...


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)

I never post, but I've been reading your blog consistently since 2005. Among the things I'll miss is your curatorship of internet video: Mushi-Shi; youtube videos of the Prime of Miss Jean Brodie; more recently Jonathan Meades' documentaries. You refined for me the process of aimlessly searching out content on the internet to fill in idle hours and made that wasted time much more nourishing. As a cultural reference base, there isn't anywhere else on the internet with as much range and digestibility. I don't know what I'll do come March 2010 when I sit down and think "what should I read about?"

- Nicholas


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graywyvern
graywyvern
graywyvern
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 02:19 pm (UTC)
sayonara

intelligence will not vanish from the web
but it will seem so

m.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC)

I'm sooooooo gonna miss Click Opera! =(


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 02:21 pm (UTC)

You will suffer horrendous withdrawal symptoms.


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count_vronsky
count_vronsky
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC)

In my case, absolutely.


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misscallis
misscallis
Kelli
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 02:23 pm (UTC)

Finally, a reason to hit "refresh" on LiveJournal again. Let's go out with a bang, sir.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)
I think that's great news

I've felt for a while now that click opera has become a bit stagnant... and yet I keep coming back every day, hoping to see one of you long-form essays about culture, society and Important Things. I've followed your net writing for 9 years now, and a return to the days of imomus would be a welcome shift for this anon.


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 02:34 pm (UTC)

you'll HAVE to marry her now ;)


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 02:39 pm (UTC)

this makes me very sad... thank you though


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peripherus_max
peripherus_max
peripherus_max
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 03:07 pm (UTC)

I remember the heady days of alt.fan.momus, the drawn out dial-up scattertone prefixing the loading of your daily photos into my clunky Alabama desktop. There is an almost occult feel to those old HTML pages with long-missing links, not just on your site, but all over the net... they invite a new kind of archeology. You have inspired me for years. You will continue to inspire me. The sheer discipline required to draft a daily essay (and in many cases, complete articles) devoted to subjects that are so consistently new to my mind... BOGGLES my mind. You are the Tehching Hsieh of memes. Typing this on an iPhone, in a cafe just outside Spoonbill Books, in no small part thanks to you. Thank you Nick


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imomus
imomus
imomus
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)

Spoonbill, good location!


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(Anonymous)
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)

As skittish as I am about an unqualified statement, this has been my favorite blog. Given the reasons you mentioned, it seems like a smart thing to end it. Thanks and good luck.

-Jace


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