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click opera
February 2010
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Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 12:36 pm

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.


Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 07:16 pm (UTC)

the most convenient bit of information i gleaned from click opera came from your post last year about Ove-Naxx, which i read (in Kyoto), the day before i (by chance) met one of Naxx's friends - a local club owner. i was able to appear approximately ten times more savvy about the Kansai music scene than i would have otherwise. thanks momus!


Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 07:32 pm (UTC)

it will definitely be a different world (wide web) when this particular incarnation comes to an end. a day of deep sorrow, indeed. but you are so right about changing and doing something different. great minds and artists--and you are one--have always had to keep shifting their energies and expressions. xist, even the beatles only made it through a decade of work, before moving on.

here's yet another vote for a revival of the imomus style. perhaps a monthly entry/update in order to share your goings on and keep everyone up to date. for it would be an even bigger tragedy (but understandable as well, in an extreme, life-changing sense) if you were to withdraw from the public web altogether.

in the end, i know even you (who balk at metaphysics) are feeling the profound shifts in the world today with regards to economics, so-called culture and global consciousness in general.
some call it the "quickening" or the "singularity" and the "2012" scenario; traditions around the world have portended such a paradigm shift. it all has to do with the dizzying, exponential nature with which time and history seems to be coming to a head. call it post-materialist, post-whatever; it is happening. the game's up for the world's powers and the old paradigms and they must know it, too.

however you slice and dice it, there has been a deeply profound change in the nature of the world in the last 15 years or so, and it is continuing with ever more energy. i welcome it, myself. (who said the old hippie values of love, sharing, and reverence for the earth were long gone?) in the end, those already retuned with themselves, their primal selves will all welcome it with flowers, open arms and a pot of tea. see you there.


Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 07:39 pm (UTC)

I've been reading Click Opera since 2005, though I've never before commented. You've kept me perpetually on my toes and thoroughly entertained and I want to thank you for that.

I agree with your decision, and I'm glad you've given it so much thought and not just let things around here slowly peter out like so many other blogs. I look forward to the next four months as well as seeing what you do next.

Thanks again,


Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 08:06 pm (UTC)
Going Going Bong

Well as many of us thought all along this blog was really just an extended PR showcase of your talents (or not depending on your view); and now that you have some recognition it has outlived its usefulness. Well good that someone got something out of blogging which as you say is kind of loosing out to twitter and endless facebook status updates though it is kind of ironic that in the end it was killed it for Click Opera was good old fashioned publishing...


Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 08:09 pm (UTC)

With you gone, livejournal will officially be dead for me.


Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 08:11 pm (UTC)

Hey Momus,

Wow. I haven't left a comment here for almost two years - I'll get to why in a mo - but I've been reading the odd entry despite myself. Partly because you're great to read, partly from force of habit: I started frequenting your blog in 2004! So I can't let this entry pass without acknowledging you, thanking you. It's been quite a few months since I last looked, so clocking in now must be an instance of synchronicity, surely of some import!

I was variously amused, maddened, challenged, and turned on to things I might never have otherwise been. Thanks to you I got into Animal Collective, Ethiopiques, stuff like that, long before the whole of London followed suit. Muchas gracias. Oh, and I must thank you for putting me on to Saul Bellow. Even if you do seem to think he was a humanist.

And why have I not been reading/commenting over the last two years? Oh dear. It was because through your blog I was contacted by A.K. We met up and eventually got kind of involved. It ended badly! Ridiculously! Self-harmingly! What a singular girl... I never came close to loving her myself, but I can understand why you might have done. If it makes you feel any better, I know that she reads your blog every day (hi a.!). I recollect that she was made up when you referred to her as your sexiest ex in an entry about museums. She feigned otherwise of course. Anyway, now that that's all blown over, I figure you can't be as bad as she made out, surely. Hence the present comment after long absence.

As for me, well I'm actually doing it. Next summer I finally join a Cistercian monastery.

Best wishes,
Eustace Plimsoll

Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 08:17 pm (UTC)

Gosh! Colour me gobsmacked and fascinated by that story! I don't know what to say... perhaps I too should take a vow of silence and join a monastery!

ReplyThread Parent
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 08:16 pm (UTC)

Like a death in the family.

I will miss you dearly momus. You were like the cooler older brother I never had. It will be weird not to be able to talk with you.

I loved the Scheherazade quality of Click Opera. Wondering each day if you could pull it off again. Not only could you, but you did it with such high style day after day it was a bit awe inspiring. Like a tight rope artist making his way across the void. Never a mean word or a middling sentence, even in the comments section.

I'll miss your regular contributors too. When they would disappear for a while I would wonder what happened to them - Thomas, Microworlds, Kuma... was it Eustace, the one who became a monk?

OK I'll quit now before I get too sappy and sentimental.

Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)

was it Eustace, the one who became a monk?

Yes, and there he is, just above us!

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Snappy Verbal Dresser
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
No reunion tours

I'll take this in an odd direction.

I'm a fan of the vampire mythology. It explores love, passion, and what it means to be alive. One of the main things I've learned from vampire mythology is the beauty of impermanence. Having an end, having closure, having a goal line, those are all very important, beautiful things.

I have also lamented the ghost-town/tumbleweed feel of Livejournal. But you, you've actually just encouraged me to let it go.

I love the medium, too, but like you, maybe I have said enough.

Unlike you, I have no idea how many people read my blog. I don't nearly get 70+ comments per entry. But I also do more than one day, and there are blackout dates in the past.

Anyway, cheers on your end date! I have always felt like the most successful entity in art or business is one with a terminus. I have thought of creating a bar that would last 1.5 years and be done. Same with a band: 3 years, then, over. Get it while you can. No reunion tours...


Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 08:28 pm (UTC)

Thanks for this blog, it really has been an inspiring and thought provoking journey - and I have really benefited from the exposure to the multitude of subjects you have blogged. I have been a consumer and infrequent poster since the beginning - a habit of 6 years ( how time flies). I guess it will be back to The Guardian. As an ex-pat also I have appreciated the way you look at things from a far.

I do feel that you should channel your energy into something less transitory and understand completely your desire for change. I am always amazed how you find new things to talk about and I can see that the relentless pursuit of a new entry can be exhausting particularly when it is for love not money.

So good luck. I will savour the next few months and look forward to seeing where you go next.

Very best wishes.


Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 09:36 pm (UTC)
Make it up

By playing more in the US, specifically Atlanta (which is hell hell hell of a lot different than the last time you visited - you'd like it now!)

I'm A Vocoder
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 10:17 pm (UTC)

have you heard of the IamA subreddit? You should totally do one of those: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/

Thomas Scott
Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)

I certainly think there has been a sense that this decision was impending over recent months. My immense appreciation and thanks for what has been, perhaps, the most intelligent and challenging blog to emerge from the whole blogging phenomenon.
I will hugely miss Click Opera, but I have been interested in Momus the artist since a friend recommended that I listen to an album called Tender Pervert two decades ago and I will look forward to more records, publications and events in the years ahead.
Best wishes with all the above.


Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 10:58 pm (UTC)

Yes, people need to change, grow, all that good stuff. I've probably nothing to say that hasn't been said better by the others (so you may as well skip ahead to the last two words of this reply). I'll miss your blog--it's been interesting, infuriating and, in every sense, beguiling--but I feel very hopeful and optimistic about this new chapter in your life. Just in case I don't post again before it's too late: good luck!


Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 11:02 pm (UTC)
BBC using Momus music

Just heard your "I Refuse To Die" in the background of a BBC 1 doc called "Two Feet in the Grave". Did you know it was to be used?

Tue, Sep. 29th, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
Re: BBC using Momus music

No, but are you sure it was I Refuse To Die and not the George Formby song it samples? The entire ukelele part is George.

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Wed, Sep. 30th, 2009 12:43 am (UTC)

This must feel like you are present at your own funeral. How about throwing some sort of trans-global wake on February 10?


Wed, Sep. 30th, 2009 01:05 am (UTC)

Haha, i'll be 'there'. What with the Scheherazade story, Momus better get on with another novel/essay or a catastrophic existentialist breakdown seems likely. Good luck there.

ReplyThread Parent