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click opera
February 2010
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Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 12:28 pm
Everything you know isn't a panda

A new decade is a time in which to declare "everything you know is wrong". A fresh decade is a time to jettison secure old knowledge and grope around for new. Since a new decade is just around the corner, let's start groping now.

Forget the places you've been going on holiday, and go on holiday instead to Beirut.

Do not expect to learn about the world through journalists.

Any Obama backlash will simply help usher in someone worse. Skip it.

Your mother holds a key piece of information, essential to your happiness. All you have to do is ask her the right question.

Blogs you check habitually are the wrong ones because they tell you nothing new. Try switching to Letters of Note, correspondence deserving of a wider audience. Certainly, the letters collected here are from the past. But they very readily suggest parallel futures -- for instance, a future in which Andy Warhol isn't famous.

You've been trained to talk about "sexualisation" without paying due attention to the fact that God and Freud (possibly the same person, long grey beard, knows everything) made us sexual from birth.

The everyday contains everything you need for a religion.

Stop expecting new musician Y to be "the new musician X". And stop expecting old musician X to be the new musician X.

You have been underestimating the colour yellow.

Conspiracy theories waste your time. It's all a big conspiracy.

Your body will thank you for using a bicycle every day during the new decade. Using bicycles will become a condition of using computers successfully too: the correspondence between them will become clearer over time.

The teens are destined to be the decade in which we'll finally stop wearing jeans. It'll be a slow sputtering process, but why wait? Ban the jean from your wardrobe starting January 1st by this simple rule: each time you find yourself reaching for jeans, reach for hose instead.

You thought a new decade was a blank slate. It's not; it's a rebellion.

Drums are finished. Except for kettledrums and gongs.

You know too much about LA and not enough about Laos. On the internet and in "the real world" you're consistently looking in the wrong places for inspiration. Why is that? Partly it's because the things that could really change you make you scared.

This is the decade in which you will finally make the switch from quantity to value. One ramification: you will move from an expensive place where you have to do a lot of meaningless work just to exist to a cheap place where you can exist easily and can therefore afford to dedicate yourself to work that really means something to you.

The penny finally drops: people who drive cars just end up seeing a lot of roads.

You have not been eating enough mushrooms.

No computer game beats computer chess.

Your enemies are your best teachers.

Watch Indian TV.

No previous decades are to be revived this decade. Make a little more effort with the shapes of things, please.

Cognition, not recognition.

Pretend to be older than you are, not younger.

Everything you once fried, you will now begin to bake.

Read the Mahabarata, watch the 1988 TV series...

...or seek out the Peter Brook theatre production on DVD.

You will probably be happier amongst people who think as you do, but they might be located on the other side of the world.

You will probably be happier amongst people who think as you do, but you might have to make them with your body.

You will probably be happier amongst people who think as you do. They are hidden next door, but to befriend them you will have to learn a new language.

You will probably be happier amongst people who do not think as you do.

Nothing could be better than a market at 5am, but to experience it you will have to get up earlier and brave the cold.

Learn to make things with wood.

The person who perfects seawater desalination will become rich beyond the dreams of kings. Why not make that person you?

Everything you know is right, but that was then and this is now.

Wherever you plan to go, go next door instead.

Eat more fish, and breed more fish.


Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 09:01 pm (UTC)

Right On Nick! This is a page I like to share the words with.
-John Flesh


Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 09:10 pm (UTC)

"I want to create more elaborate worlds than I've already done in Momus records, in music but also in interactive multimedia or even books. I want to be a sort of Scheherezade or Baron Munchausen of the information age. I want to construct a baroque postmodernist castle above the clouds somewhere and live in it surrounded by delicate oriental girls. "

Isn't this a sort of mission statement for Click Opera (expanding 'interactive media' to include blogs?). It's a pretty elaborate Momus-world we've been immersed in for half the noughties.

Sun, Nov. 8th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)

What a nice thought! Yes, I suppose a blog is "interactive multimedia" when it's got video and music and comments on it.

ReplyThread Parent

Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 03:03 am (UTC)

C'est absolument ce qu'il fallait que je lise aujourd'hui. Merci!


Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 09:05 am (UTC)
Jean Genet

Hello Nick, DW here. There is something comfortable-in-one's-own-skin about occasional jeans-wearing, so long as it is not chronic. Consider 70s Warhol. It was the post-orgasm of his creativity, and the frequent visage of his jeans-wearing during this time, in Montauk or Manhattan, is pleasantly incongruous with what is expected of him. Similarly, when David Bowie appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to debut "Ashes to Ashes," his jeans-wearing seemed intended to short-circuit viewers expecting to see something overtly other; it was a freshly post-Berlin Bowie evoking Dean, baffling enough for Carson to hedge after the performance and decide not to invite Bowie to be interviewed. In the case of Burroughs, daily jeans-wearing in Lawrence Kansas appeared to have a philosophical basis -- the best way to subvert and survive is to superficially blend in with one's environment. In each example is an element of healthy sarcasm in the jeans. Genet wore jeans on occasion as well, though for some reason Sartre demured. No, wait, I do remember seeing pictures of Sartre wearing jeans in the 70s.


Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 09:36 am (UTC)
Re: Jean Genet

Having just looked at the Jonny Carson Ashes to Ashes on YouTube, I have to say David's sporting a pretty awful look there...

ReplyThread Parent

Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 09:23 am (UTC)
predictable gratuitous american jeans rant

What is so dull and terrible about jeans? Their inherent Americana? Ties, khakis, English dressing, traditional garb--American jeans are just another facet of this style of dressing, though less exclusive. English formalism was to be out with the punks, but such a dismissal made it all the more appealing. Now Savile Row retro fetishism is rampant in a casual global culture that hardly calls for cufflinks or pocket squares.

A brilliant invention and a hateful texture, denim is a thing to be slowly attacked, worn in. Everyman couture will not cease to hold appeal, and jeans combine the French with the American. Worn denim is the luxury item of the worker stranded in capitalist scarcity, is blandly potent, constrains the body erotically, and will therefore stay around probably indefinitely, unless jeans are shown to cause cancer, and even then....they remain as old guard cool and stupid as the cigarettes and cars you so despise. I predict with the fall of America such things will only be seen as more fascinating, as the teens progress. What nation invented the very concept of "teen?" Here's hoping "the teens" have nothing to do with teenage dreaming, but the noughties certainly amounted to a lot of nothing. Indeed, let's all pretend to be older this time around, if not wiser. Why not pretend to be children, full of awe, instead of adolescents?

It is already common in the fashion world to wear jeans ironically, to layer them beneath skirts, or over more creative garments. They are no more or less threatening or constricting than an overcoat, or any other tailored garment with a visible statement of purpose. Sure, it would be better to all wear saris and beautiful yards of scarves, but there's an Isadora Duncan for every garment. Abolish the bra! Forget underwear at all. Jeans worn straight--forget it. But queer denim makes perfect sense, and I don't mean "premium" or selvedge.

Quentin Crisp...really? Now if he said not to wear jeans, then people should listen.

Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 12:35 pm (UTC)
Re: predictable gratuitous american jeans rant

Any single trouser style which "might endure indefinitely" and is taken to be "universal" (a kind of pensee unique amongst garments) needs to be opposed vigorously on principle.

Edited at 2009-11-09 12:36 pm (UTC)

ReplyThread Parent Expand

Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 09:50 am (UTC)

My Momus predictions for the teens:

1. The music will fade away. You may do a couple more Joemus-like collaborations, you'll do guest vocals on other people's albums, but you won't do more than one more solo album. You'll continue to perform your music for another five years or so, but in the end that too will fade away, replaced by readings, performance art pieces etc.

2. The teens is the decade when you will finally start looking and feeling old. Your hair will finally go. One of your parents will die. You'll lose interest in what twentysomethings are wearing or listening to. You'll embrace being old. Your inner Ivor Cutler will emerge.

3. There will be a crisis with Hisae. As she hits her mid-thirties, she'll realise she desperately wants a child. Despite her reservations about hafus, she'll want a child with you. She'll also want to go and live in Japan.

4. You'll publish several books - more novels, and perhaps some polemical non-fiction. You'll also get interested in film - either writing screenplays or fronting documentaries.


Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 12:12 pm (UTC)

I'd love to go with you to your local Turkish market, cafe, imbiss, or other meeting place -because as we're constantly reminded, you're down with Berlin's largest immigrant group- and listen to you explain to them, in Turkish or German obviously, the error of jeans.

Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 12:25 pm (UTC)

Do you think they might rough me up for that, then, anon, or is that just a bit of feckless Web 2.0 passive aggressive projection on your part? You know, muslims as Web 2.0 hooligans ever ready to beat up people you personally disagree with on Web 2.0 opinion platforms? What a glorious straw man destiny!

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(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand
Autumn, Suburban Machiavelli
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)

Added to my "Best of 2009?" memories. I adore (most of) these.

Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 10:11 pm (UTC)

I feel compelled to respond and criticise many of these statements as being counter-productive, offensive, or just plain ignorant. The thing is - you know what's wrong with what you've written, but you published it anyway. It annoys me that you play the advocate, and people actually take it seriously. Don't get me wrong, I've always enjoyed your thought-provoking writing, Nick. This post just bothered me.


Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)

I would like to apologise to the colour blue for "you have been underestimating the colour yellow". Oh, and for the zing about blue jeans. No slight intended, blue.

ReplyThread Parent
the missus
Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 10:56 pm (UTC)



Mon, Nov. 9th, 2009 11:05 pm (UTC)


Tue, Nov. 24th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC)

please watch this from 1:20 until around 4 minutes. the sheer awesomeness of the cuts in this episode are utterly fantastic.