June 11, 2012

Some people seem so obsessed with the morning
Get up early just to watch the sun rise
Some people like it more when there's fire in the sky
Worship the sun when it's high
Some people go for those sultry evenings
Sipping cocktails in the blue, red and grey
But I like every minute of the day

André Zucca, Following Fashion, Jardin du Luxembourg, May 1942

* From a Tank Magazine interview of Momus:

SHUMON BASAR: You've lived in a number of major metropolitan cities over the past three decades for long stretches each time. How premeditated was this?

MOMUS: It wasn't premeditated, but it wasn't haphazard either. A city, at a particular moment in history, has a kind of gravity force, some apparent affinity that first draws you into its orbit then flings you - like the Voyager spacecraft - off on some new trajectory. London drew me from Scotland because independent record labels were there, and were doing quirky and exciting things at the time. But when the labels went mainstream, all that was left in London was Thatcherite values, football and money. So I headed off to Paris thinking I'd find art and sex there. I found expat Japanese people and fashion and snobbism. Then the internet got hot, and all eyes were on America. So I went to live in New York. But New York got fascist and paranoid in the wake of 9/11, so I headed off to Tokyo. Tokyo was mostly about high-level shopping experiences, so I went to Berlin. And Berlin was great, an experimental city that cost practically nothing to live in. But I found I was basically trying to create a synthetic Japan around me, and that was a lot easier and cheaper to do in Japan itself. So I settled in Osaka, which is a sort of Berlin in Japan. In theory, anyway. Let's see.
SB: Do you think, unconsciously, that all the things that influenced you early on endorsed urban environments as ideals for living?

M: It's just self-evident to me that cities are more interesting. All those beautiful girls flitting around in cities, all those chances to meet likeminded people! Making money, making art, making love! Ambition, success! Buildings, buildings, bigger buildings! Tiny little filthy alleys that stink of piss! Cities are obviously glorious. They're humanity's ant heaps.

SB: From the beginning, your music was explicitly informed by anti-Anglophile literature. In retrospect, were they all also urban voices?

M: I remember reading the description of London in Bataille's Blue of Noon: "Dirty dragged herself over to the window. Beneath her she saw the Thames and, in the background, some of the most hideous buildings in London, now magnified in the darkness. She quickly vomited in the open air. In her relief she called for me, and, as I held her forehead I stared at that foul sewer of a landscape: the river and the warehouses. In the vicinity of the hotel the lights of luxury apartments loomed insolently." That vision has the same dark glamour, for me, as Bowie's song "Future Legend", which describes "Hunger City", a post-apocalyptic bombsite populated by gangs and prostitutes. Urban dystopia can seem so close to urban utopia. There's always something glittering in the murk and mire.


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