Sensibility


What's your culture and technology diet when your marriage has broken down and you're living in visa limbo, out of a suitcase in a borrowed council flat in Lambeth?

In an alien and impersonal environment, when all your stuff is in boxes across the sea, you find that the few CDs, tapes, books and gadgets you do have with you take on a whole new importance.

Here's what Momus is consuming this melancholy March.

Artists:
The Beyond Reason exhibition of clinically mad 1930s German doodlings was fascinating
Tracey Emin, a 'slag' from Margate who has since become pre-Emin-ent in the London art world. Example works: a tent emroidered with the names of everybody she's slept with, a tiny frank book about her life from birth to age 14.

CDs:
Kreidler: Weekend (Kiff 004 cd)
This young Krautrock group were playing when I was in Berlin. They seem to have discovered Can after techno, so they play a sort of repetitive, trancelike drum machine music on real instruments. The hi-hats are, as Julian Cope would say, kosmiche.
Plug: Drum and Bass For Papa
Luke Vibert makes fascinatingly original drum and bass music. It's neither macho nor irritating, but draws you in with an atmosphere of bizarre charm. His remix of the Gentle People was extraordinary too.
Squarepusher
This band are constantly surprising, mixing constantly shifting 180bpm rhythm programming with a real bass. Sometimes they sound like the Aphex Twin jamming with Steely Dan. My love of surprise finally conquers my hatred of slap bass!
Denim: Novelty Rock
I haven't listened much to this, but I'm glad it got made. Lawrence is probably making the most post-modern pop music there is. They should have seminars about him at the ICA. He should make the music for Diesel commercials. (Compliment).
The Divine Comedy: A Short Album About Love
Mr Hannon is undoubtedly one of the most talented writers we have, but I find that his recent work has become a little glib. Too many orchestras, a certain flip charm verging on smarminess, an obvious ambition bordering on megalomania. I preferred it when I had him to myself on 'Liberation'.
White Town: Women In Technology
Jyoti Mishra, a Marxist and a man who knows how to call a spade a spade, is very cunning. He knows he's destined to be seen as a one hit wonder, but he also knows he's got a lifetime's worth of good ideas to inject into the world. He's just waiting to sing to the mainstream music industry 'So cut the crap and tell me that we're through'. So when he's built his big fuck-off house and his new state of the art home studio he'll stick his stuff out on a credible indie label or the internet (which works best for people the other media have established, then neglected). This is his Contractual Obligation Album and it's full of much more introspective, even disturbing stuff than 'Your Woman'. I adore 'The Function Of The Orgasm' and Jyoti has promised me the chance to remix it.
Kahimi Karie: Larme De Crocodile
Kahimi is a tease, releasing about a dozen EPs before arriving at this, her first full-length album. The fact that I wrote about half the songs shouldn't stop me recommending her forthcoming singles compilation on Minty Fresh as a better place to start. Somehow here the dizzying postmodern confusion of styles is just... dizzying, whereas on the 'Le Roi Soleil' EP it seemed liberating. Perhaps ex-partner Keigo Oyamada's trendy yet eclectic influence is missed. Nevertheless, in the Pizzicato 5 collaboration 'Watashi No Jinsei', the two Philippe Katerine songs and, dare I say it, my own 'David Hamilton', she's never been better.

Writers:
Adam Phillips 'On Monogamy'
Odd that I'm reading this now I'm effectively single again. Or maybe not so odd, since Phillips privileges neither monogamy nor its opposite, promiscuity, but sees them as interlocked and mutually defining. And he comes up with great little epigrams: 'A couple is a conspiracy in search of a crime. Sex is often the closest they can get.'

Alan Warner: Morven Callar
This is as shocking, but also as childishly candid, as 'The Cement Garden'. It kind of reminds me of 'Riddley Walker' too, for the way it develops the unreliable narrator's personal language, though 'Morven Callar' begins after a moral apocalypse rather than a nuclear one. Catchphrase: 'I used the goldish lighter on a Silk Cut'.

Jacques Derrida: Archive Fever
I haven't read much Derrida, despite or perhaps because of the fact that my brother wrote his PhD about him. I bought this to find out what he thought of E Mail and the way info-devices are restructuring our unconscious. I learned a lot about etymology, but not much about E Mail. Derrida rereading Freud reminds me, depressingly, of Oasis listening to The Beatles. Are the true pioneers of our age really the curators, the keys to the museums jingling at their belts?

Restaurants:
Yo Sushi on Poland Street, Soho: disco lights and conveyors belts. A robot serves the drinks. Restuarant as trendy marketing concept, but why not?

Gadgets:
An old Mac SE I bought for 100 just to read my E mail.
My spanking new Newton 130, which (after a little fiddling) now also gets E mail. As paperweights go, it's the sexiest around. Now I need never be without messages demanding to know where Momus albums can be bought.

Here's what I was consuming last October:

Artists:
Jake and Dinos Chapman, Wolfgang Tillmans, Paul McCarthy
Records:
Cibo Matto 'Viva! La Woman'
Buffalo Daughter 'Captain Vapour Athletes'
Baader Meinhof 'Baader Meinhof'
The Boredoms 'Super Roots 6'
Scanner 'Scanner>Shea>Main'
The Last Poets 'Douglas 3'
Pipeline '24 Smash Hits By 24 Puzzle Punk bands'
'Jalshagar': Satyajit Ray's 'Salon De Musique' Soundtrack
Writers:
Adam Phillips ('On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored', 'On Flirtation', 'On Monogamy')
Restaurants:
Belgo Centraal and Wagamama Soho in London, Lucky Cheng's and Vietnam in New York

Drinks:
Vieille Pluie Avec Poussiere (old rain with dust), by the Fleche D'Or's guest barmaid Martine Aballea
Animals:
Cats, monkies, lemurs
Peoples:
Italians, Japanese, Tibetans, American-Born Chinese, Javanese, Balinese, Bangladeshi Cyberians
Developments (Faster! Faster!):
Liberalisation of markets, international thinking, the single European currency, the removal of all customs and passport controls, the Japanification of America, Bohemia and moral chaos online, the oriental domination of the 21st century, the zine scene, people choosing where on earth to live (New York for me, then maybe Hong Kong), elimination of military service in France, genetic research to postpone human ageing, the discovery of life on Mars...
Gadgets:
The JVC GR-DV1 digital video camera, the Panasonic portable CD player, the D2 CD-R drive, the Roland PMA-5 Personal Music Assistant.

Index