The Most Important Man Alive
Music and Lyrics by Momus


Howard Devoto photographed by Juergen Teller


This tribute song, described by London Time Out (December 30th, 1998)
as 'quite simply the wittiest and most touching tribute song ever written',
featured on the Bungalow Records compilation Suite 98


You are, quite simply, the most important man alive
I'd like to thank you for simply being in my life
You never meant to leave much of a mark
On a world you're content to leave in the dark
But you are, quite simply, the most important man alive

At the Mount Parnassus Country Club and Rock Retirement Home
I was limbering up, swinging my clubs, trying to get back in the game
When I said to myself 'Knock me down with a feather, can this be a dream?
It's my long lost hero, Howard Devoto, the singer from Magazine'

Spiral Scratch, Real Life, Secondhand Daylight, The Correct Use Of Soap
This man's records took my breath away and filled me with hope
A darkness, daring and lyrical drama the world has long since lost
Song From Under The Floorboards, Parade, Motorcade and Permafrost

So I swallowed my pride and strolled casually up to this vision in sensible brogues
And sure enough it was Howard Devoto disguised in golfing clothes
Practising putts every inch the post-punk new wave celebrity pro
And these were the words he said to me even before he said hello:

'I am, quite simply, the most important man alive
If you've come to thank me for simply being in your life
I never meant to leave much of a mark
On a world I'm content to leave in the dark'
But you are, quite simply, the most important man alive

Mr Devoto, how nice to finally meet you face to face
It was you who taught me how to hammer out a manly turn of phrase
You turned the common coin of cliche up on its head
Scattering the world with change, speaking the unsaid

I wouldn't want to put you in any Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
I assume you view such things with uproarious disdain
But me and a thousand others are indebted eternally to you
'If there is a debt, you and the others will one day repay it handsomely... or I'll sue!'

So how did you spend your wilderness years, and how have you ended up
At the Mount Parnassus Seminal Influence Golf and Croquet Club?
You know I've always wondered, somewhat narcissistically
If you've heard my stuff ('I've heard your stuff and you stole it all from me!')

You are, quite simply, the most important man alive
I'd like to thank you for simply being in my life
You never meant to leave much of a mark
On a world you're content to leave in the dark
But you are, quite simply, the most important man alive

'So how did I spend my wilderness years, Momus, I'm glad you asked
I was up on the summit of Mount Olympus giving a songwriting class
To Aphrodite, Zeus and Psyche and many other gods
Of the early to middle Greek pantheon -- now they all write fantastic songs

Well here we are at the summit of beauty, crowned with laurel wreaths
And what a swell party this premature posterity business is
For the world and his wife, though we are still alive, we might as well be dead
But we're aware of the seminal historical influence we have had

Like Napoleon on Elba, working for his own pleasure down on the farm
Like Mr Julius Caesar going into business and laying down his arms
Like Marie Antoinette the shepherdess or Josephine
It's not tonight alone that guarantees our place in history

'I am, quite possibly, the most pretentious man alive'
(Oh I wouldn't say that!)
'I'd like to thank you falettin me be mice elf again'
Objectively speaking and all things considered
We know at the end of the day
There is only one verdict the jury can possibly reach
And that is that you and I
Are, quite simply, the most important men alive


The line where Devoto threatens to sue is a bit poignant now. Not everybody has Devoto's magnanimity and sense of humour.

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