The Return Of Eurokong!


Kitsch-catholic paintings, a long lofty stripped-wood floor, wife and child... This Viennese apartment is paid for by Wolfgang's day job as a salesman with Sony Music. But there are traces of a recent past underground in a hardcore band: tomes about eugenics and black magic, gruff thrash CDs bearing the name 'Cadaverous Condition'.


We eat at a nearby pizzeria with co- promoter Walter and tomorrow's support group, one-man electronica outfit Binary. Mark has flown in from Norwich to do this gig.

Wednesday 10th December 1997

Because we are gentlemen of culture on a grand tour and not a rock band on the road, we've combed through arts paper Falter (which also features a Momus article headed 'Marquis Of Sadness') to choose some art shows to see downtown during the day.

Wolfgang accompanies us to the centre in an efficient orange underground train.


'Alpenblick' is a big show at the Kunsthalle about alpine imagery in art. Things begin promisingly with a high profile piece by Paul McCarthy: through the quaint curtained windows of a lifesize Heidi chalet, mechanical nanny goats thrust their fully-functioning vaginas. But soon afterwards the show descends to rather poor 60s oil paintings of mountains.

Nevertheless, a feeling of Austrian eccentricity and solitude remains from the show, and there's a good cartoon series, a flight of fantasy by Mike Kelley about how Hitler was a crap skier.


Next it's the gilded Sezession building for Cities On The Move, a scaffold-clad architecture show about the energy and futurism of the new cities of the orient, with particular emphasis on the crowded impermanence of their public spaces.

This is a subject I find particularily interesting, so I hover over video presentations of Putra Jaya with its 'multimedia corridor' and lifesized baby taxis from Bangladesh.


There are also several networked computers, so I hit my website (I'm delighted to see that Shazna has already posted the text-only version of this Eurokong Diary, since I've been unable to do it directly from the Nokia) before descending with Gilles to the Klimt basement. There is actually a Klimt King Kong on the wall!


It's true that Florence Manlik's drawings, which we're projecting during the shows, resemble the drawings of Sezessionists Klimt and Schiele, so we have the impression of returning to our slideshow's spiritual homeland.

The final show of the day is a documentation of Mathew Barney's Cremaster 1. Gilles and I have already seen this at the Cartier Foundation in Paris, so I content myself with videoing the table beneath which, in the film, the air hostess lies passing stolen grapes from the hole in the tablecloth at her lips to the mysterious tube in the heel of her stiletto.


I get in trouble with the staff for grabbing impious images of the site of such a self-evidently sacred ritual, but redeem myself by helping them load some new cartridges into the museum Polaroid.

We adjourn to a vegetarian cafe, where I read the local press. The word 'elegant' keeps coming up as the best way to describe Vienna. A serious press, Japanese green tea, warm colours on the wall.


I'm interviewed at ORF, the state radio station. Am in ecstasies over the classic 70s electronic design of the place, and video everything in the studio. Gilles plays along with a short set on theremin. The batteries run out on my PMA 5 during 'Space Jews' but since the station is pretending it's live, they leave it in. A cute girl called Natalie interviews me through the studio window, which is shaped like a round-cornered Quark Xpress text box. Just when I think my voice is irresistably husky, she asks me if something's wrong... would I like some water? I'm slightly crestfallen.

At the venue a crowd has gathered to watch football on TV. This is a forbidden activity at Momus shows. I'm increasingly grumpy after the soundcheck, when the restaurant tells us we can't hear the ORF programme because their radio only gets one station. I retreat into digital autism, burying my head in my notes and video.


Am cheered up later when I meet some disarmingly affectionate Slovakians who have driven here from Bratislava (a charming town I visited last time I played Austria, in 1990). They invite me to drink heavily with them there in the near future.

The show goes well, despite poor sound. At the front stands a willowy girl so beautiful I hardly dare look at her. Eurokong has been celibate so far, and I'm getting uncomfortably horny.

Thursday December 11th 1997

Wolfgang gives me a selection of CDs: DJ Cam and a copy of my own 'Beast With 3 Backs' EP. I leave a DAT of unreleased Momus material with him so that he and Walter can choose a track for a limited edition vinyl release on their label. It's later agreed that I'll share the release with Gilles, whose entire set will fit on one side of a vinyl 7".

We leave chilly Vienna and race down the autoroute to Munich. We're booked into a pension-type hotel south of the Sudbahnhof. Bungalow have put Achim Bogdahn in charge of us here.


Achim is an old friend: in '94 I produced an EP by his group Bismarck Idaho, staying at the house of his father, a protewstant pastor, in the Olympic Village.

He now has a new group, Isar 12, but has abandoned his theology degree in favour of a job with the local radio station, the Bayerische Rundfunk.

Gilles and I check into the hotel, walk around Schwabing in the rain (checking out the occupied university campus and the chic Park Cafe) then taxi to the Rundfunk building for a live appearance on Achim's show.

It's good to see A again; a huge grinning Bavarian Johnboy Walton with an impish sense of fun.


The show is in a cosy and intimate little club. Just as well it isn't any bigger, since only about eighty people show up. This gig was organised at the last minute, and hasn't even made the listings magazines.


I meet an old friend, Col from Band Of Holy Joy. He lives here now, DJing at a club. He tells me how the first girl he went out with in Munich was the actress who played notorious junky Christianne F.

I leave the crowd clamouring for more, although a little hardcore of fifty would clearly like me to stay here all night going through my back pages.

Achim takes us for a midnight pizza at his local Italian. He's someone who loves people, and spends most of the meal telling anecdotes or horsing with the waiters, one of whom steals my sunglasses and wears them for twenty minutes. I grin dutifully at these merry pranks.

Gilles and I, confirmed minimalists, feel a little oppressed by this larger than life atmosphere.

Friday December 12th

A trip to a show by Soho multimedia collective Tomato witth Achim, plus photos for Spex with a garrulous photographer. Today the sun is shining and we enjoy the well-heeled streets of the gay district. I buy green tea and pose next to a windowfull of Tamagotchis.


At the Kunsthalle there's an excellent Christian Boltanski show, Lost In Munich, in which the morbid Parisian collects and curates thousands of objects from the Munich Lost Property Office. The little official in charge of Lost And Found at the Hauptbahnhof follows us suspiciously, as if worried we'll run off with a pink stuffed rabbit or an artificial leg.


In the Kunsthalle Cafe we devise a sequel to Fritz Lang's film of the Wagnerian Nibbelungs legend: 'Fascist Tamagotchis On Horseback'.

We drive through Switzerland and Austria listening to the Isar 12 CD. It's not so different from Bismarck Idaho. Since the lyrics are in German, I miss Achim's wit, though I'm sure it's still there.

As soon as we've left the Swiss town of Basel we arrive at Gilles' family town of Mulhouse, just inside the French border.


Dine at Gilles' brother's house. I get on very well with his little nephew, who is 7 and crazy about computers. We compare notes on Tomb Raider 2 and he tells me about a Spielberg CD-ROM game where you actually direct your own movie.


He's also illustrated our tour: I stand with pockets stuffed with money while the crowd erupts with applause for Gilles, who is playing the guitar.

To Gilles' father's flat (father himself has driven his Porsche off to a girlfriend's house) where I sleep in the old man's bed.

Saturday December 13th 1997

We visit Gilles mother. An amateur sculptress, she has made a thin metal portrait of Gilles and Florence. It's very kitsch and, for stability, the figures have webbed feet. Gilles refuses to take it.


We drive at mach 2 to Paris up the empty motorway. Since we approach the city from the south, we call in on my Japanese friend Yoko first. She's setting up a new black Macintosh with the help of a friend from her fashion college. But I'm unable to play my tour video through it.

We drive up to Florence Manlik's opening at the Philippe Rizzo Gallery in Bastille. This is a show about Gilles and Flo, and their figures, drawn ten foot high in skeletal pencil on the far wall, dominate the gallery. Gilles sets up his instruments and plays for four hours during the opening, while Flo works on the giant drawings from a moving gantry.


I meet Shazna on the left bank and walk with her through the Louvre to Collette, Paris's most trendy store. Here I buy the magazines Purple Prose and Purple Sexe, and splash out on a pair of orange, blue and tan Nikes (or are they ingenious Chinese copies?) with zips over the laces.

We hurry to Flo's opening. The audience consists mostly of Japanese people. Gilles is getting a little tired of explaining the theremin to friends and letting everybody play it. The pretty gallery assistant takes Polaroids and we are amazed to see rays in them emanating from the theremin.


We dine with Rizzo and the man in charge of programming the exhibitions at the Pompidou Centre. Rizzo waves his cigar around and declares that he'd rather see Lepenists in the parliament than communists, which puts me in a sulk... although I don't complain when he pays for my dinner.

Sunday December 14th 1997

We wake up in Flo's tiny apartment in the 13th arrondissement. I love this area, and head out to Chinese superstore Tang Freres.


Back at Flo's we dress up in wigs and silly clothes before driving down to the Seine and setting up our equipment on the boat, the peniche 6/8.

There is a huge crowd, and I'm genuinely afraid the boat will sink. What's more, the atmosphere is respectful verging on pious: no-one speaks, it's as if I am some sort of dead legend come back to life.

Since this is the last date, we show the video of the tour on a TV monitor at the front. There's a moment of happy co-incidence when Gilles and I do our silly Lolitapop dance in sync with Mr Konishi of Pizzicato 5 on video.

From the end of 'The Animal That Desires' I know that the show is a triumph. Shazna, sitting behind me, is in tears. She was there, in different circumstances, at the birth of so many of these songs. During 'Enlightenment' I break down myself as I sing

'All we have is the nowness of now...'

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