DON'T CALL MOMUS...
It now seems beyond all reasonable doubt that Nick Currie is a perv; if not in deed, then certainly in mind. Taunted from the deeper recesses of his imagination by the voice of his (recently deceased) idol Serge Gainsbourg, he provokes, in his soft-spoken, bedsit-poet way, musing on forbidden lusts in a wholly gratuitous catalogue of titillation.
Currie with his Momus head on is obsessed with talking about sex, for it seems (as he describes in 'A Dull Documentary') that he witnessed the act of copulation at an earlier age than he would have preferred, this having a profound effect on him. Momus, it seems, wants us to snigger at his lust, and to consider this: when private, illicit thoughts are made public, is it pornography?
'Hippopotamomus', as Creation's press release kindly points out, nicks its puns from an LP made by Gainsbourg in 1973 "revolving around the unsavoury theme of 'popo' or shit." Which is no doubt of great interest to anal retentives. Momus' hippo vision has him as said large mammal copulating with the last remaining of the species, being petrified in lava and displayed for posterity in flagrante delicto behind glass in a museum. It's oddly endearing in a nursery rhyme way; Momus, the original murmurer, telling his story in a deep, deadpan English whisper to an incongruous acid house bloop.
So far, so ironic. But then we must suffer 'I Ate A Girl Right Up', Momus' response to American Psycho, a sort of polite sicko, a very English have-a-cuppa cannibal. "I don't know what came over me," he recites tweely. "I'd do it all again, it was yummy". Imagine Neil Tennant as Jack The Ripper and there you have it. Sorry. Not funny, not ironic - violence against women is not a subject for humorous treatment.
Hero Gainsbourg also had a bit of a 'thing' about sex with minors, so Momus starts bringing little girls into his stories. In 'A Dull Documentary' he has sex with a babysitter in front of the telly and carries on when the little girl comes into the room. The 'Marquis of Sadness' looks forward to entertaining his students who will bring him 'bad but intimate poetry' in his little office with its sofa and its key. 'Bluestocking', he imagines, is a well-read Eng Lit student who has studied the entire body of erotic writings from Ovid to Georges Bataille, and, being a clever-clever sort, he lists every author, including his own 'Lusts of a Moron'.
The best track is 'Ventriloquists and Dolls', which forsakes the amusingly alienating electro bleeps and becomes a dramatic sweep, like the Pet Shops at their grandest, the story featuring a wooden-legged psycho worthy of a Ruth Rendell novel.
The rainy day soliloquies continue, with more Wiggly Noise, monkeys that play with themselves, languid thoughts on 'Pornography' being "the stuff of every young girl's dream" rendered into photography, until you reach his concluding paragraph, 'Song In Contravention', acknowledging that 'to sing this song is a crime', begging the question of whether, indeed, his private thoughts should be subject to suppression.
There is something oddly compelling about Momus' tawdry little fantasies, but something equally repelling, dressing them up, as he does, in sweet packages when all that is within is rotting fish. Momus is a bit like a mussel: it tastes good when swallowed whole, but examine it too closely and it looks as disgusting as a shrivelled, unidentifiable piece of sexual organ. Spit it out immediately.
This is Art Wank with the emphasis on the Wank. As Danny Kelly says, why can't he write about football like the rest of us?
Melody Maker 6.7.91
HE'S a real clever-dick, is Nick Currie. He's the kind of guy regarded either as a poetic genius or a shallow wordsmith with 'public
school' stamped all over him. As Momus, his alter ego, he has ably dominated the chair at the fag end of suave for some years, speaking inn a voice that is neither that of bleeding heart bedsit lefties Patrik Fitzgerald nor of the Jazz Butcher's humorously desperate Average Bloke. Momus is creepily unhinged in a very debonair fashion, the quietly lecherous chap at the end of the bar who entertains with extraordinary tales of quite ordinary madness.
It's pointless to accuse him of being an outright copyist of French singer/poet/ Gauloises chain smoker Serge Gainsbourg, who died this year, because Momus has always acknowledged this debt. In fact 'Hippopotamomus' is dedicated to Serge, and the two are best buddies in games with both words and women. Yet Momus is a true minstrel of our time, his sardonic sense of humour a real joy. "Don't call me cannibal" he sings in the "American Psycho-style tale of 'I Ate A Girl Right Up', "Everybody needs from time to time to remember they're an animal". Then, in 'Ventriloquists & Dolls' he builds an epic based on Scott Walker's 'MacArthur Park', roping in Noko (who worked with Howard Devoto in Luxuria) for some surprising abrasive manly guitar.
Sex is always there, sweating its way to the surface. Take the sleazebag charm of 'Pornography' or 'Bluestocking', which mixes huskily whispered text from hip novelist Marguerite Duras with talk of blowjobs. It's a dangerous (and delightful) drama. The title track is a tribute to Gainsbourg's 1973 song 'L'Hippopodame', which revolves around some complicated wordplay involving 'popo', (or shit to you and me). It's a great joke even if you don't fully understand it. Momus's talent is a damp and drunken, glowering one, and 'Hippopotamomus' is another seriously dry adventure in sex and scatology.
CREATION CRE 097 MC/CD
Momus (aka Nicholas Currie) is way, way out there. A wicked pop weasel whose poisoned Euro-pop fizzes with animal sex, human sex and cannibalism. His extraordinary voice cuts through his light electrodrizzle whispering dark, loathsome secrets you'd rather not know - like a diseased and disgraced Pet Shop Boys relocated to the Creation indie scene.
'Hippopotamomus', following previous critical triumphs 'The Poison Boyfriend' and 'The Tender Pervert', is a strange brew of unsavoury desires and vague tributes to the late Serge Gainsbourg (whom Momus vaguely resembles musically). The title track tells how Momus, as the last male hippopotamus, is fossilised in lava while humping his mate and is shipped off to the British Museum.
'Monkey For Sally' is about the monkey he buys for a friend, who also performs the odd sexual favour; 'Blue Stocking' is an ode to his most knowledgeable lover; 'I Ate A Girl Right Up' is self-explanatory except that it includes bowels 'n' all ("it was yummy..."). He's the Hannibal Lecter of pop: wickedly seductive.
Momus explores the perimeter of what is morally and sexually acceptable like no other contemporary artist. He and the sleazy disco of 'Hippopotamomus' stand pretty much alone. What a star.