On Columns
I love Columns. I don't mean that Tetris rip-off with the dumb descending blocks of stripes and speckles (though I love that too). I mean editorial columns, opinion pieces, the journalistic equivalent of idle chatter in the public square.

In fact I love media of all kinds, and now I have a website I'm taking great pleasure in recreating all the old media one by one. Like Louis Rosetto says, ontogyny repeats phylogeny. New media, like a baby in the womb, repeat the tails and gills of the species that turned into them. The web will recapitulate all former media one by one before swallowing them with a gulp.

Here on the Momus site you'll find everything except television. Most of it, of course, is doing a good impression of ink on paper. But there's more: the samples page impersonates the music industry. The short-lived Cork Slab impersonated a community noticeboard. The slideshow pages impersonate the magic of transparencies, dioramas, projections of all kinds. Spinner, a brand new game for those lucky enough to have Netscape 2 and the Shockwave plug in, impersonates a bizarre video game in which you control Momus as he sits in a swivel chair, swivelling.

Now Column will impersonate a column.

I once proposed to the editor of Britain's racy Select magazine a column called 'It's So Depressing... By Momus'. The idea was to dwell in an exaggeratedly weary tone on all the most depressing things going on in pop, lamenting their dullness much as Alexander Pope lamented the dullness of his contemporaries in his epic poem 'The Dunciad'. Oddly, I never heard back from Select.

In fact there will be very little about music in here. Music will get along fine with or without me (and anyway I have a reviews page which impersonates the music press). Unlike Luke Haines and Edwyn Collins I'm not going to moan about what the young are doing with rock and roll.

Column probably won't herald a return to the days of Addison and Lamb. There will only occasionally be echoes of Dr Johnson and Oscar Wilde. The voice of Karl Kraus, the heroic satirist who published his own newspaper, Der Fackel, in early 20th century Vienna, will be small and distant.

In fact I intend just to waffle, delighted to have a soapbox but really too lazy to stand on it and shout. After all, I do pay thirty quid a month to have this place. I'm entitled to say what the hell I want.

Which reminds me of another charmingly dated form of media institution recapped by the web: vanity publishing.


Momus, Paris, March 1996
momus@anais.aurecvideo.fr

Other Columns:On Image and On Flatness.
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