Momasu at CMJ New York, September 99
Thought For The Day
Playing In New York
Momus flew in the general direction of New York in September 99 to take part in the CMJ Music Marathon. Thanks to Hurricane Floyd, however, his plane was diverted to Texas, and he had to cancel a mini-show at the Hilton, an appearance on the CMJ artists panel, and a whole bunch of interviews. (Impression of Texas: giggling in a restaurant full of pear-shaped truckers with mullets. Outside it's 95 degrees. Pine trees surround the sleazy motel. Central America is close.) But the next day someone was jet writing 'I love New York' in the blue sky above Clinton Street as if nothing had happened, and the stars were out in Other Music.
Backstage at Fez with Louis Philippe and Kevin Wright, who performed their first American shows as part of Le Grand Magistery's attempt to reconstruct the legendary el Records circa 1986. At the end of a very successful evening Kevin and Philippe joined Momus, Toog and Kahimi Karie onstage for a rendition of Cornelius's song 'Mike Alway's Diary', in honour of the (absent) man who brought us all together in the first place.
Momus, Toog and Karin Komoto meet some girls who were at the Fez show at the Lotus Club cafe on Clinton Street (where, in Cohen's Famous Blue Raincoat, 'there's music all through the evening'). It really is a village, the Village.
Louis Philippe, Matt Jacobson, Kevin Wright outside a restaurant in Chinatown.
They spent years of toil to break from the tyranny of British rule.
With Kahimi and Japanese artist Hiroshi Sunairi outside Comme Des Garcons on West 22nd Street, where he works when he isn't making his ultra-narcissistic, blobbily psychedelic self-portraits. Hiroshi took Momus to a gay porn shop and showed him the 70s video catalogues which inspire him. Momus demurely purchased a biography of Truman Capote.
Hiroshi and Kahimi in a Japanese cafe on West 22nd Street, Chelsea. Hiroshi has a one-man show at the nearby Andrew Kreps gallery.
We visit Twe and Miho, fashion designers with Universal Bamboo in their live/work space on the Bowery. Unfortunately, their living quarters are so cramped that opening the front door causes a shelf of pottery in the kitchen to come crashing to the floor, smashing everything. 'Oh well, it's a good excuse to go shopping,' says Twe (who came to the US at the age of 5 with the Vietnamese boat people).
A friend of Twe and Miho, I think he's a painter. He has tattoos of sanscrit scriptures on his arms, and spent time in prison for drug posession. An interesting guy. Friend of Harmony's, too.
I'm a magazine junky, so imagine my bliss on walking into Broadway's Universal News and discovering this temple to media... and coffee. Ah, information overload. Give me excess of it! Faster, louder, smarter!
Harm was just back from Venice, where he'd been premiering Julien, Donkey Boy. Jarvis got dragged in because there's a show on New York cable called Karaoke Verite. They asked Momus to sing along with a cardboard Jarvis to 'My Conviction' from his favourite rock opera, Hair:
I would just like to say that it is my conviction
That longer hair and other flamboyant affectations
Of appearance are nothing more
Than the male's emergence from his drab camouflage
Into the gaudy plumage which is the birthright of his sex
There is a peculiar notion that elegant plumage
And fine feathers are not proper for the male
But actually that is the way things are in most species
With Smylonylon founder, Welsh hipster Chris Brick outside Center For The Dull on Lafayette Street. Chris, who is an acid-fried musical magpie, invited Momus up to his living quarters above the shop and played him bits of his amazing record collection: arabic singers, Italian disco drumming, and folk music played on synth. They discussed a possible British release for his band Family Of God through Analog Baroque.
'Let's go to a Holiday Inn, and I will show you something' sing the magnificent Stereo Total on the forthcoming Analog Baroque compilation Total Pop. Momus stayed at the Chinatown Holiday Inn, adoring its location, and marvelling at the funky sights of the East Village. 'Look, here, it's the offices of Visionaire! Isn't that Vivienne Westwood walking past, with buttery floury make-up on? Yes! (It was like seeing the world's biggest rock star, true glamour.) And isn't that Genesis P. Orridge behind those big white poofy shades? It is! Let's give him a copy of Stars Forever!'
Funky decay. Did we mention the plague of killer mosquitoes, or the gigantic butterflies which were flapping all over Chelsea in the Indian summer heat, frightening the pigeons?
The dancing chicken that used to lure people to this chinatown amusement arcade is dead, but they have a plastic one. And, alongside the Tekken machines, a very amusing Hell Taxi game.
New York, je t'aime. You see, I love to play.
I'll no be turned away!
And I'll no be Tekken for granted!
I'll be back!