Around 1990 I started listening to Radio 1: specifically Annie Nightingale and John Peel, and one night in 1991 on Annie’s show she played a couple of songs back to back which stood out to me. Both of them were covers of the Jacques Brel song “Jacky”: one by Marc Almond which was currently in the charts at that point, and the other by what Annie called a “friend of the show”: Momus. I have no idea if Momus was at any point a friend of the show or Radio 1 at all. I suspect if he ever was that they had fallen out to an alarming extent by that point, but at any rate his cover version: “Nicky”, was arresting. Listening to the bizarre lyrics, representing the singer as a louche womanizer who at the same time regretted and celebrated his lot while looking forward to the nostalgia he would one day have for the times he was singing about, I realised I needed to hear more by him. It was a combination of the humour (hit and miss though it was), and the genuinely catchy nature of the tune that drew me in, but more than that there was a clear ambition there, an ambition to hit the charts in some way, that was also, clearly and totally, doomed to failure.
Of course, I didn’t manage to record the song and it was a couple of years before I happened on a vinyl copy of a compilation called Monsters of Love which began my real journey into Momus land. In this blog I intend to listen (in chronological order) to every album recorded. This will involve writing about the artist himself (Nicholas Currie), and since I know little about him beyond his own blog posts, this may have to include invented and exaggerated stories, unreliable tours if you like. The album reviews themselves will not be hagiographic, the story to be told has certain ups and downs and if a track or album is below par I will have to say that. Why would you read this? You might be a fan, or you might want to know more. You may be interested in indie music or the changing culture of the UK. If you are a Momus fan, these blog entries might help you proselytise about him to others: they should be comprehensible to new listeners. Also, I think the story of Momus is fascinating and on a par with artistic tales such as those of Amanda McKittrick Ros or Salvador Dali: tragically misunderstood (tragically understood?) artists awaiting redemption they don’t care about.
2 thoughts on “What is Fifteen People?”
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