Friday, July 15, 2016

Politics doesn’t need a brick through the window, or civility. It needs basic fairness

Abi Wilkinson :

This week I was asked on Twitter if I thought it was OK for someone to
call me a “fucking useless journalist”. My honest answer is yes. I might
not like receiving such a comment, and it’s unlikely to lead to any
sort of constructive dialogue, but I think it counts as a morally
acceptable form of self-expression. Not all anger can be considered
equally justified, but if we insist on civility as a requirement for
having a voice then we inevitably exclude those who are at the end of
their tether – and they’re the ones that should be listened to most

Thursday, July 07, 2016

David Blanchflower :
GDP per head is up just over 1% since 2008 and real wages are still 7% below their level at the start of the Great Recession in 2008. The problem is that many who voted leave thought this was all about immigration and EU rules, whereas in reality it was mostly about austerity. The Poles, the Czechs and the Hungarians came to the UK to work; they have higher employment rates than those born in the UK and pay far more into the system than they take out. It is clear that the rising number of immigrants has put pressure on public services but this was mostly because Osborne under-invested in services in order to shrink the state. They paid their taxes, but Slasher didn’t invest that money in new schools, houses and hospitals.

Tuesday, July 05, 2016


Momus is seriously pissed off with Brexit.

And enlisting a world-class vituperator to help him express his rage. :-)

Meanwhile there's a 30 year retrospective album of Momus songs coming out, selected by the man himself.

Thoughts on the tracklist.

I see why Lucky like St. Sebastian has to be there, though I'd like to see Little Lord Obedience or The Rape of Lucretia rather than Paper Wraps Rock.

From Poison Boyfriend I don't particularly dig Murderers, the Hope of Women.  Would rather see Eleven Executioners, Violets or the haunting Islington John. The other two are obviously the right choices. (I'm a big fan of Sex for the Disabled, but understand its historic moment is over.)

Great selection from Tender Pervert and Don't Stop the Night.

Morality is Vanity is an excellent song.

Hipopotamomus? Meh! Bluestocking is throwaway. Marquis of Sadness is much wittier and has all the "perv" credential Momus might want here. Personally I used to like Ventriloquists and Dolls but began enjoying The Painter and his Model more.  Hipopotamomus itself and Monkey for Sally are far more musically striking and disturbing. Song in Contravention is more beautifully lush. This is a weak selection from one of Momus's best albums.

Too much Voyager. Voyager and Summer Holiday 1999 are classics. Cibachrome Blue if you want to capture the overall feel. But Spacewalk is excess to requirements. (And I think Afterglow is better if you insist on 4 tracks from this album.)

Platinum fine. Enlightenment is a good song ruined by a couple of horribly clunky lines that spoil what would otherwise be emotionally powerful. Rhetoric, nah! I'd have Breathless instead. And I love Christmas on Earth. Shame not to find a way to fit it in.

Not enough Ultraconformist. Last of the Window Cleaners obviously has to be there. But there are underrated classics like Ultraconformist itself and The Mother-in-Law. The Cheque's in the Post is a bit of a crowdpleaser that doesn't charm me much.

Philosophy of Momus is one of his weaker albums. As close to "filler" as Momus gets. He's right about Sadness of Things and Cabinet. I'm not sure Microworlds adds much. 20 Vodka Jellies, OTOH, is another "bit random" collection, packed with pleasurable upbeat tunes. London 1888 and End of History are obviously big songs. I'd have been inclined to try to find space for a couple more. There are plenty of greats to choose from on this album. 

Ping Pong was wildly hyped. But I think he's right to just stick with the much covered I Want You, But I Don't Need You and The Age of Information (an incredibly prescient piece of internet philosophy)

Born to be Adored is great. I don't like Old Friend, New Flame. But I see why it's pretty definitive of Momus and the Analog Baroque moment.

Stars Forever is so varied musically and tied up to its concept (song-portraits of patrons) that it would be hard to get a "representative sample". About 70% of the Stars Forever songs are great and the two he's chosen are from that 70%. But they aren't particular stand-outs. The most interesting thing about Tinnitus is that it's really looking forward to the Folktronic style he goes on to explore in the next album.  And mysteriously NOTHING from the Folktronic album makes it into this compilation. Is he just going for a twofer? Trying have one song represent both Stars Forever and Folktronic? Looks like it. He's already on disk 3 and only half-way through his spectacular discography.

Plus there ARE two songs from Folktronic : Pygmalism and Going for a Walk with a Line. And these obviously HAVE to be in the collection as they're two of his best songs from this period (if not two of his best songs. full stop.) But they're from the "extras" part of the disk, not Folktronic proper (at least that's how I read them). Perhaps it was hard to find one. Finnegan the Folk Hero of HTML is a bit twee. Psychopathis Sexualis maybe?

Oskar Tennis Champion is one of Momus's greatest albums. Certainly the extremely  inventive beginning of his "modern" (2000s+ ) style. It deserves to be well represented. No arguments about Beowulf and The Laird of Inversnecky, though I'm surprised by Scottish Lips. I'd have thought Is It Because I'm A Pirate? would be the obvious third here.

He's right to skip quickly over Otto Spooky. In my opinion, Momus's least pleasurable album. Even though it has Bantom Boys and Cockle Pickers which are ambitious experiments.  Life of the Fields is arguably a kind of last hurrah of of the Folktronic style and maybe appears for that reason. It's so so though.

Ocky Milk, in contrast, is like Vodka Jellies, another compendium of big, enjoyable tunes (that also manages to competently incorporate quite a lot of his weird experimentation). It's under-represented here. Though perhaps hard to do justice to it.

Of course, now he's having to rush. We're half-way through disk 3 and we're only starting on the really new stuff. Home produced albums which tend to have more songs on them than those made with expensive studio time in the 80s. The lush Joemus collaboration Widow Twankie deserves its slot here. Hypnoprism is woefully under-represented. As is Thunderclown. In comparison, two songs from Bibliotek seems generous. Though Erase, Momus's experiment  with another folktronicesque genre - Hauntology - is worthwhile. Two each from Bambi, Terpsicore and Glyptothek are fair. Though I'd prefer Catholic App, Unreconstructed or Spore to The Hiker. (System of Usher is fantastic.) 
And I wish he'd found room for Old Nick at the end. While Momus's last-of-the-album mawkfests (Ex-erotomane, Gibbous Moon) are often legendary, and  The Vaudevillian is the uber-tearjerker of an ending, Old Nick's sly twist on the convention is equally fulfilling, and somehow sums up the Momus project better.

Anyway looks a great compilation for those who don't know or have Momus's  ouvre. (I pretty much do have all these tracks, most of them legally.)