Momus (Nick Currie) (b. 1960)

Momus on UbuWeb

Fakeways: Manhattan Folk - An Audio Investigation by Momus

1. Fakeways, (32.7MB mono mp3 file, 71 mins)

At the beginning of Nicolas Roeg's film The Man Who Fell To Earth space alien (and Englishman) Thomas Jerome Newton goes to a pawnbroker's shop to sell a gold ring -- his engagement ring, he tells the old lady who gives him $10 for it. As he leaves the shop we see that he has a string in his pocket with about a hundred rings hanging from it. This (and patents) is how he'll finance himself on Earth, a planet that values gold as much as his own planet values water. Desperately poor when I first arrived in New York City in early 2000, I had a similar scheme; I sold silver disks to Other Music.

The disks were homeburned copies of an audio documentary I'd made about the Manhattan and Williamsburg music, theater and art scene as I found it in early spring of 2000. And today I want to offer it to you for the first time for download as an mp3. The documentary is called Fakeways: Manhattan Folk. It fed me in my early months in New York (I was working on my "Folktronic" album at the time), gave me a chance to capture whatever memes were flying about, and finally aired on WFMU. It's been unavailable for a few years, but I thought now might be a good time to pull it out of the time capsule. Enough time has passed to give the scene I'm surveying a historical quality (Casey Spooner claimed in a recent Pitchfork interview that "apparently there's an electroclash renaissance happening in the UK").

Fakeways is also an interesting document in its own right, a snapshot of New York creatives (Casey Spooner, Cindy Green, Ford Wright, Stephin Merritt, Brian Degraw) finding the Nietzschean superbeing within themselves. Some of them would later translate ambivalent celebrations of mainstream entertainment values into actual mainstream success. Merritt was already well on the way, by the time I spoke to him here, to selling 150,000 copies of 69 Love Songs. The same Fischerspooner album that you could buy as an indie release in 2000 at Other Music was re-released in 2002 by UK dance label Ministry, who flew the band about on Concorde and reputedly paid them a £2 million advance. But in "Fakeways" everything is still up for grabs, and talk is of legendary Starbucks appearances and early days in Chicago underground theater venues.

Enjoy this trip back to 2000!

Full tracklisting:

Fakeways: Manhattan Folk
An Audio Investigation by Momus

1. Theme Music
2. Flier: Snippets Of Interviews
3. Theme Music (Some More)
4. Conversation Between Momus and Sinclair Scientific, the robot anthropologist
5. The Introduction To Rhymes With Adventure by International Fiction
6. Introducing Miss Mono Trona
7. Mono Sings About the Birth Of A Superbeing
8. Conversation between Momus and Sinclair: What is Gavin Brown's Enterprise?
9. Introducing Mr Casey Spooner, Fischerspooner
10. Casey Spooner In Conversation at Gavin Brown's Enterprise
11. Fischerspooner excerpt: Invisible
12. Introducing Mr Steve Lafreniere, Index Magazine
13. Steve Lafreniere In Conversation at the Chelsea, New York studio of Index Magazine
14. Steve Lafreniere talks about the Polish and Ukrainian folk influences at work in Chicago
15. Casey Spooner talks about glamour
16. Fischerspooner excerpt: Turn On
17. Steve Lafreniere on Glam Style
18. Casey Spooner on kitsch and Brecht
19. Conversation between Momus and Sinclair: Rhymes With Adventure at the Soho Rep
20. Excerpt from International Fiction's Rhymes With Adventure: Die Evil Beings
21. Introducing Mr Ford Wright
22. Ford Wright on the Chicago scene
23. Ford on his appearance as Jesus Christ Superstar
24. Ford Wright on fantasy fiction
25. Excerpt from Rhymes With Adventure: Carbon Ice
26. Ford on kitsch
27. Excerpt from Rhymes With Adventure: Unicorn, Come To My Aid
28. Conversation between Sinclair and Momus: Who Are the Elves Of Yore?
29. Cindy Green talks about superhero imagery
30. Introducing the Melted Men, from Athens Georgia
31. A slice of Mono Trona
32. Introducing Miss Kelly Kuvo of Sweet Thunder
33. Kelly Kuvo on Sweet Thunder
34. Conversation between Sinclair and Momus: What is irony, post Gen X?
35. Ford Wright on D.I.V.O.R.C.E
36. Conversation between Momus and Sinclair, the Robot
37. Introducing Mr Stephin Merrit
38. Stephin Merrit of Magnetic Fields on the Harry Smith Anthology Box Set
39. A slice of Ford Wright's hobo musical, Arrogance: Catch As Catch Can
40. Stephin Merrit on Fake Folk and possible precedents
41. Introducing Brian Degraw of Saabsongs
42. Brian Degraw on his collaboration with Harmony Korine
43. Steve Lafreniere on Folk Art
44. Sinclair Scientific complains that all this is too much for a robot to understand
45. Ford Wright: A Slave Boy That Thinks He's A King
46. Closing Theme