27 January 2005



Hippopotamomus was released in 1991 and received this review in the NME:
It now seems beyond all reasonable doubt that Nick Currie is a perv; if not in deed, then certainly in mind. Taunted from the deeper recesses of his imagination by the voice of his (recently deceased) idol Serge Gainsbourg, he provokes, in his soft-spoken, bedsit-poet way, musing on forbidden lusts in a wholly gratuitous catalogue of titillation.

Currie with his Momus head on is obsessed with talking about sex, for it seems (as he describes in 'A Dull Documentary') that he witnessed the act of copulation at an earlier age than he would have preferred, this having a profound effect on him. Momus, it seems, wants us to snigger at his lust, and to consider this: when private, illicit thoughts are made public, is it pornography?

'Hippopotamomus', as Creation's press release kindly points out, nicks its puns from an LP made by Gainsbourg in 1973 "revolving around the unsavoury theme of 'popo' or shit." Which is no doubt of great interest to anal retentives. Momus' hippo vision has him as said large mammal copulating with the last remaining of the species, being petrified in lava and displayed for posterity in flagrante delicto behind glass in a museum. It's oddly endearing in a nursery rhyme way; Momus, the original murmurer, telling his story in a deep, deadpan English whisper to an incongruous acid house bloop.

So far, so ironic. But then we must suffer 'I Ate A Girl Right Up', Momus' response to American Psycho, a sort of polite sicko, a very English have-a-cuppa cannibal. "I don't know what came over me," he recites tweely. "I'd do it all again, it was yummy". Imagine Neil Tennant as Jack The Ripper and there you have it. Sorry. Not funny, not ironic - violence against women is not a subject for humorous treatment.

Hero Gainsbourg also had a bit of a 'thing' about sex with minors, so Momus starts bringing little girls into his stories. In 'A Dull Documentary' he has sex with a babysitter in front of the telly and carries on when the little girl comes into the room. The 'Marquis of Sadness' looks forward to entertaining his students who will bring him 'bad but intimate poetry' in his little office with its sofa and its key. 'Bluestocking', he imagines, is a well-read Eng Lit student who has studied the entire body of erotic writings from Ovid to Georges Bataille, and, being a clever-clever sort, he lists every author, including his own 'Lusts of a Moron'.

The best track is 'Ventriloquists and Dolls', which forsakes the amusingly alienating electro bleeps and becomes a dramatic sweep, like the Pet Shops at their grandest, the story featuring a wooden-legged psycho worthy of a Ruth Rendell novel.

The rainy day soliloquies continue, with more Wiggly Noise, monkeys that play with themselves, languid thoughts on 'Pornography' being "the stuff of every young girl's dream" rendered into photography, until you reach his concluding paragraph, 'Song In Contravention', acknowledging that 'to sing this song is a crime', begging the question of whether, indeed, his private thoughts should be subject to suppression.

There is something oddly compelling about Momus' tawdry little fantasies, but something equally repelling, dressing them up, as he does, in sweet packages when all that is within is rotting fish. Momus is a bit like a mussel: it tastes good when swallowed whole, but examine it too closely and it looks as disgusting as a shrivelled, unidentifiable piece of sexual organ. Spit it out immediately.

This is Art Wank with the emphasis on the Wank. As Danny Kelly says, why can't he write about football like the rest of us?


Needless to say it's one of my favourite albums for almost all the reasons the NME hated it. As a decidely normal 18 year old, wanting to delve into a little seediness, it made the perfect introduction and, in the track Bluestocking, Momus comes up with a neat checklist of literary depravity so you can delve a little deeper... I remember being stupidly pleased when I first heard it and realised I had most of them.

Momus - Michelin Man

This was taken off the re-release because I'm assuming Michelin didn't want their rubber tainted with Momus' bodily fluids.
courtesy of Poptunes

Momus - I Ate A Girl Right Up

This is one of my favourite tracks, mostly because it circumvents the old anthropological / psychological theories about cannibalism - cannibalism as ritual, as taboo, as soul stealing, as contested oral behaviour, as introverted aggression, as oedipal dependence - and replaces them with cannibalism as good old messy, tasty fun... which seems to fit the motives of modern German cannibal Armin Meiwes in a more satisfactory manner.

I Ate A Girl is a yousendit concoction and therefore available for a limited time and a limited amount of downloads - just click on it and see where it gets you


20jazzfunkgreats said...

This is great stuff, i'm all for making Nick into a national treasure.

I got really excited when watching some program about little animals with get inside your body (but shouldn't be) and eat bits of you. Nick turned up random talking about his eye, which had a tropical insect/bug in and thus he lost the use of. And for years i had been thinking he was exocentric…

the X said...

-disturbing...!! ;)

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