Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Top 102 Albums⁺ No 25 - The Poison Boyfriend

Top 102 Albums⁺ No 25 
The Poison Boyfriend - Momus
(Momus is the Greek god of mockery who is currently inhabiting the body of one Nicholas Currie a peripatetic Scot who is, apparently, quite big in Japan.)

If you like your pop deviant and intellectual Momus' run of albums on Creation is a motherlode. I would probably advise a neophyte to get the Monsters of Love singles compiltion which includes Morality is Vanity, one of my favourite Mo(mus)ments. It could also be argued that Tender Pervert, probably the high point of name recognition, would be more apt and it certainly does have it times as my favourite of his studio albums. I also have a soft spot for The Ultraconformist album, with its nod to pre-WWI cabaret, dubbed audience sounds and self-deprecating subtitle 'Live While Out of Fashion". However, my choice (today) is The Poison Boyfriend, his second solo album. You don't have to make any such choice. Momus has made all of his six albums recorded for Creation available for free online HERE. Here's what Momus said about the album at the time of putting it online for free; http://imomus.livejournal.com/419757.html He also has quite a large body of work since then which is also well worth exploring, although I am not as familiar with it as I am with his earlier work.

Like many other albums on this list this one is filled with associations for me and brings back the days before a night on the town brought a groan to my lips. Even a couple of nights out with the divine monster when he visited Ireland. Charming he was too and he never tried to corrupt me. Maybe he thought I was quite corrupt enough.  Or incorruptible? : )

The opener The Gatecrasher, describes the impression made by a gatecrasher at a party. The lyrical voice extrapolates a series of possible histories for the "acidic and sour" gatecrasher, while we wonder if the voice isn't perhaps the voice of the gatecrasher.

Violets is a different beast, a whimsical Italian tinged cabaret number about the troubles in Northern Ireland involving dinosaurs, snakes, Ian Paisley and the Pope. Who's the organ grinder and who's the monkey?

Islington John is an impressionist landscape of 'flatfish tramps'. It is followed by a treatise on the three ages of man, called Three Wars. Why not take on Shakespeare? It is filled with some great couplets and zeroes in like an exocet on death. It's not all sophomore parties and voyeurism, you know. This is from the first war:
"The war begins at school when you rebel against the maths teacher
Who touched you up behind his desk
And ends when you've failed your final maths exam
And had your first success with sex"

Next comes Flame into Being, one of my favourite Momus tracks. Blissfully. luxuriously wordy and louche, mixing philosophy and myth with jealousy and pathos with a self-mocking prolixity. The opening lines seem to suggest that the weight of the words may be too much for the music to bear but I beg to differ.
"Now the weight of the books has crushed my delicate fingers
I'm not trying to be Paganini any more
All I dream about these days is sex with strangers
Rats in spats and bowler hats on the dance floor
Some days my head is the turret for a machine gun
And the world is torn apart by a hail of words
In tongues of fire the rookie priest reads the lesson
And I would like to quote him chapter and verse

I'm in love with everyone who knows it's hard
To build a way of seeing
Who knows that nevertheless that's the only way
To flame into being"

Situation Comedy Blues could be the template for Jack Dee's sitcom Lead Balloon. A sitcom writer without a sense of humour finds his life turning into a classic sitcom. You can feel the lyrical conceits stretching but admire the material for not ripping.
"I'm the man who serves the laughter
To the drunkards of disaster
After they've got plastered on the news
And I've got the situation comedy blues"

And for the day that's in it, is there a better song about The Iron Lady than Sex For the Disabled?

"And which of us was stronger then
And which of us was stranger
A woman pumping iron or a liberal Hell's Angel?
Before the accident when my somersaulting Triumph
Entered the gymnasium of the female Goliath

And I don't know if you felt for me
Or if you shared my dreams
But when my speed machine hit your weight machine
I know you heard my screams"

Ciao Maggie.


  1. I download these when he let them lose ,I loved his mix of darkness and wit very much a one off ,all the best stu

    1. I bought them all at the time on vinyl but very glad to have digital copies as well.

  2. This is a bit of a bolt from the blue - forgotten how good this lp is. Always thought of Nick Currie as Neil Hannon's evil twin brother

    1. And it's only one of a run of very, very good albums. I would have thought of Neil Hannon as being more like a son than a twin. Son of Momus - it has a spaghetti western ring to it.