I was asked to answer these questions for an event in Barcelona and having done so figured I might as well post them here too. You couldn’t make it it!
1. When were you happiest? I’ll be at my happiest in about 10 minutes when I’ve answered these questions – coz then I can make another huge pot of espresso and watch yet another Godfrey Ho movie.
2. What is your greatest fear? That the list I have of Godfrey Ho movies is complete and that before long I’ll have watched everything he ever made. Fortunately not even Godfrey Ho can remember all the films he made and there’s a good chance of many more being added to the 150 we know about.
3. What is your earliest memory? Going to the Isle of Wight by ferry when I was 2 years old. It was raining.
4. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? My modesty. I feel I need to be more egotistical.
5. In what historical time would you have liked to live? I like the times I’ve lived in best – and would only want to live in London (or possibly New York) at any time. I wouldn’t mind going back to the 1960s for the music, the 1970s for the feeling the whole political system was going to collapse (but then it feels like that again now), and the 1980s for seeing Godfrey Ho movies as they appeared at the point this director was most prolific.
6. Ever been in a fight? Of course! No idea how many.
7. Where do you stand politically? Ultra-left.
8. What do you owe your parents? I can thank my mother Julia Callan-Thompson for my intelligence and good looks, and great stories to tell people about her life as an original mod and then in the 1960s counterculture. Also my great taste in music, since my mother was listening to cool modern jazz all the time she was pregnant with me. I don’t know who my father is so I probably don’t owe him anything – but I reckon he owes me a big bundle of used notes!
9. Who would you invite to your dream party? Pamela Anderson, Jennifer Lopez and Godfrey Ho, among others.
10. If you could edit your past, what would you change? I wouldn’t have gone to see Joy Davison who are a lousy band and unfortunately I knew what I was doing when I went into the gig. I definitely wouldn’t have seen The Police either, but they were a last minute substitution among the support acts when I went to see The Brian James All Stars in 1978 (and I did go to the bar and turned my back on them when they played). I can’t be blamed for seeing The Police because I didn’t know I was going to see them when I went into The Electric Ballroom – but I wish I hadn’t seen them.
11. When did you last cry, and why? In 1971 when I lost a ten pence piece down a drain. We’d only just had the change in the UK to decimal currency and I thought it was a fifty pence piece, which is why I cried.
12. What is the closest you’ve come to death? Sitting in the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood in east London one winter day. I was leaving my body behind and entering this golden tunnel of light and thinking how great it was to be dead, when one of the museum attendants shook me awake and asked me if I was alright. I was very disappointed to still be alive coz death seemed like it was a groove sensation!
13. What do you consider your greatest achievement or quality? My ability to talk endless and without any prompting – even when I’m standing on my head!
14. What song or songs would you like played at your funeral? “Burn, Baby, Burn” by Mel Williams.
15. Why and when did you decide to start talking about yourself? As soon as I could speak – so when I was about a year old. I didn’t have a reason then, it was just intuitive. Now it’s a case of I started doing this in 1963 so why the hell should I stop?
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!
Comment by One Eyebrow Max on 2012-03-22 20:34:33 +0000
You’re egotistical but are you egotistical enough!
Comment by Barry Graham on 2012-03-22 20:52:48 +0000
I used to be egotistical, but now I’m perfect.
Comment by Solipsistic Simon on 2012-03-22 20:57:55 +0000
Real egotists don’t need reasons for their egotism – all things are nothing to me!
Comment by Alph The Shaman on 2012-03-22 21:12:55 +0000
Put your hands on your head!
Comment by Ian Long on 2012-03-22 22:08:57 +0000
It’s not good enough to say you had your back to The Police. You were still in the building while they were playing, and you could have walked out. What do you think your legs are for?
Comment by Godfrey Ho on 2012-03-22 22:43:12 +0000
This is a cut ‘n’ paste blog and you stole it all from my cut ‘n’ paste movies!
Comment by Confucius on 2012-03-22 23:13:52 +0000
Egomania is the gift that keeps on giving to itself……
Comment by mistertrippy on 2012-03-23 01:45:01 +0000
@ Ian Long – eah but I’d have had to paid to get in again and I wanted to see The Brian James All Stars!
Comment by Paul Frampton on 2012-03-23 02:20:45 +0000
Egomania was brought into polemical prominence at the close of the 19th century by ‘Max Nordau, the first critic who perceived the centrality of the concept of egoism for an understanding of Modernism…[with] his wholesale attacks on the ideology of “egomania”‘. Nordau distinguished egoism – as ‘a lack of amiablity….The egoist is quite able to look after himself in life’ – from the ‘ego-maniac…who does not see things as they are, does not understand the world, and cannot take up a right attitude towards it’. Nordau’s attack was aimed at the Avant-garde of the fin de siècle. ‘His aim is to describe the “geniuses” as criminals and madmen…”culte de moi”‘
Degeneration (Entartung, 1892), was Max Nordau’s major work. It is a moralistic attack on so-called degenerate art, as well as a polemic against the effects of a range of rising social phenomena of the period, such as rapid urbanization and its perceived effects on the human body.
Nordau begins his work with a ‘medical’ and social interpretation of what has created this Degeneration in society. Nordau divides his study into five books. In the first book, Nordau identifies the phenomenon of fin de siècle in Europe. He sees it as first being recognised, though not originating, in France, ‘a contempt for the traditional views of custom and morality.’ He sees it as a sort of decadence, a world-weariness, and the wilful rejection of the moral boundaries governing the world. He uses examples from French periodicals and books in French to show how it has affected all elements of society. Nordau accuses also society of becoming more and more inclined to imitate what they see in art. He sees in the fashionable society of Paris and London that ‘Every single figure strives visibly by some singularity in outline, set, cut or colour, to startle attention violently, and imperiously to detain it. Each one wishes to create a strong nervous excitement, no matter whether agreeably or disagreeably.’
Nordau establishes the cultural phenomenon of fin de siècle in the opening pages, but he quickly moves to the viewpoint of a physician and identifies what he sees as an illness. ‘In the fin-de-siècle disposition, in the tendencies of contemporary art and poetry, in the life and conduct of men who write mystic, symbolic and ‘decadent’ works and the attitude taken by their admirers in the tastes and aesthetic instincts of fashionable society, the confluence of two well-defined conditions of disease, with which he [the physician] is quite familiar, viz. degeneration and hysteria, of which the minor stages are designated as neurasthenia.’
The book deals with numerous case studies of various artists, writers and thinkers (Wilde, Ibsen, Wagner and Nietzsche to name but a few) but its basic premise remains that society and human beings themselves are degenerating, and this degeneration is both reflected in and influenced by art.
Nordau’s work and attacks on egomania clearly emerge from and reflect a reactionary strain of European thought.
Comment by Peter Frampton on 2012-03-23 11:45:01 +0000
And the end of the 20th century the term egomania re-appeared with a positive gloss to mark the post-modern quest for success and celebrity. ‘Self-confidence is the key to all success… By contrast, the reticent are negatively labelled: it may well be a form of egomania…if you aren’t willing to take a chance.
Comment by Ego The Living Planet on 2012-03-23 12:14:55 +0000
I boast ergo I am an egotist!
Comment by The Lone Groover on 2012-03-23 13:11:50 +0000
Comment by Frankie Fraser on 2012-03-24 16:06:09 +0000
I’m way to much of an egomaniac to comment here – check out my criminal records instead!
Comment by Peter The Plank on 2012-03-24 19:03:57 +0000
I thought egomania was a tropical disease until I discovered the Young Hegelians!
Comment by One pin deflates all! on 2012-03-24 20:10:37 +0000
The ego has landed…
Comment by Piss Hole In The snow on 2012-03-25 19:58:52 +0000
We’re all just farts in the echo chamber of eternity!
Comment by Gorrl The Living Galaxy on 2012-03-25 20:08:05 +0000
Comment by Jed Perl on 2012-03-25 21:09:00 +0000
What is without doubt is that Cindy Sherman’s work adds up to the biggest artistic ego trip of our time. I have the impression she has enjoyed herself. And—hell—she’s gotten rich in the process. What I wonder about are her facilitators—the curators, critics, dealers, collectors, gallerygoers, and museumgoers who have encouraged Cindy Sherman to camp it up like this for more than thirty years. That the world may ever so slowly be wearying of Sherman’s act is no surprise. Which does not mean her reputation is going to be eclipsed anytime soon. Far too much money is riding on her continued success. In the global art world, yesterday’s sensations are left to rot in public.
Comment by The Invisible Man on 2012-03-25 21:37:09 +0000
Pieces of murder falling slowly as opal chips through glycerine… Slower animal reactions allow him a full second to decide: straight through the window and down into the crowded street like a falling star and his wake of glass glittering in the sun… sustained a broken ankle and a chipped shoulder… clad in a diaphanous pink curtain, with a curtain-rod staff, hobbled away to the Commissariat de Police.
Comment by The Great Beast on 2012-03-25 21:52:15 +0000
More ego and less reasons and reason please…