Back when I lived on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, techno music person/DJ Moby lived and operated a vegan restaurant/tea house right around the corner from me, so I used to see him bumping around the neighborhood all the time. And, because he has/had a reputation for being a bit of a swordsman (He dated Natalie Portman for Christ’s sake!), I’d often find myself overcome with a sense of wonderment when I’d see him — a cartoon character of sorts, a nerdy-looking, bespectacled, tiny man with a cue ball head — around. “How does that guy get so much hot tail?”, I often wondered.
Additionally, I would often try to put myself in the position of a girl being sexed up by Moby and thought, “Well that can’t be all that sexy,” and apparently I was right.
I say this based on Moby’s own comments in a recent interview with The Quietus about having watched himself perform in a sex tape once.
I did once, drunkenly, a long time ago. I looked at it for an eighth of a second and realised that if I’d seen any more, I would never take my clothes off again for as long as I live. It was so uncomfortable and just wrong. I looked like Gollum. I never need to see that again. It was like if Gollum and Mark E. Smith had a lovechild.
The whole interview is actually pretty damn great, filled with refreshing honesty throughout. There’s some great stuff in there about being celebrity culture, his struggles with addiction, living in Los Angeles and dating. Moby’s thoughts on leaving a rapidly changing New York, in particular, struck a chord with me because I’ve thought and felt many of the same things. We both watched downtown New York transform rapidly for the worse, and we subsequently both fled to places that felt more real to each of us.
But if I were to be really petulant, I would say New York is the one doing the betraying. Because the New York I fell in love with doesn’t really exist anymore. When I was growing up, I fetishised New York City. It was the land of Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, it was where Leonard Cohen wrote ‘Chelsea Hotel’, it was CBGBs and all the punk rock clubs. Artists and musicians lived there, and it was cheap and dangerous. And now it’s a very attractive city where hedge fund managers and wealthy Europeans spend a lot of money for food. The interesting people have been priced out to the outer reaches of Brooklyn and Queens. The same thing has happened to London as well – I find London really exciting but there’s a lot of vicious success here. Like New York, there’s a lot of incredibly successful people who feel incredibly entitled, perhaps justifiably, but I don’t want to be around viciously entitled people. I’d rather be around broken people who have a degree of humility, and just get on with their work.
When I was a drunk, New York was the greatest place in the world. You walk everywhere, everything is open until four in the morning, and people go to New York looking for debauchery. So you’d have all these crazy, fantastic experiences. And then I stopped drinking and realised New York still has a lot of charm, but it has become so bourgeois and affluent – and I can’t really complain because I’m sort of bourgeois and affluent myself, but I like living in a place where artists and musicians and writers can actually pay the rent. So LA, well, first of all I love not being cold in January. The smug satisfaction that comes from sitting in the sun on January 15th and checking the weather in New York and London, seeing that it’s freezing cold and pissing down with rain. That’s nice, the schadenfreude of that.
Go read the whole thing, won’t ya.