The Momus Questionnaire — Scarlet West

Scarlet West is a DJ, diarist and denizen of Soho, whose first book, I’d Like To Thank Manchester Air Rifles, is an unflinching, understated yet emotionally raw account of a precarious, somewhat detached life in the capital. Writing mainly in internet cafes at antisocial hours of the morning, West strips away the glamour and exclusivity of West London nightlife with her acerbic, confessional writing.

The Momus Questionnaire was created by musician Nick Currie, and is designed to identify the aspects of the subject’s personality which give them a positive self-image, or ‘subcultural capital’.


scarlet west
Have you rebelled against someone else’s dreary expectations of your life, and become something more unexpected?

My Mum very much liked the thought of me working in an office. I absolutely hate offices so always steered clear of them. I’ve had all sorts of other jobs. I’ve been a go-go dancer, a tarot reader and a D.J. to name but a few.

What in your life can you point to and say, like Frankie, ‘I Did It My Way’?

I refused to play some crap chart music at a DJ job I once had. The club was packed and it was Christmas so I walked out and I’d worked in that club for ten years. I’ve felt so much better since I sacked myself from that club so I’m glad I walked out.

What creative achievements are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of getting my book “I’d Like To Thank Manchester Air Rifles” published.

If there was one event in your life which really shaped you, made you the person you are today, what would it be?

My brother being killed in a cycling accident when I was thirteen and he was twenty three.

If you had to make a song or rap boasting about your irresistible charm and sexiness, how would you describe yourself?

I don’t believe I have either so it would just be a silent record.

Have you ever made material sacrifices because of your integrity?

By refusing to play records that I don’t personally like has meant that I’ve turned down lots of DJ work which has in turn made me have to eat from food banks and soup kitchens.

Describe a public personality who exemplifies everything you’d like to be yourself, then another public personality who incarnates everything you’d least like to be?

He’s dead now so not for that aspect of him but I’ve always loved Les Dawson. The person I’d least like to be is Rihanna. I absolutely hate her.

If you were an Egyptian pharoah and had to be buried with a few key objects to take to the next world, what would they be?

My E.T.’s, I wouldn’t really classify them as objects though. Also a never ending supply of Heineken. Also my Morrissey records and my Dansette record player.

Do you have a favourite joke, quotation or proverb?

What did the cheese say to the mirror?


What’s your favourite portrait (it can be a song, a painting, a film, anything?

If anything includes a book it would be The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks.