Uncle Agony Aidan Moffat Returns! A Valentine’s Day Special

As he releases his new album as Nyx Nótt, Aidan Moffat returns as tQ's Uncle Agony for a Valentine's Day special!

Dear Uncle Agony,

I’m in love with the guitarist in my band, and I suspect he has feelings for me too. Do you think it’s possible to keep a stable relationship going alongside a band, or is everything destined to go Fleetwood Mac?


While the thought of being in a band with a romantic or sexual partner fills me with screaming horror – don’t shit where you eat, as the saying goes – it all depends on how much you value your band, and whether you think your working relationship can survive the inevitable new pressures that love and lust provide. Shagging’s great, but it’s also a gateway to many other emotions that may not have existed before: jealousy, infatuation, obsession, insecurity… emotions that may become especially apparent as you watch your paramour nightly shredding their way into the hearts, minds, and pants of ripe, enthusiastic, and sexually generous fans.

That said, it certainly works for some great bands. The first to come to mind is Low – Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker have mixed music with marriage for 26 years now, and their last two albums have been their best yet; and then there’s Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club, still together after 43 years; and aren’t a couple of Arcade Fire married? I don’t really know much about them, sorry, and to be honest I’m struggling to think of any more success stories. You obviously know how it went for Fleetwood Mac, one of rock’s most famous soap operas; and then there’s Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, who we all thought would last forever but split after 27 years, laying Sonic Youth to rest; even Mark E Smith loved and lost a few girlfriends and wives who either played with or managed The Fall (while simultaneously insisting that none of the band were allowed partners on tour because they were deemed a distraction); and then, of course, there’s ABBA, a group of two marriages, neither of which ended well. Their divorces did however gift us the best pop song about a decree nisi ever recorded in ‘The Winner Takes It All’, so their personal loss was undoubtedly society’s gain.

So, it does seem like the evidence and the odds are against you, alas. Personally, I prefer to keep work and romance apart. Making music’s a great job to have, but it comes with the same stress and complaints as any job might, and it’s always good to have an escape from that; likewise, I wouldn’t want the everyday pressures of marital life to manifest onstage and sabotage a tour. But that’s me. If you think it’s worth risking your band’s future to feel those rough, calloused fingertips gently caressing your electrified gooseflesh in a twenty-six-pound Travelodge, then just go for it, and enjoy it while it lasts. Which probably won’t be forever.

Dear Uncle Agony

I’m in love with a boy but all we seem to do is enable each other’s drinking and drug taking. What do I do???

From PF

There will soon come a time when your hangovers will last the best part of a week; when your body has lost some muscle and gained some fat, and your blood will hold alcohol for longer periods, ageing your skin and weakening vital organs. By this time, drinking heavily will most likely keep you awake at night, the alcohol making you restless and disturbing your slumber, while the constant pressure on your maturing bladder will result in several toilet trips all through the dark hours. When you painfully awake in the afternoon, desert-dry, groggy and confused, the hangover will be so gruesome and debilitating that you’ll believe your body is telling you it’s time to wave goodbye to your young, drunken days. Slowly, and with much practice, you will eventually find a new midlife sweet-spot, ending any rare nights out after a modest few drinks and enjoying an herbal tea before bedtime, perhaps even downing a prescription painkiller to help keep the morning beast at bay. These will be the only drugs you know by now; you’ll yearn for those endless old nights of wet-fingered dabs in salty, sparkling disco powder; cheeky lines of ching on glowing nightclub cisterns will be nothing more than a distant, hazy, cherished memory. What I’m trying to say here is: Enjoy it while you can! Also, what you doing later? I fancy a pint now.

Dear Uncle Agony,

I love my girlfriend very much and we spend almost all our time together, but I also need to spend a lot of time by myself to recharge. How do I tell her that I need to spend more time on my own without it coming across as if it’s her fault?

From Overstretched in Ontario

You don’t go to Domino’s for a curry; you wouldn’t stop at the Naz Tandoori if you fancied a pizza. You don’t go to church when you fancy a pint; you wouldn’t go to the pub to pray. If you want to dance, you don’t listen to Leonard Cohen; if you want to drink whisky and wallow in your own sadness, you don’t crank up Donna Summer. If you want to watch a fun, criminally underrated, positive comedy about teenage sexual awakening, you don’t watch Joker; if you want to watch a shallow, hugely overrated and ultimately pointless cover version, you wouldn’t watch Booksmart.

My point, which I have made quite badly, is that nobody can – or should – expect to be everything to anyone. We all need emotional nourishment in different ways and from different sources, and if your girlfriend genuinely feels you should be doing everything together and have no need for anyone else, then I fear she may have mistaken love for possession, and may even have some emotional problems of her own to address. I suspect, though, that she probably feels the same way as you do, and secretly can’t wait for you to fuck off for a while and give her some space. So I recommend you take a deep breath, stand up tall, and say with absolute clarity: PLEASE STOP SUFFOCATING ME I’M DYING HERE I NEED TO GET AWAY AND DON’T TRY TO FIND ME BECAUSE I WON’T BE SHARING MY LOCATION ON FIND MY FRIENDS ANYMORE AND FRANKLY I ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT WAS A BIT CREEPY AND I’LL PROBABLY TURN MY PHONE OFF ANYWAY LOVE YOU GOODBYE.

Good luck!

Aidan Moffat releases his new album Aux Pieds De La Nuit today under the pseudonym Nyx Nótt. You can order it here on CD and vinyl with bonus 7″, limited to 300 copies here

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