We had a lot of fun writing, practicing, and performing our duets together and we used to spend a lot of the time that we should have been working in fits of laughter. That was how many of our songs were born. A personal obituary for Elinor Mora.
My dear friend and fellow-performer Elinor Mora sadly passed away in the early hours of 31 March 2020 after suffering a stroke at the end of December. I am still grieving for her, and, like many people who lost someone they cared about during the lockdown, I was unable to visit her and say goodbye or, even, attend her funeral. I wanted to write a few words about me and Eli.
I was first introduced to Elinor in 1999 by an artist friend, whom I had not known for very long, soon after I moved from London to Vienna. There was a small theatre performance at Schikaneder Cinema in which Elinor played a character (as I remember it) having afternoon tea in a video projection while in front, on a small stage, two other women performed a theater piece. I had not been in Vienna very long and Elinor seemed very exotic and spoke English in a New York accent. A few months later, I found myself writing and performing a musical at Siebenstern Café with the same artist friend and Elinor. It all happened very organically that Elinor and I started writing songs together and performing as the duo Mora & Fur. Later on we performed together as Mora-Fur-Kulisch and Porcelain Hip.
»I Love My Smart Phone«
Elinor was a star, but she didn’t know it. I used to get impatient with her sometimes because of her lack of self-confidence. When she didn’t worry about whether she was good or not – that was when she was at her best. In the recording studio, she would often record her vocals on the first take, then get dissatisfied with her performance and try again – but almost always what she came up with first was the best. She used a mixture of the spoken word and beat poetry, and she rapped, sometimes reminiscent of not only Laurie Anderson in her delivery and intonation but also Nina Simone in her vocal rhythm.
We had a lot of fun writing, practicing, and performing our duets together and we used to spend a lot of the time that we should have been working in fits of laughter. That was how many of our songs, like »I Love My Smart Phone« from the band Porcelain Hip, were born:
It’s winter now and I lie next to you
Can you hear the subtle beeping of my battery heart
If it were summer
Then I’m even closer to you
Your strong body
I love my smart phone
(from »I Love My Smart Phone«)
»We Eat Like Dogs«
Elinor was like my partner in crime. We inhabited the strange worlds that we created. Always at the forefront of our writing were our relationships. We were lovers, father and daughter, porno stars, trains, birds, co-abusers, children, dogs… The characters that she played in our songs and in her performances were believable and beguiling and often touching.
Cellophane covers protein, fats, and carbs
MSG E213 intensify the sensuality
A physical attraction turns the chemical reaction
Into pure gluttony
And I can’t stop eating
(from »We Eat Like Dogs«)
After a couple of years of playing in art galleries, small theatres, and cafes, the DJ Hans Kulisch joined us. We became a trio, Mora-Fur-Kulisch, and we played in music venues, squats, and clubs. After Mora-Fur-Kulisch broke up, Mora & Fur were reborn and mutated into Porcelain Hip (we still played and performed some of our original songs) with added musicians and singers. Finally, Elinor and I went our separate ways, although I guested sometimes in her theatre pieces and she guested in my music projects. However, our close friendship blossomed and continued.
I miss her so much
Elinor was possibly the kindest person I knew. She used to take photos of her cats, her house plants, and the tree that she loved in front of her house. She cared deeply about things that did not have a voice and was vegetarian because she loved animals. She was passionately supportive of her friends. I remember one time a couple of years ago I needed to have a small medical examination under mild anesthetic and needed someone to collect me. Elinor came with me and accompanied me home. I was woozy and she could barely walk herself having had problems with her legs. As she said, »we both look like a couple of drunks« as we walked and wobbled back to my apartment arm-in-arm, unable to walk in a straight line.
Elinor and I used to talk on the phone every day, usually around 7:00 in the morning, and I miss her so much. In fact, I was hoping to get her to guest on one of my songs for the concert at Soho In Ottakring, but this has turned into a memorial concert for her and, at least for me, a kind of funeral. The Josh Fur concert can be seen online from 5:00 p.m., 18 June 2020 to 5 July 2020.
Eli, rest in peace.