Morrissey and I

I’m sorry I haven’t been around much lately, either here or on the Mothership; work is rather insane at the moment – I really do feel that I’m hanging on by my fingernails – and it’s not likely to get any better for at least a couple of months. I hope to find a bit of time this weekend to work on a podcast that I’ve been meaning to do for months, and I will do my level best to get my act together for the Spill Awards, unless anyone else wants to take over, but that may be more or less it. However, I did want to share this with you, or those of you who are or were massive Smiths fans. I never was, for various reasons that I won’t go into ‘cos they’ll just annoy those of you who are/were, but reading a post like this I can start to see the point…

15 thoughts on “Morrissey and I

  1. I was a bit late to the party with The Smiths too. There were a couple of ways in which I struggled to relate to them. Anybody could appreciate Johnny Marr’s contribution, but Morrissey’s was a bit more problematic. At the time, musically speaking one was reasonably spoilt for choice and I ploughed the furrow of least resistance. As an issues-free teenager, Morrissey’s choice of subject matter didn’t strike a chord with me, and the delivery jarred. Added to that I had spent the summer of 84 in Germany, came back late to college and found myself ensconced with a load of Smiths-adoring flatmates. They all went to see the band play at the SFX hall and came back with a wizened gladioli from their hero which was promptly nailed over the fireplace. It was probably easier to rail against the idolatry, so that’s what I did.

    But fairly soon I caught myself admiring this song and that, beginning with How Soon Is Now. By the time The Queen Is Dead came out there was no denying the imperishable brilliance of There Is A Light.

    While I never saw them playing live, I have seen Morrissey and Marr separately. The Smiths were more than the sum of their parts; now we have one party with no particular talent for arrangement, and the other in desperate need of a quality-controlling producer and a singer.

    Of the two, Morrissey’s future is perhaps more problematic in that he has lacked a creative foil for a good number of years. Drip feeding the autobiography might have been a better investment for him but I for one am looking forward to reading it.

  2. I never got past the gladioli. And even Barry Humphries did that first.

    I’ve just read the lyrics of There Is A Light That Never Goes Out (as an example of his ‘brilliance’). It contains one – possibly two – idea(s), strikingly expressed (pun intended). Then repeated. The music is quite nice though.

  3. I love the Smiths. That is all.

    Love his voice (i know Chris differs there), love Marr’s guitarwork and melodies – if i have any beef it’s that some of the 80’s production sounds kind of dated to me, i’d maybe like to hear them done stripped of that. Marr’s guitar can hold its own just fine without it.

    But i love the lyrics. I’m at least a few years older than the Llama i think – so i was probably just out of college when they started to show up on MTV this side of the pond, so i heard them with a bit more of a critical ear than i would have as a teen i think. How Soon Is Now was the first, and really that was a ballsy tune. Followed by the likes of Girlfriend in a Coma and Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before. I thought, jeez, what a nasty bitch. Which i loved. He gets stick for being an insufferable whinger, but i’ll give him a bit more credit that that for pitch black humor.

    English Blood Irish Heart lost me though, that was cack. I’ll stick with the old stuff.

    • Hi Amy. Just a bit of a side step here, but Mr Mena once spotted Mr Marr in a Gap store in Manchester. As he had his camera with him (being a bit of a snapper like yourself) he asked him if he could take his photo. JM was quite obliging, and just as he was about to shoot, a young jobsworth came over and said ‘sorry not allowed to take photos in here’ – like he was a terrorist or something! (he once got told off at the local market for taking photos of fruit ffs!)

      Anyway, he never got the photo, but JM gave him a signed plectrum instead which was nice. Tho when MrM said he loved The Smith’s he took umbrage a bit and said ‘yeah, but that was a long ago time wasn’t it?’ And that’s about it really.

      • Hey, it’s more of a story than i’ve got. I was waitress to the stars but never did a Smith ever cross my path.

        I’m always tempted to whip out my camera in the local supermarket to take pictures from the flower section, but i figure it’s not worth the hassle. Light is flourescent so they would probably come out crap anyway.

  4. I kept almost becoming a Smihs fan in the 80s. I really liked This Charming Man when it first came out, but lost interest through overexposure. I thought What Difference Does It Make was great the first time I heard it and bought it , but the impact wore off after a few plays. I thought about buying albums at various times but didn’t. The only other record I bought by them was How Soon Is Now although I did like a few others – Panic, Sheila Take A Bow, Shoplifters. I suppose I liked them if they were doing some loud glam thing that they did occasionally but didn’t like the jangly stuff which tended to predominate.
    The funny thing is that although I like to try knock them off the pedestal that many have them on, I get defensive of them when they are criticsed by people with more mainstream taste who have usually completley misunderstood them, ie as Amylee pointed out people who miss the black humour.
    Morrissey is occasionally amusing in his own ridiculous way but generally a complete arsehole, and some of his staements on race are pretty impossible to defend no matter how his hardcore fans try.

    I prefer The Hoax (Manchester punk band featuring Mike Joyce pre-Smiths)

    • “A nonentity introduces me to a moderately talented guitarist named Johnny Marr who is friends with a useless drummer called Mike Joyce and a bassist whose name I can’t remember. And from that moment on, this book starts switching between the present and the past tense, and gives up trying to be shitary literary in the interests of settling as many scores as possible.”

      Which, I suspect, tells you all you need to know about both Mozza and his book. Brilliant!

      • It must be difficult sometimes to be a Mancunian and have to take the hits for the likes of Mozza and the Gallaghers. Possibly you have an inkling of what it’s like to be an American on the Graun.

      • Yeah, the Mizzery-Mozza quotes I’ve read about my home town don’t endear him to me. But don’t forget we also lay claim to Tony Wilson, Hooky and Shaun Rider, amongst others, plus all the comedians.

        Wilson on Mozza: “I’m fond of him because I’m fond of his talent and his creativity – he treats excellent good human beings who try to help him like pieces of dog dirt. He tramples on them. It’s not his fault, he’s just a terribly unpleasant human being, in terms of pure human values, he is not a nice person.”

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