It can’t be much fun being Morrissey these days. Not only does he have serious health problems (he’s just cancelled U.S. tour dates due to a bleeding ulcer) but now comes news that he has been snubbed by one of his former musical heroes.

A private 1982 photograph of him posing with David Bowie taken by Linder Sterling was to have adorned the reissue of the one of his weakest singles (The Last Of The Famous International Playboys) which precedes the forthcoming re-release of his worst solo album Kill Uncle.

Bowie had other ideas and has ordered EMI UK not to allow this artwork to go ahead. Mr. B is not one to go public with the reasons for such decisions so we can only speculate as to why he objected.

The couple in question in happier times.

I can’t say that I’m surprised. It was a strange choice in the first place as, while the two once shared the stage together, Morrissey pulled out of the tour and the impression you get is that they are not exactly bosom buddies.

In a case of the pot calling the kettle black, Mozza has publicly declared that Bowie is no longer relevant. Perhaps the photograph, like the single’s title was meant as an ironic gesture in which case it’s a stunt that backfired unless you’re of the school that there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

I was once a massive fan of Morrissey but since hitting 50 in 2009 he has looked increasingly like a man out of time and I wish he would  do the decent thing and retire to devote himself to writing his memoirs.

It saddens me to say this as I speak as someone who once thought that the gladioli sprouting from the back of his jeans were a sign that the sun shone out of his behind. I even backed him when he draped himself with the Union Jack at a show Finsbury Park, London believing the accusations that this was a racist gesture were wildly over the top.

But his more recent outbursts about Chinese being a subspecies because of the way they treat animals, or the royal family being a dictatorship or about  giving the Falkland Islands back to the Argentinians seem like deliberately provocative rent-a-mouth quotes rather than opinions that come from the heart.

In another time and another place these are the kind of comments I would have applauded but now they just sound like the moans of a grumpy old man (and before you accuse me of being ageist I should add that he’s one year younger than me!).

I prefer to remember him as he once was, on Top of the Pops, looking skinny, wearing National Health Service spectacles and a hearing aid – an image that showed that mock rock was a vibrant alternative to the tired posturing of cock rock.

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