Tag Archive: morrissey


deep-not-macho

A strong leader stands in an un-drained swamp.

“It’s so easy to laugh,
It’s so easy to hate,
It takes guts to be gentle and kind”
Lyrics by Morrissey to ‘I Know It’s Over’ by The Smiths

A recent survey carried out by the newspaper La Repubblica  found that 80% of Italians think the country needs to be run by “un uomo forte” (a strong man). In 2006, only 55% of the populace subscribed to this view while 60% held this belief in 2010.

This rising trend is worrying and depressing on many counts. It indicates that more and more voters are willing to be represented by leaders solely on the basis that they adopt strong opinions and maintain a posture of decisiveness.

On the surface this may seem logical and uncontroversial. After all, who would want a leader to be weak and indecisive? The problem lies with what exactly is meant by the word ‘strong’. Continue reading

MORRISSEY – Live at Carisport, Cesena 8th October 2015

Give that man a hand

In my last post I was scathing about Morrissey’s debut novel, List Of The Lost, but I’m happy to report that his ‘day job’ as singer and musical icon is still in rude shape.

For this show in Cesena, the second of just two dates in Italy, he was in fine voice and treated an adoring public to a supremely polished show dominated by material from his excellent new album World Peace Is None Of Your Business.

It would have been all too easy for him to go through the motions and run through Smiths classics. Probably a fair proportion of the audience would have actually preferred this but I’d much rather see an artist performing songs that reflect where he is now than who he was then. Continue reading

LIST OF THE LOST by Morrissey (Penguin Books, 2015)

“If you must write prose and poems, the words you use must be your own. Don’t plagiarise or take on loan” – lyrics from Cemetry Gates by The Smiths.

The kindest thing you can say about Stephen Patrick Morrissey’s first, and surely last, published work of fiction is that he follows his own advice and writes in his own words.

Some lines would even make admirable song lyrics :
“Accept the enslavement of my undying love,
Or bear my unpleasant cruelty,
For dearly I love you,
More than any other could”

Unfortunately, this is not a record but a novella and the results are positively dire. Continue reading

A TASTE OF HONEY directed by Tony Richardson (UK, 1961)

Shelagh Delaney’s unsentimental view of procreation puts the hearts and flowers romance of Valentine’s Day into proper perspective : “It’s chaotic – a bit of love, a bit of lust and there you are. We don’t ask for life, we have it thrust upon us”.

Lines like these help explain why A Taste of Honey retains its contemporary edge more than half a century after it was first performed.

London’s National Theatre are about to stage a new version to bring the play’s honest, down to earth characters to a new generation of theatre goers.

No prizes too for guessing why Delaney was such a formative influence on the young Steven Patrick Morrissey.

Labelling A Taste of Honey as a ‘kitchen sink realism’ might lead you expect a mundane and bleak drama. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a play (and movie) that fizzes with energy and humourously challenges popular preconceptions about so-called  ‘ordinary’ working class lives in Northern Britain. Continue reading

MORRISSEY ON SUCCESS AND SELF TORMENT

MORRISSEY AUTOBIOGRAPHY (Penguìn books, 2013)

"There is no self-discovery in a safe life"

Steven Patrick Morrissey has, to some extent, always courted equal measures of praise and ridicule. The mean-spirited criticism by the NME and other hacks within the music press was less evident while The Smiths were still together mainly because only those with cloth ears would have dared criticise the band’s four magnificent studio albums and peerless run of singles.

As a solo artist, however,  he has become fair game for the haters so he is not exaggerating too much when he complains that “all I ever read about myself is one of intolerable egocentricity and dramatized depression”.

Carole Cadwalladr’s ridiculous Guardian article (‘Morrissey, You’re A Fraud’) exemplifies the kind of feeble-minded reporting he tends to generate these days. Cadwalladr effectively blames him for all the ills of modern Britain and writes that “he is the very definition of old news”.  If this were true, character assassinations like hers would be rejected as irrelevant but the reality, as she well knows, is that the man remains newsworthy and, moreover, is still greeted with adulation from millions of fans.

Of course, for someone with such a well-developed martyr complex, Morrissey sets himself up to be knocked down.

Morrissey’s outspoken opinions have always been designed to grab headlines and ruffle feathers so he rarely troubles to use temperate language. Likening the treatment of animals to child abuse and their slaughter for food to the holocaust is deliberate exaggeration for effect. The mass media are only too happy to rise to the bait presenting these statements with fake outrage while attracting a sizeable readership in the process.

Just one of Morrissey’s excellent solo albums.

One might argue, with some justification, that his best work is behind him but too many are quick dismiss all Morrissey’s post-Smiths work as second-rate. This judgement is one of blind (deaf?) prejudice which ignores the consistently high quality of his song writing. Morrissey acknowledges that Kill Uncle (“recording something for the sake of recording”) was a mistake but his evident pride in fine albums like Vauxhall & I, Your Arsenal and You Are The Quarry is wholly merited.

There is a rush to dismiss his autobiography in the same terms that I went out of my way to avoid reading any reviews or spoilers before reading and I think long time fans or foes should make up their own minds before being so hasty in their criticism. Continue reading

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