Guardian’s Hate Campaign

The person described by The Guardian Of Hate is not me, and their stance attributed to me is not mine. But, pleased be warned: they are having great fun and they will not STOP.

Morrissey, Morrissey Central, 10 October 2019

Morrissey with his “Fuck the Guardian” t-shirt. Bless him. If he’d fucked anything ever, he might be less of a liability.

Louis Barfe @AlanKelloggs, Twitter, October 27, 2019

The UK press started attacking Morrissey’s sexuality in 1983 by associating the songs Reel Around the Fountain and Handsome Devil with sex crimes against children.

The BBC have finally rumbeled the unpleasant truth behind ‘hip’ Manchester band, The Smiths. This trendy outfit, whose repulsive repertoire includes perverted paeans to child molesting, were having their scheduled-to-be-repeated David Jenson session looked into by Beeb officials as we went to press. To the the anger and embarrassment of many Sounds staffers, the band’s sicko songs, were first brought to the world’s attention, and in fact praised by David McCullough who described them as “the kind of ultra-violent crime rock’n’roll needs”. Try telling that to the mother of the Brighton boy recently gang raped by paedophiles. (Garry Bushell, Sounds, 10 September 1993)

By 1986 they’d found a way to hide their homophobia behind spurious racism/nationalism allegations which culminated in a five page denouncation in the NME after he was attacked by homophobes at a gig and they accused him of inciting it by holding a Union Jack for three minutes.

The men’s men in the crowd offer the opinion that Morrissey is a ‘poofy bastard’ and elevate many a middle finger… Who can even be bothered to feel any sympathy…? (Select, October 1993)

In 2007, he was interviewed in the NME by Tim Jonze.

London had recently gentrified and he was asked if he would move back. A few pull-quotes were used to make it seem as if he hated immigrants and wanted immigration to be stopped.

the higher the influx into England the more the British identity disappears

England was thrown away.

If you walk through Knightsbridge on any bland day of the week you won’t hear an English accent. You’ll hear every accent under the sun apart from the British accent.

the gates are flooded. And anybody can have access to England and join in.

Morrissey, NME, 1 December 2007

When in fact – he was just saying that England had changed, he missed the past, but he was getting used to the rest of the world.

Isn’t immigration enriching the British identity, rather than diluting it?

It does in a way, and it’s nice in a way. But you have to say goodbye to the Britain you once knew.

That’s just the world changing.

But the change in England is so rapid compared to the change in any other country. If you walk through Knightsbridge on any bland day of the week you won’t hear an English accent. You’ll hear every accent under the sun apart from the British accent.

That’s not true, you sound like a Tory.

Mmmmmm. I understand, because I would like the freedom to go around the world and be anywhere. So you have to allow others the same freedom, really. So I’m not sitting here saying it’s a terrible thing. I’m saying it’s a reality and to many people it’s shocking.

After the infamous race rowdo you not worry about talking about this?

Not really, because the more I travel the more I love the world as a whole.

Tim Jonze interviewing Morrissey, NME, 1 Dembemer 2007

The article connected his mild remarks to the homophobic article from 1992.

This is not the first time that Morrissey has trod clumsily around the area of immigration. At the start of the 90s there was a huge fallout between Morrissey and this magazine. On August 22nd 1992 NME’s cover featured an image of Morrissey prancing around on stage at Finsbury Park with a Union Jack flag

so there we leave it, shocked that 15 years on, we’re once again locking horns with Morrissey over the issue of cultural identity in Britain. Morrissey, the son of immigrants, who has lived for most of the past decade in either LA or Rome wants others to have the freedom to travel the world like him, but implies that he would shut the gates to people coming to live in the UKAt the very least it smacks of naive hypocrisy, but mostly sounds like the ravings of a rogue Tory MP. And at the very worst? Well, we’re certain that Morrissey would absolutely seek to distance himself from racist organisations, what he won’t realise is that the language he’s using about a ‘traditional’ England lost under a ‘flood’ of immigration dangerously echoes that used by the crypto-fascist BNP.

NME, 1 December 2007 –

The National Front/BNP was (and is) violently homophobic and anti-Irish Catholic.

later that same evening a thirty strong nazi goon-squad did attempt a “hit” on an Irish pub in Kilburn, North London. Portinari’s mate Charlie Sargent, the C18 boss who led the assault, claimed it was an attempt to “ethnically cleanse” the Irish out of North London.

Matthew Collins, Hope Not Hate, 7 February 2017

The Admiral Duncan atrocity hit LGBTQ people, although one of those killed was a pregnant woman who was having a drink with her husband, who was seriously injured. They were having a night out with two gay friends, both of whom also died… Within days of the Admiral Duncan bombing, a 22-year-old Londoner had been arrested and charged. He was David James Copeland, who had been a member of the far-right British National Party then, disillusioned by their lack of paramilitary action, joined the more hard-line National Socialist Movement. Even before the arrest, other right-wing factions had gleefully claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Will Stroude, Attitude, 29 April 2019

The Aftermath of the Admiral Duncan bomb, 30th April 1999

A history that’s been erased by the UK media.

In the middle of this third night of four sold out London shows, Morrissey is about to reach the chorus of his melodramatic, sweeping ballad “Home is a Question Mark”, a highlight from last year’s album Low in High School, when a man at the front of the crowd unfurls a Union Jack flag, waving it proudlyThat this happened on the day that the NME’s final print edition was published added a mischievous undercurrent: the magazine’s criticism of Morrissey for waving the flag during a concert supporting Madness in 1992, the point at which all subsequent controversy is rooted, was the first sign that Morrissey’s halo was slipping.

(Shaun Curren, the Independent, 12 March 2018)

Accusations of racism have dogged Morrissey for years, of course, from his flirtations with fascist imagery in the Nineties (he famously sang “National Front Disco” at a Finsbury Park festival while draped in a Union Jack flag)… Morrissey’s defence following each furore invariably revolves around his misrepresentation at the hands of a hostile press, yet another symptom of the persecution complex that has been a feature of his life and career.

(Fiona Sturges, the Independent,  30 October 2019)

In 2010 Tim Jonze became a music editor at The Guardian, from then on, the paper would use the same demonisation techniques as the NME – out of context quotes, negative framing, repetition, guilt by assocation.

Stories attacked his personality – he was nasty, cancelled gigs for no good reason, was an idiot.

Attacked his career – he was irrelevant, he had a terrible band, he was a bad writer.

And smeared him as right-wing, reactionary and a racist.

Journalists connected to the Melody Maker, the NME and the Guardian slandered him to the music industry and lobbied for colleagues, friends, and fans to drop him.

They wrote hit pieces in other publications – in particular the New Statesman and the Quietus.

Stories were amplified on social media and copy pasted by Spin, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, the LA Times, Junkee and other culture/gossip platforms.

What Is the Appeal of Morrissey in 2016? – …it finally seems like there is a level of peak Morrissey occurring, in which many people are finally giving up on him. Among my friends and colleagues, I know people who, years ago, would have fought his corner until they were a bloody ball of pulp and mush, but can now barely muster an exhausted sigh when it comes to discussing or defending him.

(Daniel Dylan Wray, vice, 24 August 2016)

It was the Guardian that gave the allegations credibility and clout.

Being harassed by a left-wing newspaper convinced Morrissey that the left had switched places with the right and made him believe that a vegan politician – who had gone from the left to the far right – was also being lied about.

But also, it seems to me that, in England at the moment, the right wing has adopted a left wing stance, and the left wing has adopted a right wing stance, so everybody’s confused, and nobody seems to know what people mean. (Morrissey, Sam Esty Rayner YouTube channel, 17 December 2017)

Which escalated the Guardian’s attacks – and mainstreamed a far right ideology Morrissey has never endorsed in thousands of social media posts and copy paste articles.

Given the inexhaustible Hate Campaign executed against me by The Guardian and their followers, I am pleased with the UK chart position for “California son”… It is worth noting that their chief antagonist in this Hate Campaign is someone I took to court some years ago for writing lies about me. He lost his court battle then, and now he’s seeking his personal revenge by using The Guardian, who have been harassing everyone and anyone connected with my music imploring them to say something terrible about me for print. (Morrissey, Morrissey Central, 31 May 2019)

While Morrissey withdrew entirely from the mainstream media and posts statements and interviews on Morrissey Central, a website run by a relative, that tries to prove the Guardian wrong by posting videos and articles from far right sources that attracts the online support of white nationalists, thereby proving the Guardian right.

It’s not clear if this is misguided or if – as so often happens – Morrissey jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.

Whatever the future holds – however it’s retrofitted – the racist allegations against him are a lie, and the Guardian did harass him, viz.:

1. Morrissey forced off stage at Coachella by smell of burning meat – Mon 20 Apr 2009 – Tim Jonze

“I can smell burning flesh … and I hope to God it’s human,” he said. This was no mere wisecrack, though.

Tim Jonze, the Guardian, 20 April 2009

2. Morrissey in hospital after on stage collapse – Sat 24 Oct 2009 – James Orr

The former Smiths frontman Morrissey was rushed to hospital tonight after collapsing on stage at the start of a concert… “Everybody started booing, thinking ‘here we go again’. He has a bit of a poor track record for cancelling his concerts.” Morrissey has already cancelled a string of concerts this year due to an “unspecified illness”.

James Orr, the Guardian, 24 October 2009

3. Morrissey reignites racism row by calling Chinese a ‘subspecies’ – Fri 3 Sep 2010 – Alexandra Topping (racism, subspecies)

4. Morrissey Interview: Big Mouth Strikes again – Fri 3 Sep 2010 – Simon Armitage (racism, subspecies)

5. Morrissey, this joke isn’t funny anymore – Fri 3 Sep 2010  – Tom Clark – (racism, subspecies)

A judge once branded Morrissey “devious, truculent and unreliable” and it won’t take long to reach a verdict on the latest case against him. He tells Simon Armitage in the Guardian’s weekend magazine that “you can’t help but feel the Chinese are a subspecies”, a remark even nastier than his miserable rant against immigration in England a few years ago. There really is no defence. Loyal fans might, perhaps, plead in mitigation that these cruel words were unleashed in outrage about the mistreatment of animals, but there are aggravating factors as well. He’s caused enough upset on race in the past to know perfectly well that he ought to take care with his public remarks. But he hasn’t. So if the charge is causing racial offence, the only feasible judgment is guilty.

Tom Clark, the Guardian, 3 September 2010

6. Morrissey’s parochialism echoes the whole indie tribe – Thu 9 Sep 2010 – John Harris (racist, right-wing, everything bad about Indie)

Last Saturday, there were small-scale tremors in response to an interview in the Guardian’s Weekend magazine, where, musing on the far eastern meat trade, he claimed that Chinese people are a “subspecies”. There followed the usual trawls through his cuttings file, where plenty of material awaited. From 1986: “To get on Top Of The Pops these days one has to be, by law, black.” Circa 1992: “I don’t really think … black people and white people will ever really get on or like each other.” And what about this peach, uttered three years ago? “The higher the influx into England, the more the British identity disappears.”

As ugly as they seem – and to be more generous than he perhaps deserves – his views are not a matter of vicious, programmatic racism, but the same thinking that lies behind the more hard-bitten calls to Radio 4’s Any Answers: achingly conservative, terrified of difference, and in mourning for a lost country even the angriest white man might not actually like to live in. Whenever he pipes up with this stuff, music writers express justifiable outrage, making an implied claim: that what he says is aberrant, a betrayal of a musical world that is open, cosmopolitan, and largely colour-blind.

… in his own gruesome way Morrissey embodies its contradictory collective id: a bundle of conservatism, parochialism and generic navel-gazing.

John Harris, the Guardian, 9 September 2010

7. You think David Cameron’s bad, Morrissey? Most of them don’t even like music – Sat 11 Dec 2010 – Suzanne Moore (ranting)

8. Morrissey compares the Queen to Muammar Gaddafi – Wed 18 May 2011 – Casper Llewellyn Smith (attack)

9. Morrissey currently without record deal – Tue 28 Jun 2011 – Sean Michaels (complaining)

10. Morrissey likens Norway attacks to McDonald’s and KFC – Thu 28 Jul 2011 – Caroline Davies (connecting him to far right terrorism)

11. This charming man: Morrissey shows his sensitive side – Thu 28 Jul 2011 – Alex Petridis (doesn’t care about a far right massacre)

12. Is Morrissey a national treasure? – Sat 10 Mar 2012 – Peter Paphides and Sukhdev Sandhu (he’s a troll)

13. Morrissey to receive apology from NME – Tue 12 Jun 2012 – Alexandra Topping – (racism, subspecies)

Morrissey has been dogged by accusations of racism. In 1992, the singer was quoted in Q Magazine stating that he did not want to be “horrible or pessimistic”, but he didn’t “really think, for instance, black people and white people will ever really get on or like each other. I don’t really think they ever will.” The same year he appeared swathed in a union flag while on stage in Finsbury Park, north London, which led the NME to accuse him of “flirting with disaster” and racist imagery.

Alexandra Topping, the Guardian, 12 June 2012

14. Morrissey attacks ‘blustering jingoism’ of Olympic Games – Mon 6 Aug 2012 – Michael Hann

He has a long history of condemnation, including attacks on reggae (“vile”), Elton John (“bring me his head”), Band Aid (“diabolical”), dance music (“the refuge for the mentally deficient”), Chinese people (“a subspecies”) and many, many more.

Michael Hann, the Guardian, 6 August 2012

15. Elton John and Morrissey top the pop misanthrope charts – Thu 9 Aug 2012 – Peter Robinson (hates humankind)

16. How Morrissey fell for the Stephen Colbert effect – Thu 11 Oct 2012 – Simon Hattenstone (subspecies, dictator, ridiculous vegetarian, tree poking out of backside)

17. Morrissey: from rock genius to internet troll – Thu 13 Dec 2012 – Alex Petridis (troll, mentally ill)

18. Morrissey ‘cautioned’ to stop touring – Fri 22 Mar 2013 – Sean Michaels – (tagged on scepticism about his record deal)

19. Morrissey cancels South American tour due to ‘food poisoning’ – Thu 11 Jul 2013 – Sean Michaels – (cancelling a tour for unconfirmed reasons)

20. Penguin Classics: why are they publishing Morrissey’s autobiography? – Sun 13 Oct 2013 – Pass Notes (snark about his writing)

21. Morrissey’s memoir: five things we would love to see (but probably won’t) – Tue 15 Oct 2013 – Michael Hann (Bengali in Platforms, subspecies, racism)

A Little Humility – Please, Morrissey, understand this: we all make misjudgments. To err is human, after all. True, most of us don’t make our misjudgments in public. But we do own up to them and apologise. So admit you got it wrong when you sang Bengali in Platforms, when you said Chinese people were a subspecies – admit that some of your incendiary remarks and actions, which so often touch on issues of race, were at best unwise. People still want to love you, so why make it so hard for them?)

Michael Hann, the Guardian, 15 October 2013

22. Morrissey’s Autobiography is nearly a triumph, but ends up mired in moaning – Thu 17 Oct 2013 – John Harris (moaning, unlikeable, supports gay gangsters)

23. Morrissey hits back at NME and the judge who called him ‘devious’ – Thu 17 Oct 2013 – Michael Hann (Finsbury, Jonze NME interview, subspecies… )

24. Autobiography by Morrissey – digested read – Sun 20 Oct 2013 – John Crace (snark about his writing, narcissism, moaning)

I woke up one morning to discover that the Smiths were finished. To this day, I still can’t say how that happened. Though Johnny Marr stuffing my silly gladioli up my arse may have had something to do with it.

John Crace, the Guardian, 20 October 2013

25. Morrissey: eating meat is the same as paedophilia – Fri 3 Jan 2014 – Maev Kennedy (linked to paedophilia, antisemitism, people wishing violence on him)

26. Hatchet Job of the Year goes to AA Gill for Morrissey broadside – Tue 11 Feb 2014 – Alison Flood

27. Morrissey reveals series of cancer treatments: ‘If I die, then I die’ – Tue 7 Oct 2014 – Sean Michaels (tags on controversies about Harvest and Scottish independence)

28. Morrissey review – great voice, shame about the lyrics – Sun 30 Nov 2014 – Ian Gittens (animal rights, anti-machismo, anti-war, petty, grudges)

His baritone may still be rich and tremulous but Morrissey’s worldview is enough to make your toes curl.

Ian Gittens, the Guardian, 30 November 2014

29. Morrissey: Obama is doing nothing for US black community – Thu 27 Aug 2015 – Guardian Music (attacks Obama, highlights skin colour)

30. Morrissey attacks Australian plan to cull two million feral cats – Wed 2 Sep 2015 – Oliver Milman (attacks)

31. Morrissey: what we learned about him from List of the Lost – Thu 24 Sep 2015 – Michael Hann (homophobic review of his novel, creepy, sex predator)

Morrissey writes about his track team in such a fetishising way. “Imperishable, they train insatiably, companions in pleasure and passionate in sentiments, they are the living picture of the desired physique.” (Ask yourself if a 56-year-old man writing in that manner about women in their teens or early 20s would be considered anything other than a bit creepy.) 

Michael Hann, the Guardian, 24 September 2015

32. Morrissey wins bad sex award for love scenes in debut novel List of the Lost – Tue 1 Dec 2015 – Nicola Slawson

33. Morrissey dismisses Bad Sex award as ‘repulsive horror’ after win – Wed 16 Dec 2015 – Alison Flood (snark)

34. Oh God! Morrissey talks about Galloway, Farage and Sadiq Khan – Thu 4 Aug 2016 – Hadley Freeman (racism over Halal slaughter)

35. This Beautiful Creature Must Die: what is Morrissey’s animal rights game like? – Thu 11 Aug 2016 – Tim Jonze (passive aggressive dig)

You’re tasked with having to save various animals as they move helplessly towards spinning blades of death (nobody could accuse the game of failing to incorporate Morrissey’s notoriously laidback and fun persona) while avoiding blowing up the various bombs that appear from time to time for reasons I don’t quite understand.)

Tim Jonze, the Guardian, 11 August 2016

36. Kanye West v Morrissey: battle of the fashion pop up shops – Sat 20 Aug 2016 – Richard Vine and Nazia Parveen (slight dis)

He appeals to people who felt like they are a bit of a billy no mates. To people who are slight outsiders.”

Brendan, 40, from Stockport, the Guardian, 20 August 2016

37. Morrissey and the Misfits at Riot Fest review – old punks creak out hits – Wed 21 Sep 2016 – Mark Guarino (tardy, irresponsible, attacked Bernie Sanders)

38.Bruce Springsteen is a great songwriter – but that rarely makes for great memoirs – Tue 27 Sep 2016 – John Keenan

(The juxtaposition of mesmerising songwriting and repellent prose is stark in Morrissey’s Autobiography. The author of some of the most original and exhilarating songs in rock history comes across as embarrassed by his back catalogue, contemptuous of every artist who crosses his path and convinced that the minutiae of legal wrangling over copyright is as absorbing to us as it is to him. In the wake of the Smiths’ breakup, he is – weirdly – offered roles in EastEnders and Emmerdale. Wisely, he declines: “Since I dare not be myself, I would surely be even worse as an actor,” he writes (and limited as a memoirist, we could add).)

John Keenan, the Guardian, 27 September 2016

39. MTV’s Videohead: directors spill behind-the-scenes secrets – Thu 13 Oct 2016 – Hannah Verdier (slight dis)

Talking about his work with Morrissey on Alma Matters, he doesn’t mince words. “If I had to make a movie with Morrissey for three months, I’d probably just go quietly into a room and stab my eyes out with knitting needles,” he says. “But for a day or two with him hiding in the dressing room and crying and carrying on … it didn’t bother me one little bit.”)

Hannah Verdier quoting Matthew Rolston, the Guardian, 13 October 2016

40. Johnny Marr: ‘The conversation about re-forming the Smiths came out of the blue’ – Sat 29 Oct 2016 – Simon Hattenstone (Smears Morrissey as right-wing)

41. Set the Boy Free by Johnny Marr review – the story of the Smiths, and after – Thu 17 Nov 2016 – Will Woodward (hopes for digs, settles for Marr not liking Oscar Wilde)

42. The Smiths to release first single in decades – Thu 1 Dec 2016 – Guardian Music (illness, ageing, cancelling)

43. Morrissey rages at management after US tour cancelled – Mon 5 Dec 2016 – Guardian Music (rages)

44. Desert Island Discs: 75 defining moments from 75 years of castaways – Fri 6 Jan 2017 – Stephen Moss (not negative – but reporting negativity)

66. The show made headlines again in November 2009 when Young interviewed singer Morrissey. His admission that he had contemplated suicide and his description of “self-destruction” as “honourable” produced complaints from families of people who had killed themselves.)

Stephen Moss, the Guardian, 6 January 2017

45. Bigmouth strikes again: row over Morrissey’s James Baldwin tour T-shirt – Mon 20 Mar 2017 – Danuta Keen – (adds in all of the racism allegations from 1992 onwards)

The Manchester-born singer has found himself at the centre of a number of rows since the early 90s, after an incident when he wrapped himself in the Union Jack at a concert in Finsbury Park. It sparked a 20-year feud between the singer and music magazine the NME, which accused him of “flirting with disaster” for draping himself with the flag. “It has really got nothing to do with racism,” Morrissey said later. “It is to do with me.”

Danuta Keen, the Guardian, 20 March 2017

46. Morrissey attacks politicians and the Queen over Manchester terrorism response – Tue 23 May 2017 – Kevin Rawlinson (links him to the far right murder of Jo Cox, claims he wanted immigration policy changed, links him to the far right)

In his statement, the former Smiths frontman claimed that politicians are safe from attacks, while the rest of the country is left vulnerable. The MP Jo Cox was murdered by a rightwing extremist last June… Morrissey cited government immigration policy among his complaints saying the prime minister would never change her immigration policy in the light of the attacks. It is believed that the bomber named by police, Salman Abedi, was British-born and from Manchester. Morrissey also appeared to suggest that politicians were afraid to refer to Abedi as an Islamist extremist. The claim that politically correct leaders routinely refuse to mention Islam when referring to terror attacks carried out by people holding a violent interpretation of the religion is common on the far-right.

Kevin Rawlinson, the Guardian, 23 May 2017

47. Sorry Morrissey, but love and resistance are our best weapons against terror – Wed 24 May 2017 – Suzanne Moore (it was one Facebook post that blamed politicians, the media, the Police and the Queen for a terrorist attack)

His incendiary comments suggest the Mancunian hero’s journey from icon to embarrassment is complete. Hate is not the answer to masculinity twisted by radicalisation

Suzanne Moore, the Guardian, 24 May 2017

48. Manchester is a city of live music and good times. That’s why this hurts so much – Mon 29 May 2017 – Carol Birch (sympathetic – but accepts the narrative that he’s awful – also – he made one Facebook post, the press has written about terrorism thousands of times)

I disagree with him on most things, but I understand his anger, and it interested me to notice that, on parts of social media at least, more vitriol seemed to have been deposited on his confused head than on that of the bomber. Over the past week so much loathing has been directed towards this silly, sulky man, clinging to his lost adolescence and floundering in the dregs of his contrarian genius. A friend suggested this is because Islamic State and their ilk are so far beyond the pale that being angry with them was like being angry at the devil – pointless. Whereas Morrissey is just a silly old human and meant to abide by different rules. So we meet anger with anger, and hate with hate. Some pretend they’re immune but very few are. Whether directed at the bomber, the government, the extreme right or left, or misguided ranters like Morrissey, anger is the zeitgeist.)

Carol Birch, the Guardian, 29 May 2017

49. DIY political websites: new force shaping the general election debate – Thu 1 Jun 2017 – Robert Booth (not quite negative – although it associates him with Islamophobia – it does reveal some of the economics behind sensationalised stories)

Breitbart London is the UK branch of the “alt-right” website in Washington owned by Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, and cited as a huge influence in Trump’s win. It publishes a large volume of news about immigration issues in Europe and radical Islam. But it had its biggest UK hit last week with: “Morrissey rips British politicians after Manchester attack: ‘petrified’ to admit Islamic extremism behind terror.” It was shared 25,000 times.)

Robert Booth, the Guardian, 1 June 2017

50. Morrissey claims he was held at gunpoint by police officer in Rome – Wed 5 Jul 2017 – Agence France-Presse in New York – (sceptical tone – also mentions the time he reported being sexually assaulted by a security offficer at an airport)

51. Do we really need a Morrissey biopic right now? His England is not ours – Mon 10 Jul 2017 – Rachel Aroesti (smears him as right-wing, racist and sexist, and blames Morrissey – whose career has been held back by homophobia – for the domination of white males in guitar music)

Due to his huge success, Morrissey is the apotheosis of the problem this causes – namely, that the white, male voice has the monopoly on articulating the human condition, and therefore pretty much defining what it is to be a person.

Rachel Aroesti, the Guardian, 10 July 2017

52. When did charming become cranky? Why a middle-aged Morrissey is so hard to love – Sun 23 Jul 2017 – Dorian Lynskey (racism, guilt by association, misleading quotes)

Ten years ago Morrissey was quoted in the NME as complaining about immigration: “Although I don’t have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England the more the British identity disappears.” He sued the magazine for defamation (“I abhor racism and oppression or cruelty of any kind”) and donated £28,000 to Love Music Hate Racism, but the case was settled and the quotes were never retracted. In 2010 he called the Chinese “a subspecies” due to their mistreatment of animals. In 2013 he said he nearly voted for Ukip and liked Nigel Farage “a great deal”. He has described Brexit to an Australian website as “magnificent”. Such comments have exhausted the patience of many longtime devotees with progressive political views. After the Facebook post, Martin Rossiter, former frontman of the Morrissey-indebted band Gene, wrote an article for the online Quietus magazine called Why Morrissey Is Dead To Me. 

Dorian Lynskey, the Guardian, 23 July 2017

53. England is Mine review – generic Morrissey biopic saved by charming man Jack Lowden – Wed 2 Aug 2017 – Peter Bradshaw (he’s a serial killer)

The darker side to his personality is uneasily acknowledged by showing a book in his teenage room about the Moors murderers. His mate Anji (a nice performance from Katherine Pearce) picks this book up and asks Steven if he can imagine them “like that”. In the next moment she makes it clear she means imagine being the victims not the murderers, though it’s a microsecond of ambiguity that I think brings us closer to Morrissey’s troubled soul than anything else.

Peter Bradshaw, the Guardian, 2 August 2017

54. England Is Mine review – a Morrissey mope-fest – Sun 6 Aug 2017 – Wendy Ide (depression is self-pity and he needs a slap)

55. Songs for the eclipse – 10 of the best – Sun 20 Aug 2017 – Jim Farber (mope, mocking a child)

56. Morrissey: new record will ‘capture the zeitgeist of an ever-changing world’ – Wed 23 Aug 2017 – staff and agencies (calls him outspoken – throws in the Manchester Bomb controversy – confused about what to make of him)

57. Morrissey rails against media on new single Spent the Day in Bed – Tue 19 Sep 2017 – Ben Beaumont Thomas (rails, Sadiq Khan)

58. Morrissey claims Ukip rigged leadership vote to stop anti-Islam activist – Mon 2 Oct 2017 – Hannah Ellis Petersen

59. Morrissey fans are about to give up on him – Johnny Marr, please stage an intervention – Tue 3 Oct 2017 – Stuart Heritage (he should be cut out of the Smiths)

60. Morrissey: Low in High School review – old greatness spoiled by ugliness and spite – Thu 16 Nov 2017 – Alex Petridis

61. Morrissey: Low in High School review – mixed messages and misfires – Sun 19 Nov 2017 – Kitty Empire (his worldview isn’t compassionate)

62. Hey pop stars! If you fancy getting political, read this first – Wed 3 Jan 2018 – Hannah Jane Parkinson

(See also: Morrissey. In fact, the best piece of overall advice to give to pop stars on political issues is that whatever Morrissey’s position on it, take the opposite.)

Hannah Jane Parkinson, the Guardian, 3 January 2018

63. Former Smiths members cancel reunion concerts one day after announcement – Tue 23 Jan 2018 – Ben Beaumont Thomas (“devious, truculent and unreliable” )

64. Morrissey review – aloof, obnoxious and proudly provocative – Sun 18 Feb 2018 – Graeme Virtue (has to include insults – mostly likes him)

65. I’m with the band: meet the pitiful proteges of pop music patrons – Wed 28 Feb 2018 – Michael Hann (terrible person, link to Morrissey fans are about to give up on him – Johnny Marr, please stage an intervention)

66. Morrissey review – this once charming man – Sun 4 Mar 2018 – Kitty Empire (irreversible decline)

67. Morrissey denounces halal meat as ‘evil’, and attacks May, Khan, Abbott and more – Tue 17 Apr 2018 – Ben Beaumont Thomas

68. Stephen Collins on Morrissey – cartoon – Sat 28 Apr 2018 – Stephen Collins (frothing right-wing English bigot – deported from the planet)

69. Dave Haslam: ‘That music changed lives. It made Manchester what it is’ – Sun 13 May 2018 – Miranda Sawyer

Everything he was – informed, charming, gentle – he is the opposite now – uninformed, charmless, bitter and twisted.

Dave Haslam, the Guardian, 13 May 2018

70. Johnny Marr review – Manchester rock royalty wrests legacy back from Morrissey – Thu 17 May 2018 – Mark Beaumont

Marr is now the guilt-free Smiths experience… elevated to a symbol of alt-rock righteousness…

Mark Beaumont, the Guardian, 17 May 2018

71. Morrissey expresses sympathy for jailed EDL founder Tommy Robinson – Thu 7 Jun 2018 – Ben Beaumont Thomas – (linking him to the defunct EDL, racism, the far right, Islamophobia)

72. Who said it, Germaine Greer or Morrissey? Take our quiz – Fri 8 Jun 2018 – Martin Belam (selective quotes to smear him as bigot)

73. Johnny Marr: ‘A middle-aged musician nursing a hangover is a dead duck’ – Sat 9 Jun 2018 – Barbara Ellen (question about Morrissey’s controversial views & link to Morrissey denounces halal meat as ‘evil’, and attacks May, Khan, Abbott and more)

74. Former Morrissey fans to stage anti-racism party in Manchester – Tue 26 Jun 2018 – Frances Perraudin (racism, Islamophobia, immigration, subspecies, tax exile, far right, divisive)

“I don’t feel the need to stick by anyone unless I agree with what they’re saying… Of course I disagree with what he’s saying. I don’t think that’s really a surprise that I would disagree with what Morrissey’s saying. I think everyone would expect that I disagree”.

Johnny Marr, Channel 4 News, 24 June 2018

75. Morrissey postpones July concerts amid racism row – Fri 29 Jun 2018 – Patrick Greenfield (racism, Islamophobia, EDL, far right, cancellations)

76. A protest party is a fine riposte to the poisonous parody Morrissey is now – Fri 29 Jun 2018 – Simon Hattenstone

From the mid-1980s onwards, his utterances have been consistently rabid… For so long we Morrissey fans gave him the benefit of the doubt… But the warning signs were always there… nostalgia for old-fashioned Englishness can easily bleed into trenchant nationalism and worse. Which it has done. And now many of us are simply done with Morrissey.

Simon Hattenstone, the Guardian, 29 June 2018

77. Morrissey critic hails postponed UK gigs – Sun 1 Jul 2018 – Vanessa Thorpe (Dave Haslam protest – smears about racism, the far right being derogatory about Sadiq Khan’s diction – it’s only Morrissey’s haters who link Khan’s London accent to his religion and skin colour)

78. How to treat Morrissey? Stop listening to him – Sun 8 Jul 2018 – Stewart Lee

I just didn’t want Morrissey in my home any more. And I couldn’t imagine any circumstances under which I would ever listen to him again.

Stewart Lee, the Observer, 8 July 2019

79. Morrissey to release protest-themed covers album – Tue 26 Feb 2019 – Tim Jonze (racism, far right, persona non grata)

The guest list might surprise those who assumed Morrissey had become a persona non grata following his recent comments in support of the far-right political party For Britain and English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson. Speaking in 2018, Morrissey said of For Britain: “It is the first time in my life that I will vote for a political party. Finally I have hope.” For Britain was founded by anti-Islam activist Anne Marie Waters and has faced criticism for members’ links to neo-Nazi and white nationalist groups.

Tim Jonze, the Guardian, 26 February 2019

80. ‘I feel like I’ve been had’: Morrissey’s collaborators respond to his politics – Fri 1 Mar 2019 – Daniel Dylan Wray (one negative response made to sound as if everyone has rejected him)

81. Morrissey announces career-spanning Broadway residency – Mon 4 Mar 2019 – Laura Snapes (increasingly right-wing values)

82. World’s oldest record store bans Morrissey sales over far-right support – Thu 23 May 2019 – Ben Beaumont Thomas (far right, Islamophobe, EDL, subspecies, immigration)

83. Morrissey: California Son review – clumsy covers with a troll-like spirit – Fri 24 May 2019 – Laura Snapes (sinister, slimy, wheezy, undead, preening, troll)

84. Morrissey posters banned by Liverpool’s Merseyrail transport network – Fri 24 May 2019 – Ben Beaumont Thomas (far right, Islamophobe, racism, subspecies, immigration)

Toxteth resident Jack Dotchin told the Liverpool Echo that Morrissey’s opinions “offend me and a lot of other people. He’s very far right these days, going on about immigrants and being pseudo-racist. It’s just strange to think Merseyrail, being a public service for the people, is advertising someone with his views.”

Ben Beaumont Thomas, the Guardian, 24 May 2019

85. Bigmouth strikes again and again: why Morrissey fans feel so betrayed – Thu 30 May 2019 – Tim Jonze (racism, black pop conspiracy, far right, immigration, nationalism)

Waving the union jack during his show at Madness’s Madstock festival in Finsbury Park, London, in 1992, felt like a more aggressive move (this was before Britpop’s Cool Britannia-era reclamation of the flag, and its association with the far right was still strong). And it was done in the knowledge that the Madness crowd contained a significant fascist/skinhead element. 

Tim Jonze, the Guardian, 30 May 2019

86. A love of diversity in the Madstock crowd – Mon 3 Jun 2019 – Letter from Gavin Alexander (claims the Madstock crowd loves diversity – they are on tape yelling at Morrissey that he’s a poof).

Tim Jonze’s otherwise informative article on Morrissey’s far-right attitude ( G2, 30 May) asserts that 1992’s Madstock contained “a significant fascist/skinhead element”. I can assure Tim that the majority of the 60,000 fans over that weekend shared Madness’s love of musical, social and ethnic diversity. Incidentally, Morrissey pulled out of the Sunday show after a bad reception the previous night, leaving us with the multiracial Ian Dury and the Blockheads followed by Madness. Great gig.
Gavin Alexander
New Malden, London

the Guardian, 3 June 2019

87. As a black teenager, I loved Morrissey. But heaven knows I’m miserable now – Thu 6 Jun 2019 – Jason Surtees (racist, bigot, far right, Islamophobe)

Britishness is an integral part of my identity too, as it is to most black and Asian Brits – including Muslims, who you clearly fear and loathe, partly because they eat differently butchered meat, partly because you think they’re terrorists and partly because – like the For Britain founder, Anne Marie Waters – they don’t fit your ideal of what Britishness should look like. 

Jason Surtees, the Guardian, 6 June 2019

88. Billy Bragg claims it is ‘beyond doubt’ that Morrissey is spreading far-right ideas – Mon 8 Jul 2019 – Laura Snapes

Bragg drew attention to a new report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a UK-based anti-extremist organisation, that said the nationalist “great replacement” theory that the white Christian European population is being replaced by non-European people is entering mainstream public discourse. Bragg claimed that Morrissey was helping to spread right-wing ideas. He continued: “Those who claim that this has no relevance to his stature as an artist should ask themselves if, by demanding that we separate the singer from the song, they too are helping to propagate this racist creed.”

Laura Snapes, the Guardian, 8 July 2019

89. Why one fan covered up his Morrissey tattoo with Sheryl Crow – Thu 25 Jul 2019 – Kari Paul (right-wing, Islamophobe, subspecies, links him to a sexual predator)

90. Morrissey ejects anti-far-right protester from Portland concert – Wed 2 Oct 2019 – Laura Snapes (far right, poor ticket sales, racist, Islamophobe, boycotted by Merseyrail and Spillers record shop, white nationalist)

91. Morrissey performs in LA wearing explicit anti-Guardian vest – Sun 27 Oct 2019 – Josh Halliday (far right, anti-Guardian, condemned by Billy Bragg, white nationalist, boycotted by Stewart Lee)

92. My minor role in Morrissey’s latest outburst – Wed 30 Oct 2019 – Jason Surtees (racist, linked to Trump’s America)

I felt personally betrayed by his repeated demonstrations of intolerance… I explained that the Guardian had shaped my identity from an early age as much as Morrissey had, because it stood up for marginalised people – as he once did – sought to uncover truths and spoke its mind… You see, Moz, your T-shirt should really say “Fuck all press” – as, sadly, that’s what you will end up with.

Jason Surtees, the Guardian, 30 October 2019

93. Johnny Marr scotches Smiths reunion rumours: ‘Nigel Farage on guitar’ – Thu 7 Nov 2019 – Laura Snapes (far right, Brexit, Islamophobe, immigration, white nationalist)

 Marr replied: “Nigel Farage on guitar,” appearing to rubbish the gossip by alluding to the incompatibility of his and Morrissey’s political beliefs… Billy Bragg has said it is “beyond doubt” that Morrissey is spreading far-right ideas. Marr is leftwing. 

Laura Snapes, the Guardian, 7 November 2019

94. How the artist Linder went from Orgasm Addict to Chatsworth House – Sat 18 Jan 2020 – Caroline Roux (tries and fails to get Linder to turn on him)

95. Morrissey: I Am Not a Dog on a Chain review – old man yells at cloud – Fri 20 Mar 2020 – Laura Snapes (accuses Morrissey – a queer artist who has often talked about his sexuality and gender struggles – of hectoring gay and transgender people, evading responsibility, diminished reputation, never be as good as David Bowie)

Morrissey is often lost among the strident music as he hectors people afraid to be themselves: the high camp of Bobby, Don’t You Think They Know? torments a closeted bloke, while torch song The Truth About Ruth wields insipid rhyme to suggest gendered subterfuge. Morrissey knows exactly who he is: a victim…

Laura Snapes, the Guardian, 20 March 2020

96. Why are we talking about Morrissey and Buffy? Because cultural nostalgia is now king – Mon 6 Apr 2020 – Zoe Williams (links to a badly researched article that doesn’t understand queer or Irish Catholic history, and falsely claims that mass immigration from South Asia to Manchester happened after 1964 because Morrissey was born in 1959 after mass immigration and the premise needs him to be nostalgic for an England without any South Asians)

Tucked into a collection of essays, Futures of Socialism: Into the Post-Corbyn Era (shortly to be published by Verso), is the author Owen Hatherley’s Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before: A Study in the Politics and Aesthetics of English Misery. The thesis is that the Smiths were always a reactionary force, politically; the notion that they were straightforward progressives, then Morrissey suddenly became a supporter of the far right because of something he ate, is belied by a much more complicated picture.

Zoe Williams, the Guardian, 6 April 2020

97. ‘He was a groundbreaker and a visionary’: music writer Dele Fadele remembered: He was a rare black journalist on the British music press, whose NME pieces summed up the radicalism of Public Enemy and the dark side of Morrissey. So how did his death go unnoticed for two years? – Mon 14 Sep 2020 – Tim Jonze

It was in 1992, though, that Dele played his most pivotal role. He had attended Madstock in Finsbury Park, the now-notorious gig in which support artist Morrissey draped himself in the union jack, a move some saw as a move pandering to the crowd’s skinhead element. That week’s NME was all set to go to press with Kylie Minogue on the cover but Dele was appalled by what he’d witnessed.” Itwas Dele’s finest hour,” recalls Andrew Collins, who along with then-editor Danny Kelly reworked the cover around Dele’s critical piece – an arduous process to do at the last minute back then. “He wrote from the heart – and, uniquely among the staff – from an actual vantage point. This was not a moment to be lily-livered and Dele seized the day. It was a turning point for Moz’s provocations. Dele wrote if not his most important piece, certainly one that gave urgency and weight to an otherwise hand-wringing situation.” While not as loud as some of the more politically minded music writers of the time, such as Steven Wells, Dele’s politics were resolute and, it is clear now, ahead of their time.

Tim Jonze, the Guardian, 14 September 2020

98. Matt Berninger webchat: your questions answered on Morrissey, Taylor Swift and infinite creativity – Tue 13 Oct 2020 – Laura Snapes (won’t let his child listen to Morrissey)

99. Johnny Rogan obituary – Thu 18 Feb 2021 – Charles Charlesworth (Rogan gets the last laugh)

100. Morrissey hits back at The Simpsons over parody: ‘Complete ignorance’ – Tue 20 Apr 2021 – Lucy Campbell and Ben Beaumont-Thomas (racist, subspecies, far right)

101. The rudest things they ever said about the Guardian – Tue 11 May 2021 – Rupert Neate (after 11 years of relentless smearing the Guardian claim they were only expressing dismay at Morrissey supporting the far right – which he didn’t)

102. Richard Ashcroft quits Tramlines festival owing to its Covid research – Tue 6 Jul 2021 – Ben Beaumont Thomas (Covid conspiracy theorist)

103. Rick Astley on his Smiths covers gigs: ‘I’ll use a karaoke machine if I have to’ – Wed 22 Sep 2021 – Rich Palley (oddly censored reference to Rick’s views on current Morrissey)

104. Rick Astley and Blossoms review – the ultimate Smiths karaoke shouldn’t work, but it does – Sun 10 Oct 2021 – Dave Simpson (far right tag)

105. ‘No Jacket Required would be the soundtrack of hell’: the Rev Richard Coles’s honest playlist – Mon 10 Jan 2022 – Rich Pelley (can’t listen to Morrissey)

106. There is a fight that never goes out: Morrissey accuses Johnny Marr of using him as clickbait – Wed 26 Jan 2022 – Laura Snapes (Trump, far right, white nationalist, Hitler, rape apologist, immigration, boycotts, Nigel Farage)

Marr is a left-wing, teetotal vegan who runs 10 miles a day. Morrissey has descended into infamy for his remarks on race and politics.

Laura Snapes, the Guardian, 26 January 2022

107. Johnny Marr: ‘When I play Smiths songs I experience this huge wave of elation’ – Sun 6 Feb 2022 – Tim Lewis (how to deal with Morrissey)

108. ‘The Queen’s gone round the bend!’ – HM in pop, from Slowthai to the Smiths to Blur – Wed 1 Jun 2022 – Dorian Lynskey (reactionary)

109. ‘My life would be very different without the Fall’: Stewart Lee’s honest playlist – Mon 5 Sep 2022 – Rich Pelley (can’t listen to Morrissey)

110. On 11 october 2022 they stealth edited an interview with Molly Rankin to take out a baseless assertion that Morrissey was spewing racist sentiments at this gigs and in the press – while keeping the misleading claim that he supports far right parties and a link to an article that repeats the homophobic lies about Madstock


In almost every interview that Rankin is asked about her influences, she brings up the Smiths – so I ask, Smiths fan to Smiths fan, how she’s coped with the last few years, which have seen Morrissey show support for far-right political parties and spew racist sentiment at his shows and in the press.

(Shaad D’Souza, the Guardian 11 October 2022 – Wayback Machine capture, 10:26:04)

In almost every interview that Rankin is asked about her influences, she brings up the Smiths – so I ask, Smiths fan to Smiths fan, how she’s coped with the last few years, which have seen Morrissey show support for far-right political parties.

(Shaad D’Souza, the Guardian, 11 October 2022 – Wayback Machine capture, 17:38:48)

Right-Wing Conspiracy Site

Morrissey’s website, Morrissey Central, went live on the 28th March 2018.

It’s run by his nephew, S.E.R, a photographer.

SER in the orange dungarees

Aside from the occasional interview with Morrissey or a statement with Morrissey’s name and the date, most of the content is taken from social media.

By this point, Morrissey, had already been completely dehumanised by the press and on social media, and had been labelled a racist pariah. Central seemed to be scrabbling around for support, finding it on the hard right with the Spectator, the Post Millennial, the National Review, and alt-right YouTubers.

The site has James Baldwin on the landing page and a list of animal charities they’d like you to support, which doesn’t appear designed to further white supremacy.

But, it attracted the attention of Far Right activists already excited by the amount of times they were being told by the press that Morrissey rants against immigration, is an extreme English ethno-nationalist, and hates black people.

Way of the World is a neo-Nazi account.

Morrissey’s oldest friend, James Maker, wrote a defence on Facebook – that indicated Morrissey was coming from a left-wing perspective – one that had concerns about human rights clashes within identity politics.

Is Morrissey a racist? The answer is an emphatic ‘no’. In the forty years that I have known Morrissey, I have never once heard a racist epithet pass his lips. The terms ‘racist’, ‘fascist’, and ‘Islamophobe’ are so freely used nowadays against those whose opinions and worldview differs from our own, that they have lost their power and meaning. Also, there is a worrying trend on the Left that, ironically, echoes fascism in its intolerance of reasoned debate. One is not only ‘wrong’ in expressing a different opinion, but one is also now ‘evil’. I believe that calling Morrissey a racist is unjustifiable and wrong. However, if you want to run out of the house wearing a garment ill-suited to the elements in order to throw Viva Hate into the Manchester Ship Canal, then that is, of course, your right. In supporting Brexit, this does not make Morrissey an immigrant-hating ‘Little Englander’ who lives only to reverse the metric system and bring back steam trains. The truth is, there are myriad reasons why people voted to leave the EU. One of them is a mistrust of Brussels technocracy where unelected representatives make decisions that are arguably a matter for sovereignty. Patriotism and Nationalism are very distinct: the former is characterised by an affection for one’s country; the second is a more extreme and unforgiving form of allegiance to one’s homeland. Morrissey might be guilty of patriotism, but not of nationalism. Opposing Sharia Law in the UK, or FGM, or institutionalised misogyny—which is (trigger warning) widespread in the developing world—is an appropriate Western response borne of democracy and the development of civil liberties. It is neither racist nor Islamophobic. After all, if I were to move to the United Arab Emirates in search of a better life, I wouldn’t reasonably expect to be able to build a hot dog stand empire, serving pork products whilst dressed in a gender-neutral miniskirt. To oppose halal slaughter is to oppose slaughter with additional cruelty. The zakat tax payable for Halal certification is used by Islamic organisations to fund mosques and religious schools. Such is the many-tentacled nature of zakat, it is difficult to determine whether it is also being used to crowdfund Islamist extremism. There is a growing concern in some quarters that it might be. Hitler was indeed ‘Left-wing’ in the sense of incorporating the word ‘socialist’ into the party’s name to cynically draw voters away from communism and towards populist nationalism dressed as socialism. Hence, ‘Hitler was Left-wing.’ Morrissey was not suggesting that Hitler and Yvette Cooper (for example) share the same political ideals. The fact is, Left-wing totalitarianism looks little different to Right-wing authoritarianism — if you’re being oppressed, it’s the same experience. Again, is Morrissey a racist? My answer is an emphatic ‘no’. (James Maker, Facebook Post, 26 April 2018)

On the 30th May 2019, the Guardian, published yet another roundup of why Morrissey is despicable with Finsbury Park – the gig where Morrissey was the target of a homophobic hate crime that resulted in him being the only artist in British history to be branded a racist by the press for touching a Union Jack – as its keystone.

Waving the union jack during his show at Madness’s Madstock festival in Finsbury Park, London, in 1992, felt like a more aggressive move (this was before Britpop’s Cool Britannia-era reclamation of the flag, and its association with the far right was still strong). And it was done in the knowledge that the Madness crowd contained a significant fascist/skinhead element. (Tim Jonze, the Guardian, 30 May 2019)

Again, James Maker, defended him on Facebook.

In support of Morrissey: The truth is, there is a hate campaign which is artificial, fabricated and does not reflect the views of real people: people who attend concerts and buy records. ‘For Britain’ is repeatedly described as a ‘far right-wing party’, when it isn’t. It is run by an irish lesbian who opposes patriarchy. People are murdered on London Bridge, or children destroyed by nail bombs at concerts, or….the list is legion….There is a very much a problem linked to extremist Islam: its 21st-century core beliefs are still affirmatively anti-feminist, anti-LGBT, and anti-democratic. This is NOT anti-Muslim; it is anti-undemocratic; anti-patriarchy; anti-religious extremism. Morrissey was a contrarian in the 1980s and 1990s. and who saved many people’s lives—as many hundreds avow—through the messages of his songs., In 2019, he is still a contrarian. Yet, in the UK, he is a hate figure whom a British newspaper is bent upon destroying. For a person who could have given such pleasure to millions, over the years, this is very sad, indeed. (James Maker, Facebook Post, 1 June 2019)

On the 3rd of June 2019, Central posted a link to an article by Fiona Dodwell, that responded to the Guardian article, and concluded with:

Using an old image of the former Smiths frontman from 1992, in which he is depicted onstage holding a Union Jack, Jonze asks his readers, “True Colours?” As if beholding a flag of one’s own country is somehow a barbaric act, rather than one of pride. Where were the offended writers when Geri Halliwell made headlines by wearing her Union Jack dress on stage? Or are we to set different standards for different public figures? (Fiona Dodwell, Tremr, 2 June 2019)

On the 28th June 2019, rapper Stormzy, headlined at Glastonbury wearing a Union Jack vest.

On the 29th of June 2019 neo-Nazi, Morgoth, made a video comparing the positive reaction to Stormzy’s Union Jack (which he claimed was promoting multiculturalism) to the negative reaction to Morrissey’s Union Jack (which he claimed was promoting white pride). It was posted on YouTube, where it’s now set to private, and on Bitchute.

Bitchute, 29 June 2019

Morgoth and his circle had been trying to link themselves to Morrissey.

Central is known to post things that have been recommended to them.

from a post on fan site Morrissey Solo

On the 30th of June 2019 Central posted the video from YouTube, without comment, under the title Nothing But Blue Skies For Stormzy… the Gallows for Morrissey.

Speculation on Morrissey Solo, 30 June 2019

Morrissey has never mentioned Stormzy or Morgoth. Central posted a picture of Kirsty MacColl on the same night and then nothing until July 8th when Morrissey penned a sweet tribute to Blue Rondo.

Morrissey doesn’t speak to the media and isn’t on online so the post would have limited reach if Billy Bragg hadn’t spread the word as part of a public campaign to have Morrissey ostracised, something easily achievable in private, since he’s extremely isolated within the industry.

Naturally, Finsbury Park was brought up.

Which he’d also used to call Morrissey a hypocrite for being against the flag-waving jingoism of the London Olympics.

His campaign had started before the video.

And no one in the UK arts and media establishment has decried the Spectator’s TV critic, James Delingpole, for having Morgoth on his podcast.

2nd image: Twitter, 22 October 2021

During the pandemic, SER, became and anti-vaxxer and posted videos and memes that were against lockdowns, masks, and vaccine passports.

… Morrissey’s official website, which is increasingly reading like the work of a conspiracy-driven right-wing nutjob. (Ryan Leas, Stereogum, 16th November 2020)

Twitter, 23 December 2020, comment about a post on Morrissey Central on 22 December 2020, the video was against a Christmas lockdown, but also had anti-immigrant comments.

Twitter, 1 July 2021, the video is anti-vaxx.

On the 27th October 2021, Central posted two far right talking points in the same week they were circulating on the far right. One was a story about animal cruelty in vaccine labs, from Tucker Carlson at Fox News, the other was opposing vaccine mandates, from alt-right YouTuber, Tarl Warwick aka Styxhexenhammer666 (the 2nd video is now unavailable).

Morrissey Central, 27 October 2021

Mark Collett, leader of neo-Nazi group, Patriotic Alternative, Gab, 23 October 2021

Mark Collett, leader of neo-Nazi group, Patriotic Alternative, Gab, 23 October 2021

On the 27th July 2022, they posted a video by white supremacist, Black Pigeon Speaks, linking Morrissey’s song about the Manchester Bomb, Bonfire of Teenagers, to mass immigration. This was seemingly in response to a thread on Morrissey Solo where it was argued that the lyrics of Bonfire meant that there wouldn’t be a scandal about immigration. Black Pigeon had been posted on Solo on the 25th of July 2022 by Listening Loud, an unregistered user.

from Morrissey Solo

On the 30th July 2022, Carl Eric Scott, a hard right Republican, published a substack on Bonfire of Teenagers that claimed it was a suppressed song, was about mass immigration and Islamism, and falsely stated that Morrissey had supported the far right anti-Islamic street protest group, the English Defense League. It was posted anonymously on Morrissey Solo on the 31st July 2022. And ciruclated on social media.

.. it is said he is racist, or “culturally racist,” or culturally insensitive, because he… voiced support for a group called the English Defense League, the EDL, back in 2013, and a few of its members were later proved guilty of physical attacks on non-whites… (Carl Eric Scott, Substack, 30 July 2022)

Twitter, 31 July 2022

On the 28th July 2022, Morrissey made a statement about Your Arsenal that cited “opinions” without saying what those opinions were.

It was a time when singers such as I were made successful by the people. Now, a harmony of all interests and opinions is not allowed in modern music, and this is why the music world is now dominated by singers whom most of the world cannot stand. We are trained to expect nothing from modern music. There are no modern songwriters of whom we can say ‘no one but you could have written that song.’ There are no modern songwriters to whom we can say, ‘you’ve really hit on something.’ All that happens depends on something already achieved by somebody else. Consequently, there has never been a time when people so desperately need a true projection of how life really is. From “Your Arsenal” to “Bonfire of Teenagers” I know that music remains more permanent than life. But there is far more to fight against now, in a music industry that allows only for one opinion everywhere. “Your Arsenal” in its 30th year tells me that we have nourished each other for a very long time, and we have come a long way together in a truly different and elevating journey. If I know, you must know. (Morrissey, Morrissey Central Instagram, 28 July 2022)

All of his statements go through Central.

On the 10th of October 2022 Central posted a link to a review in The Spectator that used Morrissey as a jumping off point to talk about Islamic terrorism. The headline, Morrissey is right about the Manchester Arena Bombing was changed to ‘Morrissey is the Rock’n’Roll Rebel We Need’.

On the 28th October 2022, Breton La Villain, posted a Daily Mail article by Richard Littlejohn, that used the Spectator article about Morrissey to talk about Islamic terrorism, as well as being negative about immigration, animals, the poor and enviromentalists. Breton wrote that it made Morrissey out to be ‘far right’.

On the 29th of October 2022, Central posted it under the title, ‘Turnabout’.

On the 27th of October 2022, Michael Edison Hayden, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, tweeted that American white nationalist website, VDare, was raffling tickets to see Morrissey in Washington.

VDare is against South American immigration to the United States; most of Morrissey’s band and his LA fanbase are South American. It’s also homophobic and transphobic, so it’s unlikely they’d support him if they actually knew him – but a mix of his press coverage and Central’s posting habits, is attempting to sell him to the American far right with a story pieced together from the NME’s lies.

He believes England is a distinct place that comprises a distinct people, reprehensible as they may be. But because his audience is large, loyal and international (he’s huge in Mexico!), he can galvanize opposition to non-white mass immigration without fearing cancellation… Notwithstanding his reckless blasts at Margaret Thatcher and Donald Trump, Morrissey is a patriot. Still making excellent records—California Son and I Am Not a Dog on a Chain—he is determined to defend England. And he’s pointing a finger at the left, where it belongs, for trying to destroy it. We Americans might be asking, “Where’s our Morrissey?” (Carl Horowitz, Vdare, 15 October 2022)

Sexually Ambiguous: Finsbury Park

The Sun, 30 July 1992 – ‘Lots of people I knew used to go gay-bashing but I never got involved. Ronnie Kray was an inspiration to me. He’s gay but nobody calls him a faggot. He’s probably the hardest gangster ever and that helped me cope in the difficult times’.

On July 29th 1992, Nicky Crane – National Front/British Movement skinhead and roadie for neo-Nazi band Skrewdriver; who featured in the same Nick Knight photo essay as the V-flicker on a Morrissey t-shirt – came out as gay on a UK Channel 4 documentary, Out: The Skin Complex, that explored gay skinhead subculture.

Nicky Crane. Children of the Sun by Max Schaefer, is based on his life.

On August 22nd 1992, the NME spent 5 pages denouncing Morrissey as a racist – for holding a Union Jack for 3 minutes and using an art print of two skinhead girls as a backdrop – while supporting headliners Madness, at Finsbury Park, on August 8th 1992, after he cut his set short and cancelled the next day’s appearance, due to the crowd throwing missiles and heckling homophobic abuse.

NME, 22 August 1992

Select reported the homophobia while blaming Morrissey for it.

Bad move one: he appears in front of a backdrop featuring two androgynous skinhead girls – one – perversely – resembling Carrie Fisher. The men’s men in the crowd offer the opinion that Morrissey is a “poofy bastard” and elevate many a middle finger. It’s boneheaded bullshit, sure, but nothing you shouldn’t be able to weather. Bad move two: Moz produces a Union Jack which he brandishes throughout “Glamorous Glue” as an art statement. This is a spectacularly stupid stunt, given the unwelcome right-wing following Madness always tried to get rid of and the putrid characters milling around outside. Thank God they can’t understand the words to “National Front Disco”… But contrary to his press statements, there was no hail of shrapnel to force a cancellation of the Sunday slot – just a reception that didn’t suit. Gallon Drunk stuck it out, didn’t they? Somewhere in the distance, you can hear The Farm, who would have gone down immeasurably better on this lads’ day out, laughing up each others’ sleeves. Who can even be bothered to feel sympathy for Morrissey? Perhaps we’ll see an end to his terribly modish flaunting of skinhead imagery. Perhaps he’ll learn that you can treat your fans with cavalier disdain once too often (most of the unfortunate Moz kids have bought tickets for Sunday – Glastonbury part 2). Or perhaps he’ll just emigrate. (Select, October 1992)

He certainly got a hard time from the homophobes, but nothing the most acid tongue in pop couldn’t handle. (Select, January 1993)

Morrissey at Madstock, 8th August 1992

The Independent didn’t pick up on anything untoward with his imagery – but blamed the crowd’s negative reaction on his lack of masculinity.

to the gold lame flounce of Morrissey, who, having replaced The Farm, was accorded the proverbial ‘mixed reaction’ for his trouble. But then, Morrissey has never been exactly the most blokeish of performers. (Andy Gill, 9th August 1992, The Independent)

From the start of his career, he rejected or invented labels for his gender and sexuality – and in the early/mid 1980s he said he was celibate.

Prince says he isn’t… Michael Jackson says it’s a sin. Elton John is married… David Bowie says he was never even bisexual… Lou Reed is maritally heterosexual… Little Richard [and] Donna Summer are on the anti-gay trail… music… has gone homophobic… And there’s also Morrissey, who’s … yes, gay... ensconced in a corner of Salisbury, a gay London pub… Morrissey, spoke with THE ADVOCATE: What do you mean by the fourth gender? I think labels are too restrictive. Like everyone is either heterosexual or homosexual. People are simply sexual. Do gay musicians say they’re celibate to appease the homophobic segments of the public? It may well enter into that, if it’s a lie. Certainly celibacy has a spiritual attractiveness… like a little halo. Is it harder to get into the media if one is gay, rather than noncommittal? It is more difficult. What was your childhood like? Wonderful… the teenage years were rotten… hormones divided us into camps, and as any gay person knows, that’s the time you start losing friends – or those you thought were friends. And then those professional heterosexuals, those people in those boxes, are closed to you for life. (Morrissey, interviewed by George Hadley-Garcia, the Advocate, 16 October 1984)

His imagery was often coded as gay.

As Oscar Wilde himself once said – Jesus bleedin Christ!!!… And… the whole thing is punctuated by shots of rather hunky young schoolboys whose commendably formal uniforms are augmented by six-inch-high-heel shoes! (Danny Kelly, NME, 1 April 1989)

In 1991, he toured with the Jewish, lesbian, singer, Phranc.

Morrissey and Phranc, 1991

In a Facebook post in 2021, his guitarist and co-songwriter, Alain Whyte, wrote that the crowd hated Morrissey because they thought he was queer.

Alain Whyte, Facebook post, 27 October 2021

The NME’s hit piece made a direct link between sexuality and racism, with one paragraph echoing publicity surrounding the Channel 4 gay skinheads documentary.

Caucasian Rut: A child in a curious phase…“? (NME, 22 August 1992) 

Being gay or bisexual was (and sometimes still is) described as a phase. )

At one extreme, Kylie Minogue miraculously transforms herself from the jovial girl-next-door to a strutting nymphet who cavorts lustily with black ‘dancers’ to suggest risky sexuality. And, at the other extreme, Steven Patrick Morrissey undergoes a gradual metamorphosis from a miserable, loveless outsider with a sense of humour to a miserable, loveless outsider who flirts with racist imagery. (NME, 22 August 1992)

Dr Dinesh Bhugra, a psychologist at the Institute of Psychiatry, speaking on Skin Complex, the Channel 4 programme to be screened on Wednesday, argues that gay men adopting the skinhead image is not surprising. In a society that is producing a tremendous amount of homophobia, you have to try and protect yourself by whichever means you can and if, in order to do it, it means you are identifying with the oppressor then people will do that in order to survive. (Independent, 26 July 1992)

Let’s not forget that the adolescent Morrissey used to be chased through the streets of Manchester at night by leering beer-boys, some of whom may have held NF sympathies, simply for being ‘different’. And he definitely spent a lot of time in Whalley Range, a multi-racial area. Is he now identifying with his former oppressors? Has he changed from the persecuted to the persecutor? Or, is he fascinated by the idea of racism, by the look of violent skinheads, to the extent of being oppressed so much he falls in love with his oppressors? (NME, 22 August 1992)

They falsely claimed that most football hooligans were affiliated with the NF and BNP, and deliberately misrepresented We’ll Let You Know.

We may seem cold
Or we may even be the most depressing people you’ve ever known
At heart, what’s left, we sadly know
That we are the last truly British people you’ve ever known
We are the last truly British people you will ever know
You’ll ever, never, want to know
(We’ll Let You Know, Steven Morrissey/Alain Whyte)

We’ll Let You Know’ is ostensibly a love song to football hooligans, casting them as “the last truly British people you’ll ever know”, which wouldn’t be that irritating if you didn’t realise that a significant percentage of them are also NF or BNP affiliated. (NME, 22 August 1992)

A review in the Melody Maker falsely claimed that Morrissey was holding the Union Jack while singing the National Front Disco as supporters shouted Sieg Heil – so the NME’s admonition that he had racist friends and liked outsider trappings could come from that – or it could point to Nicky Crane.

Sally Gunnell, winning Gold in 400m hurdles, 6 August 1992, Barcelona Olympics

Morrissey is, despite all hopes, despicable… Look, Steven, if you’ve just run 100 metres in 9.98, you can have some sort of vague, if dubious, claims to wearing a Union Jack around your shoulders. If you’re singing the National Front Disco and getting too scared/weary to put inverted commas around the England for the English bit, while Sieg Heils butter you up down the front, don’t expect much sympathy… (Paul Mathur, Melody Maker, 15 August 1992)

For what it’s worth, I don’t think Morrissey is a racist. He just likes the trappings and the culture that surround the outsider element. He has some racist friends. And if he carries on this way, he’ll have thousands more. (NME, 22 August 1992)

Cover of Your Arsenal, often described as “homoerotic“, the album’s track listing included the National Front Disco & We’ll Let You Know.

A gay skinhead fantasy had appeared in Square Peg, a left-wing queer interest magazine, published by a collective of gay men who met at a gay nightclub, The Bell, in King’s Cross, where Morrissey, Derek Jarman, Michael Clark, and Nicky Crane were also, at one time, regulars.

Michael Clark, skinhead and dancer. Morrissey would namecheck Clark’s 1987 ballet, ‘Because We Must’ , before singing the National Front Disco in his video Introducing Morrissey, filmed on the 7th and 8th of February 1995. https://flash—

Why I’m a Skin: I grew up in remotest and desolate suburbia… Untidy, shy and eccentric, I was first bullied, then ignored… I discovered… what respectable men did with each other in toilets. I joined in with enthusiasm. At school I was Charles Laughton. In the cottages I was James Dean… The skinhead is beyond fashion and cannot be assimilated… This animal’s only secondary sexual characteristics are his braces worn up to exaggerate the width of the shoulders, down to emphasise the curve of the bum… He is pure sex… He is an anarchist, not because he rejects the rules, but because they cannot be applied to him. (Square Peg, No 12, 1986)

I just felt towards all these figures in popular music who were trying to be gay and outrageous – why does it always have to be so shocking? I think ‘This Charming Man’ was the most revolutionary single in popular music in that area – I’m really quite convinced of it, because it was all just completely natural about male relationships, it was nice and natural, but it wasn’t banal. (Morrissey, Square Peg, No. 6, 1984)

A union jack flag was used in the video for The Queen Is Dead, directed by Derek Jarman, 1986.

Derek Jarman, left. OutRage! gay rights march, 6 February 1992

Morrissey/Smiths fans with a Queen Is Dead Union Jack, Wolverhampton gig, 22 December 1988.

Union Jack boxer shorts, Outrage! gay rights protest, April 1992

In 1981, Nicky Crane’s picture was used on the cover of a compilation album, Strength Thru Oi, that was released by Sounds magazine, causing a scandal over his neo-Nazi connections, and the allusion to the Nazi slogan strength through joy. He also appeared in gay porn films and worked with transgender singer-songwriter, Genesis P-Orridge.

NAZI FARTSY : Earsay’s snippets (Channel 4) on Genesis P-Orridge et al featured an unexpected guest – a certain Nicola Crane. Crane, the neo-Nazi who by a series of errors made the front cover of ‘Strength Thru Oi’, turned out to be one of the ‘stars’ of a Psychic TV video film. Let’s hope the media are as quick to condemn this obviously deliberate airing for Crane as they were with that accidental airing three years ago. (Sounds, 22nd September 1984)

Nicky Crane on Psychic TV :

In 1984, Nicky led an attack on left-wing skinhead band, the Redskins, at a GLC benefit gig. The Smiths were on the bill. He was also working for, Gentle Touch, a firm that provided security for left-wing and gay events. In 1986, he marched at gay pride, under a ‘gay skins’ banner. When asked, gay pride organisers, said they felt it was ok because he’d been seen kissing an Afro-Caribbean man.

Morrissey, left-wing GLC leader Ken Livingstone, singer Mari Wilson :

Ken Livingstone and the GLC had been under fire for giving money to gay organisations.

Private Eye, January 1982

Including a gay skinhead disco.

Out, 1985. The Moonstomp Disco, was organised by gay skins at the GLC funded, Lesbian and Gay Centre, London.

The National Front/British Movement/BNP were violently homophobic, assaulting and murdering gay people, attacking and bombing gay events and venues. And had been rocked by gay scandals.

Those naked Nazis: I am somewhat pleased to see the National Front arseholes scratching each other’s eyes out over the Martin Webster scandals. John Tyndall is so so upset about Webster’s homosexual image that he’s formed a breakaway NF organisation and is openly slagging Webster in his publication, Spearhead. It seems he accuses the Front of being full of queers and morally corrupt and that Webster is giving the Front A BAD NAME! It’s okay to smash someone’s head in, but it’s the biggest crime of all to be gay. (Zipper, 24 October 1980)

In 1999, the BNP, nail bombed the Admiral Duncan, a gay pub in London, Soho. Three people were killed. The law in the UK was so homophobic, that it wasn’t prosecuted as a political act of terrorism, but was classed as a personal animosity to gay men.

When Crane came out as gay, he was disowned.

It just goes to show that nationalism and homosexuality do not fit in together, because Nationalism is a true cause and homosexuality is a perversion. Nicky Crane left, and I think that it was the best thing he could have done, but he should have left a hell of a lot earlier. He was living a lie for all of them years. I’ve got no respect for the bloke anymore. (Ian Stuart Donaldson, lead singer of Skrewdriver, Last Chance fanzine, 1992)

NME Caption: Morrissey “Jacks off” (slang for sex acts, usually performed on/by a male), NME, 22 August 1992

After the Madstock gig – Morrissey’s press office blamed “projectiles” thrown by a “National Front skinhead” for his refusal to play the next day. Morrissey reportedly said it was “too dangerous” (NME, 22 August 1992).

Madstock’s promoter, Vince Power, blamed the backdrop and the Union Jack, “in a way he got the audience he was looking for” (NME, 22 August 1992).

NME caption: Stop this shit now, Morrissey! NME, 22 August 1992

Peter Hooton, thought it was payback for his band, the Farm, being dropped from the bill, for not being “manly” enough, “I was amazed at the Morrissey camp’s reaction. He’s dealing with contentious stuff, flirting with right wing views in front of a Madness crowdhe’s a very sad and mixed-up man.” (NME, 22 August 1992)

Oi, Oi, not how “the lads” behave, NME, 22 August 1992

Flowered Up’s keyboard player, Tim Dourney, said Morrissey was “asking for a bit of trouble. Maybe he thought he could win over the skinhead contingent but you’re going to put backs up prancing around like that.” (NME, 22 August 1992)

Derek Ridgers worried that the girls who WERE racist imagery (to the NME) were being used in a distasteful or demeaning way. “Being a Morrissey fan I thought he’d use them in a tasteful way. My main concern was that it wasn’t going to be demeaning to people in the picture.” (NME, 22 August 1992)

the ‘racist imagery’ , Morrissey, at Madstock, 8 August 1992

The NME admitted that the National Front was in London on the 8th of August to confront a Troops Out march – but deliberately skipped over the National Front’s hostility to Irish Catholics and Irish Republicans, didn’t mention that Morrissey had expressed Irish Republican sympathies, gave the wrong impression that his ‘ethnic group’ was English (he’s Irish Catholic), and used the skinhead backdrop and the Union Jack to directly connect him to the National Front – with their skinhead membership and their Union Jacks.

Morrissey’s affection for the skinhead and nationalist imagery was given its most public display ever at Finsbury Park. With Derek Ridgers’ skinhead photos used as a backdrop, he waved and wrapped a Union Jack flag around his torso. Meanwhile, outside the park’s perimeter, Union Jacks were also brandished — by National Front and British Movement supporters congregating to confront a Troops Out march. (NME, 22 August 1992)

… could the same writer harbour such seemingly ignorant thoughts as “‘England for the English'” (his inverted commas) considering his beloved England’s past colonial adventures? (NME, 22 August 1992)

The National Front exploited conflict in Northern Ireland. Skrewdriver’s album, Boot and Braces/Voice of Britain, released in 1990, contained the songs White Power and Smash the IRA.

A feature of the Bloody Sunday marches was that the far right (BNP etc.) often mobilised to oppose them, so that in the pubs and streets surrounding the demonstrations there would be skirmishes between anti-fascists and racists. In 1990 for instance, three Anti Fascist Action (AFA) members were jailed after notorious Nazi skinhead Nicky Crane was dragged out of a taxi in Kilburn in the vicinity of the Bloody Sunday march. (History Is Made At Night, 30 January 2012)

Blood and Honour, a neo-Nazi group set up by Skrewdriver, from their magazine, 1998: Once again the National Front have made national news and this for marching to protect the rights of Ulster on 23rd May in Central London came under the title ‘No Surrender to the IRA’. The NF put out the march and called for loyalists to attend.

The NME invents a variety of motivations for the crowd’s hostility – all of which blame Morrissey – one of which implies that he’s a gay man trying to join the National Front and getting the violence he deserves.

It almost doesn’t matter who pelted him offstage (NF skins who don’t want his glitter-shirted type diluting the ‘movement’, Farm fans disgruntled at his alleged part in getting them chucked off the bill, ordinary Joes and Jos disgusted by his toying with nationalist imagery, people who just never liked The Polecats!); the fact remains: given all the above, it was almost inevitable. (NME, 22 August 1992)

Madstock, NME, 22 August 1992

While positioning themselves as ‘right-on’, ‘compassionate’ and ‘liberal’ – concerned that Morrissey has chosen to incite violence, racism and genocide.

In agitated times when the twin spectres of fascism and ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ are sweeping across Europe, and when there’s been a return in England to the horrifying incidence of burning immigrants out of their homes, we must wonder why Morrissey has chosen this precise moment to fuel the fires of racism by parading onstage with a Union Jack and writing such ambiguous dodgy lyrics as ‘The National Front Disco’ and ‘We’ll Let You Know’ on his recent album. Is he so starved of lyrical ideas that a touch of controversy is the best way to cover-up ‘writer’s block’? Is he completely fed-up with the liberal consensus in the more compassionate side of the media that he’s resorted to baiting the right-on crowd? Is there a sizeable degree of irony at work? (NME, 22 August 1992)

In contrast to Morrissey, who is now the opposite of ‘gentle and kind’.

Equally, his recent response to the publication of Johnny Rogan’s Smiths book The Severed Alliance, was at best distasteful, at worst illustrative of a severe lack of perspective… Morrissey, while admitting that he’d never even read it, condemned the book, and said that he hoped Rogan died in a car smash on the M3… Is this the same man who, in The Smiths’ finest moment (‘I Know It’s Over’) wroteIt’s so easy to laugh, it’s so easy to hate, it takes guts to be gentle and kind? Sadly, yes. The same man but now displaying a cruelty and lack of deftness that makes his golden days seem light years away. (NME, 22 August 1992)

A picture taken in Dublin is used to label him a Little Englander, NME, 22 August 1992

They try to firm up the accusations by bringing up the ‘hip hop wars’, fabricated by music journalists who were excluding black artists from rock music, and accusing him of ‘race-hate‘.

1992 isn’t the first time Morrissey has been accused of fanning the flames of race-hate. When The Smiths released ‘Panic’ in 1986, at the height of what’s now known within NME as ‘the hip-hop wars’, certain writers at this paper branded Moz a ‘racist’ because of the sentiments “Burn down the disco… Hang the DJ” expressed therein, seeing the song as an all-out attack on dance music and therefore black people. (NME, 22 August 1992)

The National Front’s most violent organiser, Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair was a fan of reggae band UB40 and his paramilitary loyalist gang would kill Catholics while listening to rave. : : :

Johnny Adair, on the far right, National Front march, 1980s : The NME’s coverage of ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland:

They interpreted Bengali In Platforms as an anti-assimilation diatribe – so they could conflate him with anti-immigrant-anti-Irish-Catholic, ex-Tory, Ulster Unionist MP, Enoch Powell.

Viva Hate’, his first ‘solo’ LP, contained the charmingly titled ‘Bengali In Platforms’, a convoluted diatribe against assimilation: “He only wants to impress you/Bengali in platforms/He only wants to embrace your culture/And to be your friend forever/ … Oh shelve your Western plans/ … life is hard enough when you belong here.” And where does this somewhat gentle ridicule leave the Bengalis who were born in England? On the next boat captained by Enoch Powell? In the lurch? The main complaint Little Englanders have about immigrants is their seeming abhorrence of the host culture and feisty determination to cling to what they know and understand. But here we have someone who won’t let them do the opposite either... (NME, 22 August 1992)

Pro-Enoch Powell, anti-immigration march, 1972

They created a list (the template of all future lists) of out-of-context faux-racist quotes (Andrew Collins, Angelfire, 26 July 2001) used as evidence that he’s racist, violent, and a hypocrite, who has no right to complain about being attacked (by homophobes).

“I’m not totally averse to violence. I think it’s quite attractively necessary in some extremes. Violence on behalf of CND is absolutely necessary… obviously CND care about the people and that’s why they do what they do. That’s patriotism.”  (Morrissey, December 1984)

“The common sense for the future is to try and preserve as much as we can from the past.” (Morrissey, December 1984)

“Reggae is vile.” (Morrissey, NME questionnaire, February 1985)

“Personally, I’m an incurably peaceable character. But where does it get you? Nowhere. You have to be violent.” (Morrissey, March 1985)


All of this is a smokescreen – they even tell the reader how it’s constructed. They charge him with being a nationalist, a racist, right-wing and violent – then accumulate ‘problematic’ associations: Panic hates black people. Rusholme Ruffians hates Asians – who ‘duffed Moz up’ – as if his songs are literal and autobiographical.

The novel Suedehead is black-hating and gay-bashing, so the song Suedehead is black-hating and gay-bashing, which makes Bengali In Platforms, Asian Rut, We’ll Let You Know and The National Front Disco, black-hating and gay-bashing. He’s ambiguous – he causes unease and disquiet – he’s always carping about black people – it’s accelerating now he’s solo – he’s a danger to gullible and suggestible fans – he’s unwholesome.

Let’s deal with the first, and infinitely more difficult of these charges, the whole ugly grab-bag of nationalism, right-wingery, violence and racism… The Smiths’ ‘Panic’ could be construed as an attack on black music and therefore, by extension, black people. But the unease predates even that. One Mancunian music journalist has voiced disquiet that the ‘Ruffians’ on ‘Meat Is Murder’ — who duff up the Moz at a funfair — should be from ‘Rusholme’, the only part of Manchester that might be identified as ‘Asian’. It’s since the advent of Morrissey’s solo career, however, that misgivings about some of his chosen subject matter, lyrics, imagery and associations have begun to accelerate. His very first solo single, ‘Suedehead’, was named after the black-hating, gay-bashing post-skinhead gangs glamourised by Richard Allen’s notorious 1971 novel of the same name. Since then there’s been ‘Bengali In Platforms’ (from ‘Viva Hate’), ‘Asian Rut’ (‘Kill Uncle’) and, most recently, ‘We’ll Let You Know’ (with its line about “we are the last truly British people you will ever know”) and ‘The National Front Disco’ (from ‘Your Arsenal’). Nobody is denying Morrissey’s right to write about what the hell he likes and nor are any of these songs intrinsically problematic, but not all of his audience are as smart as him and the constant, unfocused, reference to these delicate matters, allied to Morrissey’s steadfast ambiguity in interviews (see quotes) does have a cumulative effect. Add to this his constant carping about reggae, disco and any other music that’s usually prefaced with the word ‘black’ (and the ‘Panic’ provision, that hating black music doesn’t mean to hate black people, still applies) and you can see how the gullible or suggestible fan, or the suspicious critic, might start to build up a pretty unwholesome portrait of the artist. (NME, 22 August 1992)

The skins are Nazis – but also male – and there are homosexuals about.

The original skins were about working class (primarily male) solidarity and an alternative to the stultifying mundanity and bullshit of everyday life, recurring themes in Morrissey’s writing. But they were also, despite their taste in ska and early reggae, generally racist, nationalistic, chauvinistic British bulldogs, proud wavers of the Union Jack and standard bearers (at a time when Enoch Powell was talking about the race ‘problem’ turning Britain’s streets into “rivers of blood”) of the Keep Britain White fanatics. Richard Allen’s Skinhead chronicles are full of sickening accounts of violence against blacks. And, for that matter, homosexuals. As the ’70s progressed, the skinhead faction began to shrink, boiling down to the hardcore rump of the ‘Oi’ movement, overtly racist nutters served musically by groups like The 4-Skins and Skrewdriver and responsible for the Southall riots when an Asian pub was fire-bombed. And although the cultural signals of shaving your head and wearing boots have remained confusing (no-one’s calling Sinead a fascist!) it’s undoubtedly true that in recent times, the skinhead has enjoyed a new lease of life in France, Italy, Scandinavia and especially Germany, as the vanguard of the post-Wall revival in Nazism. Are their flag-waving certainties and xenophobic imagery fit icons for him to be playing with, however cleverly? (NME, 22 August 1992)

The language used throughout the article is leading, loaded, and sexualised – the NME wondered how far his infatuation had gone, hoped his thrills with Mensi, a good guy, were only vicarious, but feared he was there to meet his desired skins in nail varnish. The shadowy iconography could be innocent, but, like his sexuality, it’s ambiguous. He could be actively seeking a less pleasant new image; he won’t let them near to find out.

How far has his infatuation with the skins and their paraphernalia gone? (NME, 22 August 1992)

Angelic Upstarts, 16 April 1979, Acklington Prison, a skinhead band, usually playing to an audience of skinheads, with a Union Jack.

He’s still got the rockabilly quiff, sure, but recently, as the pictures scattered around these five pages show, he’s taken to presenting himself with the iconography of the shadowy nationalistic right. Union Jack badges … Union Jack flags … cross of Saint George T-shirts … Oi T-shirts … suedehead backdrops; all innocent enough in their own right (or at least safely ambiguous) but, again, collected together they present a sorry and worrying spectacle. He’s also spent time recently with Mensi from right-on skins the Angelic Upstarts who, as a decidedly good guy, perhaps provides the Moz with a safe route to vicarious skinhead thrills. (NME, 22 August 1992)

Ian Stuart Donaldson, lead singer of Skrewdriver, on the left, Suggs, lead singer of Madness, circa 1978

And finally, given Madness’ sad and unwanted link with the National Front skin faction, why did he choose to make his only UK appearance so far this year at the Finsbury Park bash? Precisely to address his desired new congregation of ‘skinheads in nail varnish’? (NME, 22 August 1992)

What about the second contributory strand to Morrissey’s current problems, his apparent decline from blessed and effortless surfer on the golden wave of pop fortune, to unreliable, grudge-bearing seige-mentality curmudgeon? From a distance (and Morrissey doesn’t allow journalists any nearer), it all looks like one of two things: either he’s just lost all sense of judgement and subsequently effective control over his career, or he’s got it all perfectly under control and is actively seeking a new and less-pleasant-than-the-last image. (NME, 22 August 1992)

They implied that he was at Madstock to pick up racist men, despite the fact that he’d worked with Madness producers Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley on two albums – Bona Drag, and Kill Uncle – was friends with Cathal Smyth of Madness, and Suggs, sang on Picadilly Palare.

Steve Sutherland had singled them out in a review of Kill Uncle that called Asians ‘dusky‘, Morrissey fans ‘emotional retards‘ and Morrissey a snide, crabby old spinster, creepy sniching perv.

In ex-Madness cohorts Langer and Winstanley, he was [sic] chosen the two most parochial producers alive, as if to diminish his international appeal as far as possible… ‘Asian Rut’… mentions drugs, a tooled up dusky assailant hellbent on vengeance, and racial tension in schools, but it’s not even vivid soap opera… Morrissey once managed the improbable by focussing on the peripheral – no sex, no drugs, no life to speak of – as the centre of attention and in doing so, he caressed the nerves of millions of other emotional retards… but now he’s like some snide, crabby old spinster… he’s become some creepy snitching perv. (Steve Sutherland, Melody Maker, 23 February 1991)

When he was in the Smiths, the press mocked his sexuality – but thought he was sexless.

Our Ste’s looking a bit weepy… Them daffs’ve got a touch of the Larry Graysons, haven’t they? But he bought them, mind. He didn’t pick them from Piccadilly Gardens. Look at them sequins! You just can’t keep him from meddling in his Mam’s sewing box. (NME, 24 March 1984) Larry Grayson was a camp comedian.

The Smiths perverse glamour lay in their self-denial… [thier] manifesto of vengeneance on the world through disability, withdrawl and asexuality (it was impossible to imagine that Morrissey actually had a penis) was immensely attractive… It is now widely assumed that most of Morrissey’s lyrics were coded references to homosexuality… the male is invariably feminised… “This Charming Man”, which first aroused the is-Morrissey-gay debate, is way too obscure to fathom… (Simon Price, Melody Maker, 15 August 1992)

By the late 1980s they panicked that he might be a sexually active gay man – putting real gay culture into his work – with a fanbase of teenage boys – who were desperate to touch him.

Bona Drag, 1990. The title means good outfit, in Polari, a secret gay/theatrical language used when homosexuality was illegal. The song Picadilly Palare, is about male prostitutes, and palare is an alterntive spelling of polari.

Picadilly Palare might have been inspired by bisexual skinhead and former Picadilly prostitute, Mick Furbank. Mick designed the ‘crucified skin‘ logo for London skinhead shop, The Last Resort, where Nicky Crane was a regular customer.

Mick Furbank, Sounds, 10 January 1981

Mick Furbank is a shock tactician. Former Piccadilly rent boy—gasp! Skinhead artist—never! Mimes buggery in public performance—disgraceful! Masturbates with a Doc Marten boot on stage—appalling! Says many skins are gay, just too hung-up to acknowledge it—the world turns upside down! What he wants to tell us about is ‘Gangs. Uniforms. Pain.’ All the tender emotions suppressed, sexuality suppressed, violence expressed. His chosen approach is part and parcel of his skinhead persona. ‘No fuss. Mo mess. Pure impact.’ Very hard art. (Phil Sutcliffe, Sounds, 10 January 1981)

No Skin Off My Ass, a sex comedy-drama about a hairdresser who has an affair with a Skinhead, 1991, directed by Bruce LaBruce.

The NME warned him that his sexual ambiguity could end his career. Which mutates into an accusation that he’s equivocal about Englishness.

If Morrissey has sinned in his rise to self-styled King of the Western World then it must surely have been indulging in his only weakness, which he himself credited as being a ‘listed crime’… it is Morrissey’s own ambiguity which has led to what many people insist on hinting at as being a somewhat spectacular cover-up… apart from a very early interview with our own Cath Carroll where Morrissey spoke directly about the eroticism of the male body (and an interview in a lesser rag that was littered with tawdry references to public toilets), Morrissey has rarely been questioned about the highly sexual nature of his lyrics… As it is, without wishing to undermine his aggressive challenge to the staid institution of compulsory heterosexuality and monogamy, I find it hard to believe that it is a Crown Prince Of Celibacy who is responsible for such knowing or flirtatious songs as ‘Late Night, Maudlin Street’, ‘Reel Around The Fountain’, ‘Hand In Glove’ and ‘Alsatian Cousin’. Or for the specifically sexual visual control of his image, from the topless NME front cover to the particularly lustful dancing of the young tearaway hoodlum on the new video… Maybe it is this over-enthusiastic curiosity from fans that forewarns him of a more offensive and dangerous threat to the often remarkable relationship with his art and his audience that he has developed – ie from the blood-hungry tabloids. If this is the case, then Morrissey should be wary of the fate that killed off both his heroes Wilde and Dean… (James Brown, NME, February 1989)

How has Morrissey come to this none-too-pretty pass? The answer comes in the convergence of two trends that have intensified as his post-Smiths career has developed. The first is his penchant for clever but equivocal lyrics (and, in fact, interview statements) about ‘Englishness’, ‘Britain’, insiders, outsiders and belonging. Wittingly or otherwise, he has continued to pick away at the scab of race relations in this country. (NME, 22 August 1992)

Sounds, January 1989

In-coming NME editor, Steve Sutherland, had written a homophobic review of Morrissey’s Hulmerist VHS implying he was abusing his fans via his t-shirts. The NME ridiculously linked his t-shirts to a flirtation with racism.

The faint hint of homoeroticism around “The Last of the International Playboys”… opens a whole different can of worms. Is the tee shirt thing a sick joke – the celebrated celibate getting his kicks sticking to the sweaty skin of every boy and girl in the hall? From “Playboy”, with Mozzer like a stripper constantly tugging at his neckline and threatening to expose a nipple… [to] barely able to sing “Sister I’m a Poet” for the boys invading the stage and embracing him… (Steve Sutherland, Melody Maker, 26 May 1990)

Morrissey’s flirtation with racism didn’t really begin until The Smiths split and he became a law unto himself, gleefully wearing his own T-shirts, aspiring to be the consummate egotist. (NME, 22 August 1992)

NME caption: some of the 1, 200 kids waiting to meet Morrissey, NME, 22 August 1992

The NME’s concerns about his ‘sway’ over the minds of ‘a generation’ echo social fears that predatory older gay men corrupt children, then playing out in a fierce debate about lowering the gay age of consent from 21 to 16. In Ireland (where most of Morrissey’s family are from) male homosexuality was illegal until 1993.

Firstly, Morrissey has held, and continues to hold, sway over the minds of a generation who take tips from his every utterance, try to model themselves on his sense of fashion and live their lives at least partly according to codes he’s laid down with a flourish (just try imagining the number of people who converted to vegetarianism upon hearing The Smiths’ ‘Meat Is Murder’). (NME, 22 August 1992)

At Glastonbury, where this paper was one of the sponsors, kids came to the NME tent and literally wept about Morrissey’s absence. (NME, 22 August 1992)

Sad, young male, Morrissey fans, NME, 22 August 1992

The point about “protecting the young” was made over and over again. Lynette Burrows in The Sunday Telegraph (7 Jun) based her objections to any change on the idea that adolescent boys are easily persuaded to give up their heterosexuality by “predatory homosexuals who would gain most if they were allowed to recruit from among them… One must conclude that the basis for the relentless self-advertisement of many homosexuals is related to this desire to recruit new partners. Many are dedicated to the untrammelled appetite for sex that… often results in degradation and disease. It is… a life-style that can easily be portrayed to a vulnerable teenager as the answer to all his problems of identity and sexual longing.” (Media Watch, Gay Times, July 1992)

They don’t have a snowball’s hope in hell of getting this through… There is a small minority of paedophile homosexuals who want to corrupt and ensnare youngsters. They must be stopped at all costs. (Geoffrey Dickens MP, the Daily Star, April 1992)

The gay skinhead look, Outrage! campaign poster, 1992

The Melody Maker/NME – both publications owned by IPC and working out of the same building – couldn’t directly attack Morrissey’s sexuality. Gay rights was a small, and unpopular cause, but it was edgy, young and fashionable.

It was also desperately needed. A Galop survey in 1991, published in 1992, found that 80% of gay men in London had been verbally abused, and 50% had been physically assualted. Four gay men had been murdered.

On November 30th I went along to a peaceful demonstration in central London marking this year’s World AIDS Day. Organised by the London AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT-UP), the London Bisexual Women’s Group and the National Union of Students, the demo aimed to draw attention to the scandalous lack of information surrounding treatment, healthcare and safer sex/ drug use in this country. The action was interrupted by a violent and brutal attack by the police.. (Nicola Field, Mainliners, January 1992)

Left-wing activists at a gay rights protest, 1988

Accusing him of racism deflected attention away from the NME’s homophobia and created a ludicrous debate over whether his use of the Union Jack was racist or ironic.

Marvel UK, 1991.

Six months before Finsbury Park, the NME had featured a Union Jack on their cover, alongside a celebration of young female groupies.

NME, 20 March 1992

The myth that it was rarely used before ‘Britpop’ reclaimed it was concocted by Stuart Maconie and Andrew Collins to explain why they used it on the front cover of Select in April 1993, just 8 months after claiming that Morrissey waving it could cause a genocide in Europe.

Select, April 1993

In 2019, The Guardian used the myth to claim that it was Morrissey who was being aggressive at Finsbury Park. And this was somehow a clear signal to fascists in the audience that he was ONE OF THEM.

Waving the Union Jack during his show at Madness’s Madstock festival in Finsbury Park, London, in 1992, felt like a more aggressive move (this was before Britpop’s Cool-Britannia-era reclamation of the flag; and its association with the far right was still strong). And it was done in the knowledge that the Madness crowd contained a significant fascist/skinhead element. (Tim Jonze, the Guardian, 30 May 2019)

Union Jacks 1970-1990s: on bedding, worn by London Marathon runners, at the Queen’s Jubilee, on toys, worn by comedian Ken Dodd, waved by children on a Royal visit.

The NME repeats the Melody Maker’s lie about Seig Heiling skins, but they focus on his ‘camp’ performance – dancing, draped, glittering. Randomly selecting the Who and the Jam as flag-wavers, who reclaimed the flag, from a vocal mirco-minority – as if we’d have to reclaim the official flag of the United Kingdom from a micro-minority. It’s also inacurrate. The National Front was bigger in the 1960s and 1970s. And the 1992 version of the BNP had been formed in 1982 after a gay scandal in the National Front, in order to exclude ‘queers’.

The Observer, August 2017. The Battle of Lewisham, 13 August 1977, is credited with halting the rise of the National Front.

All this is sad, but not as sad as the day Morrissey appeared on the Madness bill at Finsbury Park, and danced around with a Union Jack draped around his glittering shirt during ‘Glamorous Glue’. For his pains, he was attacked with various minor missiles by an unruly element in the audience, but anyone could have told him that there was a small but vocal contingent of Seig Heiling skins in the audience… Of course, one realises that The Jam used the flag to optimum effect when they were in existence, but they explained themselves by claiming they were reclaiming the flag from The Far Right. In the ’60s The Who were also notorious flag-wavers, but those were markedly different times and both the NF and the BNP didn’t exist in the same form (a vocal micro-minority) then. Morrissey, however, must be aware of what flag-waving means in the Euro-90s… (NME, 22 August 1992)

Describing him as a shallow, laughable, eccentric who wants to be a teenager, is less like a violent racist, and more like a gay stereotype.

But then, along with being an English eccentric who wishes he was a teenager in the ’50s, Morrissey has often been attracted to surface gloss, to style-over-content. Is he satisfied, this way? Would he like to be a laughing stock? (NME, 22 August 1992)

They demanded an interview. Morrissey refused.

Morrissey was told of both the general gist and some particulars of this piece and asked for his comments and if he was prepared to do a full scale interview. He responded, through the press office, with the following statement: ‘My lawyers are poised. NME have been trying to end my career for four years and year after year they fail. This year they will also fail.” (NME, 22 August 1992)

Students protested, beneath the Union Jack that decorated the entrance to his record company, EMI.

NME, September 1992

The band Cornershop burned his picture.

27 years later, the Guardian, used the 3 minutes he held a flag to ask if he was showing his true colours, and to claim that he had a long history of supporting far right organisations.

The Guardian, May 1992.

Morrissey might have just been looking for some temporary credibility from Love Music Hate Racism. Certainly, the long history of support for racist and far right organisations speaks to something else. We certainly wouldn’t be taking any further donations from Morrissey‘ (Zak Cochrane, the Guardian, May 2019) 

The intention was to kill his career.

Moz is history, and we’d all do well to learn it. (Andrew Collins, NME, April 1992)

… a lack of grace and control… seems to have become endemic in dealings with him; a career that once looked effortless, touched by the hand of God almost, has now become characterised by a series of feuds, upsets, no-shows and general tetchiness. (NME, 22 August 1992)

And seperate him from the Smiths.

Melody Maker, Vox advert, 16 March 1991

They could have sensationalised his sexuality more overtly. Sire had sidelined the Smiths in America after Rolling Stone labeled Morrissey gay.

A piece in Rolling Stone claimed Morrissey was gay, completely contradicting his stand against sexual roles and their divisive consequences. “That brought a lot of problems for me”, he recalls ruefully. “Of course I never made such a statement”, Immediately their American record company, Sire, recoiled from supporting The Smiths. “They were petrified”, he remembers with disgust. “I thought that kind of writing epitomised the mentality of the American music press. That sicking macho stuff. After it appeared in Rolling Stone it ran rife through the lesser known publications, which to me was profoundly dull”. (Melody Maker, November 1984)

But it may have felt too risky. In May 1992, Jason Donovan had sued, The Face, over accusations that the was gay in their ‘Queer As F*ck‘ issue. He won, and could have bankrupted them if he hadn’t waived the damages.

Jason Donovan, leaving the High Court, 3 April 1992

The publicity around Out: the skin complex mentioned that some gay black men were angry that it was hard to tell a gay skinhead from a violent skinhead. Morrissey’s quiff & gold lame shirt – as well as the description of him as ‘prancing’ & the fact he was attacked by the homophobic crowd – wouldn’t cause that problem, but in 2001, Andrew Collins was using Dele Fadele’s skin colour to justify the story and labelled him a cultural tourist for holding a Union Jack, and standing in front of a picture of two girls with shaven heads.

The skinhead look is a dominant one in the gay scene at the moment,’ according to Harvey Gillis, fashion editor of Boyz magazine. ‘It’s a fashion statement not a political one.’ Some black gays oppose the trend because of the difficulty in separating violent fascists from the simply fashion-conscious. (Martin Wroe, the Independent, 26th July 1992)

I never said the Morrissey witch-hunt issue was ‘real journalism’, Jon. I said it was “real” journalism, ie. closer to real journalism than the shit we usually did. I was at Madstock and the crowd was pretty dodgy… Whether Moz is/was a racist or not was less important than the fact that he was flirting with far right imagery – like a cultural tourist – and not going on record about his real reasons, or his real feelings. He could have stopped that cover story with one statement. He chose to remain enigmatic and distant, compounding his error… At first, as features editor, I refused to get involved, but I was ordered by my boss into an emergency staff meeting, and once the decision was made, it was up to the senior staff (me Danny Kelly, and Stuart Maconie) to get the copy done, along with an excellent piece by Dele Fadele who is black and could therefore give a perspective none of us NME white boys could. (Dele was furious about Moz’s actions and needed no coercion to write.) All I did was compile Morrissey’s faux-racist quotes from every interview he’d ever done, and collate the lyrics… We did our job. (Andrew Collins, Angelfire, Re NME disappearing up its own PR, 26 July 2001)

In the mid-90s, Morrissey was rumoured to be in a relationship with Jake Walters, a photographer, and skinhead.

Morrissey and Jake Walters, 1994. Following the revelation of his first serious relationship with a man in his new book Autobiography, Morrissey has issued a clarification about his sexuality. “Unfortunately, I am not homosexual,” he wrote from Sweden in a note posted on fansite True to You. “In technical fact, I am humasexual. I am attracted to humans. But, of course, not many.” (Guardian Music, the Guardian, 21 October 2013)

In 2002, the NME wrote an article about the Smiths that entwined their obsession with Morrissey’s sexual ambiguity with their lie that he was unambiguously a racist. The UK didn’t have a predominatly black DJ culture and the crowd at Madstock made no comment on the Union Jack. They heckled that he was a ‘poof’ (a UK slur for a gay man).

He fastidiously cultivated his own eccentricities into an iconography. A depressive nature could be a flamboyant selling point, not an introverted whimper. An unspecified sexuality could be ruthlessly exploited, especially when there was speculation of a homoerotic tension between him and his stoic foil, Johnny Marr... Morrissey always chose to be brutally upfront about some subjects: his hatred of black music, for one thing – ‘Reaggae is vile’, he told us in February 1985. But on matters of sexuality, he was tantalisingly ambiguous… ‘The Queen is Dead’… another title calculated to draw controversy: cheers from the generally leftist, republican NME, and its readers; moral indignation from the mainstream. Morrissey’s paranoia may have been increasing, but his knack of sensationally voicing the prejudices of his followers was undimmed. Only when he began to misjudge the balance – to offend the liberal sensibilities of the paper – did the love affair start to founder… ‘Panic’ was both brilliant and newsworthy, pivoting as it did on the chorus of ‘hang the DJ’. After Morrissey’s previous comments on black music, certain critics saw the line as implicitly racist, an attack on the predominantly black DJ culture of the time… to imagine that Morrissey hadn’t considered the statement’s ambiguity would be to credit him with implausible naivety… a certain discomfort with Morrissey that had already been brewing started to flourish… The story reached a climax in 1992… On August 22… he was photographed at a show supporting Madness in London’s Finsbury Park. In his hand, he waved a Union Jack – in spite of the fact that the gig was known to have attracted a number of skinheads who would have interpreted the gesture unambiguously. ‘Flying the flag or flirting with disaster’ read the headline, while the article calmly examined what it interpreted as a distasteful infatuation with the imagery of British racism… One of Morrissey’s most potent skills was to encourage an illusion of intimacy, appearing to confess when in fact he was being scrupulously protective of his private life – never openly discussing his sexuality… We ridiculed him, demonised him, accidentally split up his band… but for a few magnificent years, we were bewitched by him… (NME, 20 April 2002)

The press kept obsessing about his sexual and ethnic ambiguity.

Morrissey intends to remain undefinable. He’s a conversational escapologist, eluding any attempt to pin him down. Take, for example, his sexuality. It’s 20 years since Rolling Stone magazine described him as gay, much to his annoyance, and he still refuses to specify. Often he denies any kind of sex life at all. That’s his business, but it’s a long time to maintain ambiguity... On his new single, Irish Blood, English Heart, he sings of “standing by the flag not feeling shameful, racist or partial”. He’s referring to his notorious performance at Madness’s Madstock weekender in 1992, when he wrapped himself in a Union flag and was branded a racist by the music press, casting a long shadow over his solo career… Could he not have simply explained his intentions? “Well, you know, I haven’t just arrived from the village,” he snaps. “I did think of all these things. I knew the people I was dealing with and there was no point in reaching out to them. It’s more dignified to step away than to run towards them and say, ‘Please forgive me for something I haven’t done.’ (Dorian Lynskey, the Guardian, 9 April 2004)

The success of his album in 2004, You Are The Quarry, gave him a brief respite.

… excised from the hearts of many, horrified by the messy “flirtation” with racist imagery. (Victoria Segal, NME, November 1999)

… nevermind the shaky accusations of racism… all those years of being Mother Teresa for the clumsy and shy and suddenly he was being reviled for crimes he’d never committed. (Victoria Segal, Mojo, May 2004)

But in 2007, the NME hyped some mild comments about immigration and reprinted the Finsbury Park story, this started a press persecution that escalated after Tim Jonze became the Guradian’s music editor in 2010.

Len Brown’s biography has come under fire in the September issue of Q magazine. Dorian Lynskey, who interviewed Morrissey for The Guardian back in 2004, argues the book is “fundamentally flawed” because of Brown’s “20-year relationship” with the artist. He accuses the ex-NME journalist of “having no flair for narrative” and also complains that Brown “fudges the issue of the singer’s contentious statements about national identity”. The review awards the book three stars but is headlined “Friend Of Mozzer Pens Biography – Thorny Subjects Ignored”. (Anonymous, Morrissey Solo, 9 September 2008)

Dele Fadele died in 2018. In his belated Guardian obituary, Jonze, managed to echo the homophobia of 1992.

I’m surprised that it has taken so long for the press to get round to “The Secret Gay Life of Star Frankie” (Sunday Mirror, 9 Aug). I don’t know who is supposed to be surprised by the knowledge that Frankie Howerd was gay, but apparently the papers find it “shocking”. Of course, as they tell it, the comedian’s gay nature was part of his “dark side” . (Media Watch, Gay Times, September 1992)

[Dele summed up] the dark side of Morrissey... [he] famously helped persuade the magazine’s staff to run its Flying the flag or flirting with disaster? cover story, which called out their most bankable star Morrissey’s dalliance with the far right for the first time. (The former Smiths man refused to talk to the paper for more than a decade after it was published; his reputation remains tarnished to this day.)… It was in 1992, though, that Dele played his most pivotal role. He had attended Madstock in Finsbury Park, the now-notorious gig in which support artist Morrissey draped himself in the union jack, a move some saw as a move pandering to the crowd’s skinhead element… Dele was appalled by what he’d witnessed… “It was Dele’s finest hour,” recalls Andrew Collins, who along with then-editor Danny Kelly reworked the cover around Dele’s critical piece – an arduous process to do at the last minute back then. “He wrote from the heart – and, uniquely among the staff – from an actual vantage point. [Dele was’t gay] This was not a moment to be lily-livered and Dele seized the day. It was a turning point for Moz’s provocations. Dele wrote if not his most important piece, certainly one that gave urgency and weight to an otherwise hand-wringing situation.” (Tim Jonze, the Guardian, September 2020)

For 30 years (and counting) Morrissey has been called a racist because he was the victim of a homophobic hate crime.

He’s been dehumanised, demonised, and made a pariah.

His public image has been fused with Nicky Crane – a bad gay – toxic, vicious, fascist. His moving solo work conflated with Skrewdriver. A queer second generation immigrant singled out as the only artist in the UK who can’t touch a Union Jack.

Union Jack on the microphone. The Observer, How to treat Morrissey? Stop listening to him, 8 July 2018

Side Note: My Favourite Worst Nightmare – Morrissey & Madstock

Of course, I was only through the Park gates for a few moments when a lager-swilling huddle of bovver-booted neo-Nazis spotted my quiff and garb and blew poisoned kisses in my direction, tweeting, ‘ooh, Morrissey, Morrissey!'” “Meanwhile, Morrissey, a Liberace shirt slung over his skinny frame, is waving these fascist-spawned monsters’ Union Flag at them while relating the experience of Davey, the young man who went to the National Front Disco’; if ever there was an sudden irony failure at NME, who’d slated Morrissey’s solo work for not treading on the taboos of old’, it was right here. Only a couple of years later, they would laud Britpop and the reclaiming of the British flag, yet here, it was Morrissey, and not this foul minority in Madness’s audience, who they cast as the racist.” “Morrissey finished his otherwise triumphant set early and failed to show for day two; Suggs never mentioned, nor was he ever quizzed upon, his band’s neo-fascist supporters’ behaviour that day. Meanwhile, me and my fellow Moz heads made our tremulous way to the tube station, well before midnight, in blissful ignorance of just how this story was about to be spun by the popular music press we’d supported for years; so long as we remember exactly what took place that day, the chroniclers and revisionists can simply get on with glossing over the inconvenient truth.” (Johnnie Craig, State, 11 October 2009)

Side Note 2: the artistic closet

“Outside” effectively marked the end of George Michael’s career as a serious artist. Not because “coming out” turned the straight world against him, but because, paradoxically, it meant that he could no longer write about “inside” feelings honestly. He could only be a spokesperson. (Mark Simpson, Salon, 30 April 2004)

Side Note 3: Homophobia has never been taken as seriously as racism – and racism has been used as a reason for ignoring homophobia. In 1992 Buju Banton released a song with lyrics about torturing and killing gay men. The Guardian accused gay rights campaigners who complained of being racist. And found it easy to accept his explanation that it wasn’t literal.

In the 11 years since Buju Banton released his single Boom Bye Bye, which appeared to advocate shooting gay men, the singer has done much to shake off the controversy that surrounded him… Banton pointed out that he wasn’t literally advocating murder, but maintained that homosexuality was against his religious beliefs… Banton is fiery enough to make me feel personally responsible for every British injustice towards Jamaica in the past 300 years. (Dorian Lynskey, The Guardian, March 2003)

In 2009, Buju would meet with gay rights activists in San Francisco, but went on to blame them for a pepper spray attack: This is a fight, and as I said in one of my songs ‘there is no end to the war between me and faggot’ and it’s clear. The same night after I met with [gay activists], they pepper-sprayed the concert. So what are you trying to tell me? I owe dem nothing, they don’t owe I nothing.”

Side Note 4: the NME’s claim they were just as hard on Eric Clapton, David Bowie & Elvis Costello is untrue.

So why, at the end of all this, is NME bothering? Why are our knickers in such a twist? Well, there’s nothing new in this. In the past, when the likes of Eric Clapton, David Bowie and even Elvis Costello have dipped their unthinking toes into these murky waters, the music press have been equally quick on the case. And Morrissey, unlike, say, a bigoted idiot like Ice Cube, holds tremendous sway over thousands of fans in Britain and is generally regarded as one of our most intelligent rock performers. Therefore when he sends out signals on subjects as sensitive as those discussed above there seems little room for playfulness, never mind ambiguity. In Europe in 1992, with ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ a reality and the new Nazis on the rise across the continent, the need for clear thinking and clear statements is more acute than ever. (NME, 22 August 1992)

Eric sailed past an anti-racist letter appealing to his better self into 1980s rock aristocracy while still supporting Enoch Powell. The worst it got for David Bowie was the NME faking the picture of a Nazi salute that became gossipy rocklore (although it might be significant that he dropped his gay alien persona for something more hetero). And the NME refused to believe that Elvis Costello could mean it when he called James Brown a “jive-arsed n——” and Ray Charles a “blind, ignorant n——.”




Side Note 5: The Union Jack is ubiquitous in UK culture – at no point in our history has it ever been a clear signal of fascism or has it needed to be reclaimed from the far right. Some comrades on the hard left hate it as a symbol of the British Empire, but that’s a minority opinion.

Brand Britain: Milk Bottle, British Airways Advert, Vimto Sparkling Fruit Juice mascot, skinhead fashion.

1960s: football fans and swimwear.

1990 FIFA World Cup. Pay No Poll Tax was a left-wing protest.

Footballer Paul Gascoigne, NME, 24 November 1990. They made no mention of the Union Jacks on his shorts.

Skinheads were a working-class subculture that spanned the political spectrum and listened to Reggae, Punk and their variants. They had widespread coverage in the press, including in the NME.

NME, 6 August 1977

Bonfire of Mourners

On the 1st of July 2022, Morrissey sang the title song from his unreleased new album, Bonfire of Teenagers.

It was about (or inspired by) the 22nd May 2017 Manchester Arena bombing.

On the 23rd of May 2017, Morrissey had been condemned for a Facebook post where he said he was angry and thought the killing would never stop if the authorities were focused more on words than protections. Because of the NME’s 2007 rehash of the Finsbury Park fabrication, it was interpreted as an attack on Islam, on immigration, on immigrants and on people of colour – despite him having a history of condemning draconian immigration policies, and blaming antagonistic authorities for terrorism.

A few days later, at a vigil for the dead, a woman started singing the Oasis song, Don’t Look Back In Anger, a few people joined in, it went viral, and became the defining media narrative of the city’s response.

11 days later, on the 4th of June 2017, One Love Manchester, a benefit gig for victims was held at Lancashire Cricket Club’s Old Trafford ground. Hosted by Ariana Grande, she sang Don’t Look Back In Anger with the band Coldplay, in front of a euphoric audience. 10,000 people had apparently tried to claim free tickets by falsely claiming to have been at the Manchester attack.

One Love Manchester, uploaded on 4 June 2017

In interviews with his nephew, Sam Esty Rayner, Morrissey expressed dissatisfaction with the social pressure not to be angry.

The Manchester Arena Bomb took place on your birthday, and I was there celebrating with you, and I came into the room and announced that at least 19 kids were dead. You spoke out about it immediately, yet you weren’t invited to sing at the Arena event for Manchester. Why was this? 
Because I DO look back in anger! I would have sang “World Peace Is None Of Your Business” or “Life Is A Pigsty” – or something truthful and meaningful. If my child had been killed at Manchester Arena I wouldn’t be lighting candles and swaying … I’d be in a complete rage. 
(Morrissey, Morrissey Central, April 2019, published 24 June 2019)

‘Bonfire of Teenagers’ the track is magnificent, but you must be expecting some manufactured paranoia … the usual ‘you can’t sing about THAT’ pearl fumblers.
… because?
It’s about the Manchester Arena Bombing.
It’s about the kids who were murdered, yes. We are not encouraged to look beneath the surface because it’s dark and hidden. But the song is anti-terror, and anyone who finds that offensive can only be devoid of personal morality. As your brother once said to me, the Manchester Arena Bombing was Britain’s 9/11. We should appreciate anyone who asks questions.
But there is a very annoying necessity everywhere for debating something that is actually factual. Doesn’t this exhaust you?
It wasn’t always so. I spoke several times in the late nineties of a noticeable dumbing down of Britain, and it is now fully in force and I think most noticeable in the new flux of television commercials which, for me, makes watching television unbearable. I might sometimes want to see a certain program but I won’t switch on because I know the moronic dancing commercials will make me ill.
(Morrissey, Morrissey Central, June 2021, published 5 July 2021)

Cheerful defiance in the face of what could be ongoing terrorist attacks isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not a way of processing real grief and it can mask criticism of security failures.

After his gig on the 1st of July 2022 the lyrics of Bonfire were published on fan site Morrissey Solo.

Bonfire Of Teenagers.
By the ear of Famous When Dead
Live preamble:
This, this song is new.
It’s about, it’s about England’s 9/11
And yes, I heard you, I heard what you just did under your breath.
And erh, as well you might.
Obviously, in jolly old England, most people won’t talk about it.
I will.
Bonfire of teenagers
Which is so high it made North West sky
Oh you shoulda seen her leave for the arena
And the way she turned and waved and smiled
Goodbye goodbye
And the silly people sing don’t look back in anger
And the morons sing and sway
Don’t look back in anger
I can assure you I will look back in anger ’till the day I die.
Bonfire of teenagers
Which is so high it made North West sky
And oh you shoulda seen her leave for the arena only to be
And all the silly people say
Don’t look back in anger
All the morons sing and sway
Don’t look back in anger
I can assure you I will look back in anger ’till the day I die
Go easy on the killer
Go easy on the killer
Go easy on the killer
Go easy on the killer
Easy on, go easy on the killer
Go easy on, go easy on the killer

It’s not realistic. There was no fire. No one was vaporized. The killer is dead. He doesn’t name anyone, or any of the locations. It’s written from the point of view of someone who has lost a loved one and doesn’t want to singalong.

There was nothing racist in the song – but the reputation Morrissey’s press coverage has given him means the alt far right will claim it is anyway.

The other controversies being – he’s directly telling the families of dead children that they were vaporized on a bonfire. And that he’s directly telling the grieving people of Manchester that they’re silly morons.

It’s exactly the same as the Suffer Little Children controversy.

The Sun, 1984

Morrissey called ‘people’, ‘silly’ and ‘morons’ (it isn’t connected with a disability in the UK, it’s an informal word for foolish) in a song with no names or locations – social media called him c*nt, said he should be sectioned, wanted him dead and compared him to a paedophile rapist (Jimmy Savile, who was a celebrated DJ during his lifetime. He always said acceptable things in public).

The media might amplify the outrage.

It depends how much effort they want to put into a scandal when Morrissey’s mental health issues have reduced his world to his gigs, a website run by his nephew, his inner circle and a few pubs and hotels.

Der Spiegel

Der Spiegal, taken 15 November 2017, LA

“Most interviews I have been very displeased with because, obviously, you don’t have any control. You can be very merry in an interview and it can come across as being very dour. Or you can say something flippantly which will be written in blood in the music press and it sounds as though you’re deadly serious. You’re throwing yourself on the mercy of a journalist who can be friendly during the interview but can turn out to be something of a behemoth in print.” (Morrissey, 1983)

On the 15th of November 2017, Morrissey gave an interview in LA to Der Spiegel journalist, Juliane Liebert.

The vast bulk of the interview (in the audio version, released later) is about animals & music. His main political purpose is getting abattoirs banned – ‘I reserve my vote for the political party that will get rid of the abattoir’. He doesn’t like a generic commercial pop sound – ‘When you hear the radio, because everybody sounds the same, and they use the same, uhh, uhh, counterfeit emotions and they don’t have a natural voice, you don’t know who you’re listening to’.

In the version of it published on the 18th November 2017, most of it is cut, and a social/media firestorm accused him of threatening to kill Trump, being a rape apologist for Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein, loving Brexit, and hating refugees.

Twitter, 19 November 2017

The Trump comment was hypothetical.

JL – I was taught, like, I’m not supposed to ask about politics, but some songs I like because, I want to talk about a few songs… like if you actually stay in bed a lot and if you actually think people shouldn’t follow the news anymore?

Morrissey – I believe they must not. For their own mental health, they must not, they must stop watching the news, because it’s, social engineering to a degree, whereby it’s only about control. It’s not about information. It is not the news. It’s about control and people no longer watch.

JL – For me personally, as I work as a journalist, I’m really tired, like even in Germany, you read about Trump every day, like every fucking day, and I feel like that’s what made him big.

Morrissey – He received so much attention, so much attention, whereas other candidates like Bernie Sanders and so on, did not…. all people had in their minds was Trump, Trump, Trump, making America great again, which is absurd.

JL – if, a moral question, if there was a button and if you press it, he drops dead, would you press it or not?

Morrissey – I would for the safety of the human race. It’s nothing to do with my personal opinion of his face, or his life, or his family, but in the interests of the human race, if I would, yes. I think he’s a terrible, terrible scourge and as I say, he’s the biggest threat to national security in America, consequently to the rest of the world.

JL – Yeah, like in Germany cos there were two things like, watching the news, we saw it wouldn’t happen, like one was like Trump, and the other was like Brexit. But like you’re said to be pro-Brexit. Is it true?

Morrissey – Well, it isn’t true. I was fascinated by the Brexit result because it was such an incredible strike for Democracy. The people said yes, even though Westminster said no, and the political elite and the establishment said no, no, no, we will remain with the EU. The public ignored the media, ignored all the hypnosis, ignored all the fear- mongering, and they said we will decide for ourselves, and this is why Brexit is very, very important, because it’s the biggest strike in the history of British politics for many, many years, whether you agree with Brexit or not, is a separate issue, but I was very, very proud of the people of England for ignoring the BBC, ignoring Sky News who were fear-mongering and telling everybody if we leave the EU will will all die instantly. I’m not kidding. That’s what was happening. So I felt very proud of the people. I felt very proud.

JL – I read some reviews that said that Jackie, the song, is like pro-Brexit, this it is the Union Jack.

Morrissey – Well, this is the silliness that one has to put up with.

The conversation about rape was more complex – he didn’t talk about Harvey Weinstein at all – and he wasn’t defending Kevin Spacey, so much as saying the version of the story he’d heard, didn’t sound true (to him) – which, in fact, it wasn’t (he gets the details wrong).

JL: as we’re in Hollywood, did you follow the whole scandal that came now with, like, Weinstein and Me Too and all those things.

Morrissey: uhh, to a point I did, but then it became uhh theatre and suddenly everybody’s guilty. Suddenly anybody who has ever said to another person “I quite like you”, suddenly they’re being accused of sexual harassment. But you have to keep it in perspective, because if you can’t say to somebody that you like them, then how will they ever know? But of course there are extreme cases and rape is revolting and any kind of physical attack is revolting. But we must keep it in perspective otherwise everybody on the planet is guilty. And everything. And we can’t constantly have this superior attitude about what you should do and what you are not allowed to do. Because then we’re all trapped, we can’t relax. And some people are very clumsy when it comes to romance and if they meet somebody, they’re very awkward, and they don’t know how to do it really and how to let someone know. So it can sometimes seem aggressive.

JL: If I like someone I ignore them for like 5 years.

Morrissey: Typical, that’s a typical response. And it’s dangerous, because it’s a waste of five years. But that’s, many people do that or if they see somebody they like they look away. Ridiculous. Ridiculous.

JL: What do you think that they cut Kevin Spacey out of films now?

Morrissey: I think it’s absurd because uhh, as far as I understand the situation, he was in a hotel room with a 14 year old. Well, Kevin Spacey was 26, the boy was 14, you have to wonder where the boy’s parents were. You have to assume that the boy had an inkling of what might possibly happen. I mean I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been, in my youth, in situations like that. Never. And I was always aware of how, where things could go. And if you’re in somebody’s bedroom, you have to be aware, where it could lead to, and you have to say why, why are we here, why aren’t we downstairs in the lobby… so it doesn’t quite ring true to me and it seems that he has been unnecessarily attacked.

JL: yeah, I’m also thinking about this whole thing with actresses. [in the printed version they lie about the question – SPIEGEL: Should that also apply to the actresses who went to the hotel room with Weinstein? – and make his answer appear to be about Weinstein’s victims, when it’s a general comment].

Morrissey: And you also must wonder if, people know exactly what’s happening and they go along with it. But then when it’s happened they find that they’re either embarrassed or they didn’t like it, so they then reverse it, and say I was ambushed, I was taken by surprise, I was dragged into the room. But if the incident had gone very well and they had really enjoyed it and it led to an incredible career, they wouldn’t mention it. And I hate to be that cynical because I hate rape and I hate attack, and I hate any sexual  situation that is forced on a person against their will. But in many many situations you look at the circumstances and you think that the person who is called a victim is merely disappointed.

JL: Yeah, I think it’s important to, like keep justify up, that it’s still fair for everybody.

Morrissey: But also within the history of music and rock n roll, this entire history of groupies and people who throw, kids, that throw themselves at groups and stay in a hotel for the night, in the lobby, they want to be with those groups. And if you go through the history of music, everybody must be guilty of underage sex. So are you going to throw everybody in prison?

JL: Yeah, David Bowie, like, took the virginity of a 14 year old girl.

Morrissey: Yes, I think that was very common then.

JL: Did you ever have been in a situation like that?

Morrissey: No.

JL: Not even from your, older people?

Morrissey: No. Never. Never. Never.

And – he doesn’t attack refugees. He doesn’t say immigration should be stopped. Or that refugees are rapists. Or any of the ‘inflammatory’ things that the press and social media (for and against) attributed to him. He just thinks that countries should have an identity, Empires are bad and that policies shouldn’t cause chaos.

JL – Do you think that provocation is an important part of such, of your art?

Morrissey – Provocation? Well, uhh, what is provocation? Is it stimulation?

JL – Like, em, I might be wrong but I think that, like you, of course you give your opinion about things, but I think sometime, you also, like I get the feeling, if the society says like this is good, or is it like you know there’s said things, I think like sometimes there’s a feeling you, like not fight against that, but say things in a way to make them think again, you know what I mean?

Morrissey – Yes, because we must open debate, whether it’s religion, and this goes back to the point you made about boycotting Israel, and so forth, there’ no point being like that. You have to sit together and listen to people and exchange ideas about every problem on the planet. You can’t simply say everything is black and white, I don’t want to listen to you, you don’t agree with me, so therefore you’re wrong. And that is the problem with most of the British press, that they, they, they will happily speak to you, but when the interview is in print, they correct your moral outlook. Which is no good, because that’s my moral outlook. And you came to see me, and you asked me, and I told you. But you can’t simply say that you’re wrong because you don’t feel the way I do. So provocation is too strong a word, but I do like to put the issue on the table.


JL – I wanted to ask you what is the last lie somebody taught about you, do you remember that?

Morrissey – Well, yes, this issue about I’ve written a song about Brexit. And isn’t this appalling and you shouldn’t do this, it really bleugh. This is absurd. The British press are very much like that, you can’t meet them halfway, they’re, it’s the looney left really, who are so extreme, and they have become like the third reich. They will not be swayed. And you cannot have an open opinion or a different opinion and it’s very, very boring, and it’s quite dangerous. But to hear that I’ve written a song about Brexit, and I’m demanding that everybody support Brexit. It’s exhausting. It’s very exhausting.

JL – Do you know Owen Jones, he is like…

Morrissey – I know of him, yes, yes. But people have become obsessed with where they stand politically and it’s usually very closed, in their mind, very very closed. Whether it’s right-wing or left-wing. But I don’t consider myself to be political, I’m apolitical. But I am a human being, living in the world today, and everything we do has a connection to politics. But I have never voted for any political party. I think Theresa May is absurd. I think Donald Trump is absurd.

JL – But you just have to look at their faces. Like, no, no not, on a superficial, but like people like, what they look like and who they are, are connected. Not like that ugly people are bad and beautiful people, like – look at anyone for Trump. But, em, it looks like a cartoon. If you took the villains from a cartoon.

Morrissey – there’s no sense of leadership…


JL – Anything that’s important to mention or what you would like your German audience to know?

Morrissey – Well, ummm, every second I’ve ever spent in Germany, I, I, I, I feel very privileged. I really do. I think it’s so exciting. And it’s been a great friend to me. I mean, I might not be too excited about that European Union, but that doesn’t matter, that really doesn’t matter, that much. I don’t want to be a part of the German Empire. I don’t think England should be a part of the German Empire, which is essentially what the EU is.

JL – It’s a, do you think so? It’s a German Empire?

Morrissey – I think so. Yes. I think a lot of people feel that way. Perhaps that’s why people voted to leave the EU.

JL – But why do people think that?

Morrissey – Because England can’t make any decisions for itself unless it refers to Germany and that’s absurd. No country should be like that.

JL – Angela Merkel’s a Mum of Europe.

Morrissey – But she wisely doesn’t say that much, she keeps very quiet, and uhhh, which is interesting. But I, I feel sad that Germany had to become the rape capital of Europe, which I think is shocking.

JL – the what capital?

Morrissey – Rape capital.

JL – is it, right?

Morrissey – Yes, yes, statistically yes. And it coincides with the, the open borders and the free flow, which is very, very shocking. And a lot of people do think that was a mistake of Angela Merkel. That she initially said, ‘oh, yes, yes, come, everybody, come, wherever you are, whoever you are, come. And then she’s saying, ‘oh, well, whoops, whoops, maybe not’. But, em, so. [in the printed version they put Berlin instead of Germany – and because of open borders, instead of coincides]

JL – So you’re against taking refugees in or are you just saying this should be really controlled or…

Morrissey – Well, it’s a question of multiculturalism and I like Germany to be German, I like France to be French. And I think that when you try to have, um, introduced a multicultural aspect to everything you end up with no culture because you don’t share any language, you don’t share any laws, you don’t share the same sense of liberty. So multiculturalism fails. And all European countries fought for many many years for their identity. And now it suddenly seems to be, they’re saying so what, let’s just throw it away. Anybody can do what they like to Germany, anybody can do what they like to France, and I think that’s quite sad. Because it you travel, if you go on holidays, for example, to Turkey, you want a particular experience. But if you go to Turkey and everybody in the country is speaking, uhhh, Spanish, you think, well this is very strange. So this applies also to England, to Germany, to France. If you arrive in France and everybody is speaking a non-French language it’s very peculiar.

JL – But isn’t America a bit like that? Where it’s like, people coming from all over, or is it different because it’s newly… you know what I thought about , when I went through LA yesterday, for the first time, in a certain way, I felt that you can feel it’s stolen land. In certain way, because, you know, it’s like in Europe, it’s kind of like, things grew. You know, it’s like, and you feel it like, it almost looks like garages, like a lot of fancy garages, and I had this real idea of wonder at what would have happened if the native Americans had time to develop, like high culture. Just thought, another thinking about that. Maybe, it’s stupid.

Morrissey – Well, it felt stupid, but you must remember also that every single country has a, it’s own history of uhh, revolution, and liberation, and so forth. And other countries don’t have your history. So it’s, uhh, it’s not easy to blend, uhh, people together and just assume that they will get on, and understand the same things, it can’t happen. People might, uhh, travel and migrate, but they bring all of their, uhhh, they bring all of their religion, and all of their beliefs with them. And they try to establish it in the country they’ve gone to, and that’s when the confusion starts.

JL – So you’re just saying, like, everybody should stay where they are?

Morrissey – No! I don’t think that! You stay where you are? Stop it! No, but I think it’s important for every country to retain the identity that it has, because it didn’t come easy. Millions of people died for the German identity, millions of people died for the British identity. And if you respect all those people, the loss of their lives, then you must protect your own country to a great extent. You cannot say that the identity of your country is nothing. You cannot say that. And that seems to be happening throughout Europe.

JL – I’m very German, unfortunately.

Morrissey – Please be proud, please be proud, please be proud.

Rape capital sounds far worse than the point he went on to make – but there had been reports of increased sexual assaults in Germany – “Crimes committed by [asylum-seeking] immigrants saw a disproportionate increase last year — there’s nothing there we can gloss over,” said German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière. He said when it came to violent crimes there were “about 90 per cent more immigrant suspects in 2016” than in the prior year. (Financial Times, April, 2017) And Merkel’s policy was so disastrous, in terms of resources, organisation and logistics, that in March 2016 the EU negotiated with Turkey to stop refugees from crossing into Europe.

On the 11th of December he posted a statement on Facebook, objecting to the way his words had been sensationalised and editorialised:

He’s telling the truth – he didn’t say he would literally kill Trump, he wouldn’t support rape, child abuse, or sexual assault, Der Speigal didn’t convey his views fairly and (so far) he has never spoken to the print media (I hope he walks back on this – they have nothing to lose by monstering him if he would never speak to them anyway, and young journalists only know the myth, which his blog, (run by his nephew) wittingly or unwittingly, reinforces.

Der Spiegel released the audio, timestamping the most controversial passages, so that most people would miss the wider context. He had talked about Trump, migration and Spacey and that was enough for everyone to declare that he had been caught lying.

He released a video statement on his nephew’s YouTube account, on the 17th December 2017:

YouTube, 17 December 2017. The book behind him is Feminist Avant-Garde: Art of the 1970s in the Verbund Collection, Vienna, Ed Gabriele Schor.

Suddenly, I was sympathizing with sexual harassment. I was apparently sympathizing with pedophilia, I was sympathizing with rape, I was sympathizing with everything that would persuade anybody on the planet to stop listening to me. Of course, none of those assumptions were true. I do not support anything like that. You can hear it even in the tone of my voice… However, this is the world we now live in with the print media. It seems to me that, in the first place, they get very angry or very excited if you stop to say something that people are listening to or that reflect the will of the people. They get very nervous. They won’t allow it. They shut it down and so forth… But also, it seems to me that, in England at the moment, the right wing has adopted a left wing stance, and the left wing has adopted a right wing stance, so everybody’s confused, and nobody seems to know what people mean. This shuts down free speech. This shuts down any open debate about anything. And consequently, we’re all in a mess, and we don’t know where we stand… So I fear that the campaign for Low in High School and for the surrounding singles was derailed and damaged purposely by the haters. They’re not listening to the music. They’re not listening to anything, really. They see my name, and they want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. And as I said, in many ways, they do succeed. There’s not really that much you can do about it.

It would only get worse, as the old press homophobia that had seen him falsely accused of racism, crashed into the online tribal ‘culture wars’ where everyone had to use the same words in the same way to express the same ideas or they were ‘THE OTHER SIDE’.

Side Note: Almost all of Morrissey’s opinions are left-leaning – although he’s too much of a loner for organised politics. He could be used as a bellweather, since everything he picks up on turns into an urgent debate further down the line, viz.

The destruction and abandonment of labor politics means that, at present, immigration issues can only play out within the framework of a culture war, fought entirely on moral grounds. In the heightened emotions of America’s public debate on migration, a simple moral and political dichotomy prevails. It is “right-wing” to be “against immigration” and “left-wing” to be “for immigration.” But the economics of migration tell a different story. (Angela Negle, American Affairs Journal, November 2018)

In parts of the left, there is an unattractive blind spot that misses the importance of collective attachment to an inherited landscape, both physical and emotional. That landscape is not immutable but it shapes a sense of belonging and context. For many Leave voters, particularly those who have traditionally voted Labour, the emotional landscape of “England” has offered a way to express communal values neglected during 30 years of excessive individualism, licensed by both left and right. (The Observer, January 2021)

One grandstands when one makes a contribution to public moral discourse that aims to convince others that one is “morally respectable.” By this we mean that grandstanding is a use of moral talk that attempts to get others to make certain desired judgments about oneself, namely, that one is worthy of respect or admiration because one has some particular moral quality—for example, an impressive commitment to justice, a highly tuned moral sensibility, or unparalleled powers of empathy. To grandstand is to turn one’s contribution to public discourse into a vanity project. (Justin Tosi, Brandon Warmke, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Summer 2016)

The internet… has encouraged us to hole ourselves up in ideological fortresses; to build moats around our value systems, to pull up our mental drawbridges; and to fire verbal arrows at anyone with a different perspective… with little room for uncertainty or nuance. The way we are pressured to “cancel” public figures we once admired is spiteful and reductive… It means many of us have a predetermined position on news stories even before they break. (Dani Garavelli, The Scotsman, October 2020)

While fluid­ity of iden­tity, plur­al­ity, and mul­ti­pli­city are al­ways claimed on be­half of the VC mem­bers — partly to cov­er up their own in­vari­ably wealthy, priv­ileged, or bour­geois-as­sim­il­a­tion­ist back­ground — the en­emy is al­ways to be es­sen­tial­ized. Since the de­sires an­im­at­ing the VC are in large part priests’ de­sires to ex­com­mu­nic­ate and con­demn, there has to be a strong dis­tinc­tion between Good and Evil, with the lat­ter es­sen­tial­ized. No­tice the tac­tics. X has made a re­mark/has be­haved in a par­tic­u­lar way — these re­marks/ this be­ha­vi­or might be con­strued as trans­phobic/sex­ist etc. So far, okay. But it’s the next move which is the kick­er. X then be­comes defined as a trans­phobe/sex­ist etc. Their whole iden­tity be­comes defined by one ill-judged re­mark or be­ha­vi­or­al slip. Once the VC has mustered its witch-hunt, the vic­tim (of­ten from a work­ing class back­ground, and not schooled in the pass­ive-ag­gress­ive etiquette of the bour­geois­ie) can re­li­ably be goaded in­to los­ing their tem­per, fur­ther se­cur­ing their po­s­i­tion as pari­ah/latest to be con­sumed in feed­ing frenzy. (Mark Fisher, Exiting The Vampire Castle, 2013)

The audio:

Rick Astley

In September 2021, singer Rick Astley and the band Blossoms announced a couple of gigs where they would play the music of the Smiths.

Tweets and articles raved that Rick was the solution to the Morrissey question, and a think piece defending him, published on Morrissey Central – as well as dips into the usual list of distorted quotes – was used to denounce him for objecting to being erased from his own work.

Morrissey has yet to comment directly, but his website carried an article saying: “Maybe Rick Astley will perform well in the upcoming shows… but make no mistake, no other artist can bring to the table what Morrissey can.” The irony being that what Morrissey “brings to the table” these days – support for far right politicians amid accusations of Islamophobia and racism – is exactly what makes him such a problematic hero now. He might have been guilty of wearing a dodgy trench coat in the 1980s, but unlike Morrissey, Astley has never suggested that “everyone prefers their own race”, claimed “the Chinese people are a subspecies”, or argued that the world “would be a more interesting place had Prince Charles been shot”. (Sarfraz Manzoor, the Times, 30 September 2021)

Songs about being a social outcast, written by a social outcast, stolen by a dominant mainstream that revels in his marginalisation.

Morrissey isn’t increasingly problematic. He’s been demonized. Held to a standard no one “normal” would have been held to. Had motives assigned to him that he doesn’t have. His words & actions twisted & spun into a narrative that has at its core a homophobic lie.

Unmarried Humasexual

I can still be surprised by bigotry, inaccuracy and smearing in the press – it’s stunning that in 2022, Dan Cairns, in the Sunday Times, can use Morrissey’s sexuality and martial status to negatively contrast him to married heterosexual, Johnny Marr.

While Marr has built a reputation as a modest and fundamentally decent man, still married to his childhood sweetheart, Angie, with whom he has two children, and still living in the Manchester area, his former bandmate has steadily dismantled his own reputation. Morrissey in 2022 cuts a sorry figure: a cantankerous, Los Angeles-based king across the water, and a self-described “humasexual”, his increasingly truculent and often borderline racist comments and postings have quashed, surely for ever, any hopes of a Smiths reunion. (Dan Cairns, the Sunday Times, February 2022)

They also deliberately lied that he was aligned with the far right – it’s been 3 years, there’s no justification for guilt by association on this scale.

I despise racism. 
I despise fascism. 
I would do anything for my Muslim friends and I know they would do anything for me… do not be influenced by the tyrannies of the MSM who will tell you that For Britain are racist or fascist – please believe me,
they are the very opposite…  This is my last political strike. No wish to upset anyone! 
–  Morrissey, April 2018

.. she [AMW] wants everyone in the UK to live under the same law. I find this compelling, now, because it’s very obvious that Labour or the Tories do not believe in free speech… I mean, look at the shocking treatment of Tommy Robinson… (Morrissey, June 2018)

for every shade and persuasion … we shall always be alongside each other – everyone’s culture of value; no more fashionable outrage; cows are friends to humans – don’t kill them… (Morrissey, Central, May 2019)

I am not an activist, I have never voted for a political party, I do not belong to any political party… I do not believe the most important thing about a person is the colour of their skin. (Morrissey, Central, June 2019)

Even the basic facts are wrong. He hasn’t lived in LA for years. Or been celibate since the 1980s – when the press didn’t believe him anyway.

It’s also cruel and sick to relentlessly accuse Morrissey of “diatribes” and being “cantankerous”. He occasionally posts on his nephew’s website. He plays gigs. And he’s been seen in Manchester pubs. He hasn’t spoken to the press since 2017. And he has struggled with shyness and mental health issues his entire adult life.

Not to mention that Marr’s moral perfection has nothing to do with the Smiths getting back together. Morrissey has never wanted a reunion.

Side Note – the untrue racism allegations stem from a homophobic hit piece in the NME in 1992, after Morrissey was violently attacked by homophobes at a gig & they accused him of inciting it because of his sexuality.

Here is Marr playing beneath the NME’s idea of racist imagery – although perhaps the Union Jack needs to be held by a “poofy bastard” to be described as racist?

The men’s men in the crowd offer the opinion that Morrissey is a “poofy bastard” and elevate many a middle finger. (Select, October 1992. Review of the Finsbury Park gig that saw Morrissey branded as a racist by the NME for holding a Union Jack).


On the 25th of January 2022, Morrissey Central published an Open Letter from Morrissey to Johnny Marr requesting him to stop talking about him.

This is not a rant or an hysterical bombast.  It is a polite and calmly measured request:  Would you please stop mentioning my name in your interviews?
Would you please, instead, discuss your own career, your own unstoppable solo achievements and your own music?
If you can, would you please just leave me out of it?
The fact is: you don’t know me.  You know nothing of my life, my intentions, my thoughts, my feelings.  Yet you talk as if you were my personal psychiatrist with consistent and uninterrupted access to my instincts.  We haven’t known each other for 35 years – which is many lifetimes ago.  When we met you and I were not successful.  We both helped each other become whatever it is we are today.  Can you not just leave it at that?  Must you persistently, year after year, decade after decade, blame me for everything … from the 2007 Solomon Islands tsunami to the dribble on your grandma’s chin ? 
You found me inspirational enough to make music with me for 6 years.  If I was, as you claim, such an eyesore monster, where exactly did this leave you?  Kidnapped?  Mute?  Chained?  Abducted by cross-eyed extraterrestrials?  It was YOU who played guitar on ‘Golden Lights’ – not me.
Yes, we all know that the British press will print anything you say about me as long as it’s cruel and savage.  But you’ve done all that.  Move on.  It’s as if you can’t uncross your own legs without mentioning me.  Our period together was many lifetimes ago, and a lot of blood has streamed under the bridge since then.  There comes a time when you must take responsibility for your own actions and your own career, with which I wish you good health to enjoy.  Just stop using my name as click-bait.  I have not ever attacked your solo work or your solo life, and I have openly applauded your genius during the days of ‘Louder than bombs’ and ‘Strangeways, here we come’, yet you have positioned yourself ever ready as rent-a-quote whenever the press require an ugly slant on something I half-said during the last glacial period as  the Colorado River began to carve out  the Grand Canyon.  Please stop.  It is 2022, not 1982.

Marr replied on Twitter linking Morrissey to Donald Trump to reinforce the myth that Morrissey is right-wing.

Morrissey was against Trump.

But guilt by association doesn’t need you to actually associate – so there was a pile-on. Marr underlined it by changing his profile picture to his Simpsons character. Morrissey’s character had been depicted as a fat, gay, meat-eating racist.

With no stand out word or phrase in the letter to demonise him with, it was denouced wholesale as bitchy, moany, odious (Rock’s Back Pages emailed their subscribers the NME’s homophobic hit piece from 22 August 1992 to remind them that Morrissey is a racist) & untruthful – with journalists insisting that Marr has to be cajoled into talking about Morrissey as if Morrissey should know that esp as Marr is cajoled nearly every time.

It’s not quite clear what Johnny Marr said recently to piss off Morrissey, but it resulted in an extremely bitchy “open letter” from the former Smiths singer to his one-time guitarist and songwriting partner. (Rolling Stone, January 2022)

And they added in a selection of old scandals from words taken out of context and negatively editorialised.

The Guardian chose Hitler, Brexit, Rape Apologist, Immigration, Merseyrail, and For Britain. The Independent chose For Britain, Hitler, Own Race and Khan’s Accent. Consequence went for Con-Vid and For Britain.

Morrissey last mentioned For Britain – a party he didn’t vote for, join, or give money to – in May 2019.

Side Note 1: The NME kept it general with ‘controversial‘ Morrissey & ‘legendary‘ Marr. Which is the what they’d wanted since the Smiths split.

I must admit, pestered Marr. A relentless mixture of journo and fan… the true story of The Smiths has become a prisoner of Morrissey’s whimsical memory and busy tongue, and, worse, the loaded imaginings of hacks… Marr has steeled himself and agreed to do a once-and-for-all, no-holds-barred interview about the band that, more than any other, illuminated ’80s Britpop.
He has chosen his moment with care. The imminent release of Electronic’s second single (‘Get The Message’); and the album that’ll quickly follow, will place Marr at the creative crux of his second great band. It will confirm him as one of the most gifted and influential musicians of the last decade. Maybe the most.
Before we start, one more thing needs making crystal clear; Johnny Marr is a Very Happy Man. And why not? At 27 years of age (27? Shocking, isn’t it?) he has it all, sorted. A career on the very brink of new pinnacles: a blessed marriage to Angie; a collection of guitars vast enough to satisfy even as voracious an axe-freak as he; a car too big for most of the streets of his native Manchester; a studio refuge in the depths of his home. Did I say ‘happy ? This, people, is the proverbial pig in shit.
But best of all, though, is Johnny Marr’s healthy relationship with his past. He has refused to let it haunt or hinder him. Nor is he cramped, like some, by an undue reverence for Morrissey. Indeed, he (like all the Factory mafia) now refers to his former soulmate as ‘Dorissey’ and has re-christened the limpid lad’s last 45 (‘Our Frank’) as ‘Alf Wank’. (Danny Kelly, NME, April 1991)

Side Note 2: if Morrissey mimicked a Black artist it would have been a scandal:

This is nervy, routine business-avoidance. We’re here to talk Smiths. Start at the start.
“I was born a poor black chile …” he grins, in one last attempt at stalling. (Danny Kelly, Johnny Marr, NME, April 1991)

Side Note 3: more evidence that straight male rock stars can say anything.

The Guardian defends Neil Young’s right-wing homophobic phase:

Politically-speaking, its hard to exorcise the ghost of his 1980s pronouncements, when he swung hard-right behind the Reagan presidency and lashed out at gays (“you go to the supermarket and you see a faggot behind the fucking cash register, you don’t want him to handle your potatoes”) and welfare spongers. “Stop being supported by the government and get out and work,” Neil advised. “You have to make the weak stand up on one leg, or half a leg, whatever they’ve got.” Set against all this, however, is some of the finest music of the last 30 years; a body of work that’s at once earthy yet haunting. Marshalling the case for the defence I would direct the jury, in particular, to listen to Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, After the Goldrush, the wonderfully sepulchral Tonight’s the Night, choice portions of Harvest, Zuma and Rust Never Sleeps, and the whole of On the Beach (recently reissued and every bit as good as I remember it) (Xan Brooks, the Guardian, September 2003)

And fabricates Morrissey into a right-winger because of a couple of out of context quotes. Morrissey had expressed support for left-winger Bernie Sanders in June 2016 and left-winger Jeremy Corbyn in September 2015 and had released a political manifesto that was all about animal welfare in March 2016 when he considered running for London mayor on behalf of the left-wing Animal Welfare Party.

Did he and Morrissey have similar politics? “Yeah, we did back then.” And now? “I wouldn’t expect so. Probably not.” In recent years, Morrissey has made headlines for suggesting that immigration is compromising British identity; he sued the NME (successfully) for defamation, releasing a statement that “racism has no place in our society”. In a 2010 interview with this magazine, he described the Chinese as a “subspecies” when it came to their treatment of animals. Marr prefers to talk about the days when Morrissey reserved his bile for Margaret Thatcher. (Simon Hattenstone, the Guardian, October 2016)

England’s Quare Cancer – Morrissey and Nostalgia

Morrissey was born into an Irish Catholic family, grew up as part of the minority Irish Catholic community and lived between Dublin and Manchester. He talked about his struggles to belong and make sense of his Irish and English identity in light of Ireland’s colonisation by England/the British Empire. He comforted himself with the idea that even if he felt out of place, English people also had life hard. And he knew the pain of parting as family members moved abroad.

It was a constant confusion to me why I never really felt ‘This is my patch. This is my home. I know these people. I can do what I like, because this is mine.’ It never was. I could never walk easily. (Morrissey, Melody Maker, September 1986)

my sister and I growing up, never really felt we were Mancunians. My Irishness was never something I hid or camouflaged. I grew up in a strong Irish community. Of course, early on I’d be teased about it, I was called `Paddy’ from an early age… this was back in the 1960s when it was a bitter and malevolent slur. But that’s how Manchester people are – they’re extremely critical of everything and everybody… I used to come back to Dublin… the people seemed happier and more carefree and Crumlin seemed so open – certainly more so than the confines of Hulme. We were quite happy to ghettoise ourselves as the Irish community in Manchester, the Irish stuck rigidly together. (Morrissey, Irish Times, 20 November 1999)

Obviously the Irish feel resentment towards England because England has historically been so appalling to Ireland. So it was somewhat confusing for me growing up… England has been a bully and is a bully. (Morrissey, Mojo, June 2004)

We had waved goodbye to Mary at Manchester Airport, a US emigree in her nineteenth year, and to never again be a Manchester lass. We all cry uncontrollably as Mary’s flight is called – a much loved branch hacked away. (Morrissey, Autobiography, 2013)

In Viva Hate every protagonist is dislocated in some way, and they’re all harried. Bengali in Platforms is consistent with the album, his lived experience of not fitting in, & Ireland’s vein of wistful, bittersweet, cautionary songs about the ‘curse of emigration’.

There’s a graveyard in Tir Conaill,where the blossoms sadly grow, There’s a sorrow stricken mother,kneeling o’re that lonely grave. My Noreen,oh my Noreen its lonesome since you’ve gone, Twas the shame of emigration,laid you low my Noreen Bawn. (Neil McBride, folk song, from Donegal, Ireland, 1910)

The NME said it was a “convoluted diatribe against assimilation” (22 August 1992) and reprinted Q’s assessment from March 1988 that: In Morrissey’s mind, (‘Bengali In Platforms’) may be a profound statement about personal alienation, but unfortunately it would go down very well at a singalong after a National Front picnic.

David Stubbs, thought all black and Asian people were interchangeable, and hit on the Irish stereotype of the Thick Paddy.

The appalling Bengali In Platforms, quintessentially Morrissey, Morrissey the Diana Ross hating Morrissey… dumb… embarrassing… a caring call to the sartorially inept Asian… appallingly patronising… deals with an outmoded stereotype… [should be about] the snappily-dressed Punjabi…. [Morrissey is] our last idiot. (David Stubbs, Melody Maker, 19 March 1988)

Along with temper, aggressiveness, deceit and a natural penchant for alcohol, one of the oldest and most enduring putative characteristics of the Irishman was his atavistic ignorance or, at best, his inveterate illogicality. The Irishman’s intellectual deficit, characterised by bulls, blunders and malapropisms, made him a lamentable figure of fun. (James McCabe, Presses universitaires François-Rabelais, 2008)

A consensus formed that Morrissey was telling immigrants to get out of the country.

the lyrics to Bengali In Platforms (“It’s hard enough when you belong here” – implication: you don’t) had long rubbed liberals up the wrong way, even though he was simpy addressing what he’d seen around him in multicultural Manchester. (Andrew Collins, his blog, 28 November 2007)

And that he was nostalgic for “an enclosed world that ends in roughly 1964, at some sort of point just before large-scale migration from the cotton districts of south Asia into the cotton districts of the North West of England” (Owen Hatherley, Verso, 31 March 2020).

In fact, South Asians arrived in the 1950s, and lived in the same immigrant slums as the Irish. And it was those immigrant slums that Morrissey was nostalgic for, never recovering from the trauma of the slum clearances, as communities were ripped apart by nice, well-meaning, middle-class people for their own good, and exiled into “ugly new houses”.

In a way it was like having one’s childhood wiped away. In Queen’s Square, my grandmother occupied the fourth house. We occupied the fifth house. And the sixth house was occupied by my mother’s sister and her family. So it was a very strong community and it was very tight. Very solid. And it was also quite happy. Well there’s nothing at Queen’s Square now… everything has just vanished. It’s just like the whole thing has been completely erased from the face of the earth. I feel great anger. I feel massive sadness. It’s like a complete loss of childhood. Because although I’ve always lived in Manchester, and I’ve always lived relatively close to here, to this part of Manchester, now… it’s just so foreign to me. And that’s quite sad, I think. (Morrissey, Oxford Road Show, BBC 2, 22 March 1985)

Morrissey’s lost England

In the Smiths his nostalgia was part of his oddity – because he was camp (the gay antiques dealer being a common stereotype) or because he was a nerd obsessively collecting pictures of old dead film stars, or a congenital idiot.

We afford [Morrissey] the sort of license that’s normally extended to children and idiots; sensing the presence of an innocence and simplicity that’s been civilised out of the rest of us. (Paul Du Noyer, NME, 16 February 1985)

The accusation that he’s nostalgic for a Green and Pleasant, white, Nationalist, Little England comes from the NME’s 1992 homophobic hit piece.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating England or Britain… but… once you start cavorting with the Union Jack, with all its ambiguities, and surrounding yourself with the paraphernalia and imagery of the skinhead cult, then that celebration has moved… into… dangerous territory. And that territory is not the green and pleasant land of Morrissey’s dreams... “Take me back to dear old Blighty…” So sang Cicely Courtneidge in The L-Shaped Room, as grafted onto the evocative intro to ‘The Queen Is Dead”s opening title track. The ’60s kitchen sink movie is one of Morrissey’s pet favourites; the use of the patriotic pub singalong a mere atmosphere-setting quirk on an album littered with ambiguous pro/anti-nationalist signals. But, as ever with the controversy-courting bard of Whalley Range, it conjures images of Old England, Dunkirk spirit, British bulldog nostalgia and — stop us if you’ve heard this one before… (NME, 22 August 1992)

Morrissey advocates a cricket green England, an England where we tolerate immigration in small numbers, an England where it’s exotic to have a ‘brown’ neighbour… ‘Shelve your Western plans’ is a synonym for ‘England for the English’. It’s ‘go home P***’ in more poetic language with a prettier tune. (Martin Rossiter, the Quietus, 26 May 2017)

After that any reference to England in his work was heavily policed and maligned.

We are, this time round, spared any dubious songs about Bengalis who don’t belong here or visits to fascist discos. (“I didn’t invent the Union Jack” he sulked to a journalist recently, adding that he “didn’t understand the fascist implications of it”. Morrissey didn’t invent being an issue-fudging twat either.) There are no ballads. The twinkling insouciance of ‘Kill Uncle’ and the razor glam of ‘Your Arsenal’ are absent. Instead, Moz and the gang give RCA what they want, which is a loud mess to sell to America… In the end, there’s no reason why anyone who already owns a record made by Morrissey – or, more particularly, The Smiths – should even want to hear this record, let alone buy it. Its maker should call himself The Morrissey Formerly Known As Artiste. (David Quantick, NME, August 1995)

Certainly, the paper-thin caricature Englishness of much of Maladjusted is likely to go down much better with Americans, for whom the title-track’s mentions of the Fulham Road and “a Stevenage overspill” might yet retain a little declasse glamour. (Andy Gill, the Independent, August 1997)

In an era when every other UK artist was dripping in Union Jacks he was disparaged for writing a gay love song set in a part of London where he had lived.

Your leg came to rest against mine
Then you lounged with knees up and apart
And me and my heart, we knew
We just knew
For evermore
Where taxi drivers never stop talking
Under slate grey Victorian sky
Here you’ll find, my heart and I
And still we say come back
Come back to Camden
And I’ll be good, I’ll be good, I’ll be good, I’ll be good (Morrissey, lyrics Come Back to Camden, from the album You Are The Quarry, 2004)

The Smiths currently cast a longer shadow over British alt-rock than at any time since their 1987 split. You can hear their echoes in Franz Ferdinand and British Sea Power, while the Libertines appear to have been formed specifically to appeal to Morrissey: songs about a lost Albion and an on-stage penchant for gorblimey shirts-off male-bonding that frequently leaves them looking less like a rock band than something invented by Joe Orton… the lyrics seem trapped in the past: not the mythic pre-Beatles England that Morrissey’s songs usually evoke, but the less romantic environs of the mid-1990s… Irish Blood, English Heart makes a fuss about “standing by the flag not feeling shameful, racist or partial”, unaware that everyone else worked that one out around the time Geri Halliwell turned up at the Brits wearing a union flag miniskirt. Come Back to Camden offers a vision of Englishness so caricatured it would have caused the lowliest Britpopper to scoff: cockney cabbies, bad weather, tea. The urge to hit fast-forward before he mentions bowler hats, Yorkshire pudding or lovable chimney sweeps is quelled only by the song’s enrapturing melody. (Alex Petridis, the Guardian, May 2004)

A song about his clashing Irish-English identity had the Irish erased.

There’s a perfectly good anti-racist argument for allowing English ethnicity to speak its name, after all. The assumptions (expressed sotto voice, but unmistakably there) behind so much multi-culturalism weirdly duplicate those of imperialism: other people have ‘cultures’; we are normal. (Mark Fisher, K-Punk, July 2004)

This is the sort of ambiguous comment which seems to invite an assenting nod of the head but could easily have been uttered by Nigel Farage. Similarly, ‘Irish Blood, English Heart’, in which he sang, I’ve been dreaming of a time when/ To be English is not to be baneful /To be standing by the flag not feeling shameful/ Racist or partial/ Irish blood, English heart, this I’m made of /There is no one on earth I’m afraid of/ And I will die with both of my hands untied.” Ever since then, dog whistle by increasingly unsubtle dog whistle, living in splendid isolation from his home country and the consequences of his remarks, Morrissey has put himself beyond, and further beyond the pale. (David Stubbs, the Quietus, 4 July 2019)

Aptly the pale was a fence around English controlled areas of Ireland – beyond it was the savage Irish.

Morrissey was both cast out of & made to represent everything evil and wrong about England & the British Empire.

Morrissey is now, of course, almost a stateless person, although his seven years in Los Angeles don’t appear to have brought any great insight into either his new homeland or his old one. (Andy Gill, the Independent, 14 May 2004)

Morrissey has long since ceased to be worthy of cultural assessment; he no longer deserves to be part of that conversation. He has come to represent… something nasty, reactionary and dangerous in our culture, a poisonous voice at this critical point in Britain’s island history. Something has hardened like a tumour inside him over the years; what was once whimsical, amusing, pop-culturally apposite, is now the stuff of disease. (David Stubbs, the Quietus, 4 July 2019)

There followed the usual trawls through his cuttings file, where plenty of material awaited. From 1986: “To get on Top Of The Pops these days one has to be, by law, black.” Circa 1992: “I don’t really think … black people and white people will ever really get on or like each other.” And what about this peach, uttered three years ago? “The higher the influx into England, the more the British identity disappears.” As ugly as they seem – and to be more generous than he perhaps deserves – his views are not a matter of vicious, programmatic racism, but the same thinking that lies behind the more hard-bitten calls to Radio 4’s Any Answers: achingly conservative, terrified of difference, and in mourning for a lost country even the angriest white man might not actually like to live in...
Unlike plenty of other genres, its practitioners tend to pride themselves on an inclusive, liberal outlook, seen in an admirable campaign called Love Music Hate Racism (to which Morrissey made a donation in 2008, after the hoo-ha about his views on “British identity”). Indie’s home turf is urban bohemia, where diversity and difference are taken as read. But in his own gruesome way Morrissey embodies its contradictory collective id: a bundle of conservatism, parochialism and generic navel-gazing... In keeping with his catholic tastes, Albarn – a passionate fan of the music of west Africa – was performing alongside Bobby Womack, the rap trio De La Soul, and Snoop Dogg, but swarms of people soon departed the main arena in search of something more comforting. Presumably they were after some of the plodding, conservative fare that defines most of the rock aristocracy, and is an obligatory part of the outdoor ritual.
Morrissey, it’s fair to say, would have gone down a storm. (John Harris, the Guardian, Thu 9 Sep 2010)

Morrissey is an extreme example of a common type [Fascista proudly racist Little-Englander… with] a nostalgia for misery, a longing for boredom… The ignorance. The pollution and the soot. The gay-bashing and the paki-bashing. The murders on the Moors… And who stands in the way of this self-aggrandisement through re-enactment? The Asians, especially the Muslims. The young. The left. The “woke”. And here, Morrissey is truly the voice of a generation. (Owen Hatherley, Verso, 31 March 2019)

And his work was stolen for the enrichment of the culture he was excluded from.

… you might have realised that our traditional national identity is crumbling around us. Any sense of imperialist superiority is disintegrating with every export barred or expat shipped home. Start a conversation with anyone with a Union Jack in their Twitter handle and you might be surprised at how little grace, discernment and gallantry ensues. Divided, exploited and at each other’s throats, we’ve so lost sight of who we are as a nation that we’re in danger of winning an international footballing semi-final on penalties. Which is why we should be protecting our prime cultural treasures at all costs. Exhibit one: The Smiths. Misery, isolation, melodic moaning, idolising American film stars and mainlining Coronation Street – could there be a more quintessentially British band? Yet over the years their legacy has been tainted by Morrissey’s support for far-right politics (among other pronouncements) and one of our greatest musical achievements has been at risk of being tipped into the ‘consequence culture’ canal. (Mark Beaumont, NME, April 2021)

Much of it driven by nostalgia. By branding Morrissey a racist they de-gay the Smiths, avoiding the discomfort of identifying with One Of Them, relegating him to an asexual ghost, rebounding on to the heterosexual axeman, replacing him with Brandon Flowers & Rick Astley.

The Smiths manifesto of vengeance on the world through disability, withdrawal and asexuality (it was impossible to imagine that Morrissey actually had a penis) was immensely attractive. (Simon Price, Melody Maker, 15 August 1992)

a lifetime of world-weary bitterness has soured the soul of Morrissey. This makes me sad, especially when one of his songs genuinely shook my self-centred 16-year-old self. In 1986 I was deeply affected by ‘I Know It’s Over’ from The Queen Is Dead and the lines “It’s so easy to laugh/ It’s so easy to hate/ It takes guts to be gentle and kind.” It would appear that, for Stephen Morrissey, hate will always be very much alive. (John Freeman, the Quietus, 13 March 2013)

… it’s time for an intervention. Johnny Marr, protector of all that is right and good about the Smiths, we need you like never before. If you can banish Cameron to the wastelands, forcing him to salvage whatever meagre delights he can from the Mighty Lemon Drops, surely you can do the same to Morrissey. Just one tweet, that’s all it would take. “I forbid Morrissey from liking the Smiths.” That’s it. Then we can band together, Samwell Tarly and all, and breathe a sigh of relief knowing that our enjoyment of a perfectly good band won’t once again be tainted by the lunk-headed ravings of a professional irritant like Morrissey. (Stuart Heritage, the Guardian, 3 October 2017)

Morrissey embodied a more sensitive form of masculinity for the young me – but was I just kidding myself?… The Smiths are okay, as they predate their singer’s consistent insensitivity, but solo Morrissey isn’t. (Jordan Bassett, NME, 7 August 2019)

yeah that’s the thing. ‘reggae is vile,’ panic, bengali…it was always right there. (J Edgar Noothgrush, ilxor, 24 January 2022)

SoLow: Disease, Violence, Dairy

After the NME’s 2007 rehash of the 1992 homophobic hit piece, the press drive to defame him became acute, with a never ending series of scandals hyped up from sundry words, phrases, incidents & accidents. Ignoring his obvious ill health & the strong medication he said he was prescribed, some commentators decided he was an erratic, lying, crank.

[I] had a very bad time, I had internal bleeding and was rushed into hospital, and I lost a lot of blood and they tried to patch me together, over the following five weeks, but it didn’t quite work, and I was on a lot of IV drips for almost five weeks, and each time it seemed as though I was back to robust health I would decline. So this is what happened, I’m afraid with the festival this week I saw the doctors and they said, “no no no no, you cannot” because I had lost so much blood and I had became anemic, but I’m still receiving ongoing treatment and I’m very optimistic now. (Morrissey, Mexico City Reactor Radio, 19 March 2013)

Flailing from controversy to controversy, Morrissey has the air of someone determined to generate headlines, regardless of the long-term impact on his reputation. (Ed Power, Irish Times, 29 July 2011)

In 2014 a trio of scandals had their strongest impact on fansite, Morrissey Solo – nicknamed SoLow by Morrissey in 2003 when they posted a rumour that he hadn’t paid his tour crew.

There’s a hateful online creche called Morrissey SoLow, which cured me of canvassing opinions many years ago. (Morrissey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 2013)

In June Morrissey had to cancel some gigs because of a cold that he thought he’d caught from support act Kirsteen Young. Kirsteen countered that she’d had a 16-hour allergy attack and not a cold.

In July, Bradley Steyn, claimed that he was hired as Morrissey’s bodyguard and then was immediately fired for not agreeing to kill David Tseng, owner of Morrissey Solo.

In December a rider for a gig in Croatia led to a long-running saga involving cheese wheels.

2006 and 2015 saw leaked email scandals.

In 2016 there was a palaver over Supreme t-shirts. Morrissey modelled for them but didn’t like the way he looked, didn’t like looking at himself all over town, thought it was linked to a meat company, and couldn’t use a photo he preferred because his nephew put it on Instagram.

And in 2017 he was upset by an armed Italian police officer who stopped him for driving the wrong way.