England Is Not His

2017 saw the release of an unofficial Morrissey biopic, England Is Mine.

Morrissey’s family disliked it.

The Guardian used it to emphasise that England does not belong to queer 2nd generation immigrants from colonised countries, because –

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, August 2017)

https://amp.theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/02/england-is-mine-review-morrissey-biopic-the-smiths

His depression is self-pity and he should be slapped:

Leaving aside the issues of dramatising a period in which the central character took to his bed for six weeks for an extended self-pitying mope-fest, this film is crippled by the lack of Smiths music. Without Johnny Marr’s melodic guitar to defang Morrissey’s acerbic observations on life, we are left with a vitriolic stream of consciousness, poured down from a self-appointed position of intellectual superiority. Jack Lowden does his best with a thankless role, but there is very little here to disabuse the growing belief that what the young Steven Patrick Morrissey most needs is a slap. (Wendy Ide, the Guardian, August 2017)

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/aug/06/england-is-mine-morrissey-review

It’s uniquely his fault that white males continue to dominate an industry they already dominated:

The widespread realisation that there is a problem – that not seeing yourself reflected in the culture is an actively damaging thing – is a ridiculously recent one, and increasingly hard to ignore… By definition, this argument could apply to the majority of music giants – but there’s something specific about Morrissey’s legacy that makes taking the time to honour him feel wilfully blinkered. Guitar music has never been particularly diverse, but in the early 80s the Smiths kickstarted a genre that would help ensure the white male would be lording it over the industry for decades to come (Rachel Aroesti, the Guardian, August 2017)

https://amp.theguardian.com/film/2017/jul/10/morrissey-england-is-mine-biopic

And he “increasingly” had views unacceptable to “progressives” who literally think a violent homophobic hate crime is less important than “belong here” in a lyric and an Irish Catholic touching a Union Jack:

Some of Morrissey’s solo work was similarly powerful, but his reputation wobbled in 1992 when his use of the Union flag during a concert drew attention to contentious lyrics in songs like The National Front Disco and Bengali in Platforms. Morrissey insisted the songs had been misinterpreted (“One can plainly hear that here is no hate at all”), but for Dunt, discussing Bengali in Platforms with his Indian girlfriend some years later, it was the last straw. “As I said the line, ‘Life is hard enough when you belong here,’ I felt so ashamed and embarrassed,” he says. “There’s a point where you have to say: fuck this.” (Dorian Lynskey, the Guardian, August 2017)

https://amp.theguardian.com/music/2017/jul/23/morrissey-when-did-charming-become-cranky-smiths-england-is-mine

https://folk-devil.com/2021/09/05/sexually-ambiguous/

Guardian T-shirt

On the 26th of October 2019, at a gig at the Hollywood Bowl, Morrissey wore a ‘Fuck the Guardian’ t-shirt.

In 2010 the Guardian had taken up the NME’s homophobic hate campaign that started in 1992.

Having his words relentlessly hyper policed for racism after he was violently attacked for being (perceived as) gay led him to believe that Anne Marie Waters, an Irish, lesbian, vegan, feminist, wannabe politician (an unlikely background for a British nationalist), was similarly a victim:

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, Central, April 2018)

By May 2019 he dropped For Britain:

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, Kipper Central, June 2019)

But was (and often still is) wrongly described as the supporter of a far right party or aligned with the far right.

The t-shirt caused more frenzy in the press and social media:

With such anti-fascist things as jokes about his sexuality:

His gender identity:

And his body:

His distress at the Guardian was framed as a right-wing attack on the liberal-left:

But at times, he couldn’t help himself, at one point donning a T-shirt bearing a profanity directed at the Guardian, a left-leaning British newspaper that has criticized his rhetoric in recent years. (August Brown, Los Angeles Times, October 2019)

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/music/story/2019-10-27/morrissey-concert-hollywood-bowl-fans

Despite his band wearing Fuck Trump t-shirts:

And the homage to his heroine, Patti Smith:

The Evil One

The idea that Morrissey is the evil Smith comes from the NME. Frustrated at the lack of Morrissey interviews & news in the wake of the Smiths split they fabricated a homophobic story smearing him as a racist after he was violently attacked at a gig.

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. (NME, August 1992)

https://folk-devil.com/2021/09/05/sexually-ambiguous/

And had been trying to launch Marr as the real Smiths star via standard rock mythology – guitars! cars! got the the girl! – supposedly reversing a situation in which Marr had been cast as the devil and Morrissey the saint by highlighting Marr’s manly virtue and Morrissey’s effeminate vice.

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… 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)

https://mycuttings.blogspot.com/2021/03/1991-04-20-johnny-marr-nme.html

But the vice-virtue polar opposites idea gains most of its momentum and malice after the NME rehashed their homophobic article in 2007, adding a smear that Morrissey is anti-immigrant while scolding him for being an immigrant.

Morrissey launched legal action, winning a case against Word magazine who had used the NME’s smears in a review in 2008, and winning against the NME in 2012.

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2008/apr/04/pressandpublishing.medialaw

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-18410933

The digs at Morrissey’s sexuality have stayed consistent – even gay journalist Simon Price likes to make sure you know Morrissey is a “poof”.

It’s the lie that he’s racist and right-wing that’s crystallized, with Marr now the left-wing saviour of the Smiths, the only vaguely acceptable part of Morrissey’s perverted career.

In a 2013 review Price deliberately misleads – Morrissey has never ‘implied Bengalis don’t belong here’, did not ‘complain there were too many blacks on Top of the Pops’ and has never ‘backed UKIP’.

None of this, of course, is Johnny Marr’s fault. Furthermore, Johnny Marr has never implied that Bengalis don’t “belong here”, complained that there are too many blacks on Top of the Pops, or backed Ukip, so, as ex-Smiths go, he’s still on the side of the angels… We’ve all seen what’s become of Morrissey, deprived of Marr. (Simon Price, the Independent, March 2013)


https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/reviews/simon-price-on-pop-smiths-reborn-rocker-johnny-marr-is-on-the-side-of-the-angels-8537476.html?amp

The Irish Times ascribes it to Morrissey’s indecent mouth in general.

Slowly and far more diligently, however, Marr has come to represent the polar opposite of Morrissey – less relentless barbed and tired wit, more common decency. (Tony Clayton-Lea, the Irish Times, Novovember 2016)

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/johnny-marr-the-smiths-were-30-years-ago-move-on-1.2873833

Price was also briefing other journalists against him – which came to light when Morrissey thought gay vegan, Anne Marie Waters, who set up For Britain, was being smeared as a racist in the way he was smeared as a racist for his sexuality.

The “outright party political broadcasts for actual fascists” is this:

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, Central, April 2018)

There’s acres of examples of Morrissey’s words and motivations being hyped, twisted, conflated, the repetition of misleading selective quotes, and guilt by association.

For instance, he has never mentioned or supported burqa bans, forced deportations, benefit cuts or anything except animal rights, ending violence, and equality before the law; ‘bulldog breed…” is singled out to pretend he’s a British nationalist.

All of it culminating in Smiths fans needing Marr’s permission get past Morrissey’s taint.

Morrissey’s recent political views have cast a shadow over the Smiths for me – reaching back into the past and tainting something that was very important to me. I’m so disappointed in him. Has it impacted how you feel about the Smiths or are you able to separate the past from the present, the band from the man? I find it very difficult to do so.
Johnny Spence, Northern Ireland
It hasn’t impacted how I feel about the Smiths. That’s all I can say about that. I’m certainly able to separate the past from the present. I don’t know whether you can separate the band from the man, but I can separate myself from the man and what I did, so when I do see how disappointed people are, it really does make me sad… I don’t have any answers. And I don’t want to have any answers. I was at Glastonbury in 2019 when you played There Is a Light That Never Goes Out at the end of your set. Without wanting to sound too gushy and obsessive, men and women in their 40s and 50s were openly crying, I guess because it felt like you were giving us permission to love these songs again. What is going through your head when you perform these songs? Do you feel any sadness or regret, or do you feel that you are claiming them fresh, as yours?
Lindsay Wright, London
I’ve been asked about claiming the Smiths songs quite a lot before and I’m not doing that… I don’t think I need to claim anything, because I wrote them.
(Johnny Marr, Q & A, the Observer, February 2022)

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/feb/06/johnny-marr-fan-questions-fever-dreams-interview

On a side note: there’s an infinite list of things heterosexual male rock stars can say/write and get a generous interpretation, while Morrissey – an Irish Catholic 2nd generation immigrant – can’t even put the word ‘belong’ in a narrative song about fitting in.

Disturbingly, Now He’s a Poof gloried
in juvenile homophobia:
“Aids and herpes, he’s got ’em /
The evidence is written all over his bottom.” It was more than outrageous enough to get them condemned in the court of liberal opinion, yet listen closely and the Macc Lads were always a subversive parody of such unreconstructed macho bigotry. (Ian Gittins, the Guardian, June 2015)

https://amp.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2015/jun/23/cult-heroes-the-macc-lads-satirists-not-knuckle-draggers

Now, He’s A Poof by Macc Lads

Get stuffed you arse bandit.
One of me best mates,
He come from Macc,
And we used to go out pulling crack,
Now we know it were just a farce,
’cause he’s got spunk dribbling out of his arse.
He’s got scabs from stalking other men,
We’re never going to talk to him again,
He’s gone all nesh and he’s making us sick,
We wouldn’t give him cheese off us dicks.
Now he’s a poof, we can’t handle it.
Now he’s a poof, he does spermy shits.
Now he’s a poof, he leaves white stains wherever he sits.
He’s gone to pot and he’s shaved his head,
He’s got some black bloke sleeping in his bed,
AIDS and herpes, he’s got ’em,
The evidence is written all over his bottom.
Now he’s never in the pub, now he’s no fun,
He’s got sores and scabs all over his bum.
We’ll have to pin him down on the deck
And pour some Boddies down his fucking neck.
Alright?
’cause he’s a poof, he drinks lemonade,
Now he’s a poof, and he’s full of AIDS,
Now he’s a poof, and he likes his buttocks splayed….
Now he’s a poof, he’s a fuckin’ slob,
Now he’s a poof, he’s got a shitty nob,
Now he’s a poof, he’s got spunk all over his gob….
Now he’s a poof, he’s a fucking queer,
Now he’s a poof, he’s got gonarhea
Now he’s a poof, he can’t hold his fucking beer.
Now he’s a poof, he’s an arse bandit,
Now he’s a poof, he does spermy shits,
Now he’s a poof, and he doesn’t like to feel girl’s tits.
Now he’s a poof, we can’t handle it,
Now he’s a poof, he leaves white stains wherever he sits,
He’s a poof, he’s a fucking queer arse bandit,
He’s a fucking poof, he drinks lemonade,
For Christ’s sake he’s a poof, he likes his buttocks splayed,
He’s a poof, he’s fucking going to spread AIDS all over the world,
Kill the bastard….

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.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/johnny-marr-interview-i-had-to-defend-myself-against-morrissey-dplgx6dcs

The Sunday Times, February 2022

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.

https://folk-devil.com/2021/09/05/sexually-ambiguous/

https://folk-devil.com/2021/01/14/finsbury-park-union-jack/

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).

Misogynist, Homophobe, Incel

In Morrissey’s 2013 Autobiography he recalled his discomfort with the expectation in the 1970s that all boys were interested in girls.

In mid-70s Manchester there must be obsessive love of vagina, otherwise your life dooms itself forever.

And he called journalist Julie Burchill fat.

Julie Burchill is, of course, not loveable, and has pitifully late-middle-aged legs, but her aim is to lead the way for the rest of us, and this she does…

Despite Julie being famous for her contrarian invective (I ask her why she wrote Patti Doesn’t Wash Here Anymore, a dreadful executioner’s piece… ), his underlying affection for her (I shall be honoured to attend her funeral, and I might even jump into the grave), and his honesty about his own struggles with body image (I feel fat and ugly), he was condemned in the press as a sexist.

Particularly nasty treatment is reserved for the feminist prodigy Julie Burchill… The tribune of adolescent sensitivity and longing has suddenly transformed into a macho bully. (Michael Weiss, the Daily Beast, December 2013)

[Morrissey] “I’d like jasmine tea…” [Burchill] “Oh-ho! We’ve got a girl on board!” [Morrissey] “No, I’d like a beer.” Morrissey glares at me... [Burchill] “So, you’re gay”... [ Morrissey] “I haven’t made up my mind yet”, he says softly. (Julie Burchill, the Times, 1994)

In 2015 he was accused of misogyny and homophobia for writing a novel.

Morrissey was once one of rock music’s most notable lyricists. But his writing talents curdled some time ago… Time, construed as a tireless agent of degradation, is a constant preoccupation… The “human race is anything but humane,” he quips misanthropically,… But such a generous interpretation can’t survive the awful prose and unkind worldview… Equally muddled is the book’s obsession with sex, at once portrayed as crucial (“It is sex that binds us to life”) and nauseating (“how easy to kill, how queasy to kiss”). A nasty streak of misogyny is matched by the unpleasant decision to make the villain a gay paedophile (Ludovic Hunter-Tilney, Financial Times, October 2015)

In 2018 – in an unusual addition to his list of word crimes – his comments on being a man, from an interview with Details in 1992, are used to imply he’s a Men’s Rights Activist.

On gender: “It’s hard to be a man. It’s made to be hard and I don’t know why. I think it’s easier to be a woman. The women’s movement has been so successful; the men’s movement has never been accepted. I think it’s not wanted.” (Finlay Greig, iNews, April 2018)

The men’s movement Morrissey was referring to was 1970s men’s liberation, a movement that wanted men to be more emotional, less macho, and to share paid work and domestic chores equally with women.

More recently he’s been linked to the violently misogynist, heterosexual, Incel movement for writing songs about loneliness that rarely used pronouns.

the evergreen incel anthem How Soon is Now? (Stephen Dalton, the Times, October 2021)

The Full Morrissey

In line with the comforting myth that all radicals become reactionary before they threaten your aga – media types started repeating the idea that if John Lennon hadn’t been murdered by a fan he would have gone ‘full Morrissey’.

Morrissey being the most terrible person in UK pop since he objected to having coins & piss thrown at him by men’s men heckling that he was a “poofy bastard” (Select, September 1992)

Does the poofy bastard understand what flag-waving means as he jacks off? Wonders the NME in August 1992.

Maybe casual anti-Irish bigotry puts them in a pair? They both had Irish parents and have been scathing about British rule in Ireland.

In a similar way, George Michael has become the anti-Morrissey- the good commercial gay, with eloquent opinions, and respectable associations.

The Tweet isn’t true – Morrissey is talking about authenticity in art. George is concerned about the fame game. They’re both smart.

On a side note: while he was alive, George was hounded for his sexuality, fought to escape a stifling record contract and was mocked for his drug addiction, cottaging exposés and car accidents.

He Attacked Johnny Marr

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

https://www.morrisseycentral.com/messagesfrommorrissey/open-letter-to-johnny-marr

It’s normal celebrity feud material, but the response has Folk Devil relevance.

With no stand out word or phrase in the letter to demonise him with, it was called bitchy, moany, odious (Rock’s Page Pages email – they have no issue with the homophobia in their back pages – in fact they highlighted the NME’s homophobic 1992 article, still lying that Morrissey had flirted with racism) and untruthful – with journalists insisting that Marr has to be cajoled into talking about Morrissey (how is Morrissey supposed to know that?)

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 it was linked to the far right racist narrative by jokes about free speech…

Steven

… a clunky association with Donald Trump…

… Marr changing his Twitter profile pic to his Simpsons character – the Morrissey character being a fat, meat-eating, gay racist (weirdly proving the racism allegations and homophobia go hand in glove the Simpsons violated their diversity casting policy by hiring a straight actor to play Morrissey and including a homophobic joke in Tim Long’s script.)…

… And choosing to RT a tweet that reinforces the idea he’s the the nice left-winger in contrast to Morrissey’s evil right-winger while giving the For Britain logo yet more reach…

Plus the return of the Lucky Dip from the List of Word Crimes – 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. That’s, For Britain, a far right party that Morrissey didn’t vote for, join, or give money to, that he didn’t believe was far right (he explicitly condemned racism and fascism) & that he hasn’t mentioned since May 2019 getting mainstream press nearly 3 years later just to hate on him.

Though many people can’t even remember which party & confuse it with either the real Britain First party (openly far right and violently homophobic. For Britain’s gay vegan leader fallaciously insists she’s on the centre right, and was forced there because the left won’t listen to her concerns about women’s/gay & animal rights) or with Trump’s America First slogan.

And think they’ve had to steer clear of his fascism for decades.

Which brings us back to the mirror that cracked – The NME.

They kept it general with ‘controversial‘ Morrissey & ‘legendary‘ Marr.

Which is fitting.

At some point after the Smiths’ breakup, they decided Marr was the star. (The violent homophobia and false racism allegations of 1992 were meant to have killed Morrissey’s career stone dead.)

I must admit, pestered Marr. A relentless mixture of journo and fan, I have nagged away at him to break the silence he has so studiously maintained about The Smiths these last four years.
During those years (while Marr was doing his ‘have guitar, will travel’ routine) 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.
But now – at long bleedin’ last and maybe just to shut me up – 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)

https://mycuttings.blogspot.com/2021/03/1991-04-20-johnny-marr-nme.html

Side Note: if Morrissey mimicked a Black artist it would have been in his List of Word Crimes:

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 2: straight men in music truly can say what they like.

Defends Neil Young:

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)

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2003/sep/17/popandrock.neilyoung

Condemns Morrissey – who had expressed support for left-winger Bernie Sanders in June 2016 and left-winger Jeremy Corbyn in September 2015 and who released a political manifesto that was all about animal welfare in March 2016 when considering running for London mayor on behalf of the left-wing Animal Welfare Party. Yet the implication is he’s now right-wing for immigration comments that were wildly exaggerated in a rehash of the NME’s homophobic 1992 article, and one word in a statement that wasn’t about hating the Chinese, but about pointing out how inhumane animal cruelty footage looked.

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)

https://amp.theguardian.com/music/2016/oct/29/johnny-marr-the-smiths-morrissey-simon-hattenstone

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/mar/07/morrissey-considers-running-for-london-mayor-animal-welfare-party-boris-johnson

https://www.nme.com/news/music/morrissey-16-1200365

https://www.nme.com/news/music/morrissey-48-1224576

Anti-Anti-Racist Protesters

On September 30th 2019 Morrissey played a gig in Portland Oregon. Two protesters held up signs, one with the logo of UK political party For Britain under a stop sign (giving them yet more publicity – Morrissey stopped supporting them in May 2019, four months previously), and one saying ‘Bigmouth Indeed’.

The press had been following Morrissey’s North American tour to report low sales (they exaggerated, it did ok) and listen out for problematic stage “outbursts” (they got nothing but a fleeting reference to Faith Goldy and a Fuck The Guardian t-shirt).

Morrissey made the protesters leave the gig and a flurry of articles condemned him for being anti anti-racism and waxed lyrical about his supposed new far right political direction (he didn’t believe the party was far right, he thought their vegan leader was being lied about) or dipped into the list of distorted quotes pioneered by the NME in their homophobic hit piece in 1992, to prove that: He Has Always Been Like This (he wasn’t, he isn’t).

In fact, he’s sensitive about hecklers, throwing out particularly distracting ones, or walking off-stage if he smells a burger.

https://www.nme.com/news/music/morrissey-244-1307847

The smell of burning animals is making me sick. I just couldn’t bear it. (Morrissey, returning to the stage at Coachella, April 17th 2009)

I didn’t want to return to Brisbane because I’ve played there twice and on both nights I was heckled, which doesn’t bother me that much, but even if I reply with something snazzy, the heckler always wins because the night has been soured and we no longer feel welcome. That’s life. (Morrissey, news.com.au, August 2016)

A further scandal occurred when his nephew posted a picture of an audience in San Diego with the text:

no ‘politically offended protestors’ (as paid for and planted in the crowd by the British press) in sight … (Sam Esty Rayner, Morrissey Central, October 2019)

It was reported as a statement by Morrissey, though he tends to have his name attached. Whether he believed it was a stunt or not is unknown.

Side Note : In my notebook I’ve jotted ‘viva love crap from Dave’. Make of that what you will.

He Makes Rents Unaffordable

In October 2013 Carole Cadwalladr wrote, in the Guardian, that Morrissey was responsible for increased rents, higher gas bills and young people being unable to become cult Indie singers, because he was an expat, because David Cameron (then Prime Minister of the UK) liked the Smiths, so the entire white, male, ruling/media class was compelled to make bad policies, and because he had ceased to be relevant in 1992.

1992 being the year the NME wrote a homophobic hit piece about Morrissey, falsely accusing him of inciting a hate crime against himself by far right skinheads because he was sexually attracted to racism, in a gay way.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/19/bigmouth-morrissey-strikes-again?CMP=soc_3156

https://folk-devil.com/2021/09/05/sexually-ambiguous/