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:

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:

Side Note – no matter how moral the excuse for demonising someone seems to be – racists are bad – it quickly decends into the same type of attacks that have tradiontionally been aimed at outgroups and misfits – on their known or supposed sexuality, intelligence, gender idenity, ethnic/religious background, mental health, suicidal ideation, bodies, social isolation & deviance.

Marrgate: Attacked with an Open Letter

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

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

He 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. And showing how closely the homophobia is entwined with the racism allegations the Simpsons had violated their own diversity casting policy by hiring a straight actor, and had boasted about a homophobic ad-lib.

With no stand out word or phrase in the letter to demonise him with, it was denouced wholesale as bitchy, moany, odious (Rocks Back Pages emailed their subscribers the NME’s homophobic hit piece 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)

Plus the return of the Lucky Dip from the List of Word Crimes – pioneered by Sounds to label Morrissey a paedophile for Reel Around the Fountain and perfected by the NME in their homophobic hit piece – he’s only committed two atrocities – touching a flag for two minutes and wearing a badge twice.

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.

He’d 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 fitting. By about 1988 Morrissey was too erratic to become an A-list star and they decided to invest in Marr.

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

Side Note 2: 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 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) https://www.theguardian.com/music/2003/sep/17/popandrock.neilyoung

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) 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

Pingate

On May 13th 2019 Morrissey appeared on The Tonight Show hosted by Jimmy Fallon. His band wore Animal Liberation t-shirts from animal rights organisation Total Liberation New York, but the press noticed a tiny For Britain pin badge.

https://sdscreenprinting.net/2019/05/18/the-tonight-show-with-jimmy-fallon/amp/

For Britain is a far right political party run by Anne Marie Waters, a gay, Irish, vegan, feminist who insists the party is centre right & that she had to leave the left-wing Labour Party because she was falsely accused of racism.

She was heavily pushing women’s rights and animal rights on her social media and had recently promoted a radical set of animal welfare policies.

Alt News Media, January 2019

Morrissey is obsessively opposed to animal slaughter and had been falsely accused of racism since the NME published a homophobic hit piece in 1992.

The meat industry, after all, shows no compassion towards the planet, towards climate change, towards animals, towards
human health. It is diabolically contrived and is the world’s No 1 problem. It is also the No 1 issue stifled from any political debate, which, if anything, highlights its importance. (Morrissey, True-to-You, 2016)

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

The NME rehashed the article in 2007 this time distorting some comments he made about London’s rapid gentrification to make him appear anti-immigration.

This is not the first time that Morrissey has trod clumsily into the area of immigration… On August 22nd 1992, NME’s cover featured an image of Morrissey prancing around onstage at Finsbury Park with a Union Jack flag… (Tim Jonze, NME, December 2007)

This scandal – and the relentless repetition of out of context words and phrases – subspecies, subspecies, subspecies – meant that his concerns about animals were dismissed as a cover for fascism.

He dropped Anne Marie almost immediately but the ferocious backlash – oiled by decades of homophobia – is still raging.

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, Kipper Central, June 2019)

The New European, 25 June 2018

Side Note: transcript, Animal Welfare, Anne Marie Waters, Alt News Media, January 2019:

Mahatma Gandhi once said that the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. Britain has a long and proud tradition of kindness and respect towards animals, it was part of our greatness, but like this greatness generally, our kindness to animals is rapidly disappearing. For Britain intends to bring it back.

For Britain proposes a unique and comprehensive package of proposals to reform animal welfare in our country, and we know that we have widespread public support. Britain cares about animals, and so do we.

There is growing public disquiet for example about the terrible and unnecessarily cruel religious slaughter of farm animals, and we at For Britain demand that this is brought to an end. The law requires that animals are stunned to unconsciousness prior to slaughter, however an EU imposed religious exemption is in place – allowing both halal and kosher un-stunned slaughter to continue. This renders the law entirely meaningless. Why create a law to protect animals and then provide the very people who want to flout that law with an exemption? It makes no sense. It is political trickery.

For Britain will ban ALL un-stunned slaughter of animals without exception. We will remove the religious exemption and give the law its teeth. This is not a matter of religious oppression but of the protection of animals from unnecessary suffering. Animal welfare trumps religious belief.

Furthermore, we will take action to punish those guilty of the abuse and neglect of animals. Those found to be engaged in dog-fighting for example will be jailed or deported. There will be zero tolerance of cruelty.

We will end the experimentation on animals for cosmetics or commercial products, and severely restrict and regulate any medical testing until this can be phased out altogether.

We will transform dairy farming and end factory farming. We will incentivize farmers to return to organic and natural farming where cattle will roam freely and have access to their calves. We will also end the abhorrent practice of veal production. We will ban live exports and ensure that egg-laying hens roam freely and the caging of hens is brought to an end.

Animals are not items or objects, they are living sentient creatures who exhibit complex emotions and social practices. Animals clearly feel fear, joy, and attachment to each other. They are however entirely defenceless against human beings. The question therefore must be asked: how do we treat the defenceless? Do we act with mercy, or are we merciless? The answer determines who we are as people, and it’s an answer we should consider very carefully.

California Son

Pingate (wearing the badge of UK fringe party For Britain) happened as Moz was releasing California Son – a selection of left-wing protest songs from his childhood – plus genderqueer covers of Jobriath, Melanie & 5th Dimension.

He had always loved these artists. And had always believed that anyone with a message that disturbed the establishment would be excluded.

(From his autobiography, published in Penguin Modern Classics, 2013)

In 1971, I had watched helplessly as Buffy Sainte-Marie made her debut on Top of the Pops singing her own composition, Soldier Blue; a mannish white working shirt, and what were surely blue jeans, dogged determination in her brownish face, and the truth of it all in her eyes. “Oh, soldier blue, soldier blue, can’t you see that there’s another way to love her?” The ‘her’ is the land, and ‘the other way’ is minus bombs and military artillery. Or so I assumed. Serious artists rarely make the stages of Top of the Pops because the show is essentially light entertainment, yet this song of great depth has risen to number 7, and, light or not, the BBC are duty bound as a public service to air any song elected by the public. In the market-driven mush of British pop, there no continual place for Buffy Sainte-Marie with her carrion calls of loss and injustice. But there she is, and her am I, and the secret of song unravels. I discover Moratorium on the flipside of Soldier Blue, and this song has a fighting vocal over a lengthy stream of words that include the line “Fuck the war – bring our brothers home”, and I weigh my new love against the Willesden weediness of Greyhound, whose singer’s voice is ready to crack and fold at any second.

But by the time the album had been released he’d become keen on a gay Irish feminist vegan called Anne Marie Waters, who set up a party called For Britain, and who was claiming that she was being falsely accused of racism by the ‘loony left’ because she was speaking about the impact of religion (she’d previously been in the National Secular Society and the Labour Party) on women’s rights, gay rights, and animal welfare.

This chimed with his experience of being smeared as a racist at Finsbury Park in 1992 because the NME thought he had a gay fetish for racist skinheads and had incited a homophobic attack against himself to satisfy it, his experience of that scandal being used to condemn him as a ‘rogue Tory’ and a racist for very mild remarks about immigration changing London as it gentrified in 2007, which in no way called for immigration to be limited, stopped or reversed, and with his experience of being called a racist for mentioning halal slaughter when he rails against all animal slaughter all the time.

He didn’t think she was far right. And he didn’t think he was supporting a far right party. He thought Theresa May was antagonising Islamic State with draconian policies and that Anne Marie would stop the terrorism by bringing people together and would help animals, children and women by making sure there could be no religious veto applied to animal welfare laws, gay rights or women’s rights (something she was pushing heavily on social media).

https://www.morrisseycentral.com/messagesfrommorrissey/i-ve-been-dreaming-of-a-time-when-the-english-are-sick-to-death-of-labour-and-tories

I despise racism.  I despise fascism.  I would do anything for my Muslim friends, and I know they would do anything for me. In view of this, there is only one British political party that can safeguard our security.  That party is For Britain. Please give them a chance. Listen to them. 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!!! Please do not close your mind. Labour is hopelessly naive. Theresa May’s policies have turned Britain into a international target. The BBC has closed down. The Loony Left is concerned only with victim culture. For Britain will keep British society together. Violence is not the way forward. There are many problems in modern Britain that have become too large for Theresa May to deal with – mostly because she created them in the first place. The press appear to deal only in fashionable outrage; inflammatory and unjust comments against any new party that threatens the same old bloody pointless two-party system. Please give For Britain a chance. They will bring an end to the modern Westminster mania for self-destruction. For Britain is the bulldog breed that will never surrender. Both Labour and Conservatives have already sold you down the river into righteous oblivion. This is my last political strike. No wish to upset anyone!  But the time has come to fight, and Labour and the Conservatives have their backs to the sea. Are you capable of change? Thank you, and peace for all of us (Morrissey, Central, 20 April 2018)

In a kind of hideous vicious circle – decades of press smears that he was a far right racist had led him to believe that Anne Marie Waters wasn’t a far right racist, and his support for For Britain was taken as the final ‘proof’ that he was a far right racist all along.

The album was crushed.

The Guardian (24th May, 2019) could only hear slimey trolling – in what is, a very sweet & sincere album (there is no decade of contentious proclamations, there’s three decades of a few journalists sifting through his interviews & on-stage patter to find half a sentence to condemn him for, usually connected to his belief in animal rights or dislike of Monarchy or confusion about morality growing up in a world where he was a born sinner for not being straight).

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/may/24/morrissey-california-son-review-clumsy-covers-troll-like-spirit

Merseyrail removed the poster. Indie record stores banned his records. DJs stopped playing him. The press tried to harass his collaborators into denouncing him. And the moral panic got into full swing.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/merseyrail-orders-removal-morrissey-posters-16321633

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/morrissey-smiths-record-shop-banned-16313914

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2019/mar/01/morrissey-collaborators-respond-to-his-politics