Sexually Ambiguous

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

On August 22nd 1992, the NME spent 5 pages denouncing Morrissey as a racist for playing 1 of 2 planned gigs with headliners Madness, at Finsbury Park, where he was heckled by a homophobic crowd while thrashing about a Union Jack flag in front of a Derek Ridgers art print of 2 skinhead girls.

https://illnessasart.com/2020/11/26/nme-22-august-1992/amp/

Despite lead singer, Suggs’s skinhead past and old Skrewdriver connections, Madness was deemed ‘unfortunate’ for attracting the racist crowd. Derek Ridgers worried that Morrissey had demeaned the girls in the art print, who WERE racist imagery. Flowered Up, another band on the bill, thought Morrissey had asked for trouble by ‘prancing around‘.

Most of the National Front supporters were outside Finsbury Park to oppose a march for a cause Morrissey supported, British troops out of Northern Ireland (he’s from an Irish Catholic family). The National Front’s most violent organiser, Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair, was a fan of reggae band UB40, and his loyalist paramilitary gang killed Catholics while listening to rave.

https://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/article/43221-madness-frontman-suggs-tells-life-story-at-2012-edinburgh-fringe/

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/the-uda-killer-nicknamed-top-gun-behind-a-dozen-sectarian-murders-1.4628830

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/news-analysis/how-loyalists-got-out-of-step-with-fascism-28657619.html

https://ansionnachfionn.com/2011/09/16/fascists-neo-nazis-and-the-british-unionist-minority-in-ireland/amp/

But still the NME lied that Morrissey was a Little England British Nationalist, that his imagery was racist, that he was fanning the flames of race-hate, that Bengali in Platforms was a diatribe against assimilation, supportive of ex-Conservative Ulster Unionist MP Enoch Powell, inciting calls for immigrants to be deported, that he wanted a pre-immigration green and pleasant England, that he wanted an English ethno-state, that he was provoking genocide, and – in a technique that now dominates his coverage – cobbled together so many snippets of lyrics and interviews spuriously branded racist that to refute them all would look demented; no fire without all THAT smoke. Even his quiff was racist for being a 1950s style.

And, taking their cue from The Skin Complex, they speculated that he had a sexual fetish for racism, that he was getting vicarious skinhead thrills, that he was using real men, like skinheads, The Angelic Upstarts, as a cover; and noted that ‘Richard Allen’s skinhead chronicles are full of sickening accounts of violence against blacks. And for that matter, homosexuals’.

And for that matter, that was their real point.

Someone must have watched it, got excited, thought OH THAT’S WHAT HE’S UP TO and decided to disguise their usual prurient, repressed homophobic obsession with his sex life beneath a heap of lurid faux righteous anti-racism.

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, 26th 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, August 1992)

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/reformed-fascist-ready-to-admit-homosexuality-martin-wroe-reports-on-the-conversion-of-a-right-winger-that-highlights-a-thriving-gay-fashion-1535856.html?amp

Maybe they wanted to kill his career.

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

Or ‘out’ him without risking a libel trial as catastrophic as The Face losing to Jason Donovan in May 1992 over their ‘Queer As Fuck’ issue.

https://gtmediawatch.org/1965/07/01/gay-times-may-1992/

Or both.

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)

https://illnessasart.com/2020/01/05/melody-maker-3-november-1984/

Saved by the success of Vauxhall and I, but battered by label, legal, personal and management issues; and excluded by the music press from Britpop, he moved to LA and built an audience of equally excluded Chicanos.

In 2002 the NME mournfully accused him of giving the illusion of intimacy while never discussing his sexuality, and of being ambiguous, unambiguous, brutally upfront and distastefully infatuated with racism.

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. (VS, 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. (VS, Mojo, May 2004)

But his shyness, difficulty with social norms and outsider art meant the press soon fell back on ridicule, demonisation, inflammatory headlines and witch-hunts.

For a spell his public image has fused with the forgotten Nicky Crane – a bad gay, toxic, shunned, unwholesome; his empathetic solo work unbelievably synonymous with Skrewdriver.

Nicky Crane on Psychic TV.

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)

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)

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/rock-cracking-the-nutty-boys-beery-nostalgia-laddish-boisterousness-and-a-bunch-of-ordinary-blokes-andy-gill-on-madness-in-finsbury-park-1539470.html

Side Note 1: Nicky was on the gay scene from 1984, made gay porn films, attacked a benefit gig that had the Smiths on the bill & drank in a gay pub, The Bell, in Kings Cross that Morrissey also frequented. The video for Our Frank, directed by gay filmmaker John Maybury, used skinhead extras & was shot around Kings Cross.

The Bell: https://www.gayinthe80s.com/2017/09/pub-bell-kings-cross-london/

The gig: https://pasttenseblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/10/today-in-londons-radical-history-striking-miners-anti-fascists-beat-off-nazi-attack-on-glc-festival-1984/amp/

Nicky: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25142557

Brief clip of The Skin Complex in a news report about another gay NF ex-member. https://www.channel4.com/news/neo-nazi-national-front-organiser-quits-movement-comes-out-as-gay-kevin-wilshaw-jewish-heritage

Gay History: https://timalderman.com/2018/04/30/gay-history-a-contradiction-in-terms-nicky-crane-and-kevin-wilshaw-gay-neo-nazis-part-1/

Side Note 2: the NME’s claim they were just as hard on Eric Clapton, David Bowie & Elvis Costello is untrue. Eric sailed past the 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. 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——.”

Eric: https://genius.com/Red-saunders-letter-to-the-uk-music-press-regarding-eric-clapton-annotated

David: http://www.chalkiedavies.com/blog/b9wr8hr5mr79wkkbx83lf8cd7p54f7

Elvis: http://www.elviscostello.info/wiki/index.php/New_Musical_Express,_October_30,_1982

Side Note 3: 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, nevermind from Morrissey. Some on the hard left hate it as a symbol of the British Empire and the British State, it’s a minority opinion. 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.

Madness film: https://youtu.be/cwWvKnU9zCE

Irish Republican

In the Melody Maker, November 1984, Morrissey said:

The sorrow of the Brighton Bomb is that she (the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher) escaped unscathed. The sorrow is that she’s still alive. But I feel relatively happy about it. I think that for once the IRA were accurate in selecting their targets… They want us to believe that such attacks can only work in the government’s favour but I believe that’s utter nonsense. Immediately after the event Maggie was on television attacking the use of bombs – the very person who absolutely believes in the power of bombs. She’s the one who insists that they’re the only method of communication in world politics. All the grand dame gestures about about these awful terrorist bombs is absolute theatre.

He’s mostly annoyed that Thatcher was on television denouncing her own methods and the implication is that the IRA usually pick their targets badly, but the first sentence (usually the only one quoted) was enough to have him denounced as a terrorist sympathiser. The Smiths received death threats from Loyalist paramilitaries, the Irish Government insisted they play a scheduled Irish tour, and the IRA, not fussed about the ‘for once’, took it as a compliment.

https://www.independent.ie/lifestyle/the-smiths-were-ordered-to-play-the-north-by-irish-govt-26719453.html

https://lostinbelfast.wordpress.com/2018/12/16/13-barbarism-begins-at-home/

In May 2011 he was in trouble with conservatives in Ireland and the UK for saying the Queen should give the six counties back.

https://www.hotpress.com/opinion/the-existence-of-the-queen-is-against-any-notion-of-democracy-7901992

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/morrissey-tells-queen-to-hand-over-six-counties-1.573354

https://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/921

Even the UK left-wing press was sniffy – choosing to highlight his comparison of a constitutional Monarch with a dictator.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/may/18/morrissey-compares-queen-muammar-gaddafi

In April 2013 he got flack for mocking Thatcher’s death and for using a crass picture of the Queen.

https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/morrissey-belfast-singer-under-fire-after-show-mocked-margaret-thatcher-and-the-queen-31094269.html

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2013/apr/10/morrissey-statement-margaret-thatcher

In a statement on True To You, 9th April 2013, he said:

The difficulty with giving a comment on Margaret Thatcher’s death to the British tabloids is that, no matter how calmly and measuredly you speak, the comment must be reported as an “outburst” or an “explosive attack” if your view is not pro-establishment. If you reference “the Malvinas”, it will be switched to “the Falklands”, and your “Thatcher” will be softened to a “Maggie.” This is generally how things are structured in a non-democratic society. Thatcher’s name must be protected not because of all the wrong that she had done, but because the people around her allowed her to do it, and therefore any criticism of Thatcher throws a dangerously absurd light on the entire machinery of British politics. Thatcher was not a strong or formidable leader. She simply did not give a shit about people, and this coarseness has been neatly transformed into bravery by the British press who are attempting to re-write history in order to protect patriotism. As a result, any opposing view is stifled or ridiculed, whereas we must all endure the obligatory praise for Thatcher from David Cameron without any suggestion from the BBC that his praise just might be an outburst of pro-Thatcher extremism from someone whose praise might possibly protect his own current interests. The fact that Thatcher ignited the British public into street-riots, violent demonstrations and a social disorder previously unseen in British history is completely ignored by David Cameron in 2013. In truth, of course, no British politician has ever been more despised by the British people than Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher’s funeral on Wednesday will be heavily policed for fear that the British tax-payer will want to finally express their view of Thatcher. They are certain to be tear-gassed out of sight by the police. United Kingdom? Syria? China? What’s the difference?

No one in the press has so far tried to explain why they believe he was an IRA supporter and a National Front supporter at the same time.

On a side note – The Guardian had to apologise for employing an IRA supporter who used his platform to smear a rape survivor.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-56292056

And on an even sider side note – in a weird quirk of fate – Scottish comedian Limmy, who called his Uncles ‘Orange Bastards’ and whose brother was jailed for anti-Irish sectarian racism, could drag Morrissey for British Nationalism.

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/tv-comic-limmys-brother-jailed-3006790

Tommy Robinson

In a June 2018 interview with Fiona Dodwell, Morrissey said (of Anne Marie Waters)

she 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… 

https://www.tremr.com/Fiona-Dodwell/this-is-morrissey-an-interview

This is his only mention of Robinson and it relates to the law.

Sometime in the 2010s Morrissey’s obsession with animals had reached the point where his main ambition was the total abolition of the abattoir.

“The slaughterhouse is the dead end for humanity, and as long as it exists we can’t possibly have any hope for the human race… If you’ve seen abattoir footage then you cannot possibly think that humans are anything other than evil pests… If your views threaten any form of establishment interests, you are usually ignored or silenced or said to be ‘ranting’. I have never ranted in my life.” (HuffPost, June 2015)

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/morrissey-animals_n_7588034?ri18n=true

In August 2016 he gave an interview to an Australian news site – it was his usual mordant mix of politics, music, and animals. All meat-eaters get equal wistful ire – David Cameron, The Royals, Iceland… He’s asked about standing for London mayor, he doesn’t fancy his chances.

I could see the pointlessness of stepping in. ​The BBC now do not give you news, but they give you their opinion, and therefore they give anyone a very hard time if that person does not suit the convenience and prejudices of the established elite. Therefore liberal educators such as George Galloway and Nigel Farage are loathed by the BBC because both men respect equal freedom for all people, and they are not remotely intimidated by the BBC. The Mayor was eventually elected on very few votes, and of course he eats Halal butchered beings, and talks so quickly that people can’t understand him … and that suits the British media perfectly.

https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/music/tours/exclusive-morrissey-on-donald-trump-miley-cyrus-prince-harry-and-unreleased-smiths-material/news-story/2932f6891ea2abe238baef5a4edeee2e?from=public_rss

In The Guardian, Hadley Freeman, took this section and decided it made him a libertarian racist, weirdly she seems to have missed that he spent most of the 90s being called a racist for holding a Union Jack.

It’s the emphatic inclusion of “halal” that adds a spicy hint of racism to Morrissey’s animal rights campaigning, doesn’t it?

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/lostinshowbiz/2016/aug/04/oh-god-morrissey-talks-about-galloway-farage-and-sadiq-khan

Oddly Sadiq had spoken about halal chicken in a 2014 radio programme, so Morrissey might not have been assuming.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01y3vfx

And while it’s perverse to approve of two politicians from opposite ends of the spectrum, probably because they’re never likely to become Prime Ministers, it wasn’t worth the snark.

Morrissey seems to have taken it as a sign that he wasn’t allowed to talk about animal suffering if it involved religion, even though welfare organisations, including the RSPCA call for an end to unstunned religious slaughter.

https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/farm/slaughter/religiousslaughter

I can’t see how opposing Halal slaughter makes me racist when I’ve objected to ALL forms of animal slaughter all of my life. (Morrissey Central, April 2019)

Hence his interest in Anne Marie Waters, a former left-wing activist, who had been recruited by far right grifter Tommy Robinson, who seems to have convinced her that the left would never put women’s rights (her particular angle) before Sharia Law, as administered by Sharia Courts, the first known one in Britain being established in 1982 in order to “solve the matrimonial problems of Muslims living in the United Kingdom in the light of Islamic family law”, for example marriages, divorce and inheritance issues”.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/religious-marriages-register-muslim-women-uk-abuse-a9663441.html

In August 2017, Anne Marie had gained a huge amount of publicity by entering the UKIP leadership election and by complaining that she’d been smeared as a racist to stop her feminism.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/irish-lesbian-hides-her-roots-in-bid-to-be-ukip-leader-hqtlmtrgj

Ms Waters, 39, who has twice tried to stand for election as a Labour candidate, is focusing much of her campaign on Muslim grooming gangs who have been convicted of sexually abusing girls in several English cities.

Anne Marie is the director of Sharia Watch UK, a watchdog which says its “particularly concerned with the elements of sharia law which are discriminatory and violent towards women and girls, and which endanger and threaten the democratic principle of freedom of speech.

https://web.archive.org/web/20180526005218/http://www.annemariewaters.org:80/response-from-defamation-solicitors/

Recently, I sought help to fund a consultation with defamation solicitors to discuss the legal position regarding newspapers referring to people as “far-right”, “fascist” or “racist” simply because we speak negatively about Islam.  Those of us who do so are frequently subject to smears from the press, which portrays us bigots and liars. 

At a book launch in June 2014, she said, Islam was an ideology that was being appeased by the state and ‘it is exactly the same appeasement that is allowing young girls to be raped in Britain, it’s got nothing to do with race, it’s got to do with the fact that we will not confront the misogyny at the very, very heart of this religion’.

There’s no evidence that Islam had anything to do with the grooming gang scandal but it’s true that for 20 years the police and social workers turned a blind eye to groups of mainly Muslim men sexually exploiting white girls, and a few people who raised concerns were labeled racists.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-40886658

Anne Marie seems genuinely tormented by the idea that religion gives men a licence to abuse, Tommy cheerfully latches on to anything that causes racial strife – from ‘reporting’ Asian grooming gangs in 2018 (online misinformation made it sound as if the courts were protecting the accused, rather than trying to avoid prejudicing the trial), to supporting Muslim parents who wanted LGBT+ teaching materials removed from primary schools, in 2020.

And the left really is intensely bad at dealing with anything to do with race that isn’t white supremacy.

‘There’s a persistent taboo on the Left which demands that every incident of terror be attributed to American foreign policy… But Islamists aren’t killing cartoonists because the U.S. invaded Iraq. And ISIS isn’t exterminating the Yazidis because of America’s sordid relationship with Saudi Arabia.’

https://www.salon.com/2015/11/17/the_left_has_an_islam_problem_if_liberals_wont_come_to_terms_with_religious_extremism_the_xenophobic_right_will_carry_the_day/

In April 2018, on Central, Morrissey recommended Douglas Murray’s The Strange Death of Europe, a conservative (at best) book that gathers so many true incidences of rights clashes between Islam and liberal values that you could miss the conspiracy theory that underpins it – that Cultural Marxists hate the West so much they’re allowing Saudi Arabia to stealth colonise it.

https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-strange-death-of-europe-9781472942241/

Morrissey repeated a couple of talking points about crime cover-ups – but not enough to be deeply into the alt-right, and he’s never walked back on his hatred for their hero, Trump.

“Trump has received so much attention, especially when compared to other candidates – Bernie Sanders, for example. Although the media said he would not win, every day, all the headlines: Trump, Trump, Trump, Trump!.. The American media helped Trump, yes, they first created it. Whether they criticise him or laugh at him, he does not care, he just wants to see his picture and his name. The American media have shot themselves in the leg… Since he has been in power, he has exhausted the world… He grabs after everything like a little child. He is not a leader. He is a pest… I never expected him to be elected. Maybe, I have no faith in the political elite anymore.” (Der Spiegel, November 2017)

Even in Fiona’s interview he mostly focuses on animals, music, and escaping England.

…they assume you’ve adopted the moral high ground by refusing to eat a dead animal. And they’re right! But you only take the stand on behalf of the butchered animal – you don’t make money from your point of view. You become the voice of the animal …. who kicked and struggled to hang on to life, but who was chopped up because some fat oaf in Woking fancied some commercial-break nibbles. The truth is, vegans are actually superior beings. A television documentary recently covered a duck farm somewhere in England, and as all the chicks emerged from their incubator chirping away, the TV presenter said “Ooh they’re so cute, they’re so beautiful, oh look, look at their little faces,” and then she turned to the camera with a straight face and said matter-of-factly “the chicks will be allowed to live for 8 weeks and will then be slaughtered” and I thought, wow, people really ARE utterly stupid, aren’t they? This is what you’re up against – recognition that the chicks were beautiful, yet not ALLOWED to live longer than 8 weeks because someone wants to suck on their innards. It’s barbaric. Do people realize how deadly they sound? 

There are a lot of singers who just want to get on the TV and be looked at. I know I do. Sorry, that was a joke.

I love to travel now, and I feel very excited to be in Turkey, Poland, Finland, Israel, and so on. Whether they actually want me there is entirely another matter. But, of course, it’s always great to get away from Channel 4 News. In fact, that really is the main reason to travel …

Ex-fan Stewart Lee however decided that mentioning Tommy Robinson’s name meant that there’s no longer any way to make the case that Morrissey ever meant anything other than what he says – that he was telling a Bengali that he didn’t belong in the UK (Bengali In Platforms), that he was saying England should be for the English (National Front Disco), even though Morrissey is an Irish Catholic who didn’t feel he belonged in England and was called a ‘Paddy’ at school, not because of his middle-name, but because he was Irish.

I don’t think I’ve ever really had a Manchester accent. The accent is really quite broad, whereas I’ve always had a very flat accent – there’s a soft lilt in there somewhere. But then you have to remember my background. My parents are from Dublin, they met and married there… My mother’s family grew up in Pearse Street but later moved to Crumlin where my father’s from. Going back even further my mother’s father was from Cashel. Their name was McInnerny and they used to own half of Cashel, they were wealthy land owners – there’s still a few of them down there. So with so much Irishness around us, 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. I mean, there I was, born, braised and bred in Manchester but I was still always called `Paddy’. And 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’ve always been independent in the true sense of the word and I shall remain so. I’ve never been part of anything. I’ve never belonged to anything. Even when The Smiths were doing Top Of The Pops we felt like outsiders. It doesn’t matter that I’ve been on EMI, Mercury or RCA, I’ve always maintained the true spirit that I feel. (Irish Times, November, 1999)

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/paddy-english-man-part-1-1.252576

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/paddy-english-man-part-2-1.252578

Black and White People Will Never Get On

In the September 1992 issue of Q Magazine, Morrissey was asked by Adrian Deevoy:

Do you think people are innately racist?

And he replied:

Yes. I don’t want to sound horrible or pessimistic but I don’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 French will never like the English. The English will never like the French. That tunnel will collapse.

This turned into a racism scandal, and is still cited in evidence against him.

But why would he be optimistic, even in a hyperbolic answer that ends in a joke, in 1992 when LA had experienced intense race riots in the wake of the acquittal of four police officers who were caught on camera beating up a black man for a traffic violation…

https://www.npr.org/2017/04/26/524744989/when-la-erupted-in-anger-a-look-back-at-the-rodney-king-riots?t=1612108445205

Catholics and Protestants were still fighting in Northern Ireland – 85 people would be murdered that year…

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/1992-in-the-north-85-people-killed-in-the-troubles-1.3340596

And the former Yugoslavia had disintegrated into a vicious, and genocidal, civil war?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17632399

There was nothing in 1992 to indicate that groups would one day get on with each other.

In March 1993, in the NME, Steve Sutherland, discussed Morrissey with David Bowie and Brett Anderson.

NME: OK, so we all agree that Brett has the right to be ambivalent about his sexuality in his songs and we agree with David that a person has the right to be ambivalent with his or her own personal sexuality, but doesn’t that also apply across the board? For instance, David, you’ve covered Morrissey’s ‘I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday‘ on your new album. I don’t know if you’re aware that he’s been ostracized recently for his ambivalent use of the Union Jack at his concerts. It has been decided that Morrissey does not have the right to be ambivalent about race and that he should make a statement regarding whether he is or is not a racist. Are we not beating him with the same stick?

Brett: “No. The difference is, the way I speak about things is in a positive way and I think the way he’s speaking about certain issues of racism is an intentionally negative way. Therefore, I think we need to know the reasons behind it.”

Bowie: “I have to be careful here because I’m not quite sure what he said. But what I believe he said is that blacks and whites will never get on. I think that’s the general tone of it. So I guess the adult approach is to say. OK, let’s take his question and figure out for ourselves our own answer to that. Will they get on? Won’t they get on? And why? He is just posing a question so there is an argument that it’s perfectly OK for him to just pose that question. “He’s not giving us facts either way or giving us his feelings on the matter. Surely it would only be really negative if he were to say blacks and whites will never get on because it’s obvious that one is superior to the other.”

NME: I think his silence is more sinister than that. I’m suspicious of his motives. He’s never, to my knowledge, committed one altruistic act in his life so I don’t know why he should start now.

Brett: “He’s said other things in the past about how reggae is vile and hang the DJ and other things with all these connotations but, the thing is, he might actually be one of the most generous people that’s ever lived. I don’t know if it’s true but, by making himself a target, he might actually be trying to mend some gaps and build some bridges. I mean, he must know that he’s making himself a target because he’s not stupid and, by having criticism directed towards him, he might actually be doing some good. It might just be possible that he’s thinking that.”

NME: Oh come on! He’s just luxuriating in playing the misunderstood, the martyr, and damn the consequences.

Bowie: “I mist say I found him charming the couple of times I met him. When he heard my version of ‘I Know It’s Gonna Happen’ (which, according to Brett, is “very 50s, very Johnny Ray”), it brought a tear to his eye and he said, ‘Oooh, it’s so-o-o grand!’ ”

NME: I’ve been suspicious of him from the start. All those bedsit anthems about wallowing in misery didn’t seem to be helping anybody achieve anything. He was just making himself an icon on the back of other people’s inadequacies and I don’t find that in any way admirable.

Bowie: “Tell that to Samuel Beckett. Or John Osbourne.”

So Steve and Brett decided Morrissey had no right to speak because he was negative, sinister and ambivalent – although Morrissey has never been ambivalent about racism, he’s made it clear he thinks it’s wrong, he’s ambivalent about human nature, and is from an Irish Catholic community that experienced colonial oppression and discrimination, while Ireland was still in the midst of a paramilitary civil war.

https://www.runnymedetrust.org/bgIrishCommunity.html

Also damaging/demeaning stereotypes can still be reinforced by ‘positive’ things – the charitable and cheerful ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’, reduced the entire continent of Africa into a starving desert that only needed the West to bung it some cash.

http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/11/band-aid-30-bob-geldoffebolaafrica.html

And they were talking to David Bowie – an artist who went through a fascist phase, and an underage sex scandal – without ever becoming a pariah.