In 1986 Frank Owen accused the Smiths song, Panic, of being an attack on black music.
“Pop has never been this divided,” wrote Simon Reynolds in his much-lauded, recent piece on the indie scene, referring to the chasm that now exists between indie-pop and black pop. The detestation that your average indie fan feels for black music can be gauged by the countless letters they write to the music press whenever a black act is featured on the front page. It’s a bit like the late Sixties all over again with a burgeoning Head culture insisting that theirs’ is the “real” radical music, an intelligent and subversive music that provides an alternative to the crude showbiz values of black pop. Morrissey has further widened this divide with the recent single, Panic – where “Metal Guru” meets the most explicit denunciation yet of black pop. “Hang the DJ” urges Morrissey. (Frank Owen, Melody Maker, September 1986)
Owen had a theory that “white” music was intelligent and “black” music was physical.
[Black music:] What it says can’t necessarily be verbalised easily. It doesn’t seek to change the world like rock music by speaking grand truths about politics, sex and the human condition. It works at a much more subtle level – at the level of the body and the shared abandon of the dancefloor. It won’t change the world, but it’s been said it may well change the way you walk through the world. (Frank Owen, Melody Maker, September 1986)
But the general assumption was that Owen meant the lines “burn down the disco” and “hang the DJ” were literally about burning down a nightclub playing disco music and hanging a black DJ.
In reality it was inspired by the juxtaposition of cheery pop and a news report about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on BBC Radio 1.
A disco was any gathering where recorded music was played. Discos were regularly held in schools, village halls, universities and nightclubs all over the UK. Radio 1 had a live road show every Summer and their DJs played at live events throughout the year.
Miner’s Gala, Cannock Chase, 2nd June 1983:
When The Smiths came on it was quite obvious that there was going to be a bit of trouble. There had been numerous speeches by various mining union officials and Labour Party politicians, plus a rousing speech by Colin Welland which more than fired up the passions of the mainly male, largely drunk, audience. The Smiths were on stage for a couple of numbers before the verbal abuse started, most of it homophobic and directed at Morrissey. It was no surprise that the bottles and glasses started flying soon after and the band called it a night. (Nick Knibb, Passions Just Like Mine, http://www.passionsjustlikemine.com/live/smiths-g830602.htm )
But even if Disco meant the genre, Disco in the 1980s was primarily associated with it’s most ardent fanbase, gay men.
Between 1983 & 1985 born-again Christian Donna Summer caused intense outrage with an alleged series of homophobic remarks, including that AIDS is God’s judgement on homosexuals. Fans & some nightclubs boycotted her, the gay press condemned her, and Bronski Beat was under fire for covering I Feel Love.
Or just a play on Disco Inferno? (Burn baby burn) burn that mother down, (Burn baby burn) disco inferno, (Burn baby burn) burn that mother down.
Some journalists had their suspicions, but few seemed to twig that Frank Owen’s assertion was absurd.
The holier-than-thou aspect of Morrissey’s public profile has naturally enough tempted numerous journalists to try and bring him down, though none have met with any great success. Some have unsuccessfully tried to brand him as a racist, picking up on his ‘burn down the disco’ sentiments on black music… The other line has been to probe for a story on the man’s sexuality, taking their cue from the camp artwork on Smiths record sleeves and from lyrics like ‘I’m the eighteenth descendant of some old queen or another’. Perhaps the most “creative” of these investigations involved putting Morrissey together with his friend Pete Burns and “documenting” the outcome. (Stuart Bailie, Record Mirror, February 1987)
Between 1963 and their arrest in 1965, Manchester serial killers, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, kidnapped and murdered at least five children – Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans – and buried them on Saddleworth Moor.
In 1984 the Smiths released Suffer Little Children, a song about the murders, as a b-side to Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, creating outrage in the press, which was defused by Morrissey meeting the mothers of the victims to reassure them that he wasn’t mocking or glorifying their deaths.
Some of the reports in newspapers in Portsmouth and Hartlepool – all the places that really count – some of the reports were so full of hate, it was like I was one of the Moors Murderers, that I’d gone out and murdered these children. Some of them were so full of hate that one just had to do something, but not read them. It was incredible.” (Morrissey, Melody Maker, March 1985 )
An interesting thing to note is the level of tone policing that Morrissey is subject to. There is huge anxiety about whether he’s ironic or sincere. His peer group can write ghoulish songs about crime – he has to be sincere. Any pop star can enthusiastically hold a Union Jack – he has to be ironic.
The Smiths would appear to be degenerating into an effete, mincing version of The Pretenders on this evidence, and I reckon M should take another tip from Chrissie and do the decent thing by Sandie soon. Anything to at least partially halt the collapse of the band into the annoying, silly, blubbering, infantile mess on display tonight… The common-or-garden Smiths – lots of flim-flam, lots of skullduggery, no great shakes. (Adrian Maddox, Melody Maker, May, 1984)
On the 5th September 1983 the Sun ran a story with the headline, “Ban Child Porn Song Plea To Beeb” that accused Morrissey of writing songs that were pro paedophila.
The NME hyped the drama, but was on his side.
Following allegations made by overweight Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens (described by Private Eye as the “Lothario of the dancant”) that ‘Handsome Devil’ was a song explicitly about child-molesting, Mancunian four-piece The Smiths were reportedly under scrutiny by the BBC. However, the claim, reported in The Sun by Nick Ferrari, turns out to be totally unfounded. Asked to comment, Scott Piering at Rough Trade said that he viewed the allegations “seriously”: “Morrissey made it clear that none of the songs were about child-molesting, and Ferrari accepted this, and then he went and wrote it anyway.” Added Morrissey, “this piece makes me out to be a proud child-molester and I don’t even like children. ‘Handsome Devil’ is entirely directed towards adults”… (NME, September 10th, 1983)
Sounds wanted him banned.
Singer Sandie Shaw worried that he’d harm her baby.
‘Morrissey would die to meet you’. At that point I was unaware of Morrissey’s penchant for melodrama and that Geoff was talking literally… The following day a hysterical story broke in ‘The Sun’ saying that the Smiths were releasing songs based on iffy subject matter: ‘Reel around the Fountain’ was supposed to be about child molesting or something, and another, ‘Suffer little children’, to be about the Moors Murders. I rang Geoff to cancel. ‘I can’t have a pervert in my home with my kids’… ‘Look, I’ll come with him to chaperone’… I uncancelled the appointment… I scrutinized Morrissey. He didn’t look like a child molester to me. Amie seemed to feel otherwise, and again I began to question my wisdom in meeting him. All my worst nightmares vied with the sweet angelic vision seated before me. As soon as he managed to mobilize his mouth and speak, all my fears subsided. He was the perfect gentleman… (Sandie Shaw, The World At My Feet, HarperCollins, 9 May 1991)
The BBC removed Reel Around the Fountain from a show.
However fatuous and fantastic The Sun article was, it did succeed in its dirtying The Smiths name (for reasons unknown). It also ensured that the session, which wasn’t being “investigated,” was censored and that a six minute version of “Reel Around The Fountain” was removed. According to Mike Hawkes, the producer for David Jensen’s show, the specially commissioned track was removed purely as a precautionary measure. (David Dorrell, NME, September 24th 1983)
The scandal burned out, but left a lingering sense that there was something sinister and sick lurking in Morrissey’s lyrics.
This was a era when gay or “sexually ambiguous” men were considered a threat to children. The gay age of consent was 21. And legislation was introduced to stop homosexuality being mentioned in schools.
It was also an era when underage girls were sexualised. Glamour model Sam Fox posed nude while still at school. The Police had a number one hit with a song about a male teacher having an affair with a female student. Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones dated 13 year old “wild child” Mandy Smith.
I wanted to write a song about sexuality in the classroom… I’d done teaching practice at secondary schools and been through the business of having 15-year-old girls fancying me – and me really fancying them! How I kept my hands off them I don’t know. (Sting, L’Historia Bandido, 1981)
The prejudice resurfaced when a contingent and provisional conversation with Der Spiegel was reported as a robust defense of sex offenders.
Which stirred old stereotypes.
And slid unquestioned into the idea that parents had to protect their children from his music.
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)
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)
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.
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)
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)
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 knowthey would do anything for me… do not be influencedby the tyrannies of the MSM who will tell youthat 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)
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)
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….
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 knowthey would do anything for me… do not be influencedby the tyrannies of the MSM who will tell youthat 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 alwaysbe alongside each other – everyone’s culture of value;no more fashionable outrage; cows are friends tohumans – 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).
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)
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)
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.
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.
Morrissey has never wanted the Smiths to get back together.
I don’t know a single person who wants a Smiths reunion! But, no, there aren’t any bands I like to see again because your memory of them is how they were in their prime or at their best or at their most desperate, and you look to them to be someone that they no longer are. (Morrissey, Billboard, February 2014)
But despite that, Will Hodgkinson, in a review of the Smiths tribute band, the Smyths, has blamed a political party that Morrissey doesn’t now support.
Which is another way of gaslighting Morrissey after the NME spent 30 years (& counting) smearing him as a racist because of his sexuality.
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)
Which led to his misplaced (& shortlived) faith in the leader of For Britain, a gay Irish immigrant vegan, called Anne Marie Waters, who had been in the Labour Party, the National Secular Society and feminist charity One Law for All and who was (and still is) complaining that she was smeared as a racist for campaigning against sexist, homophobic and cruel religious exemptions.
I have been subject to an avalanche of lies and smears from people who don’t understand the issues (or the difference between race and religion) and don’t have the courage to. (Anne Marie Waters, BBC Wales, August 2017)
It was obvious that Morrissey didn’t believe she was far right, and that his values are left-wing even if he believed the modern world had somehow switched the labels. He’s supported George Galloway, Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, the Animal Welfare Party and Dick Gregory… because of animals or an opposition to the class system.
He wore the For Britain party badge twice, and mentioned her and/or her party 4 times. He didn’t join. Or vote for them. Or contribute. He stopped supporting her in May 2019.
I know the media don’t want Anne Marie Waters and they try to smear her, but they are wrong and they should give her a chance, and they should stop accusing people who want open debate as being ‘racist’. As I said previously, the left has become right-wing and the right-wing has become left – a complete switch, and this is a very unhappy modern Britain. (Morrissey, Tremr, June 2018)
I despise racism. I despise fascism. I would do anything for my Muslim friends and I know they would do anything for me. … 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)
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)
I still haven’t ever voted for a political party in my entire life. I haven’t ever belonged to a political party… I’ve never been on a political rally and I’ve never given a political speech so my apparent position as a political voice is… nonexistent. (Morrissey, Central, July 2021)
He has no big money, reach or clout. He isn’t online. He doesn’t go to celebrity events. He hasn’t pivoted to a right-wing audience. He’s very unlikely to ever speak to the media. His nephew will occasionally type up an interview or statement for his website, Central, which will either be plundered for damning misquotes or ignored.
His critics meanwhile have spent 5 years (& counting), acres of print, thousands of social media posts, bits on radio/television, and dis tracks, knowingly promoting the far right with the dedication of a groyper and the piety of the Witchfinder General.
The Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch, whose media Empire has been accused of destabilising democracy and furthering white supremacy and yet no hack or celebrity has to fear social death if they work for him. Or any other mainstream right-wing outlet.
Attacking a socially dysfunctional outsider for wildly misrepresented ‘crimes’ in perpetuity is bigotry, doing it while stealing his work is horrifying.
The Murdochs own Fox News but rarely get the scrutiny they deserve for bankrolling racism and hatred.
On a side note – even Church of England vicars have no charity. Will gladly serve an institution with a history of colonialism, tyranny, corruption and child abuse – can’t listen to This Charming Man because Morrissey.
The song I can no longer listen to This Charming Man. Much as I like the song, Morrissey has ceased to be charming for me. (Rev Richard Coles, The Guardian, January 2022)
On February 3rd 1980, when Morrissey was 20 years old, he wrote to a friend about a protest he’d recently attended against the Corrie bill, legislation that, if passed, would have restricted access to abortion.
As far as we know Morrissey at the time had never been pregnant and had never been responsible for anyone else being pregnant – but in The Smiths, A Visual Documentary, published in 1994, Johnny Rogan calls him out for not focusing on the foetus:
Morrissey attends an anti-Abortion Act march. There are no comments on the tragic plight of the unborn child from the sensitive one, who lamely notes, ‘I love a good demonstration’.