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Is Morrissey Funny?

Morrissey - Funny?


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dialectician

The Main Enemy is at home.
On the same subject, there's the line in 'Bengali in Platforms': 'Shelve your Western plans / And understand / That life is hard enough when you belong here.' Don't you think the song could be taken as condescending?

'Yeeeees ... I do think it could be taken that way, and another journalist has said that it probably will. But it's not being deliberately provocative. It's just about people who, in order to be embraced or feel at home, buy the most absurd English clothes.'
Such utter tosh lmao. As if there wasn't a british working class culture of affluence, dressing smart and nice.
 

dialectician

The Main Enemy is at home.
You're satisfied with your dissatisfaction?

'Totally. I couldn't be happier. I don't want anything to interfere with this state of dissatisfaction.'

And there'll be an endlessly renewed harvest of dissatisfied young souls filling up this phase which is your constituency, a.k.a. adolescence.

'But I don't consider it to be adolescent. I'm not adolescent, I'm twenty-eight. It's something quite beyond and more complicated than 'adolescence', something that hasn't been thought out yet, but shouldn't be dismissed as "adolescent".'
 

dialectician

The Main Enemy is at home.
The Smiths were prime movers in what you could call the depoliticization of personal life after punk's initial scornful demystification. Remember 1980: 'personal politics' was the phrase that tripped off every lip, groups like Gang of Four ('Love Like Anthrax') and Au Pairs worked towards their dream of the equal relationship liberated from the veils of romantic 'false consciousness' -- unconsciously mimicking the pragmatism of therapists and counsellors, with their notion of love as contract.

Then 1982: attention shifted to the public language of love, to pop's iconography -- the buzzwords were 'the language of love', 'the lexicon of love', 'the lovers' discourse', demystification was superseded by deconstruction and ambiguity.

Finally, with Nick Cave's misogynist agonies, the Jesus and Mary Chain's candyskin classicism, and The Smiths' eternally unrequited gaze, came the return of romanticism in all its purity and privacy. Pop had returned to what it has always been about: the privileging of the personal as the realm in which the meaning of your life is resolved. The motor-idea of romanticism -- the dream of the redemptive love that will make everything alright, resolve all difference -- has, in the twentieth century, replaced religion as the opium of the people.
Edit: the copy I have is a different interview.

That's quoted in Simon Reynolds - Bring the Noise.
 
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dialectician

The Main Enemy is at home.
found the interview. nice bit of homophobia as well.

“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. So is the music of The Smiths and their ilk racist, as Green claims?
“Reggae, for example, is to me the most racist music in the entire world. It’s an absolute total glorification of black supremacy… There is a line when defence of one’s race becomes an attack on another race and, because of black history and oppression, we realise quite clearly that there has to be a very strong defence. But I think it becomes very extreme sometimes.”
”But, ultimately, I don’t have very cast iron opinions on black music other than black modern music which I detest. I detest Stevie Wonder. I think Diana Ross is awful. I hate all those records in the Top 40 – Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston. I think they’re vile in the extreme. In essence this music doesn’t say anything whatsoever.”
But it does, it does. 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.
“I don’t think there’s any time anymore to be subtle about anything, you have to get straight to the point. Obviously to get on Top Of The Pops these days, one has to be, by law, black. I think something political has occurred among Michael Hurl and his friends and there has been a hefty pushing of all these black artists and all this discofied nonsense into the Top 40. I think, as a result, that very aware younger groups that speak for now are being gagged.”
You seem to be saying that you believe that there is some sort of black pop conspiracy being organised to keep white indie groups down.
“Yes, I really do.”
Morrissey goes on:
“The charts have been constructed quite clearly as an absolute form of escapism rather than anything anyone can gain any knowledge by. I find that very disheartening because it wasn’t always that way. Isn’t it curious that practically none of these records reflect life as we live it? Isn’t it curious that 93 and a half percent of these records relect life as it isn’t lived? That foxes me!”
“If you compare the exposure that records by the likes of Janet Jackson and the stream of other anonymous Jacksons get to the level of daily airplay that The Smiths receive – The Smiths have had at least 10 consecutive chart hits and we still can’t get on Radio 1′s A list. Is that not a conspiracy? The last LP ended up at number two and we were still told by radio that nobody wanted to listen to The Smiths in the daytime. Is that not a conspiracy? I do get the scent of a conspiracy.”
“And, anyway, the entire syndrome has one tune and surely that’s enough to condemn the entire thing.”
People say that about The Smiths. And it seems to me that you’re foregrounding something that isn’t necessarily relevant to a lot of black music, especially hip-hop. It’s like me saying that I don’t like The Smiths because they don’t use a beatbox.
”The lack of melody is not the only reason that I find it entirely unlistenable. The lyrical content is merely lists.”
Do you dislike the macho masculinity of many of the records?
”No. I don’t find it very masculine.”
Well, a lot of it is about…
”What? Chicks?” he sniggers.
No. One upmanship. Having the best, the biggest.
”Mmmmm. It’s just not the world I live in and, similarly, I’m sure they wouldn’t care that much for The Smiths.
I don’t want to feel in the dock because there are some things I dislike. Having said that, my favourite record of all time is “Third Finger, Left Hand” by Martha and the Vandellas which can lift me from the most doom-laden depression.”
Why is it that people like yourself can eulogise Sixties black pop and yet be so antagonistic towards present-day black pop? Nostalgia?
”No. It was made in the Sixties but I don’t listen to the record now and say, ‘Well, I must remember this is a Sixties record and it’s 1986 now so let’s put it all into perspective.’ It has as much value now as ever. We shouldn’t really talk in terms of decades.”
It seems to me that nostalgia is something that afflicts the whole indie scene. They can’t face up to the fact that pop music is no longer created; it’s assembled, quoted and collated. That’s why so many indie bands are caught in a timewarp with ‘real’ musicians playing ‘real’ music on ‘real’ instruments. Isn’t that the reason for The Smiths’ much-vaunted Luddite tendencies? Can’t hi-tech have a liberating aspect, enabling non-musicians to construct music? And isn’t this well in tune with the punk ethic that the indie scene is supposed to draw its inspiration from?
”I hate the idea of having to learn to play the instruments, too. But it makes it so easy. It means that anyone with no arms, no legs nor a head can suddenly make a superb LP which will obviously go platinum. I can’t help it. I love Wigan, I love George Formby, I love bicycles. I love Wigan’s Ovation.”
”Hi-tech can’t be liberating. It’ll kill us all. You’ll be strangulated by the cords of your compact disc.”

Morrissey Interview, Melody Maker
 

Kaka Tim

Crush the Saboteurs!
found the interview. nice bit of homophobia as well.



Morrissey Interview, Melody Maker
i remember when that interview came out and it caused a stir at the time - but it never went beyond the letters page of the NME. Its was pre-social media and media coverage of pop music outside of the music press was limited to gossipy gloss in the tabloids (which barely acknowledged the likes of the smiths) and fringe articles in the broadsheets - anyone over 45 was from the pre-beatles generation and the commentariat were still generally dismissive of pop culture.

I guess this enabled people to shove it down the memory hole, dismiss it as morrissey trolling (as we'd say now) or forgive him cos he was a man with such a singular, original mind, you had to allow him to be come out with stupid gobshite nonsense. Similarly, Clapton's rabildly racist diatribe ten years earlier had not affected his career one iota and - outside lefty circles - was filed under "he was strung out and pissed - and he has said sorry" (he hadn't - not really) .

Nowadays morrissey coming out with that shit would be NEWS and would be seized on by every columnist on every paper and it would be all over social media - exactly what happened with his recent embittered, racist drivellings
Reading that interview back now it is quite staggering in its (willful) ignorance and its toxic sense of entitlement - the imagined injustice of black people having success (at morrissey's expense!) - its straight out of the white supremacist playbook.

Grim.
 

ska invita

back on the other side
The DJ was Steve Wright. No lynching connotations. Morrissey's turn to expat reactionary romanticism is undeniable, but I don't think this song is part of the evidence.

View attachment 171047
Fair enough.. In that article hang the DJ comes up within the context of a black music conspiracy and too strong black pride/power sentiments in reggae...he is complaining that djs play too much black music . Steve Wright doesn't spring immediately to mind.
 

Patteran

A nowadays excuse
Fair enough.. In that article hang the DJ comes up within the context of a black music conspiracy and too strong black pride/power sentiments in reggae...he is complaining that djs play too much black music . Steve Wright doesn't spring immediately to mind.
There are distinctions between lyrics & interviews during The Smiths era. I really don't think the band would have stood behind dodge lyrics - Johnny Marr's sound & no fool. The flirtation with nationalist imagery & ambiguous/questionable lyrics doesn't emerge till Morrissey goes solo.

There was a big crowd of us from AFA working the beer tent at Finsbury Park when Morrissey supported Madness & this tendency first materialised - he appeared wrapped in the union jack to a backdrop of 'angels with dirty faces' skinhead images. There were boneheads in the crowd, & the atmosphere was already volatile. It was genuinely bizarre - like them or not, The Smiths had a real impact, especially in teenage lives, especially in Manchester & the north. The NHS-specced flower waving vegetarian outsider, the friend to the friendless, the voice who had crooned 'it takes guts to be gentle & kind' to thousands of kids growing up in post-industrial Thatcherite bleakness was wooing the cruel. I've said it before here, I hoped he was being arch. I was wrong.
 

SheilaNaGig

Struggling and striving
I never liked Morrissey, and mostly never liked The Smiths either, although I really like a lot of Marr’s guitar work. I found Morrissey disdainful and sneery, even when he was doing all that so called inclusive stuff. He always seemed to me like the kid at school who no one liked, for good reason, who then detested and loathed everyone who disliked him, and then got his own gang started of other disenfranchised outsiders. The sneery disdain was really clear to me. I then met him once (professionally) and he was revoltingly dismissive, rude and divisive, so that confirmed my impressions. So when I saw him do that Union Jack bollocks at Finsbury Park, it kind of clicked into place for me. I wasn’t really surprised because it was in keeping with what I’d surmised about him having a huge superiority thing going on. It kinda clicked that it was almost sort of inevitable that it would get expressed as some kind of bigotry eventually. The only surprise is how cocky and dumb he’s being about it. Him being pompous and petulant about how he’s right and misunderstood about it is no surprise at all of course.


Patteran His injunction about being brave enough to be kind reads to me more like a request to those who bullied people like him to be kinder in the playground, nothing about wider society. He’s always struck me as someone who is utterly self focused, completely wrapped up in his own story and image.

Because I’ve never been a fan I don’t know his lyrics intimately; and because I never liked him (to the confusion and consternation of several friends) I tend to interpret what I do know in less flattering light than do others. For me, nothing he’s ever said seemed anything other than self serving.
 
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Patteran

A nowadays excuse
I never liked Morrissey, and mostly never liked The Smiths either, although I really like a lot of Marr’s guitar work. I found Morrissey disdainful and sneery, even when he was doing all that so called inclusive stuff. He always seemed to me like the kid at school who no one liked, for good reason, who then detested and loathed everyone who disliked him, and then got his own gang started of other disenfranchised outsiders. The sneery disdain was really clear to me. I then met him once (professionally) and he was revoltingly dismissive, rude and divisive, so that confirmed my impressions. So when I saw him do that Union Jack bollocks at Finsbury Park, it kind of clicked into place for me. I wasn’t really surprised because it was in keeping with what I’d surmised about him having a huge superiority thing going on. It kinda clicked that it was almost sort of inevitable that it would get expressed as some kind of bigotry eventually. The only surprise is how cocky and dumb he’s being about it. Him being pompous and petulant about how he’s right and misunderstood about it is no surprise at all of course.


Patteran His injunction about being brave enough to be kind reads to me more like a request to those who bullied people like him to be kinder in the playground, nothing about wider society. He’s always struck me as someone who is utterly self focused, completely wrapped up in his own story and image.

Because I’ve never been a fan I don’t know his lyrics intimately; and because I never liked him (to the confusion and consternation of several friends) I tend to interpret what I do know in less flattering light than do others. For me, nothing he’s ever said seemed anything other than self serving.
Hiya. I think both those things can be correct - Morrissey is self-absorbed, & also comforting (perhaps to the similarly self-absorbed, but teenage years are rarely free of navel gazing). Anecdotally, at our school & surrounding schools in the mancunian 80s, he was important to a lot of kids who felt marginalised - plus The Smiths were the first of 'our' bands that belonged to the girls as much as the boys. That, plus the ambiguous sexuality, plus the vegetarianism, implied a wider decency - & the appearances with Red Wedge made them explicit. I don't think we were wrong about the band on aggregate. They weren't just Morrissey - Johnny Marr was always a cool cat - good shoes, great hair, a charismatic smoker who went to the football - his imperative to be kind was from a position of strength, not weakness. Mike Joyce has always been unfailingly friendly, & Andy Rourke once phoned in sick for my wife after a house party. Fuck Morrissey, sure, but I'm keeping The Smiths as A Good Thing.

 

SheilaNaGig

Struggling and striving
Hiya. I think both those things can be correct - Morrissey is self-absorbed, & also comforting (perhaps to the similarly self-absorbed, but teenage years are rarely free of navel gazing). Anecdotally, at our school & surrounding schools in the mancunian 80s, he was important to a lot of kids who felt marginalised - plus The Smiths were the first of 'our' bands that belonged to the girls as much as the boys. That, plus the ambiguous sexuality, plus the vegetarianism, implied a wider decency - & the appearances with Red Wedge made them explicit. I don't think we were wrong about the band on aggregate. They weren't just Morrissey - Johnny Marr was always a cool cat - good shoes, great hair, a charismatic smoker who went to the football - his imperative to be kind was from a position of strength, not weakness. Mike Joyce has always been unfailingly friendly, & Andy Rourke once phoned in sick for my wife after a house party. Fuck Morrissey, sure, but I'm keeping The Smiths as A Good Thing.


Oh for sure, I see and understand all those things too. Bands and what they say and mean to us is always complex and multi-layered. I’ve heard so many of my mates who are Smiths fans tell me all this and more, and of course I believe them. And I’m fully with you about Marr, and I’ve heard similar stories about the others too.

I’d also keep The Smiths in the Keep pile. even though they’re not my cup of tea.*

I’m just saying that for me, all this current stuff about Morrissey is fully in keeping with my initial impressions of him.









*as an aside, I’ve always loved how “not my cup of tea” is used in the context of rock and roll.
 

ouchmonkey

Singe Gainsbourg
He’s always struck me as someone who is utterly self focused, completely wrapped up in his own story and image.

Because I’ve never been a fan I don’t know his lyrics intimately; and because I never liked him (to the confusion and consternation of several friends) I tend to interpret what I do know in less flattering light than do others. For me, nothing he’s ever said seemed anything other than self serving.
As someone who adored The Smiths this also seemed blatantly obvious so it's always puzzled me people wringing their hands about how their impossibly self involved idol (who reflected their own teenage self involvement so well) would turn out to be a less than well balanced individual with unpleasant sides to his personality.
Still, the shit he comes out with gets more depressing by the year
 

ViolentPanda

Hardly getting over it.
There are distinctions between lyrics & interviews during The Smiths era. I really don't think the band would have stood behind dodge lyrics - Johnny Marr's sound & no fool. The flirtation with nationalist imagery & ambiguous/questionable lyrics doesn't emerge till Morrissey goes solo.

There was a big crowd of us from AFA working the beer tent at Finsbury Park when Morrissey supported Madness & this tendency first materialised - he appeared wrapped in the union jack to a backdrop of 'angels with dirty faces' skinhead images. There were boneheads in the crowd, & the atmosphere was already volatile. It was genuinely bizarre - like them or not, The Smiths had a real impact, especially in teenage lives, especially in Manchester & the north. The NHS-specced flower waving vegetarian outsider, the friend to the friendless, the voice who had crooned 'it takes guts to be gentle & kind' to thousands of kids growing up in post-industrial Thatcherite bleakness was wooing the cruel. I've said it before here, I hoped he was being arch. I was wrong.
Marr would have busted a guitar on Morrissey's face for any BritNat crap. The Anglo-Irish had enough crap that most of them wouldn't have dreamed of passing on.
As for Morrissey's post-Smiths output, there are some good songs, but many seem deliberately ambiguous. I know his largest audience is in the US, so maybe he's been consciously playing to a large "white identity" type audience for at least some of this time?
 

Kaka Tim

Crush the Saboteurs!
Marr would have busted a guitar on Morrissey's face for any BritNat crap. The Anglo-Irish had enough crap that most of them wouldn't have dreamed of passing on.
As for Morrissey's post-Smiths output, there are some good songs, but many seem deliberately ambiguous. I know his largest audience is in the US, so maybe he's been consciously playing to a large "white identity" type audience for at least some of this time?
apparently - and perhaps surprisingly - he has a big following amongst mexican americans.
 

Smokeandsteam

Exiting the Vampire Castle
Some much needed perspective here from Nick Cave on separating the art from the artists politics:

Nick Cave Questions Morrissey’s Politics, Defends His Music and Free Speech in Open Letter | Pitchfork

I still can’t help but wonder how much of this is deliberate provocation to keep Morrissey in the spotlight. I’d also add than in respect of the EU, monarchy, state of Britain his views are pretty much shared by the mass of working class people of his generation. The support of For Britain is seriously strange/disturbing and is profoundly sad to read
 
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