Saturday 16 February 2019

Morrissey will end up in the Smithsonian yet

Rock

Shooting From The Lip: Morrissey has never been short of a controversial opinion
Shooting From The Lip: Morrissey has never been short of a controversial opinion
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

At this stage of his life, the pre-eminent Mancunian malcontent has become something of an institution. I think most of you will agree that Morrissey at The Smithsonian has a certain nostalgic ring to it? Everything he does appears worthy of international comment or tribute. His every utterance brings a smile to the glum face of the world.

Still fabulously truculent and self-martyring at 55, Morrissey has a wit that is like Oscar Wilde rebooted for the 21st Century.

Of Richard Madeley, of Richard and Judy fame, Mozzer pronounced thus: "He referred to me as an 'insufferable puffed-up prat'. This is a bit rich coming from a man who actually married his own mother."

Bob Geldof, meanwhile, "is a nauseating character. Band Aid was the most self-righteous platform ever in the history of popular music." Or on the art of being a long streak-of-misery, Morrissey once noted: "When I'm lying in my bed I think about life and I think about death and neither one particularly appeals to me." Life would be a truly duller experience without Steven Patrick Morrissey.

Last year, his memoir Autobiography revealed, un-shockingly, that the singer had a nourishing romance with photographer Jake Owen Walters, who has "BATTTERSEA" tattooed inside his lower lip, and has "lived a colourful 29 years as no stranger to fearlessness". Morrissey described the actual relationship as being "the first time in my life the eternal 'I' becomes 'we', as, finally, I can get on with someone."

Never one for easy categorization or labels, Morrissey then released a typically Morrissey statement: "Unfortunately, I am not homosexual. In technical fact, I am humasexual. I am attracted to humans," he went on to explain. "But, of course - not many." Judging by his new album World Peace Is None of Your Business, Morrissey is finding the human species in general less and less attractive with time.

"Wolf down T-bone steak, wolf down cancer of the prostate," he sings on I'm Not A Man, a song wherein Mozzer is appearing to wish cancer on those humans who choose to eat meat. I'm Not A Man, granted, is one of the cheerier tracks on this, Morrissey's 10th and most misanthropic solo album to date - and in a particularly perverse way, perhaps his best solo offering in a long time. Throughout, he sings like he is channelling Alan Bennett or Dennis Potter in foul mood (then he always does). Kick The Bride Down The Aisle borders on misogyny:

'She just wants a slave/

To break his back in pursuit of a living wage/

So that she can laze and graze/

For the rest of her days.'

On Staircase At The University - "And her head split three ways" - Morrissey is singing of suicide. On the rather catchy misanthropy of Earth Is the Loneliest Planet Of All, he sings: "Earth is the cruellest place you will never understand." (Lyrics like this aren't surprising from the quill of Morrissey; what is surprising, however, is that the music on this track is more Rodrigo y Gabriela than Johnny Marr. ) For those of you who have forgotten, Morrissey wrote the infamous 1984 song about the Moors murders for his band The Smiths called Suffer Little Children: "A woman said : "I know my son is dead /I'll never rest my hands on his sacred head" (Morrissey would later befriend Ann West, the mother of the youngest victim, Lesley Ann Downey); and after the 1988 release of Margaret On The Guillotine: "The kind people have a wonderful dream/ Margaret On The guillotine/When will you die?'

Morrissey has never been one to duck the tough questions - which is why perhaps Earth has in the past sometimes seemed lonely.

Sunday Independent

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