Listen, we need to talk. I can’t sit idly by anymore –and by the way I’m not the only one who’s gobsmacked – but I/we all want to know: What the serious fuck? I’m sorry to start on such a bold, impetuous, angry note, but, really. What is on earth is going on in that head of yours these days? Recently, the stuff you’ve said and done has really made me question where our relationship is going.
We were so close when you were smashing the life out of daffodils (Wilde’s favourite bloom) on mic stands: me in my tormented youth, you in your uncomfortable 20s. How Soon is Now? was the soundtrack to many a night, a musical force that united disaffected suburban who longed for escape to what-we-knew-not. With your oversized features, occasionally goose-like voice, librarian glasses and disavowed sexuality, you became an endearing champion of the outcast. We both hated Thatcher, and everything she stood for, in no small part due to our Irish blood/English hearts. You made being a vegetarian cool in the 80s, when kale was on no one’s radar, and in North America at least, vegetarians were weirdos from California that were disparagingly called “veg-heads.” Last week, I even saw a guy riding a bike with a MEAT IS MURDER sign; it made me think fondly of you.
When you split from Johnny Marr – ending The Smiths forever – it was awkward, but I was still there for you. True, there were weird rumours about your being in love with Marr, and later he said you kept firing managers, and then there was the issue of no one getting along… but it was ok, I trusted that your voice would remain my baritone balm. I stole my sister’s Viva Hate cassette tape and played it til it turned into black loopy spaghetti. ‘Every Day is Like Sunday’ remains a song I turn to when things get complicated and sapped of hope, an ode to the casual doom of life.
I have to say however, over the years you have developed a woe-is-me take on your life that is unbecoming. How can you claim to be hard done by when you’ve fully lived your fame, leaving England for the sunny climes of Los Angeles? You largely record what you want. Every venue you play goes vegetarian for your presence. Yes, the British Press are ruthless – that, we can all agree on.
But what was going on a few years back when you got uppity because We Are Scientists were playing the room next door to you (in California). That was uncool, it really pissed them off – which by the way is super hard to do, they being such good-natured humans. (Keith is even vegetarian – you could have swapped recipes or bonded over tofu). I was willing to put up with some measure of drama, I guess, after all, you’re the Poet King of Indie Rock – you can throw a fit or two.
But this recent stuff is beyond the pale, Mozzer. The train wreck of racism, xenophobia and generalized hate that is For England party? “Nigel Farage would make a good Prime Minister?!” “You have no white privilege.” “As an entertainer you have no human rights.” *record screech here* Even as I read that interview, I still wanted to believe you hadn’t morphed into what you’d seemingly spent (y)our youth fighting so hard against: conservativism. Montreal-specific digression: what must Murray A. Lightburn (The Dears) think of having being called ‘Black Morrissey’ now?
And then you came for my Interpol. I’m warning you, Morrissey, hands off my Interpol, you are not taking them down with you, under any circumstances, and over my ‘There is A Light That Never Goes Out’ dead body. You losing your mind I can tolerate, but don’t take Paul, Daniel, and Sam. Nope. Not having it. It’s the question on every interviewer’s lips, they’ve already had to offer excuses and explanations, and do the We Tour With Lots of People Please Don’t Hate Us dance. Frankly, if you hadn’t been such a jackass of late, I’d have bought tickets in a heartbeat.
MORRISSEY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING MAN?! Everyone who grew up with The Smiths and you as the soundtrack to their lives is genuinely baffled and also, it should be noted, horrified. You’ve become the Embarrassing Uncle at the family event that crashes conversations with outstandingly antiquated and misinformed punditry. It used to be so easy to love you, and now I have no idea what to think of you. What would Young-Morrissey say to Now-Morrissey?
PS: Thatcher will always suck.