“The basic fascination I have with cats is nothing unusual. I find them very intelligent and very superior. And I feel entranced by them. If I see one in the street I feel immediately drawn to the cat. I have a friend, Chrissie Hynde [the singer with The Pretenders], she’s exactly the same. You can be walking with her along the street, she sees a cat, she walks away. You continue to walk on, talking to no one. You look around and she’s crouched down with a cat in a hedge. I’m exactly the same way. I’m fascinated by them.” — “Morrissey on… privacy, the Queen and The Smiths”, The Daily Telegraph, 17vi11
• Moz Mit Mog #1
At last… it’s OFFICIAL!
MORRISEY IS A TWAT
Cult pop singer Morrisey — hailed as hero by his fanatical fans — is a twat, according to experts. And that will come as bad news to his many admirers who have worshipped the pop idol since he came to fame as lead singer of The Smiths.
Professor Ivan Sogorski of Barrow-in-Furness University’s Department of Advanced Human Behavioural Studies came to his dramatic conclusion about the star after listening to many of his records and watching video footage of his TV appearances. And he summed up his professional opinion in a few short words.
“The man is an absolute twat,” he told us.
Professor Sogorski cited examples of behaviour which had lead him to his controversial conclusion. “Take for example Mr Morrisey’s appearance on Top Of The Pops in the early eighties when he wore oversized shirts, National Health glasses, a hearing aid, and flailed about the stage with daffodils sticking out of his back pocket. Clearly, even the most casual analysis could only conclude this to be the behaviour of an arsehole,” said the Professor.
As a part of his painstaking research, Professor Sogorski consulted a colleague to obtain a second independent opinion. “I submitted manuscipts and recordings of many Morrissey songs to a leading Professor of Composition at the Royal College of Music, and he says they are crap.”
The Professor quoted examples of Morrisey’s song titles as further evidence to support his views. “Girl In A Coma. Big Mouth Strikes Again. Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now. These are all bullshit,” said Professor Sogorski.
During his career Morrisey has endeared himself to a huge cult following of pop fans, among them many students, and has also won artistic acclaim for his work.
But Professor Sogorski’s comments are bound to fuel speculation that whilst some of his songs might be quite good, the man is, quite frankly, a bit of an arsehole. “I am convinced Morrisey is a twat, and anyone who says otherwise is a wanker,” said the Professor yesterday.
Professor Sogorski last hit the headlines in 1988 when he claimed that page three model Samantha Fox was a “boiler”.
• From Viz
Morrissey ‘Still a Twat in Parallel Universe’ — Hawking
PHYSICS boffin Professor STEPHEN HAWKING has confirmed that pop singer MORRISSEY would remain a bell-end in every conceivable alternate universe.
Hawking, 73, was delivering a lecture at the Sydney Opera House last night when he made the startling announcement regarding the ex-Smiths frontman.
The Cambridge egghead told attendees: “Theoretical physics may one day be able to prove the existence of multiple universes outside our own. We can predict very little about what these parallel universes would be like, but we do know one thing: Morrissey would still be a twat in them.”
Hawking went on to explain his revelation with a series of complex equations.
He said: “Multiple universes would probably differ from our own in almost every way. They would be made up of different chemical elements which themselves would be made of fundamental particles different from the ones we have identified. They may even be governed by completely differnt laws of physics. The only constant would be Morrissey behaving like an arse and saying twattish things.”
The Brief History of Time author continued: “The possibilities in a parallel universe are genuinely limitless: the sky could be purple, the moon could be made of Styrofoam, cats could talk. Absolutely anything is feasible — except Morrissey not being a dick.”
“He still would be one, I’m afraid,” he added. “Nothing so sure.” Hawking has announced plans for a follow-up lecture next week at the Royal Albert Hall, in which he will hypothesise that Sting could still get on everybody’s tits in a black hole.
• From Viz
A passionately socialist Anglican priest and proud member of the LGBTQ+ Community no longer approves of Moz:
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.
• ‘No Jacket Required would be the soundtrack of hell’: the Rev Richard Coles’s honest playlist, The Guardian, 10i22
It’s very Mozzean that one of the most Mozzean things in this book is marginal. That is, it’s not in the interviews or anything Moz himself says: it’s in the mini-bios of the “Contributors” section at the end of the book. For example, Dave McCullough interviewed Moz for the long-defunct Sounds in 1983. And I thought it was a joke when McCullough’s mini-bio ended with “His current whereabouts are unknown.”
But it happened again for Shaun Philips, who interviewed Moz, again for Sounds, in 1988: “His
current whereabouts are unknown.” And again for Elissa Van Poznak, who interviewed Moz for The Face in 1984: “Her current whereabouts are unknown.” And that sentence is the last in the book, apart from the acknowledgements. What happened to these three journalists? They had lives and careers, friends and family. Their writing was once regularly read by many thousands or even millions of people. And then read again in this book. But “Their current whereabouts are unknown.” They’ve dropped out of sight, even maybe out of life, and the editor of the book, Paul A. Woods, hasn’t been able to find out what happened to them. Not even in this ultra-connected internet age.
That’s very Mozzean. You could even wonder whether they’ve succumbed to a belated form of the Curse of Moz, or the career-failure that strikes bands after Morrissey praises them or takes them on tour as support. Or you could wonder whether, like Morrissey himself for so long, they were struggling with depression and an urge-to-self-annihilation even as they achieved professional success. You’d certainly expect the first publication of this book in 2007 to have flushed them out. But it didn’t. Nor did the second publication in 2011. But perhaps the third publication did in 2016.
I don’t know and I’d rather not know. I like the Mozzeanism of three missing journalists. And I liked this book too. A lot. Obviously a lot of other people did too, or it wouldn’t have been printed three times. But I suspect it won’t be re-printed again. Why not? Coz of Moz on Muz. Guardian-readers were not pleased by Morrissey’s comments on Muslims and Muslim immigration after the Manchester bombing in 2017 or by his support for Brexit and the “far-right” For Britain party. You can get T-shirts now that say “Shut Up, Morrissey!” and there have been a string of anathemas and excommunications issued at Moz from woke bastions like the Quietus (where bad English goes to die). Guardian-readers feel deeply betrayed by Morrissey, who once said all the right things about economics, animal rights, vegetarianism, and the evilness of the Conservative and Republican parties – as you can read here.
But you’ll also read here about disturbing early signs – or sounds – that Moz wasn’t prepared to buzz with the hive-mind on everything. After he began his solo career in 1988 he released songs with titles like “The National Front Disco” and “Bengali in Platforms”, the latter of which opined “Life is hard enough when you belong here.” But there was enough ambiguity and authorial distance in the songs for him to deny plausibly that he was being racist or sympathizing with racism. And he still had a whole heap of good-will from the Smiths, so he survived the first campaign to cancel him and came back as strong as ever.
Well, the good-will has disappeared now. Moz has burned all his bridges to the Guardian and I don’t think there’s any chance of this book being re-re-re-printed. Indeed, I bet a lot of former fans have thrown out their copies or even ritually burned them. It’s their loss, because Morrissey is one of the wittiest, most interesting, and most intelligent interviewees who ever lived. As the back cover says of an earlier edition of Morrissey: In Conversation:
It’s proof, lest we forget, that in terms of great copy, Morrissey has rarely been anything other than interview gold. – Q magazine
But that quote itself needs trimming of its Guardianist fat: “It’s proof, lest we forget, that Morrissey has rarely been anything other than interview gold.” Moz himself is rarely guilty of saying more than he needs to. He’s both articulate and acute. It’s hard to believe that he came from a big working-class Irish family in Manchester and spent years on the dole after being shunted into a bad school by failing his eleven-plus. If he’d passed that selective exam he would have gone to a better school and most probably on to university. But I think university would have been bad for him. He probably wouldn’t have had a career in music and he certainly wouldn’t have become the Morrissey that millions of people either love or loathe.
But he would have become someone who habitually said “in terms of” and “prior to”. Alas, he does sometimes say “in terms of” in later interviews here, but it’s a minor blemish and I read everything in the book. Except – speak of “in terms of” and the windbag appears – Will Self’s “The King of Bedsit Angst Grows Up” from 1995. As usual with Self, I began losing the will to live half-a-paragraph in and gave up. If it had been a proper interview rather than Self blotivating on themes Mozzean, I might have persevered. But it wasn’t, so I didn’t.
Most of the other pieces were proper interviews, but either way I always persevered. You can read how Moz’s ideas and allegiances changed. And you can also see how Moz himself changed, because there are some good photos too. I bet some of the interviewers now regret their association with Morrissey and their appearance in this book, but that adds to its appeal for me. Moz has bitten the hands that typed about him and they’ll never forgive him for it. But they were warned:
Are you a bad man?
Only inwardly. (“The Importance of Being Morrissey”, Jennifer Nine for Melody Maker, August 1997)
And here’s more from the man himself:
What else could you do [besides perform]?
Nothing. I’m entirely talentless… it was all a great big accident – I just came out of the wrong lift. (“Mr Smith: All Mouth and Trousers”, Dylan Jones for i-D magazine, October 1987)
What does your music do to your fans?
Well, they wear heavy overcoats and stare at broken lightbulbs. That’s the way it’s always been for me! (“Wilde Child”, Paul Morley for Blitz, April 1988)
“I often pass a mirror,” he confides, loving the attention he’s getting, “and I glance into it slightly, and I don’t really recognize myself at all. You can look into a mirror and wonder – where have I seen that person before? And then you remember. It was at a neighbour’s funeral, and it was the corpse.” (“Wilde Child”)
What was it like playing live again when you appeared in Wolverhampton in December ?
It was nice. I did enjoy it. It was nice to be fondled.
Was it good to be back on stage again?
No, it was just nice to be fondled. (“Playboy of the Western World”, Eleanor Levy, Q magazine, January 1989)
My perfect audience are skinheads in nail varnish. And I’m not trying to be funny, that really is the perfect audience for me. But I am incapable of racism, and the people who say I am racist are basically just the people who can’t stand the sight of my physical frame. I don’t think we should flatter them with our attention. (“Morrissey Comes Out (For a Drink)”, Stuart Maconie for New Musical Express, May 1991)
I would rather eat my own testicles than reform the Smiths – and that’s saying something for a vegetarian. (“The Last Temptation of Morrissey”, Paul Morley for Uncut, May 2006)
My best friend is myself. I look after myself very, very well. I can rely on myself never to let myself down. I’m the last person I want to see at night and the first in the morning. I am endlessly fascinating – at eight o’clock at night, at midnight, I’m fascinated. It’s a lifelong relationship and divorce will never come into it. That’s why, as I say, I feel privileged. And that is an honest reply. (“The man with the thorn in his side”, Lynn Barber for The Observer, September 2002)
Rymans, the stationers. To me it’s like a sweetshop. I go in there for hours, smelling the envelopes. As I grew up I used to love stationery and pens and booklets and binders. I can get incredibly erotic about blotting paper. So for me, going into Rymans is the most extreme sexual experience one could ever have. (“Morrissey Answers Twenty Questions”, Smash Hits Collection, 1985)
• For much more Moz Mit Mog, please visit Morrissey with Cats
Papyrocentric Performativity Presents:
• Clarke’s Sparks – The Collected Stories, Arthur C. Clarke (Victor Gollancz 2000)
• Deeper and Down – Blind Descent: The Quest to Discover the Deepest Place on Earth, James M. Tabor (Random House 2010)
• Manchester’s Mozzerabilist Messiah – Morrissey: The Pageant of His Bleeding Heart, Gavin Hopps (Continuum Books 2012)
• Or Read a Review at Random: RaRaR
Papyrocentric Performativity Presents:
• Der Übergmensch – Dougal Haston: The Philosophy of Risk, Jeff Connors (Canongate Books 2002)
• Book with Bite – Steve Backshall’s Most Poisonous Creatures, Steve Backshall (New Holland 2013)
• The Politics of Pretence – Mo Mowlam: The Biography, Julia Langdon (Little, Brown 2000)
• Guns’n’Gladioli – A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths, Tony Fletcher (Windmill Books 2013) (posted @ Overlord of the Über-Feral)
• Think Ink – 50 Quantum Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know, Joanne Baker (Quercus 2013) (posted @ O.o.t.Ü.-F.)
Or Read a Review at Random: RaRaR
I enjoyed Simon Goddard’s Mozipedia – The Encyclopedia of Morrissey and The Smiths a lot. And learnt a lot from it too. But I haven’t bothered finishing Simon Goddard’s Songs that Saved Your Life: The Art of The Smiths 1982-87 (an updated edition of The Smiths: Songs That Saved Your Life, 2002). There’s too much rock-writer rhetoric, too many mixed metaphors, too few pictures. None, in fact, apart from the band-photo on the front cover and the tickets on the back. Part of the problem is that The Smiths were only Act One in Mozza’s career. Johnny Marr played guitar well and wrote some beautiful tunes. But Morrissey was the interesting, eclectic and original one in The Smiths: the Mogpie didn’t need Marr a quarter as much as Marr needed the Mogpie. That’s part of why Mozipedia is better. Use this book as a supplement, because it’s got a lot of disc-o-detail and the appendices are good, covering The Smiths on record, in concert and on TV and radio. Goddard doesn’t have room to get rock-o-rhetorical there.