Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Happy Birthday Morrissey!

Edd's Heads: Morrissey

Born 22nd May 1959. Anyone who knows me, will tell you I am a massive fan of Morrissey and The Smiths. I have been since my early teens and I now find myself almost aged 40, so yep, I'm a die-hard old fan! In my humble opinion, The Smiths were the greatest band who ever walked the earth. They were completely original in every way. The songs were just so amazing... Morrissey's lyrics: archly articulate; intelligent, vicious, hilarious, honest, controversial, heartbreaking, powerful and poetic coupled with the most exciting,  jubilant, beautiful, melancholic, shimmering, magical guitar playing from his young, genius song writing partner, Johnny Marr....they were awesome! Total genius. Definitely the 'Beatles' of my generation.

I kind of got into The Smiths via my big sister's record collection back in the day, but then became completely obsessed with them in a much more 'involved' way, (Not like a crazy 'Mark Chapman' type fan, I have to add!) I also was into punk, ska, Northern Soul, rockabilly, indie music and other stuff in general, but The Smiths remain my favourite band of all time. It's a cliche, but the band did change my life. I had all the records & CD's, books, posters all over my bedroom walls, t-shirts, clothing, became a veggie ( firstly because of the album 'Meat is Murder' )....and, of course, I had the haircut....


....here's a pic of my huge, gravity-defying quiff, taken in summer in George Square Glasgow in 1992. No sniggering at the back. (My mate from college Stovie took the photo. Nice bit of acne on the chin there, too. I'm sat on a bench beside our classmate Rod Pearce....an excellent cartoonist, I might add...!) Believe me, it took guts to look like this and I regularly got ridiculed, sneered at, chased and had missiles such as bricks and bottles lobbed at me when walking around my home town of Kirkintilloch from the local gangs of neds (or chavs / plebs, if you will), but, hey, I didn't care a bit. I was cool (...at least I thought I was). I was a Morrissey fan. My 'look' was my badge of honour. I was going to be an artist. And at least I didn't look like the rest of the dullard plebs with their baseball caps and tracksuit bottoms tucked into their socks.... I fought many a battle against the neds on the mean streets of Kirky.

Anyway back to Mozzer...over the years I've been to many of his concerts all over the country and beyond. Always a great night out. Special memories include being right down the front at the famous Glasgow Barrowlands, on the 'Your Arsenal' tour in December 1992 and getting several handshakes from the man himself across the barrier, before me, my mates and many other fans invaded the stage to take things further and go for the full on Moz-bearhug before leaping back into the pit! He was always such a great frontman. I also met him in Paris in the Pigalle district, the night before the live album 'Beethoven Was Deaf' was recorded at the Zenith Arena, in France, which me and my mates attended. We literally bumped into him walking down the street. We had a brief chat & handshakes & hugs before he got mobbed from dozens of other fans. He was an absolute gent! Glory days, folks, glory days....

Morrissey always seems to come in for a lot of stick from the critics over the years, and he tends to polarise opinions....either he is hated or adored in equal measure. He's certainly never-ever been boring and has always spoken his mind whether people like it or not. His interviews in magazines & websites are hilarious and sometimes controversial.  Over the years he has taken a pop at pretty much everyone and everything he despises: the Royal family, politicians, Prime Ministers, crap pop stars, DJ's, meat eaters, the Royal family, fur-wearers, child murderers, animal abusers, high court judges, soap stars, teachers, some ex-band mates, the Royal family, journalists, actors, footballers, Norfolk poultry farmers, the monarchy.....did I mention the Royal family...? Personally, I think he's great. He never tries to 'fit in' or be 'populist' in any way, shape or form. He remains true to himself. I really admire singers like Morrissey, John Lydon, Joe Strummer, Pete Shelley and Mark E Smith, who honestly don't give a flying feck about ruffling a few feathers or 'picking fights' with the so-called 'establishment'. I like people who have zero tolerance for bullshit. I applaud them.

Morrissey's totally original wit and style defined a generation. In 2010 I posted the caricature above on a Morrissey fansite. Only a handful of people posted that they liked it, many hated it and objected to me seemingly 'mocking' their idol and told me I should be ashamed of myself. I even received a couple of emailed death-threats. I kid you not! Such is the level of devotion and obsession of the mental, modern day teenage Morrissey fan....
By contrast, a caricature I did of British pop singer Leona Lewis turned up on one of her fan-sites....everyone posted comments that they loved it and and took it in the fun spirit of the way it was intended. No one threatened to kill me! There's the difference. Leona doesn't inpire such demented fan worship...which I understand!

Morrissey is a national treasure as far as I'm concerned. I remain a fan of the man. I probably always will....him and his music have been sandblasted into me like Catholic guilt. His music has been the soundtrack to a lot of my life. Although my fanaticism has faded over the years, I'm at an age now where I can't imagine me not listening to his music....
Speaking of which, I am currently sick to death of all the current Royal-Jubilee bollocks all over the media right now 'celebrating' the Queen of England. I have no time English Royal Family, as does Mr Morrissey ( he claimed they were 'worse than benefit- scroungers' in an interview last year....spot on, Moz!). I think this country would definitely improve if we spent money on more worthy causes (such as schools, hospitals, charities, etc,) instead of contributing our tax-payers money to their luxury, pampered lifestyles...Anyway, here's Morrissey doing 'The Queen Is Dead' in Hollywood, 2007. Enjoy! Thanks for reading and stay handsome!

Happy Birthday Morrissey! Come back to Scotland soon.

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