Morrissey, you and me

by / Filed under Thinking

Well, I liked this spirited Morrissey/40–somethings hatchet job:

The class that he now represents – a middle–aged, capital–rich, metropolitan elite – doesn't give a toss about you. They've proved it in every way it is possible to prove.

Where's the new Morrissey? When will we hear from him, or her, or them? When will working–class, young people realise they are being robbed blind and that there is not a soul in power who represents their interests? Rise up, young people, because you have nothing to lose but your disenfranchised future and an extra grand a year in rent. Morrissey, you're a fraud — Carole Cadwalladr

The Smiths

The Smiths in their prime

Morrissey really was once the voice of rebellion, magnificently railing against the Tories, injustice, poverty, mediocrity, boorishness, the stupidity of work, conformism. Most people hated Morrissey. They said he was “miserable” (you do wonder what they’d’ve said if they’d figured out the gay stuff).

I decree today that life
Is simply taking and not giving
England is mine – it owes me a living
But ask me why, and I’ll spit in your eye
Oh, ask me why, and I’ll spit in your eye
But we cannot cling to the old dreams anymore
No, we cannot cling to those dreams
The Smiths — Still ill

Of course, things were never that simple. I always found Smiths fans (the ones who wore the Tshirts and a quiff) quite a snobbish lot, more concerned with vegetarianism than anything else. One I knew was fond of using well, it’s a bit CH as an insult – CH being an abbreviation for council house.

And Morrissey himself – like any artist worth her salt – resisted pigeonholing or becoming the representative of any movement. His music was above anything else personal, solipsistic. Nonetheless, Cadwalladr is right; in fact, the 1992 cut off point is quite generous. Take away the righteous anger and Morrissey is boring, capable of only the odd moment of brilliance (I defy anyone not to melt into 1994’s Seasick but still docked, for example). Perhaps this is just a function of aging (although Mark E Smith seems to do alright).

But as for the 40+s… Well, that’s right, isn’t it? To think this generation of Labour supporters had 13 years to make things better. And yet 3 years into a Tory government, it’s 1983 all over again.