What was he trying to say? Why the silence ever since on this issue? Can an artist flirt with the Union Jack/Skinhead Imagery and get away with it? Were you at Finsbury Park?
― Dr. C, Sunday, 3 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― anthony, Sunday, 3 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― Keiko, Sunday, 3 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― DG, Sunday, 3 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― Snotty Moore, Sunday, 3 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― Daniel, Sunday, 3 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― Robin Carmody, Sunday, 3 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
While it might be easy to accuse a company of racism if it failed to employ people
because of their racial origin, and while we might call someone a racist if they
expressed the opinion that Chinese were 'inferior', it's difficult to say that a pop song
is similar to an employment policy or a personal opinion.
A pop song usually has all the ambiguity of any work of art, and it was this ambiguity
that Morrissey had every right to preserve by maintaining his silence in the face of
the NME's inquisition.
Mr Morrissey employed characters. Some were Bengali. (This was already more
than most songwriters did, and probably laudable). Mr Morrissey employed
narrators to tell his stories. His narrators had a position within the song. They were
perhaps characters, perhaps proxies for the author. As usual with art, we will never
know. The songs contained voices which said things like 'Life is difficult enough when
you belong here' or 'Three against one, that can't be fair'. If these were statements
made in a fist fight, we would judge them according to context. In a song, we cannot.
They are just hanging there: provocative, yes, racist, no.
There's an interesting parallel with an exhibition held in the early 90s by Pruitt and
Early called The Black Show. They collected together artifacts of 'blackness'. They
made no earnest Adrian Piper-like statements of condemnation, just presented
these stereotypes and totems without comment. They were hounded out of the art
world in the ensuing controversy. It took Rob Pruitt about eight years to be accepted
once again as a serious artist. He now paints pandas.
― Momus, Sunday, 3 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― Michael Dieter, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― leigh morrissey, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― Dr. C, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
Keeping our pantomime metaphor, the racism episode was when Morrissey became
the pantomime villain and got hissed for reasons as arbitrary as those for which he
was applauded when he was the 'famous international playboy' in role as the
'November monster' (one fiction playing another).
The reasons for the press's change in attitude may be many -- sympathy with Marr, a
preference for Rough Trade over EMI, a sense of boredom with Morrissey's
domination of the music press, an effort to clear the decks for the 90s, the fact that
many journalists had been converted by the acid house revolution to the dance music
Morrissey so despised, and even, I would suggest, some homophobia, since
Morrissey's actual interest in these songs about skinheads and Bengalis may well
come from a sexual interest in both (cf Hanif Kureshi's 'My Beautiful
Launderette', which I think we can assume kindled M's interest quite a bit, and shows
a skin overcoming prejudice by developing a crush on one of his former victims).
― Momus, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
Subject: Re: NME disappearing up its own PR [ Previous Message ]
Posted By Andrew Collins on Thu Jul 26 15:41:34 BST 2001:
I never said the Morrissey witch-hunt issue was real journalism, Jon. I said
it was "real" journalism, ie. closer to journalism than the shit we usually
did. I was at Madstock and the crowd were pretty dodgy, some of them - fat,
middle-aged skins who looked like they hadn't come out of their North London
pub since Madness's heyday. Whether Moz is/was a racist or not was less
important than the fact that he was flirting with far right imagery - like a
cultural tourist - and not going on record about his reasons, or his real
feelings. He could have stopped that cover story with one statement. He
chose to remain enigmatic and distant, compounding his error. There was an
artificial excitement in the office over those two days (we dropped Kylie
from the cover for Moz you know!) At first, as features editor, I refused to
get involved, but I was ordered by my boss into the big emergency staff
meeting, and once the decision was made, it was up to the senior staff (me,
Danny Kelly and Stuart Maconie) to get the copy done, along with an
excellent piece by Dele Fadele who is black and could therefore offer a
perspective none of us NME white boys could. (Dele was furious about Moz's
actions and needed no coercion to write.) All I did was compile Morrissey's
faux-racist quotes from every interview he'd ever done, and collate the
lyrics. My own personal opinion never appeared, but I was part of the staff
and stood by the issue. It asked questions of an increasingly remote but
still hugely influential artist who refused to answer them. There are very
few issues of NME from that period that anybody remembers let alone still
talks about. We did our job.
Then Stuart and I left and "reclaimed" the Union Jack for the Select British
He once WAS that ugly failed adolescent, wasn't he? Perhaps not
exactly as described in HSIN, but certainly something similar.
So why not a possibility that the right-wing persona could be *him*.
― anthony, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
Actually, now I come to think of it, the song that is most dubious or
problematic is 'We'll Let You Know': 'we are the last truly British
people you will ever (never want to) know'. It's ambivalent about a
kind of rump of Englishness, implying that all that is left are the
hateful aspects of English crowd culture. I think it's troublesome
nature is kind of interesting, really - much more so than more
ideologically clearcut representations.
― Edna Welthorpe, Mrs, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
hmm i don't think i put that very well: i am *so* on deadline and not supposed to be reading ILM
― mark s, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― gareth, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
Morrissey, well-known for severing ties with friends over real or imaginary slights,
had already decided to cut the NME dead, probably because of editor Danny Kelly's
undisguised partisanship for Johnny Marr. Morrissey's failure to speak to them
(although, as noted above, he continued speaking volubly to people like Les
Inrockuptibles in France) was as big a blow to the NME circa 1990 as it would have
been for Oasis to cut them dead in 1997. They could have said lamely 'The biggest
star in the music firmament will no longer talk to us.' Instead, they said 'The biggest
star in the music firmament is, er, a racist! Down with him! Long live, er, Kingmaker
and, er, The Wonder Stuff!'
― dave q, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
The most intriguing thing about "We'll Let You Know" for me was the
Battle of Hastings / Bayeux Tapestry (what it made *me* think of,
anyway, or maybe an old regional TV thing about same) sequence of
sounds in the middle of the song: his most self-conscious use of
atmospherics rather than lyrics to evoke a certain atmosphere, his
equivalent of the Luke Haines / Winchester Cathedral Choir version
of "In The Bleak Midwinter". I'm not sure whether I think that bit
of "We'll Let You Know" was better and more subtle than the vocal
sections of the song, or just pathetically crude attempts to
establish certain cultural associations. Put another way, I really
can't work out my position on "We'll Let You Know" generally, even
after all this time, which you could say is quite possibly what
The book "Sounds English" that Mike mentions looks interesting: any
― Robin Carmody, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― Ned Raggett, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― Sterling Clover, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― Loop Dandy, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
Morrissey's mistake was that his flirtation with the far right seemed
largely a matter of aesthetics, and a matter of fashion. One could
accuse of him "racism" not insofar as there's much evidence that he
actually holds such beliefs, but insofar his willingness to
flirt with them the way 90s bands flirted with trip-hop -- as if he
were completely oblivious to how very important such issues were, and
how his actions could very well make it that much more likely for
thousands of Asian kids to get beaten bloody -- well, this is not a
fine thing to do and not a fine thing to be glib or silent about,
because it matters. The artist's God complex is that he is
free to pick and choose signifiers from the air and invest them only
with whatever meaning he thinks they have to him -- but then it
ceases to be art, which is about communication, and becomes
either impenetrable solipsism or drunken raving. Momus, you should
not give artists a free pass on this any more than you should
give it to bank managers or cab drivers: this "don't draw real-world
conclusions from anything" is a route to making art either
meaningless or completely dull.
― Nitsuh, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
anyway, if moz didn't want to play MassKult
headgamez with stardom and slebrity, why
sign to emi at all? it's a waste of global
corporate outreach and he = a ToTaL LaYMuR
as a result (cf dave q's only-too exact crit of
the actual nme editorial gameplan: this shd
have been a manipulative symbol-war of
titans, using every field of media; instead
SPM went uber-indie on everyone and
(implicitly) made it just abt the music
maaan... basically nme offered him the
chance to be bowie and he fucked out)
"At the heat of the racist debate, the former NME editor Steve
Sutherland wondered if Morrissey's alleged racism "might be a gay
I wonder if that quote is true?
― Dickon Edwards, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
Every single person I knew growing up who was a Smiths
fan was Asian (mostly of Chinese descent, over here). I haven't
heard any of the Smith's songs in question, but from their titles
I'm guessing they portray the same beautiful losers as all the
other Smiths' songs I have heard. Anyway, it is impossible for
me to fathom that some paki-bashing yob could have been
inspired by Morrissey (of all people!) Or was England in the 80's
really like this?
― Kris, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
Kris, I think you're entirely right -- particularly w/r/t fans and
what Smiths fandom actually "meant" in the public sphere. I, anyway,
was at no point bothered in any deep sense by listening to the
Smiths / Morrissey, and never imagined that Morrissey's flirtations
with near-racist symbols actually reflected near-racist ideology on
his own part. It did, however, make me like him a lot less as time
went on: it is one thing to traffic in such symbols in the process of
making a relevant artistic statement, but to toy mutely with them for
no massive purpose strikes me as dumb and glib and something of a
mockery of how very real and threatening and Actually Quite Serious
such symbols are. It made Morrissey look like a decent artist who
really needed to stick with his own neuroses and keep his nose out of
cultural politics for fear of hugely embarrassing himself.
I wrote in something a while ago that "conservatism" can be a very
lovely thing in pop music, when it is only aesthetic and the actual
workings of the world are not at stake -- thus Morrissey's paens to
vanishing Anglicisms never struck me as actually reactionary.
But as he toed lines between aesthetics and cold hard reality he
raised the possibility that those paens weren't purely
aesthetic or personal/emotional, and I think it made him look both
silly and stupid, or in any case completely unaware that Symbols Mean
Something beyond what they mean in the very scenic midscape of
Stephen Patrick Morrissey.
I do agree that looking at lyrics is unhelpful. "National Front
Disco" is loaded with sarcasm from the very title, and anyway assigns
plenty of threat to the idea: where has our dear boy gone -- oh dear,
he has gone bad, and by that time in the man's career you
could tell that he recognized the badness but just had an
idiosyncratic attraction to it. "Asian Rut" eulogizes the Asian boy,
if patronizingly. "Bengali in Platforms" is basically the height of
condescension and exhibits really iffy word choice with the "belong,"
but it seems less virulent than just sort of solipsistic and dumb,
i.e. Morrissey is so blindly English that he never considers that
life can be way harder elsewhere even if you do "belong"
there, and basically just demonstrates his inability to think
properly about anything that doesn't slot nicely into his very
English little world.
I'm almost positive that is true, because I recall reading something
very similar to this in the NME at the time....iirc Sutherland was
editing the letters page and was speculating about it.
― Nicole, Monday, 4 February 2002 01:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― Duke Rojas, Thursday, 4 April 2002 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― Ned Raggett, Thursday, 4 April 2002 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― electric sound of jim, Thursday, 4 April 2002 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― John Darnielle, Thursday, 4 April 2002 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― John Darnielle, Friday, 5 April 2002 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― Jack Hobbs, Tuesday, 14 May 2002 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
You may or may not have noticed that there is a diversity of thought and
opinion on this thread.
― N., Tuesday, 14 May 2002 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― nabisco%%, Tuesday, 14 May 2002 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
― Dan Perry, Tuesday, 14 May 2002 00:00 (13 years ago) Permalink
Basically it's the same deal as Lee Ryan blubbing on about 9/11 and elephants and the error is the same: applying the same principle to two very different pretexts.
― Here he is with the classic "Poème Électronique." Good track (Marcello Carlin), Friday, 29 July 2011 15:58 (4 years ago) Permalink
Most musicians would have taken out an order of protection against Julia Riley, but Morrissey makes her his media outlet.
― online pinata store (Nicole), Friday, 29 July 2011 16:02 (4 years ago) Permalink
'The More You Ignore Me The Grosser I Get'.
― The multi-talented F.R. David (Billy Dods), Friday, 29 July 2011 16:02 (4 years ago) Permalink
NV: I don't really want to get into an argument about this
nah me neither, i'm fumbling with what i believe rather than getting bolshy here. and my dad also told me never to work in a factory, but then his aspirations and imagination - and i don't blame him or criticize him really, we are who we are - were too limited to fully understand that white collar wage slavery can be its own hell and not necessarily a better one than the world of making stuff. i will insist that rejecting the work ethic in toto isn't just some foppish bourgie-ism but a strand of left thinking that critiques Marx and his followers' accommodation with the way capitalism works, or the vision of socialism as a liberated worker-run capitalism. it's not the only vision as far as i'm concerned.
― i'm sorry for whatever (Noodle Vague), Friday, 29 July 2011 16:07 (4 years ago) Permalink
It's a really interesting argument for me, and I'm also very conflicted, NV and Doran. I guess it's the difference between old school socialism, liberal idealism and anarchism as protest - all ideologues I guess I've flirted with through life. It's also a massive chink in the armour of left-thinking, one that can easily be set upon by right-wing rhetoric: "So you want to work, but you don't want to work? Sounds like the moon on a stick".
― Post-Manpat Music (dog latin), Friday, 29 July 2011 16:17 (4 years ago) Permalink
left-ism has to be more than "democratic control of the means of production of crap we don't need and the planet can't afford" now more than ever
― i'm sorry for whatever (Noodle Vague), Friday, 29 July 2011 16:20 (4 years ago) Permalink
― shake it, shake it, sugary pee (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Friday, 29 July 2011 16:28 (4 years ago) Permalink
THIS FUCKIN' GUY:
― Bo Jackson Overture (King Boy Pato), Sunday, 11 March 2012 08:18 (3 years ago) Permalink
why is he the only one not wearing one? does he not agree with the slogan?
― Talcum Mucker, Sunday, 11 March 2012 08:27 (3 years ago) Permalink
Angie Hart's ex refusing to get on the all-pie diet, there
― Θ ̨Θƪ (sic), Sunday, 11 March 2012 08:27 (3 years ago) Permalink
Peter Paphides is pretty good here:
― Une semaine de Bunty (ShariVari), Sunday, 11 March 2012 09:23 (3 years ago) Permalink
I'm not a royalist, but pictures of his band lined up either side of him on his recent Argentinian tour, wearing "We hate William and Kate" T-shirts, momentarily made me feel like becoming one.
oh fuck off. Moz is a racist idiot who makes me wanna eat kitten steaks every time he opines about animals but the royal fucking family deserve no scintilla of yr sympathy.
― Kony Montana: "Say hello to my invisible friend" (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:04 (3 years ago) Permalink
why do they hate william and kate so much?
― beachville, Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:23 (3 years ago) Permalink
fat fucking ticks on the belly of our alleged democracy giving autocracy a lovable celeb face for cretins
― Kony Montana: "Say hello to my invisible friend" (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:24 (3 years ago) Permalink
do they actually do bad things?
― beachville, Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:26 (3 years ago) Permalink
i refer the gentleman to the answer i gave previously
― Kony Montana: "Say hello to my invisible friend" (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:28 (3 years ago) Permalink
everything that makes the evil of monarchy more popular/acceptable is a "bad thing"
― Kony Montana: "Say hello to my invisible friend" (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:30 (3 years ago) Permalink
― beachville, Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:39 (3 years ago) Permalink
there'll be crazy David Icke-type conspiracists out there who'll tell you they drink the blood of the living or something (and Morrissey is quite possibly of that number) but expressing direct hate for them is aimed as much at the "monarchy is harmless and they are cute kids" tolerators as serious defenders of the crown, i guess
― Kony Montana: "Say hello to my invisible friend" (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:42 (3 years ago) Permalink
I'm with noodle vague on this one.
― djh, Sunday, 11 March 2012 12:08 (3 years ago) Permalink
I really was referring to Morrissey's lemon shirt btw.
― Bo Jackson Overture (King Boy Pato), Sunday, 11 March 2012 12:11 (3 years ago) Permalink
oh yeah i knew i was just aggro with the fucking lickspittle in the Graun
― Kony Montana: "Say hello to my invisible friend" (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 11 March 2012 12:33 (3 years ago) Permalink
well going to see ol' mozza in concert on Friday night
hoping for a good anti-Monarchy rant considering he's in the city where the DJs they want to hang broadcast their prank calls to the world
― You Just Haven't Formed It Yet, Babby (King Boy Pato), Wednesday, 19 December 2012 08:23 (2 years ago) Permalink
Bootleg his version of "Panic"if you can, I would guess amended lyrics will be forthcoming.
― Mark G, Wednesday, 19 December 2012 09:09 (2 years ago) Permalink
I'd burn the lot of 'em - morrisey, monarchs, DJs and all.
― You're gonna need a fruit kebab. Trust. (stevie), Wednesday, 19 December 2012 09:51 (2 years ago) Permalink
only language these people understand
― Neil S, Wednesday, 19 December 2012 10:09 (2 years ago) Permalink
I had that Johnny Marr in the back of my taxi once...
― You're gonna need a fruit kebab. Trust. (stevie), Wednesday, 19 December 2012 11:20 (2 years ago) Permalink
are you Andy Rourke in disguise?
― Neil S, Wednesday, 19 December 2012 11:29 (2 years ago) Permalink
Royal Family got off lightly in the end, only a passing reference comparing them to Assad.
― You Just Haven't Formed It Yet, Babby (King Boy Pato), Saturday, 22 December 2012 00:01 (2 years ago) Permalink
This thread on Morrissey Solo has full-page scans of a lengthy interview with Morrissey in Loaded, to be published tomorrow.
It's a weird piece, a largely unedited 5-page transcript of Moz expounding at great length his views on the political world. As if anyone was in any doubt, Morrissey comes across as a very odd and bitter old crank.
Sample quote: "I nearly voted for UKIP. I like Nigel Farage a great deal. His views are quite logical - especially where Europe is concerned." And there's lots more where that came from.
― Eyeball Kicks, Monday, 21 January 2013 18:39 (2 years ago) Permalink
not familiar with "UKIP" or nigel farage? is that a right wing thing?
― fieri inna babylon (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 21 January 2013 18:49 (2 years ago) Permalink
They're somewhere between the Tories and the BNP.
― Eyeball Kicks, Monday, 21 January 2013 18:57 (2 years ago) Permalink
Yep. Not officially far-right but very hardline Conservative, anti-Europe, anti-immigration, etc.
― Tullamorte Tullamore (ShariVari), Monday, 21 January 2013 18:58 (2 years ago) Permalink
I think he's such a horrible jerk now, and yet I can't stop liking the music. It's weird.
― Ulna (Nicole), Monday, 21 January 2013 18:59 (2 years ago) Permalink
He also would love to see Jon Stewart or Rachel Maddow elected President of the US.
― brotherlovesdub, Monday, 21 January 2013 21:23 (2 years ago) Permalink
Morrissey is the original ironically racist hipster. But an actual racist? No way. 50,000 Mexicans can't be wrong!
― 3×5, Tuesday, 22 January 2013 01:58 (2 years ago) Permalink
― 3×5, Tuesday, 22 January 2013 01:59 (2 years ago) Permalink
Uh, wow. Moz sure hates paying taxes!!
― Ceci n'est pas une Le Snak (King Boy Pato), Tuesday, 22 January 2013 10:45 (2 years ago) Permalink
is he ill
― leave the web boys alone (darraghmac), Tuesday, 24 June 2014 22:10 (1 year ago) Permalink
he's been ill since 1985
― macklin' rosie (crüt), Tuesday, 24 June 2014 22:12 (1 year ago) Permalink
ill with racism
shit I'd no idea.....respect for him making great music all through this dreadful affliction.
Robbie Keane's cousin yknow
― leave the web boys alone (darraghmac), Tuesday, 24 June 2014 22:18 (1 year ago) Permalink
being an egocentric waster living off decades-gone glory days must run in the family
― clockpuncher (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 24 June 2014 22:20 (1 year ago) Permalink
i don't even think that about Morrissey i just wanted to get the Robbie Keane joke in tbh
shit we need a 'like' button
― leave the web boys alone (darraghmac), Tuesday, 24 June 2014 22:21 (1 year ago) Permalink
hearing reports in that he's been found racist at his home :(
says he might have been racist for some time before neighbours checked on him
― leave the web boys alone (darraghmac), Wednesday, 25 June 2014 08:31 (1 year ago) Permalink
:-( racist in peace
― Knob Dicks (wins), Wednesday, 25 June 2014 09:44 (1 year ago) Permalink
is he still ill?
― ^ 諷刺 (ken c), Wednesday, 25 June 2014 16:13 (1 year ago) Permalink
not the onion:
― wizzz! (amateurist), Tuesday, 1 December 2015 23:53 (Yesterday) Permalink
― Noodle Vape (Noodle Vague), Tuesday, 1 December 2015 23:59 (Yesterday) Permalink