24 May 2009

I'm throwing my arms around MORRISSEY

Friday 22nd of May marked the birthdays of two gay icons and utter legends. Harvey Milk, had he been alive, would have turned 79. Morrissey, who is thankfully living, turned 50, and I was there to wish him a good one… albeit from up in the circle at the Manchester Apollo in amongst a sold out sea of aggressive skin-heads, middle-aged couples, gays and 30-something heterosexual guys satisfying their man-crushes.

It was a funny old evening, that hadn’t originally meant to have included me. I should have been sat alone in my flat feeling sorry for myself for having no money to do anything, but a friend at work gave me her tickets due to her and her boyfriend not being well enough to make it. Obviously I’m sad for them… but very pleased for me. So after some panicked plan changing and train arranging, I was there, with my friend Louise.

I bought a delicious t-shirt, it’s black with Morrissey holding a beautiful smiling baby- from the cover of Years of Refusal. Louise and I were standing by the circle bar having a drink and I spotted Jo Brand. This is very unlike me, as I have the worst eye-sight in the world- evidently my celebrity-spotting skills are better than my normal-things-seeing skills. We decided to approach her and ask for a photograph. She was lovely! And very happy to get a picture with us. She told me I looked “great” which was nice to hear, she also laughed at my joke! The woman who was “kindly” taking our picture was bloody useless, and was taking ages to do it, and then a member of Apollo staff came and offered to take the picture for her, thinking she was with us, the woman kept explaining that she wasn’t going to be in the picture- but he kept insisting until Jo Brand said “she’s not with these!” I turned to her and said “some people can be too helpful” she laughed and then said “you’re right, people really CAN be too helpful”. So with Jo Brand’s seal of comic approval, we made our way to our seats, in what was, as ever, the most unusually mixed bunch of fans you’re ever likely to have under one roof.

The set list was as follows:

This Charming Man
Irish Blood, English Heart
Black Cloud
How Soon Is Now?
All You Need Is Me
How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel?
Girlfriend In A Coma
I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
Let Me Kiss You
Something Is Squeezing My Skull
One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell
Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself?
The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores
I Keep Mine Hidden
When Last I Spoke To Carol
Best Friend On The Payroll
Sorry Doesn't Help
Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
The Loop
I'm OK By Myself


First Of The Gang To Die

The backdrop of the stage was a topless soldier, flexing his muscles, with the word REFUSAL emblazoned across his chest- as homoerotic as ever. The lighting was amazing throughout, and much like with the Ringleaders tour- there was a big gong behind the drummer Matt Walker.

I loved the set, but I would have liked to see more of his early solo stuff (Viva Hate/ Vauxhall and I /Kill Uncle… well- a boy can dream!) I think this gig proved that Years of Refusal was definitely written with the stage rather than the CD player in mind. The strongest tracks on the new album are definitely Throwing My Arms Around Paris, I’m Okay by Myself, When Last I Spoke to Carol and Something is Squeezing my Skull (and also It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore).

When referring to the newest single (Something is squeezing my skull) he said: "You would need a miner's helmet and a degree in anthropology to find it in the shops" once again highlighting how absurdly poorly his singles do in the charts despite him having such a huge following. I BUY THEM- in multiple formats! why doesn't everyone else?

This is the third time I’ve seen him now, and easily the best. The fact that it was a homecoming gig, and on his 50th birthday pretty much made it THE Morrissey gig to be at, and it was a bizarre and happy twist of fate that I ended up there. He was in rare high spirits and was utterly charming. I adore him more than ever now.

One thing that really baffles me about Morrissey fans and also those who mock him, is that so many people don’t get him at all… the skinheads who love him, think he is a figure of working-class Britain who thinks “England for the English”- but it’s clearly not the case. He thinks that England has a very different identity to that which it once had, which can’t be argued- but he is not racist, and his past words on immigration were clearly very ill advised and not thought out properly. He is not fiercely patriotic, he hates that those who are different are victims, which is clear from the lyrics in Asian Rut and Bengali in Platforms amongst others- he thinks the union jack is no longer something to be proud of. It really winds me up when people misread him and see him as some vile national front figure. I also find it funny that a big group of burly baldies that clearly idolised him were looking at me with disgust and making homophobic comments… clearly they have never paid ANY attention to Morrissey’s pretty candid lyrics. This really makes me laugh that they are worshipping someone who so openly has embraced gay/trans culture and aren’t bright enough to realise it.

In honour of my amazing mood and total Morrissey Mania, I thought I would compile a list of my favourite Morrissey and Smiths songs. In no particular order.

Jack the ripper
Mute witness
Life is a pigsty
Everyday is like Sunday
Now my heart is full
Alsatian cousin
The world is full of crashing bores
First of the gang
Asian rut
National Front disco
November spawned a monster
The lazy sunbathers
Spring-heeled Jim
Late night, Maudlin Street
Margaret on the guillotine
Irish blood, English heart
Will never marry
Such a little thing

The Smiths
Please, please, please let me get what I want
The headmaster ritual
I want the one I can’t have
That joke isn’t funny anymore
Meat is murder
I know it’s over
The queen is dead
Reel around the fountain
Last night I dreamt that somebody loved me
Shoplifters of the world unite
Half a person

Love love x

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