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"Morrissey Condemns Racism" statement; to appear in tomorrow's Guardian (Dec. 4)
posted by davidt on Monday December 03 2007, @06:00PM

MORRISSEY CONDEMNS RACISM

On Friday of last week I issued writs against the NME (New Musical Express) and its editor Conor McNicholas as I believe they have deliberately tried to characterise me as a racist in a recent interview I gave them in order to boost their dwindling circulation.

I abhor racism and oppression or cruelty of any kind and will not let this pass without being absolutely clear and emphatic with regard to what my position is.

Racism is beyond common sense and I believe it has no place in our society.

To anyone who has shown or felt any interest in my music in recent times, you know my feelings on the subject and I am writing this to apologize unreservedly for granting an interview to the NME. I had no reason whatsoever to assume that they could be anything other than devious, truculent and unreliable. In the event, they have proven to be all three.

The NME have, in the past, offered me their “Godlike Genius Award” and I had politely refused. With the Tim Jonze interview, the Award was offered once again, this time with the added request that I headline their forthcoming awards concert at the O2 Arena, and once again I declined it. This is nothing personal against the NME, although the distressing article would suggest the editor took it as such. My own view is that award ceremonies in pop music are dreadful to witness and are simply a way of the industry warning the artist "see how much you need us" - and, yes, the "new" NME is very much integrated into the industry, whereas, deep in the magazine's empirical history, the New Musical Express was a propelling force that answered to no one. It led the way by the quality of its writers – Paul Morley, Julie Burchill, Paul du Noyer, Charles Shaar Murray, Nick Kent, Ian Penman, Miles – who would write more words than the articles demanded, and whose views saved some of us, and who pulled us all away from the electrifying boredom of everything and anything that represented the industry. As a consequence the chanting believers of the NME could not bear to miss a single issue; the torrential fluency of its writers left almost no space between words, and the NME became a culture in itself, whereas Melody Maker or Sounds just didn't. Into the 90s, the NME's discernment and polish became faded nobility, and there it died – but better dead than worn away. The wit imitated by the 90s understudies of Morley and Burchill assumed nastiness to be greatness, and were thus rewarded. But nastiness isn't wit and no writers from the 90s NME survive. Even with sarcasm, irony and innuendo there is an art, of sorts. Now deep in the bosom of time, it is the greatness of the NME's history on which the “new” NME assumes its relevance.

It is on the backs of writers such as Morley, Burchill, Kent and Shaar Murray that the "new" NME hitches its mule-cart, assuming equal relevance. But the stalled views of the "new" NME sag, and readers have been driven away by a magazine with no insides. The narrow cast of repeated subjects sets off the agony, a mesmerizing mess of very brief and dispassionate articles unable to make thought evolve; a marooned editor who holds the divine right to censor any views that clash with his own.

The editorial treatment given to my present interview with the "new" NME is the latest variation on an old theme, but like a pre-dawn rampage, the effects of the interview have been meticulously considered with obvious intentions. It is true that the magazine is ailing badly in the market place, but Conor doesn't understand how the relentless stream of "cheers mate, got pissed last night, ha ha" interviews that clutter every single issue of the "new" NME are simply not interesting to those of us who have no trouble standing upright. Strangely enough, my own name is the only one featured in the "new" NME that links their present with the NME's distant past, therefore a Morrissey interview is an ideal opportunity with which to play the editorial naughtiness game.

This, regrettably, is what has taken place with this most recent interview, which, it need hardly be said, bears no relation in print to the fleshly conversation that took place.

I do not mean to be rude to Tim Jonze, but when I first caught sight of him I assumed that someone had brought their child along to the interview. The runny nose told the whole story. Conor had assured that Tim was their best writer. Talking behind his hands in an endless fidget, Tim accepted every answer I gave him with a schoolgirl giggle, and repeatedly asked me if I was shocked at how little he actually knew about music. I told him that, yes, I was shocked. It was difficult for me to believe that the best writer from the “new” NME had never heard of the song 'Drive-in Saturday'; I explained that it was by David Bowie, and Tim replied “Oh, I don't know anything about David Bowie.” I wondered how it could be so – how the quality of music journalism in England could have fallen so low that the prime “new” NME writer knew nothing of David Bowie, an artist to whom most relevant British artists are indebted, and one who single-handedly changed British culture – musically and otherwise.

Tim's line of questioning advanced with: "What about politics, then ... the state of the world?" - which, I was forced to assume, was a well-thought-out question. It was from here that the issue of immigration - but not racism - arose.

Me: If you walk down Knightsbridge you’ll be hard-pressed to hear anyone speaking English.

Tim: I don't think that's true. You’re beginning to sound like my parents.

Me: Well, when did you last walk down Knightsbridge?

Tim: Ummm.... Knightsbridge ....is that where Harrods is?

So, Tim was prepared to attack and argue the point without even being clear about where Knightsbridge actually is! The "new" NME strikes again. Oh dear, I thought, not again.

I chose to mention Knightsbridge because it had always struck me as one of the most stiffly British spots in London. I am sorry Tim, but you are not yet ready to interview anyone responsibly.

When my comments are printed in the "new" NME they are butchered, re-designed, re-ordered, chopped, snipped and split in order to make me seem racist and unreasonable. Tim had told me about his friend who did not like the 1991 song Bengali In Platforms because the friend had thought the song attacked him on a personal level. I explained to Tim that the song was not about his friend. In print, the "new" NME do not explain this, but attempt to multiply the horror of Tim's friend by attributing "these people" and "those people" quotes to me - terms I would never use, but are useful to the "new" NME in their Morrissey-is-racist campaign because these terms are only used by people who are cold and indifferent and Thatcherite. All of the people I spoke to Tim about in the interview who are heroes to me and who are Middle-Eastern or of other ethnic backgrounds were of no interest to either Tim or Conor. Clearly, Tim had been briefed and his agenda was to cook up a sensational story that would give life to the "new" NME as a must-read national if not global shock-horror story. Recalling how Tim asked me to sign some CD covers, I do not blame him entirely. If Conor can provoke bureaucratic outrage with this Morrissey interview, then he can whip up support for his righteous position as the morally-bound and armoured editor of his protected readership - even though, by re-modelling my interview into a multiple horror, Conor has accidentally exposed himself as deceitful, malicious, intolerant and Morrissey-ist -all the ist's and ism's that he claims to oppose. Uniquely deprived of wisdom, Conor would be repulsed by my vast collection of World Cinema films, by my adoration of James Baldwin, my love of Middle-Eastern tunings, Kazem al-Saher, Lior Ashkenazi, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and he would be repulsed to recall a quote as printed in his magazine in or around August of this year wherein I said that my ambition was to play concerts in Iran.

My heart sank as Tim Jonze let slip the tell-all editorial directive behind this interview: "It's Conor's view that Morrissey thinks black people are OK ...but he wouldn't want one living next door to him." It was then that I realized the full extent of the setup, and I felt like Bob Hoskins in the final frame of The Long Good Friday as he sits in the back of the wrong getaway car realizing the extent of the conspiratorial slime that now trapped him.

During the interview Tim asked if I would support the "Love Music Hate Racism” campaign that the NME had just written about and my immediate response was a yes as I had shown my support previously by going to one of their first benefit gigs a few years ago and had met some of their organizers as well as having signed their statement. Following the interview I asked my manager to get in touch with the NME and to pledge my further support to the campaign as I wanted there to be no ambiguity on where I stood on the subject. This was done in a clear and direct email to Conor McNicholas on the 5th of November, which went ignored and last week we found out that it had never even been presented to anyone at the campaign as that would obviously not have suited what we now know to be the NME’s agenda. I am pleased to say that we have now had direct dialogue with "Love Music Hate Racism" and all of our UK tour advertising in 2008 will carry their logo and we will also be providing space in the venues for them to voice and spread their important message, which I endorse.

Who's to say what you should or shouldn't do? The IPC have appointed Conor as the editor of the "new" NME, and there he remains, ready to drag the IPC into expensive legal battles such as the one they now face with me due to Conor's personal need to misstate, misreport, misquote, misinterpret, falsify, and incite the bloodthirsty. Here is proof that the "new" NME will twist and pervert the views of any singer or musician who'd dare step into the interview ring. To such artists, I wish them well, but I would advise you to bring your lawyer along to the interview.

My own place, now and forevermore, shall not be with the "new" NME - and how wrong my face even looks on its cover. Of this, I am eternally grateful.

MORRISSEY.

3 December 2007.
---
Merck Mercuriadis writes:
Morrissey vs NME

Morrissey's statement on the above will be issued in tomorrow's issue of The Guardian.

The print edition of The Guardian will hit the UK streets at about 1 am and the statement will also be available to coincide at www.guardian.co.uk.
---
Update: 12/04 16:43 GMT: Article is now online:

I abhor racism, and apologise - for speaking to NME - The Guardian Unlimited

( Read More/Comment | 381 comments )


"Morrissey Signs To Decca" press release
posted by davidt on Monday December 03 2007, @06:00PM

MORRISSEY SIGNS TO DECCA
– Marketed And Promoted By Polydor UK


Morrissey has signed an exclusive world-wide recording contract with Decca.

With the signing, Decca re-enter the credible Pop market as a label historically associated with artists such as The Rolling Stones, Small Faces, Marianne Faithfull and Them.

All releases will be marketed and promoted through Polydor UK.

Since the disbanding of The Smiths in 1987 Morrissey’s 20-year solo career has established him as one of the UK’s greatest musical talents with a back catalogue of eleven albums, most recently 2006’s UK No.1 Ringleader of The Tormentors.

The first release under this new contract will be a Greatest Hits album of Morrissey solo material with two new songs in February 2008 which will follow a 6 night run of sold-out shows in January at London’s legendary Roundhouse.

Morrissey is currently recording a new studio album in LA, working once again with Jerry Finn, the producer of 2004’s widely acclaimed UK No. 2 album You Are The Quarry. The as yet untitled new album will be released in Autumn 2008.

Morrissey:
"I am delighted to be part of the Decca and Polydor family and am very excited about the new singles and albums we are going to do together in 2008".

Christopher Roberts, President, Classics and Jazz, UMGI and Chairman, Decca Label Group US:
"Morrissey is the latest of many iconic artists signed to the Decca label. We at Decca and the many Universal companies around the world look forward to a successful creative and commercial relationship."

Bogdan Roscic, Managing Director of Decca:
"Morrissey's career is pretty unique - not so many artists can look back on more than 25 years at the top of their game, staying as credible, creative and relevant as on the first day. From the recent performances and the new material, I know 2008 is going to be a stellar year for Morrissey, and we are very proud he is now a Decca artist."

David Joseph, President of Universal Music Operations:
“I’ve heard the new songs and Morrissey’s new music quite simply speaks for itself. We are very excited at the prospect of working with one of the UK’s most creative and unique artists.”

Merck Mercuriadis, Pacifica Artists Group - Morrissey’s manager:
"This was a very competitive situation but the prospect of relaunching Decca as a pop label in conjunction with the Polydor team whose pedigree and success speaks for itself was too much to resist. We are very pleased to be working with David, Bogdan and their terrific teams."

( Read More/Comment | 31 comments )


"Why Mr and Mrs Smith Agree With Morrissey" - The Sun
posted by davidt on Monday December 03 2007, @06:00PM

Sent from Pacifica Artists Group:

"Why Mr and Mrs Smith Agree With Morrissey" by Trevor Kavanaugh, The Sun



( Read More/Comment | 24 comments )


Morrissey "Greatest Hits" CD due in Feb 08, 2 new songs
posted by davidt on Monday December 03 2007, @11:00AM

An anonymous person writes:
According to the BBC, a new best of will be released in feb 08

Morrissey switches record labels - BBC News

Excerpt:

Morrissey has changed record labels, signing a new deal with Decca.

The first release under this contract will be in February - a greatest hits compilation of the musician's solo material, along with two new songs.

( Read More/Comment | 79 comments )


Collectamania!!
posted by davidt on Monday December 03 2007, @11:00AM

Kevin Lloyd writes:
Have you got an impressive collection of Smiths/Moz artifacts? Do you also live in Stockport or the South Manchester area?

I am helping to design and curate a brand new exhibition called 'Collectamania' at Stockport Story Social History Museum in Stockport's Market Place. The exhibition will showcase 10 of the best collections of personal memorabilia from people who live in the Stockport area. Items such as vinyl records, toys and games, football programmes etc etc. We are looking for submissions from the public, of personal collections, the more unusual and distinctive the better!

This is hopefully where you come in!

I would be thrilled if we could install a section of the exhibition dedicated to Smiths/Moz as I know that Morrissey fans are amongst the most passionate collectors around. Anything from rare photographs, vinyl, gig posters, magazines, ticket stubs, tshirts etc. In addition to this I would be interested to see anything connected to the Smiths recording sessions at Strawberry Studios in Stockport.

There will also be an opportunity for those chosen to assist in the installation of the exhibition in January 2008. If you would be willing to loan your collection to the museum from January – April 2008 please contact me asap by email kevin.lloyd@stockport.gov.uk

http://www.stockportstory.org.uk/

With thanks

( Read More/Comment | 2 comments )


Merck response to Tim Jonze blog comment; Morrissey statement coming Tuesday morning
posted by davidt on Sunday December 02 2007, @05:30PM

Merck Mercuriadis writes:
Morrissey vs NME

In Response To Tim Jonze Blog

It would be easy to feel sorry for Tim Jonze. He is clearly out of his depth and has panicked to the point of admitting in writing that he will say anything to anybody if it gets him what he wants. Clearly integrity - journalistic or otherwise - means nothing to him and he has just spelled it our for every reader, publicist, band, editor and potential employer to know.

It is arguable that he has just been a pawn in Conor McNicholas's zeal to make a name for himself at Morrissey's expense but on the other hand the level of collusion between the two of them would appear to be thicker than blood. We won't know until we get to court and start picking them apart.

What we do know as evidenced by his posts is that Tim is prepared to say and do anything. Keep that in mind when reading his work and particularly this weeks NME cover story.

Best wishes,

Merck Mercuriadis

Los Angeles

December 2nd, 2007

PS If you are interested in Morrissey's personal view on the subject note he will be issuing a statement on Tuesday morning.

( Read More/Comment | 91 comments )


Tim Jonze reponds to Merck Mercuriadis posts in Guardian blog comments
posted by davidt on Sunday December 02 2007, @03:30PM

2-J writes:
Tim Jonze has responded to the latest item on Moz-solo in a comment on his previous Guardian blog entry:

timjonze
Comment No. 813920
December 2 3:39
Bangkok/tha Oh dear. Right. I was in New York writing a piece on Morrissey. Morrissey WAS charming. I WAS a big Smiths fan. I WAS nervous before the interview. All true. Of course I needed guest list for the gigs, it was essential to the story. The gigs were also very good. Great, in fact. I wrote all this in the original piece. Maybe one day I'll be able to print what I wrote and you will see that. Who knows.

Now, if I'd come screaming out of the interview shouting "HE'S USING THE LANGUAGE OF THE BNP, I'M GOING TO TELL THE WORLD" then I'd never have got to see the gigs (essential part of my brief) and I'd have had pressure from management to swing the piece in their favour which, although it wouldn't have made a difference, I'd sooner not have to put up with. There's no obligation to tell management that you don't like their artist's comments. It's his own stupid fault for spouting all that drivel. By now, Morrissey should really know how interviews work. He doesn't deserve warnings and copy approval. Christ, he wasn't even ASKED about immigration.

Journalists can't strop off in disgust during an interview, just because they don't agree with their interviewee. Their sole purpose of being there is for the readers of the magazine, to get the story as accurate as possible.

Also, I didn't write this blog for publicity as some people have suggested (come on, I'm getting a right load of abuse here, it's not much fun!). I wrote it simply because the story in the press that Moz had been stiched up by NME and I was trying to cover up his comments was NOT TRUE. Honestly, that is all. If something's not true, why not put it right?

I have no problem with Moz saying he is "nostalgic for his working class background" as some people have suggested. Sadly, he didn't say this. For someone so good with words, he certainly can't find the right ones if this was what he meant. I also have no problem with him saying the country has changed, or that he is against immigration for sensible reasons. All fine if that's what he thinks. But his language is not fine. The language he used isn't helpful to anyone in a sensible discussion about immigration. Also, I didn't say he was like a member of the BNP, either. I said he was using the LANGUAGE of the BNP. This is true. Check out their website.

Do some of you not find it just a little bit desperate that Merck is posting all these private emails as some kind of proof that his artist is in the right? He's not tackling the issue at all, just trying to muddy it by printing my emails to him. Why doesn't Moz make a comment on race instead, as Love Music Hate Racism have called for in a very well worded press release? Presumably this is up online somewhere?

Tim

Ps Thanks to those of you who have posted reasonable comments on this, either for or against my blog. The discussion on this is very important and interesting. It's a shame there's so much nonsense drowning it out

( Read More/Comment | 55 comments )


 
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