Deny what? Forgive what?
Originally Posted by Cornflakes
"Most youth cultures come from the U.S.A. Except skinheads, which as I understand, is an exclusively British invention. That the rest of the world around us looks upon skinheads as people who tattoo swastikas in their foreheads and throw fruit at innocent football supporters is a shame. Of course I’m aware of the fact that there exists such 'skinheads.' But the original idea of skinheads was just about clothes and music. And in England it still is to a pretty great extent. Style and everything it involves for me have their roots in the British working class.
That’s where all culture I appreciate passes on and in some degree is updated. The British working class and its youth cultures are never vulgar or excessive. Whereas the middle class never has created a bit."
And the upper class?
"They don’t have to do anything. They spend all their time in bed. But only sleeping, of course."
But the culture you’re talking about only exists in England?
"That’s right. And the rest of the world is copying it as best as it can. England may be a very small country. But why is it so important for pop musicians all over the world to be famous in England of all countries? Why? I tell you why, because the English have always been born with a sense for good taste. And in this particular case, we’ve had a lot to offer. Probably more than anyone else."
Morrissey, September 1992 Interview
Nobody's afraid to interpret the gospel "in human language". Here's Mark Simpson in Saint Morrissey, showing fine form:
Perhaps Morrissey also saw the Madness gig as an opportunity to escape the embrace of some of the paler fans he had attracted since his split with The Smiths and get back to closer contact with the more vital, working-class skinhead/bovver-boy audience--the kind of audience that the Nutty Boys had always attracted and, in fact, the kind of lads they had once been themselves. A historic opportunity to forge a glam-rock revival, a last glorious stand of British youth cults, of "skinheads in nail varnish", against creeping Americanization (people looking to Los Angeles for the language they use); a chance to finally realize the delinquent dream that had corrupted young Steven back in the early Seventies, at the hands of Bowie Bolan, and the other "playboys" who had thrown life's instructions away.
Instead of a glam revival, he woke up the dowdy reality that he had succeeded in offending just about everyone and had provoked an odd but perhaps not entirely unnatural alliance between the finger-wagging lefties and rabid right-wingers.
Mark made me chuckle when he later called the NME a self-appointed "Vatican".
Oh, and while the YouTube footage does seem to show a "regular" Morrissey show, it's not easy to hear everything that was being yelled at him nor see if objects were being thrown. That the media blew it out of proportion is a no-brainer. Something must have happened, though. Stephane, at the redoubtable Passions Just Like Mine, shows typical good judgment in describing it thus:
After a few songs, the heckling started and all kinds of items were thrown on stage, including coins, bottles, a carton of orange juice, etc. Is it debatable whether or not this heckling and pelting had anything to do with Morrissey, as opening band Gallon Drunk suffered the same treatment. The verbal abuse came from all sides, from anti-racists who thought Morrissey was being racist, and skinheads who didn't appreciate the skinheads backdrop and Morrissey wrapping himself in a Union Jack someone had thrown on stage during "Glamorous Glue". For the same reasons, the songs "The National Front Disco" or "We'll Let You Know" were not the most appreciated ones. This caused Morrissey to walk out after only nine songs had been performed.
This is probably the fairest assessment. Verbal abuse, some objects thrown, motives unclear all around: gives the lie to the media's overblown "bottled off" story but it's enough to explain why Morrissey left early and canceled the second night. Also matches an eyewitness account which the more eagle-eyed among you surely spotted in the YouTube comments:
I was there that day and the fuss was nothing to do with the flag it was because they put Morrissey above Ian Dury and the Blockheads on the bill, just before Madness. He just was not what that crowd wanted to see that day. Like I said, I was there and he was booed and had stuff chucked at the stage. I felt sorry for him but understood the crowd's reaction. It had nothing to do with the flag. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. (fijago)
Note that Stephane says the flag was thrown onstage. Morrissey used it, but may not have premeditated the gesture. Not sure what Stephane's source is, but from the YouTube clip it does appear he picks it up from the front of the stage (0:11 into "Glamorous Glue"), whereas if he'd brought it with him it would probably have been near the drum kit.
By the way, returning briefly to the subject of Morrissey's "grudge" against the NME which Andrew says did not, in fact, exist, Stephane has archived some comments from the 1992 "Your Arsenal" British tour; these were made four months following Madstock after a long tour of North America.
12 December: "I'd just like to say one thing, if you don't mind... I don't think you should be too upset when you read all the bad reviews, because the solution is: don't buy the papers!"
14 December: "Do you mind if I ask you a question? (crowd roars) Yes, you do? The question is this: Can I ask you a question? (crowd: 'Yes!') And will you answer me honestly? (crowd: 'Yes!') Do you actually still buy the NME? (crowd: 'No!') Thank you..."
15 December: "If you don't believe I'm a racist, then give up the NME".
18 December: "If you think that this song is in any way racist, then I suggest that you do yourself a very big favor and you give up the NME".
19 December: "I'm extremely curious and I have to ask one question, if you don't mind... have you given up the NME yet? (crowd shouted 'Yes!')... Well thank God for that!".
And now I shall return to my heathen-ish worshipping of the godlike enigma mortals call "Moz". If my back holds up, which at this point isn't looking likely.