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Thread: Why Such Negativity?

  1. #21
    Senior Member Danny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Such Negativity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Worm View Post

    Admittedly, this is kind of an endless debate, since we don't know Morrissey's side and only have the word of other people around The Smiths, and in any case I don't disagree with your basic points about the music industry. And I wanted to mention, too, that your point about Morrissey being on a failing label is completely right and not brought up often enough. You'd think that he was Madonna or someone based on people's expectations, but at some point you kind of pause and go, "Wait a minute-- he sells 100k records at most and is on Sanctuary!"
    But then I've also read quotes from other people at the time who believed Joe Moss wasn't up to the job. I don't have the specifics at the moment but someone who was close to the Smiths said that Joe knew he would be eaten alive in the London music scene and that's why he left. Perhaps Morrissey was frustrated with him and interfering with his decisions and that made him feel inadequate?

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation are I don't think it's ever taken into account how inexperienced Morrissey was at the time. I think of that line "And in a belted coat, I secretly knew, I hadn't a cllue". As the oldest member of the band he obviously took on the burden of decision making but no one seems to take into account how young he was. It was probably chaos because they were learning as they went on. Which one of us would cope in that situation? I know I'd find it very difficult but I'd also have a natural suspicion of handing over decisions to someone else.

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  2. #22
    Taste the diffidence Worm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny View Post
    Perhaps Morrissey was frustrated with him and interfering with his decisions and that made him feel inadequate?
    Possibly, but Morrissey wasn't the only decision-maker in the group. Johnny was the more ambitious of the two and apparently Moss was good enough for him. But like I said, it all goes in circles, because you can counter that Johnny was saying nice things about his former friend, knowing he would be quoted in Q Magazine. When it comes to puzzling out what went wrong with The Smiths, I tend to think about all the details I know of, not just one or two, and the overall impression I get is that, while Marr undoubtedly made mistakes and probably skirted certain key responsibilities, the bulk of the financial and managerial problems came from Morrissey's side. In fairness to Morrissey, Johnny has used the media to tell his side of the tale and Morrissey has mostly kept quiet. I do recognize that we're not getting the full story. I just think most people's portraits of Morrissey over the years have a true ring to them: a brilliant but tortured artist prone to disastrous relationships with other people. Pretty classic case, too. In a way, by saying I think Morrissey might be the one to blame, I'm paying backhanded tribute to his genius.

    But I admit, we don't know all the facts, and even if I am correct, I do not feel any anger or resentment toward Morrissey. As I said above, I'm sure whatever he did or didn't do was motivated by what he considered absolute necessity, and I'm not going to toss back the greatest pop star of the last twenty-five years just because he didn't understand contract law and maybe stayed home in bed, "ill", watching "Cagney & Lacey" one night too many when he should have been onstage singing. What God has made crooked...

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  3. #23
    Senior Member Danny's Avatar
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    I think Marr avoided making non-musical decisions in The Smiths. Certainly members of the crew recall finding it frustrating when they couldn't find Morrissey because they couldn't get decisions out of Marr.

    But I think what you're bringing out is Morrissey's reluctance to communicate and explain himself which is what a lot of people find frustrating about him. It's like he is either so lost in his own little world that he thinks everything is very obvious and people should be able to read his mind or he enjoys the martyrdom of people blaming him for everything. He did the same thing with the Isle of White fiasco. Just assumed people would know what was going on. How were his fans supposed to know he was no longer signed with Sanctuary?

    The trouble with his policy of silence (which he probably idiotically thinks is very noble) is that it allows other people to write his story for him.

    Of course he can never communicate enough for some fans, but as an example just an indication at the Palladium of what was wrong when his sound monitor went off would have saved him much abuse afterwards. Just a simple "I'm sorry, my monitor's gone and I can't hear myself" instead of pleading for our support when none of us knew what the fuck was going on.

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  4. #24
    Taste the diffidence Worm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Such Negativity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny View Post
    It's like he is either so lost in his own little world that he thinks everything is very obvious and people should be able to read his mind or he enjoys the martyrdom of people blaming him for everything.
    Perfectly stated. I think you've got him on that one. I'm not quite so willing to believe he wasn't knowingly pulling strings behind the scenes in certain instances. I mean, how could Marr or Travis have guessed about Ruth Polsky? And he didn't leave the sacking of Rourke to people's assumptions, either. But I do think you're right-- clearly there are, shall we say, communication difficulties between Morrissey and the rest of the world caused by unavoidable issues endemic to his personality, and often there's really no one to blame. Just how he is. The concert anecdote made me laugh.

    Marr is definitely not blameless for The Smiths' demise. But he's another story. I question some of his artistic decisions but I've always strongly believed he was by far the more realistic of the two songwriters. I mean, be honest, if you were in a pub, wouldn't you probably have an easier, more relaxed, more enjoyable conversation with Marr? Sure, if I could, I'd choose to meet Morrissey over Marr the same way I'd choose to meet Jesus Christ over Peter, Matthew, or John, but if I wanted an enjoyable night out I wouldn't round up the bearded bore who yapped about lepers, I'd get piss drunk with apostles. And, y'know-- it's not scientific, this, I'll admit-- for that reason I kind of trust Marr's account of The Smiths more than Morrissey's.

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    Last edited by Worm; November 13, 2006 at 11:07 PM.

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    a bit off point but recently all I hear in the media is snide criticism and u no its always thrown in for no reason and never explained, thats whole rolling eyes attitude that just gets annoying. Like in the Sunday Times interview with jarvis cocker (who I love).the interviewer (whom I've always hated) just randomly threw in a bitchy remark for no reason. its like these peopel are talking to themselves, cos some of their audienc dont know who he is. or nme asking everyone wat they think of the moz/canada thing like why, ask them about interesting things

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  6. #26
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    Default Re: Why Such Negativity?

    Whose Ruth Plosky, sorry very limited knowledge

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  7. #27
    Senior Member Danny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Such Negativity?

    Just the fact that Marr came across as the everyman normal bloke makes me more suspicious of him I'm afraid. And the fact that everyone seems to accept his version of events without question. It's very easy to put yourself in a good light if you've got those advantages. It's very easy to blame everything on "the weirdo".

    Ian Dury was a lovely bloke who everyone wanted to go down the pub with. He was also a complete bastard to everyone around him. I'm not suggesting Johnny is a bastard but look to comments made by Craig Gannon about how Johnny treated him to get an alternative view.

    He left The Smiths by informing the NME. He didn't bother to get in touch with any of the other three members and let them know personally. Just that fact makes me suspicious of him.

    As for going down the pub with him, you do know he is a teetotal vegan into alternative spiritualities these days?

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  8. #28
    Taste the diffidence Worm's Avatar
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    Yeah, I see your point. He's suspiciously down to earth, I know. You have to admit, though, many people (myself included) favor Johnny's account of things because he's backed up by many other people around The Smiths. Everyone from close intimates to detached observers (like Billy Duffy of The Cult) have testified to Morrissey's problematic personality. In a vacuum I admit, Marr's nice guy veneer might seem like a put-on, but in context he seems to be pretty much who he says he is, and a lot of the firsthand accounts back up an unflattering picture of Morrissey as a business partner (though everyone unanimously agrees he's a great singer and songwriter).

    Isn't it generally accepted that Morrissey was the one who told the NME Johnny was gone? I mean the initial story-- Johnny's version was that Morrissey leaked a story that The Smiths might be splitting up in order to pressure Marr back into the studio. Isn't that what happened? I haven't brushed up on my history lately.

    "you do know he is a teetotal vegan into alternative spiritualities these days?"

    Ah, that explains so much.

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    Last edited by Worm; November 13, 2006 at 11:45 PM.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: Why Such Negativity?

    Bitchy comments sell papers. The music press are tabloid writers at heart.

    Quote Originally Posted by Christine View Post
    Whose Ruth Plosky, sorry very limited knowledge
    Gig promoter by profession and a bit of a legend in the American indie rock scene. She became The Smiths' manager after Joe Moss, for a period of time, but was killed in 1986 at the age of thirty. Morrissey dedicated "Shoplifters Of The World Unite" to her memory.

    "A driver for a car service has been charged with running a red light after his vehicle collided with a taxicab that spun out of control, struck and killed a woman in front of the Limelight discotheque in Chelsea, the police said yesterday. The victim, who was killed instantly Sunday night when the cab pinned her against the front of the building at 47 West 20th Street, was identified yesterday as Ruth Polsky of 90 West Houston Street, according to a police spokesman, Officer Joseph McConville" (9/9/86, New York Times).

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  10. #30
    Senior Member Danny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Worm View Post
    Yeah, I see your point. He's suspiciously down to earth, I know. You have to admit, though, many people (myself included) favor Johnny's account of things because he's backed up by many other people around The Smiths. Everyone from close intimates to detached observers (like Billy Duffy of The Cult) have testified to Morrissey's problematic personality. In a vacuum I admit, Marr's nice guy veneer might seem like a put-on, but in context he seems to be pretty much who he says he is, and a lot of the firsthand accounts back up an unflattering picture of Morrissey as a business partner (though everyone unanimously agrees he's a great singer and songwriter).

    Isn't it generally accepted that Morrissey was the one who told the NME Johnny was gone? I mean the initial story-- Johnny's version was that Morrissey leaked a story that The Smiths might be splitting up in order to pressure Marr back into the studio. Isn't that what happened? I haven't brushed up on my history lately.

    "you do know he is a teetotal vegan into alternative spiritualities these days?"

    Ah, that explains so much.
    The NME denied that Morrissey was the source of their story that the Smiths were splitting. Danny Kelly said it was a combination of gossip picked up in Manchester and a lucky guess. Morrissey immediately denied it with the famous "spanked with a wet plimsoll" comment.

    Marr then went direct to the NME with his announcement he had left and that he already had a new band in waiting (a band that never saw the light of day). He never contacted any of the other members. Imagine how devastating it must have been for all three of them to read that. Of course then the spin goes into overdrive with stories about Cilla Black songs. That's one of the reasons I don't trust Marr. His stated reasons for leaving the Smiths were so weak they couldn't possibly have been the truth. I think there was a lot of personal ambition and rivalry in his leaving. Something he's never admitted to.

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  11. #31
    Senior Member nightandday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Such Negativity?

    What an interesting discussion! You have both made some very good points. On the subject of Morrissey's personality, I have to say I am closer to Worm's view. You can't attribute Morrissey's mercurial behaviour, sometimes unpredictable decisions, etc. only to his inexperience. He seems to be the kind of person who needs to have complete control over every aspect of his career. This is confirmed by many people who have worked with/for him in different stages of his career, some have even called him "unmanageable. Besides, he isn't a very trusting person, and things that have happened in the past - such as Johnny's departure from The Smiths, the court case, the bad press he got... - must have made him even more suspicious that people would betray him. You can't ignore the fact that he has always had problems with communicating with people, and has a habit of using other people to enforce his decisions - a trait which some people mistake for arrogance. The impression from all the biographies and articles I have read is that Morrissey is a very complicated and difficult man, and that he's had all those character traits since his adolescence. His complex and tortured personality (I feel stupid writing these words, since they already sound like a cliche when applied to him - but they are true) is what made him a great lyricist and an iconic figure, but it's also what makes him so, as many people have said, 'difficult to work with'.

    On the other hand, I agree with Danny that Morrissey's bad traits and his share of blame for the split of The Smiths have been exaggerated by the media, and that Johnny Marr is always left off the hook too easily just because he's a 'nice, normal bloke' who never says any controversial things. I can understand why Morrissey himself has made a couple of remarks such as (speaking about the EMI contract) "Johnny was left off the hook... as he always is" or (about the court case) "Johnny, trying to please everybody and ending up pleasing nobody".

    The story about the NME article is a good example - NME have made it clear that Morrissey was not the source of that rumour. There is a further explanation in "The Severed Alliance" about Danny Kelly's actual sources (he heard some rumours, couldn't get anything from Rough Trade, and asked NME's Manchester correspondent Dave Haslam for confirmation; that's all). But it seems that Johnny thought at the time that Morrissey was behind this, and assumed that it was Morrissey's way of kicking him out of the band (His words were "I'm sure it would do him a lot of good".) NME have admitted that they were partly to blame for the split. But it seems like Morrissey is not the only one who can be paranoid! It often seems to me that he and Marr have a lot more in common than people think.

    The Cilla Black story was quite silly - I always thought it was just an excuse. But Marr has since given a lot better explanation of his reasons for leaving - that he just felt it was all too much of a strain for him and that he couldn't take it anymore.

    There's one thing I don't agree with you on, Worm: I don't think that Johnny was the more ambitious of the two.


    BTW, did Morrissey ever really watch "Cagney & Lacey"?

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    Taste the diffidence Worm's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Such Negativity?

    Yep.

    http://www.howdoesitfeel.co.uk/steven.html

    "And if you're still in doubt over Morrissey's comic sensibility let me just tell you that currently his favourite TV show is Cagney And Lacey. 'You don't watch it? My, you're crumbling before me!'"

    http://imdb.com/title/tt0083395/

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    Senior Member nightandday's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why Such Negativity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Worm View Post
    Yep.

    http://www.howdoesitfeel.co.uk/steven.html

    "And if you're still in doubt over Morrissey's comic sensibility let me just tell you that currently his favourite TV show is Cagney And Lacey. 'You don't watch it? My, you're crumbling before me!'"

    http://imdb.com/title/tt0083395/
    Thanks. I've never read the actual interview, even though I've read so many quotes from it. It's quite amusing - half of the answers sounds like something he never meant to be taken seriously, like the famous 'I always thought my genitals were a result of a crude practical joke' or never wanting to be caught 'doing something as vulgar as having fun'. I always thought his comment on Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others was very tongue-in-cheek. "one can't help be reminded that Morrissey doesn't write songs about women - unless they happen to be his mother." So Wonderful Woman was about Morrissey's mother? At least according to this interviewer... It's funny to note that Morrissey directly contradicted the above mentioned (unsubstantiated) assumption in the 1987 interview from the unreleased Strangeways promo footage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Danny View Post
    But I think what you're bringing out is Morrissey's reluctance to communicate and explain himself which is what a lot of people find frustrating about him. It's like he is either so lost in his own little world that he thinks everything is very obvious and people should be able to read his mind or he enjoys the martyrdom of people blaming him for everything. He did the same thing with the Isle of White fiasco. Just assumed people would know what was going on. How were his fans supposed to know he was no longer signed with Sanctuary?

    The trouble with his policy of silence (which he probably idiotically thinks is very noble) is that it allows other people to write his story for him.
    I also think this comment was spot-on. The best example of this was his reaction to the 1992 racist allegations - not only he stubbornly refused to defend himself (which I feel was the right decision and one I actually admire him for, considering the accusations were without any real foundation), as most people would, he acted as if he wanted to get himself in ever more trouble - making comments that could be very easily misconstructed and used against him, in an interview for a French magazine, very shortly afterwards ("Black people and white people will never get along, the French and the English will never get along"...) As if he thought 'do you expect me to defend myself? I am going to show you I have no intention to do it!' And that was not the only time when he acted in a defiant, stubborn, provocative and self-destructive way. I think that he should write a guidebook 'How to Make Enemies and Irritate People'.

    I think that Danny's explanation number 2 is far more likely - Morrissey realizes that people can't read his mind, and he actually enjoys being misunderstood... partly because he enjoys feeling like a martyr, and partly because he enjoys being en enigma. Being an enigma, keeping people at a distance, gives him a defense against the world, gives him power and control. As Johnny Marr said: "He is Morrissey and he likes to keep people guessing".

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    Last edited by nightandday; November 18, 2006 at 10:50 PM.
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    Default Re: Why Such Negativity?

    And I hope nobody will see my last comment as an example of negativity - those traits are one of the reasons I love him!

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    Talking Re: Why Such Negativity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Worm View Post
    At some point, I think after the Special Edition was released (the one where Greedo shoots first, not Han Solo), some mewling basket case who hadn't aged beyond 17 complained that by putting in this revision he had spoiled not only the present but the past. "George Lucas raped my childhood!" he wailed, and now this has become a standard line to trot out whenever a movie comes out that doesn't live up to expectations. The SW animosity has become a mode of expression, a language all to itself.

    But this is the key point, which the smarter Talk Backers have figured out: no matter how many times George Lucas tampers with the original SW movies, or releases subpar new ones, they will devote hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars to buy and support these products. Even the "childhood rape" whiners are still buying 12" figurines, lunchboxes, toys, books, and movie tickets. Recently some of them even paid good money to own special DVDs of unmolested SW movies that were nothing more than cheap transfers from VHS! The Internet has given a big population of fans an outlet to voice their anger and frustration about their favorite artists, but don't be fooled or put off, these people are still fans, first and foremost.
    your description of these basket cases is the funniest thing I've read in a long time! brilliant!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Worm View Post
    Yep.

    http://www.howdoesitfeel.co.uk/steven.html

    "And if you're still in doubt over Morrissey's comic sensibility let me just tell you that currently his favourite TV show is Cagney And Lacey. 'You don't watch it? My, you're crumbling before me!'"

    http://imdb.com/title/tt0083395/
    I love that interview, I remember reading it and thinking what a classy way to deal with getting caught in a tutu "If this ever gets out I'll kill you!" he snapped uncharacteristically. "Okay, okay," I replied, "as far as I'm concerned you wouldn't be caught embalmed in a tu-tu."
    "That is neither here nor there," he assured me. "What matters... what matters is that I would never, ever, do anything as vulgar as having fun." I'm going to try dressing up in one and see if its really that fun Although the situation was odd, like surely fans could come in, u know open door, journalist walks up stairs and all that!

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    Junior Member imogen11's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Why Such Negativity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Christine View Post
    I love that interview, I remember reading it and thinking what a classy way to deal with getting caught in a tutu "If this ever gets out I'll kill you!" he snapped uncharacteristically. "Okay, okay," I replied, "as far as I'm concerned you wouldn't be caught embalmed in a tu-tu."
    "That is neither here nor there," he assured me. "What matters... what matters is that I would never, ever, do anything as vulgar as having fun." I'm going to try dressing up in one and see if its really that fun Although the situation was odd, like surely fans could come in, u know open door, journalist walks up stairs and all that!
    I've never been sure that really happened...I mean, the interviewer writes that it did, obviously, but...I don't know....do you think Morrissey really was busted dancing in a tutu? I'd love to believe he was, hehe - it's brilliant. But I just never bought it....

    Anyone??

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    Senior Member Danny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imogen11 View Post
    I've never been sure that really happened...I mean, the interviewer writes that it did, obviously, but...I don't know....do you think Morrissey really was busted dancing in a tutu? I'd love to believe he was, hehe - it's brilliant. But I just never bought it....

    Anyone??
    It's fiction. The journalist was obviously a follower of "The New Journalism" where they put in fictional accounts of their subjects in order to (they think) shed light on their character.

    I can't believe anyone would think it really happened. It's written in a way that makes it totally obvious it's a joke.

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    Default Re: Why Such Negativity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Danny View Post
    It's fiction. The journalist was obviously a follower of "The New Journalism" where they put in fictional accounts of their subjects in order to (they think) shed light on their character.

    I can't believe anyone would think it really happened. It's written in a way that makes it totally obvious it's a joke.
    oh, okay - thanks for replying. My original thoughts exactly...though, like i said, I'd love it to be true

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