posted by davidt on Monday March 18 2002, @09:00AM
Nobby Stiles writes:

Touring his latest album 'England, Half English' Billy Bragg is interviewed in Manchester's 'City Life' magazine...

Pressed on the points raised by the lyrics on the album Bragg goes on to mention the dangers of raising the 'Englishness' debate without fully explaining yourself.

"Part of the problem - perhaps we could call it the 'Morrissey problem' - is that if you're going to use symbols, you have to put them in context. Now, Morrissey famously used pictures of skinheads and the Union Jack and wrote 'Bengali in Flares' but never explained what he was talking about. There's a danger there because people can think the worse."

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  • Before you start going 'ha, it's Bengali in Platforms... not flares... what a divvy!' Just remember that Bragg has defended Morrissey on numerous occasions and is in fact, a fantastic chap.

    Just thought I'd say that, as I know how bitter a lot of you can be. x
    Anonymous -- Monday March 18 2002, @09:04AM (#26361)
  • Possibly the best albums to be released this year, but it's only March.
      I'm off to see him at Leeds Poly tomorrow night.
    aly.smith -- Monday March 18 2002, @10:22AM (#26367)
    (User #3669 Info | http://www.geocities.com/smithsmoznight)
  • Morrissey used skinheads, Sid Vicious used Nazi symbols, Bono used starving children in third world countries.... They are all artists throwing out ideas or symbols in order to make a statement, reguardless of if they believe in the message or theme. That's what art does- it provokes people and makes them think. I know, I know, God forbid anyone think. I am fairly sure that dear old Moz isn't a skinhead or a racist. He and others are just making an artistic STATEMENT using what are generally considered "Dangerous and taboo topics or ideas". Perhaps it is just art for art's sake. Who knows? But then again, as Wilde once said, "All art is quite useless."
    MozGirl18 -- Monday March 18 2002, @10:37AM (#26368)
    (User #2483 Info)
    "It is absurd to divide people into good or bad. People are either charming or tedious."-Oscar Wilde
  • Billy you remain as witty as ever. As to Morrissey, yes he is never quite clear about many things but...this is part of fun, don´t you find??

    The Queen is Dead, God save the King of the East End!!

    Bloke carioca´s East End way of life defendant
    Bloke in Blue -- Monday March 18 2002, @11:07AM (#26369)
    (User #3557 Info)
  • Billy Bragg has always been referring to Morrissey throughout his entire career. When I saw him in Tucson, Arizona in the late 80s he made a crack about Morrissey onstage. Keeping this in mind I noticed thoughout the 90s he has often dropped remarks about Moz that trades like the NME are sure to pick up. Yet he still covers his Smiths songs? I think that Bragg has a lot of admiration for his Morrissey's writing, but has contempt for how he (mis)managed his career. I really don't know, I am guessing. Any thoughts?
    Anonymous -- Monday March 18 2002, @11:30AM (#26370)
  • Help!!! (Score:0, Offtopic)

    Hi, does anyone know Moz's postal address in LA?
    Also, I was trying to find some pics of The Mike Joyce Court Case which were displayed here on Morrissey-solo some 2 years ago, where are those pics??
    Last, does anyone know where to find photos of Morrissey's parents and other members of his family, would like to see his mother/father/brother...

    [email protected]
    AnthonyBrazil -- Monday March 18 2002, @10:00PM (#26399)
    (User #1409 Info)
    • Re:Help!!! by hand in glove (Score:1) Monday March 18 2002, @10:41PM
    • Bon Jovi, anyone? :) by Anonymous (Score:0) Tuesday March 19 2002, @08:44AM
    • Louisiana? by Anonymous (Score:0) Wednesday March 20 2002, @10:13PM
  • I don't know much about Billy Bragg, but I have read that he's a big fan of The Smiths/Morrissey, so I think all of this just comes out of possibly being worried about Morrissey because of the whole imagery thing. Sarcasm is always a great way to defend someone - especially if you want their attention.

    But that's just how I view it.
    hand in glove -- Monday March 18 2002, @10:49PM (#26404)
    (User #827 Info)
    "Sometimes things fall apart so that better things can fall together" - Marilyn Monroe
  • I recently went to see Billy Bragg and the Blokes at De Montfort Hall, Leicester on the current tour and he made no less than 5 Smiths/Morrissey references, although I'm afraid I can't remember them all.

    Having said that, I can remember one of them was that when he first heard the name "The Smiths" he was expecting to see a group of bearded intimidating, fire-breathing type characters (ie he was thinking of blacksmiths!) Imagine his surprise when he met Morrissey!

    Anyway, the concert was good, although not as good as when I have seen Billy Bragg on his own without the Blokes - I think I prefer the songs he writes for himself and not those for the band!

    Still, at least he tours!!!
    RichardO -- Tuesday March 19 2002, @01:37AM (#26413)
    (User #126 Info)
  • Although Billy Bragg and Morrissey represent two of the very best musicians in the business, the fact is they play to different agendas. As a political activist, Billy Bragg cannot afford ambiguity as he seeks to proselytise the masses. He strives for unionisation and human rights and as such cannot publicly associate himself with lyrics or artistic poses that cannot be instantly seen as non-racist. I suspect that in private, Billy knows very well that National Front Disco is not a Fascist call-to-arms but sadly we live in a world where we can only be ironic if we add the word “not” to the end of the sentence. What I do find interesting is that Billy Bragg is now seeking to “reclaim” the English flag from the right-wingers but not the British Union flag which Morrissey wrapped himself up in for dramatic effect. The contradictions I see in this are as follows: Billy Bragg seeks to encourage a more moderate English patriotism in centrists and left wingers but appears to welcome the demise of the United Kingdom. This seems odd to me since it is Britain (ie the United Kingdom) that has proven a better vehicle for multiculturalism than England which is usually considered white and anglo-saxon. Many Asians feel comfortable with the notion of being British, but not English. Also, since Welsh, Scotch and Northern Irish devolution has lessened the desire to break up the UK then why would Billy Bragg of all people seek to encourage a rise in “Englishness”? To me, it is especially odd given that in the song Northern Industrial town, he observes that cities in Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have a common identity, rendering the song perhaps the most pro-UK song ever recorded by a contemporary artist.
            Interestingly, at around the same time Morrissey recorded “This is not your country” which, assuming Morrissey was not being ironic, condemns the presence of British soldiers in Northern Ireland. This is also paradoxical since the Union flag he wrapped himself up in also contains the cross of St Patrick celebrating the fact that Ireland (or nowadays Northern Ireland) is part of the UK. Of course if Morrissey is NOT being ironic in “This is not your country” then perhaps the people he is satirising are those who seek to keep wars going by elevating grievance to a way-of-life. Thus you see my confusion!
            Fortunately for Morrissey, as a true artist he is unaccountable and can make his points as he sees fit. For Billy Bragg however, political change requires consensus and everyone on the left to be singing from the same hymn sheet. Perhaps the reason Billy Bragg makes so many references to Morrissey in concert is that secretly, Morrissey is the type of artist he would most like to be, if only he could remain understood.
    Holy Name -- Tuesday March 19 2002, @10:34AM (#26434)
    (User #1418 Info)
    oh but I know what will make you smile tonight..
  • Billy who?
    Anonymous -- Wednesday March 20 2002, @06:22AM (#26468)


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