"Steven And I" - An English School Story, by Tom Ewing
Posted on Mon, Apr 10 2000 at 10:05 a.m. PDT
by David T. <[email protected]>
From Nicole:

Here is a piece on Morrissey (and Morrissey fandom) that I found very thoughtful and out of the ordinary:

"Steven And I" - An English School Story, by Tom Ewing (April 9, 2000)

* item archived - comments / notes can no longer be added.

Comments / Notes

This really is a well-written piece - interesting, thought provoking, and illuminating. His arguments regarding arrested development, and the idea that Morrissey sings to people lying on their bedroom floor are pretty convincing, certainly I can relate to them. Why isn't there more of this calibre written?

A rented room in Whalley Range - Mon, Apr 10, 2000 at 10:36:18 (PDT) | #1

I agree. A lovely and articulate story.

Atlanta, GA - Mon, Apr 10, 2000 at 11:12:59 (PDT) | #2

That was absolutely the most truthful thing about Morrissey and his fans that I have ever read. It was fantastic and well written!

Marie's the Name, his latest flame <[email protected]>
- Mon, Apr 10, 2000 at 17:03:03 (PDT) | #3

That was beautiful! Well said. I like the imagery about people people lying on thier bedroom floors, listening to the smiths!

chicago - Mon, Apr 10, 2000 at 18:06:48 (PDT) | #4

I don't like the way this person treats Morrissey as a 12 step program to be used by people in times of need and then discarded. I don't feel like some sort of deviant because I plan on listening to Morrissey and admiring the man and his work for an extended period of time. It's good that Moz brings this much emotion to people and I don't find anything wrong with it. I don't think Morrissey ever wanted to build himself an army of the disenfranchised. It seems he just wanted to sing his songs, the fans did the rest. It's a great article and does do a good job of explaining why the Smiths mean so much to so many people. I really enjoyed reading it.

The Cat's Pajamas <[email protected]>
Urbana Illinois - Tue, Apr 11, 2000 at 15:05:14 (PDT) | #5

As the person who wrote the article concerned, I'd like to say first of all thanks to the people who read it, and secondly I'd like to apologise if I gave the impression I was treating the band/Moz as a 12-step program. They came along for me when I needed them and I still listen to them a great deal now - why, only last week I (finally!) upgraded my tape copy of TQID to CD and it's rarely left my Discman since. I think what I was trying to get at was simply that man cannot live on Smiths alone, a pretty obvious thing to say really. I certainly didn't mean that I thought the group could or should be 'discarded' once you'd got into them!

Tom Ewing <[email protected]>
UK - Tue, Apr 11, 2000 at 17:37:42 (PDT) | #6

Well said. Enough said.

Lon <[email protected]>
Atlanta - Tue, Apr 11, 2000 at 22:40:55 (PDT) | #7


That was the very first thought that came to my mind. Even though I am not English, I do applaud Tom Ewing for writing the article in a fashion that I believe most Smiths/Morrissey fans can relate to, in one sense or another.

Bravo sir.

Half a Person <[email protected]>
Los Angeles - Thu, Apr 13, 2000 at 15:17:04 (PDT) | #8

Finally!! An honest look at the way many grown Moz fans feel. We have learned over the years that you can have your own life, actually not obsess over Morrissey's every breath, grow up, & have fond memories of those awful times that only he could get you through. It doesn't mean you admire or love him any less. You just start to make your own songs....Thanks, Tom.

Kim <[email protected]>
- Fri, Apr 14, 2000 at 18:22:01 (PDT) | #9

Tom: I read your article "Steven and I", and found it beautiful and moving, but also a bit disturbing, Im from Mexico City, and I discovered Morrissey long ago, I went to a private-religious school during my teens, I also felt different, so I (as you can imagine) surrendered to smithsdom. Today Im a fully grown adult, I work in an advertising agency as a creative VIP and I still found confort and consolation on Morrissey/Smiths songs even today, of course life moves on and you cant be an eternal teen, but the courage of being different and take proud on that I still consider a value that Morrissey teach me some time ago. If you compares todays music scene, there isnt nothing like Morrissey or The Smiths, something that captures with that force the fact of becoming of age. I also think that you have to judge Morrissey in the light of an artist ( in the real scence of the world) becoause he explores facts of life and gives them the artistic point of view, always a bit extreme, exhuberant and excesive

Natan <[email protected]>
- Fri, Apr 14, 2000 at 18:52:53 (PDT) | #10

How nice to hear the ramblings of the terminally well-to-do, however, if you see Bengali in Platforms as distasteful, then you miss it's point.

- Fri, Apr 14, 2000 at 20:32:06 (PDT) | #11

will somebody please make NME hire this guy?????

Iamawas <[email protected]>
Tallahassee Florida - Sat, Apr 15, 2000 at 12:35:37 (PDT) | #12

Which guy?

- Sun, Apr 16, 2000 at 06:03:14 (PDT) | #13

jUNGFIEND: snipings about my well-to-do-ness aside, I'd be very interested in what the 'point' of "Bengali In Platforms" is, as I clearly missed it entirely. But thanks for reading, even if you didn't like it, and that goes for everyone who's commented here.

Tom Ewing <[email protected]>
UK - Sun, Apr 16, 2000 at 13:26:30 (PDT) | #14

i agree with the aforementioned comments on the article. it's quite an articulate and frank essay. i just have one question for mr. ewing: did moz's music prevent any of your other friends from becoming racists????

vincent deporez
portugal - Sun, Apr 16, 2000 at 18:09:48 (PDT) | #15

Dear Tom Ewing,

'Bengali in Platforms'. That 'ole chestnut.

The tone of the song, as Johnny Rogan has pointed out, is politely mocking. But what IS this picture that has been built up around Moz? Why MUST he be what we want/hope/need him to be?

The whole debate reminds me of an article written in the 1960s regarding the problems with Jim Morrison (singer for 'The Doors'). I'll reprint it here:

"He isn't real because he is a poster or a golden record or an idol or a picture to kiss at night under the covers, a doll, he is the ultimate Barbie doll, and Barbie speaks when we pull her string, that's what she's supposed to do, and she only says what we want her to say because you see on the other end of the string is a piece of tape, that' why she is our Barbie doll and that's why he is our Jim Morrison and that's why we want him to sing "Light My Fire" and stop Stop STOP all these other strange sentences that the doll didn't say when we bought her, these new words on the tape, she has no right to new words, just to do her thing which is our thing because we own her/him/the ticket/the poster/the record/the idol."

- Liza Williams, "The Doors at the Forum - Morrison: The Ultimate Barbie Doll", (L.A. Free Press).

"All of the rumours/ Keeping me grounded/ I never said, I NEVER said, that they were completely unfounded."

It's also interesting to note that whilst Moz can be mercilessly castigated for mocking someone with reference to race, he can sing quite openly about 'Margaret on a Guillotine', use phrases such as 'Monster' to describe the invalid in 'November Spawned a Monster', almost celebrate football hooligans in 'We'll Let You Know' and no-one thinks anything more of it.

These blatant gaps in our critical response to Moz's lyrics display our prejudices, don't they?


Lars Thorwald <[email protected]>
The deep, dark land of the Other...(Oz). - Mon, Apr 17, 2000 at 04:35:47 (PDT) | #16

hi people i think bengali in platforms has been much maligned by the critice but it has the essence of sheer brilliance about it and constitutes in no form blatant racism on morrissey's part rather a painful reminder that life is hard enough when you belong here!its my opinion the true racists are his critics!!!

lollo <[email protected]>
wasteland - Mon, Apr 24, 2000 at 09:22:01 (PDT) | #17

OK deep breaths everyone calm down and think about it. Have any of you ever heard of irony or poetic licence? + even if moz was serious what about free speech? If no one is ever allowed to say anything risque then we are going to end up with a sterile Oprah Winfrey-style world and that would be plus plus cheesy and boring.

- Mon, Apr 24, 2000 at 09:51:09 (PDT) | #18

Moz grew up in one of the rougher areas of Manchester where anyone different was likely to get a kicking. Isn't Bengali... about how someone from a competely different culture really sticks out and so they will get such a hard time. Its Moz saying well if they hate me and I'm white e.t.c. then they will never accept you. Isn't anyone supposed to mention how racist people can be? if songs like this aren't acceptable then aren't we pretending that nothing is wrong?

- Mon, Apr 24, 2000 at 09:58:02 (PDT) | #19

Lars you are a blinkered fool, do you get past reading the song titles before you start whinging. In we'll let you know the characters are described as sad and depressing and the last of a breed . Celebration???? I remember an interview with morrissey where he said that its not necessarily footy hooligans, it could apply to journalists also. I remember stuff like this because I really like Morrissey, some people who come here obviously don't so GO AWAY THESE PAGES ARE HARD ENOUGH WHEN YOU BELONG HERE!

- Mon, Apr 24, 2000 at 10:04:43 (PDT) | #20

I agree.
In defence of jungfiends previous "gripings", the well-to-do don't know the half of it. Did it make it better when Daddy said that you could have a new car? Probably. What colour was it? Did YOU ever have to wear the same set of shoes for 3 years? NO. So keep it to yourself, you wouldn't know the half of it. Tom Ewing, you don't belong here.

Unionist all alone
- Thu, May 04, 2000 at 17:22:21 (PDT) | #21

Unionist, you and your tiny minded little views are what don't belong here. Just retreat to your room with your Billy Bragg albums and do us all an enormous favour.

- Thu, May 04, 2000 at 22:44:08 (PDT) | #22

Oh and by the way unionist, writing in boldface isn't really all that impressive .

- Thu, May 04, 2000 at 22:46:47 (PDT) | #23


If you'd bothered reading the article you'd have noticed that I went to public school on a scholarship. In other words, my fees were paid by the school. My family are middle-class, sure, but by no stretch of the imagination rich. And I don't drive because I couldn't afford a car. Mind you, your comments would still have been wrong.

Tom Ewing <[email protected]>
UK - Mon, May 08, 2000 at 05:14:09 (PDT) | #24

* return to Morrissey-solo