Andrew Collins and Morrissey

Maurice E

Junior Member
to take this thread vaguely back towards topic!

It's interesting that Andrew Collins should post here, but credit to him for doing so. He's a top-notch writer and his contributions to Word are always insightful and witty. However, he was one of the most spiteful Moz-hating journalists around in the early 90’s (which is saying something!); see his NME review below of ‘We hate it when’. I would think Moz would be more pissed off with him about this than the ‘Flirting with Fascism’ piece! However, in fairness, Andrew went on to give Your Arsenal a pretty glowing review, and has been v positive about Moz in recent years unlike vicious, permanently sarcastic, Moz-obsessed twat, David Quanticks (who, recently, even used writing a friend’s obituary as an opportunity to slag off Morrissey), or mulleted, uber-buffoon John Harris.
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SINGLE OF THE WEEK (NOT!) Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Morrissey is laughing at me. And you. He is the Tony Hancock of rock who refuses to lie down. Methodically casting aside those who helped make him the greatest pop star of the 1980s, he is now alone but for some inept rockabillys and a cash register inside a cosy nest made of moist fan mail from The Great Uncritical. Don't you just hate it when that happens?
Start your sobbing, this is by far and away the ex-Smith's WORST single. Played alongside it, 'Ouija Board' sounds choppy and inspired. Sure, the ambiguous title allows 30 seconds of salacious conjecture, but that double-bluff "Ha ha ha ha ha ha" non-chorus scores a direct miss, and the sound of five men bashing around in the darkness in search of a tune merely drains you of the will to live. And the live B-side of 'Suedehead' was played by monkeys who clearly hated 'Viva Hate'. Use the money you save by not purchasing all formats of this record, do yourself a f---ing favour and invest in Morrissey And Marr: The Severed Alliance by Johnny Rogan (Omnibus f14.95). Remind yourself why Morrissey has this peculiar hold over your faculties ie he was in The Smiths, who single-handedly saved a decade, got split up by Danny Kelly and, as individual components, withered on the vine. Moz is history, and we'd all do well to learn it.- Andrew Collins, New Musical Express, 5/2/92
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
It's interesting that Andrew Collins should post here, but credit to him for doing so. He's a top-notch writer and his contributions to Word are always insightful and witty.
I think we covered this. The review was already posted, but thanks. It was good to read the whole thing.
 

vulgarian

New Member
The Skinhead imagery on the backdrop at Finsbury Park, does anyone know where it came from? is it from a book, just interested.
 

This charming man.

Throbbing member.
There would be an issue with that last sentence if you are a Birmingham City fan:rolleyes:

Jukebox Jury
But you do agree with me about Ian Brown not being a Manc. ;)

Other examples of people or groups being touted as 'Mancs', but are clearly not;

Joy Division.
Anthony H. Wilson.
Ricky Hatton
Prolly just the tip of the iceberg, there. :rolleyes:
 

Cornflakes

"A bit iffy" ★★☆☆☆ - AV Club
For Andrew Collins, if you're still around...

I'm not a normal contributor here, but I am a lifelong Morrissey fan (slightly less obsessive than I once was), and I'm taking the opportunity to ask about something, concerning the dark arts of music journalism, about which I have held some suspicions for a while...

A number of posters have pointed out how the YouTube footage of the Finsbury Park concert tells a different story to the one that was painted in the press at the time. For example, Morrissey is not bottled off (he exits after a full set to cries for an encore) and the crowd doesn't appear to have a noticable constituent of old skins.

At the time though, I remember reading about the skinheads and the cartons of juice and so on all over the place, both before and after the NME piece. There was a cartoon in Vox, for example, captioned "Morrissey on the receiving end of your arsenal". In particular, I remember that the Daily Mirror (or possibly the Sunday Mirror) reported on the concert, saying that Morrissey had been boo-ed off and that over £100 in pennies had been collected from the stage. That's a lot of pennies. This was before the NME came out. But it's clear from the footage that it was just fabrication. Quite unusual, too, in 1992, for a story about a Morrissey gig to be considered worthy of inclusion in a redtop.

We know that there was a battle going on in the NME offices to promote the Morrissey story at the time. Do you think it is at all plausible that people involved in that battle might have encouraged others to cover the Madstock performance, perhaps with a view to helping establish a case that it really was a big and important story? Might the incident, such as it was, have been mis-described so as to make it sound like it might be newsworthy?

Just asking.

To everyone else:

I think it is important to remember that Morrissey did prance around waving a union jack in front of a picture of some skinheads. That remains quite difficult to honestly defend, in my opinion.

The idea that there's some mystical artfulness to it that can't exactly be explained in human language sounds, frankly, like the ravings of someone defending their belief in the literal truth of the Bible.

Forgive, by all means, but don't deny.

Cheers.
 
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Worm

Taste the diffidence
Forgive, by all means, but don't deny.
Deny what? Forgive what?

"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.
 
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joe frady

Vile Refusenik
Just to clear up one thing; it's pretty definite that Morrissey brought the Union flag on stage with him. This thread from six months back ~ http://forums.morrissey-solo.com/showthread.php?t=95010&page=2http://forums.morrissey-solo.com/showthread.php?t=95010&page=2 ~ discussed it and lapislazuli in post #27 helpfully posted some contemporaneous MTV News YouTube footage, which YouTube have now unhelpfully taken down. But I remember watching it and the cameras were backstage with Morrissey and the band as they went on, and Moz had the Union flag tightly bundled in his fist as he walked out. He placed it on the drum riser before addressing the microphone.
 

lainey

Active Member
from the man himself; Observer, December, 1992


Some observers felt that, in view of the National Front element in evidence at Finsbury Park, Morrissey was at best insensitive to have decorated the stage with a backdrop showing two 'Suedeheads' (an early Seventies variation on the skinhead cult, similarly associated with violence and fascism) and to have brandished a Union Jack.

'I like the flag,' Morrissey says. 'I think it is very attractive. When does a Union Jack become racist? I know there were a lot of people there from the National Front, but I don't think they were particularly interested in me. And even though there were reports of me being booed and pelted off-stage — which of course never happened at all — I don't believe that it was the National Front who did that. I think it was a small selection of rather dull north Londoners. Now the press claim that every skinhead in London wants my blood, which is twaddle. Nobody mentioned that Madness themselves also received missiles,' adds Morrissey



The New Musical Express responded to the Finsbury Park incident with a lengthy article which suggested that the singer might have racist inclinations. The paper assembled Morrissey quotes collected over the best part of a decade and cited songs such as 'The National Front Disco', from his latest album and 'Bengali In Platforms' from his first solo album Viva Hate, a patronising number that contains the lines 'It's hard enough when you belong here' and 'Shelve your Western plans'.

'Well if anyone reads the lyrics and still has an extreme, or offensive, or...' (Morrissey has lapsed into thesaurus mode) '... objectionable view of it, then all I can believe is that they are determined to think that. The phenomenon of the National Front interests me, like it interests everyone. Just as all manner of sexuality interests everyone. That doesn't mean that you necessarily want to take part.'
 

Cornflakes

"A bit iffy" ★★☆☆☆ - AV Club
Yes, sexuality interests me as well. But if I chose to stand on a stage and masturbate, I don't think I'd be entitled to be surprised at a negative response...
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
Yes, sexuality interests me as well. But if I chose to stand on a stage and masturbate, I don't think I'd be entitled to be surprised at a negative response...
You might be if "masturbation" was defined in different ways by different people.
 
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Jukebox Jury

Retired
Did anyone catch Andrew Collins on BBC1 6pm news yesterday discussing the work of director John Hughes after his sad death?
No mention of Morrissey.... just asking that's all:thumb:

Jukebox Jury
 
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