Morrissey is NOT an original artist and is NOT in any way, shape or form equivalent to The Beatles, either with The Smiths or on his own. He is a very original remixer of other cultural products and his genius was to lure in the NME into thinking he was P.C on their terms, only to bite the hand that led him to a very minor level of fame. The fact that he is subject to inappropriate adulation says more about the dearth of other talent than it does about his. He is an excellent singer, and no one who saw the first shows could have guessed such a shy little boy would blossom under the spotlight. But he snubbed a lot of people who'd given him a platform, and did it from the get-go, choosing to chart a deeply boring careerist path to conventional fame and fortune rather than bring the whole edifice crashing down. When James Maker was air-brushed, those in the know raised eyebrows and put a big felt-tip question mark over his name. It's really rather pointless to reference Warhol only to appear faux-radical, and the stitch-up of the drum'n'bass 'lawnmower parts' was ethically outrageous from the very start by both Morrissey and Marr. Rather obviously drawing on The Beatles, The Clash and Madness, sought to make out that The Smiths were another 'the last gang in town' so the Court Case was just comeuppance.
"What ambitions do you have for your music?
Not the traditional ambitions within music, we don't have them. I mean, going to Yugoslavia, to America, touring the world - that doesn't appeal to us in any small degree. We just can't kind of jump into the... er, rock 'n' roll treadmill."
Hilarious in retrospect, given the never-ending touring which suggests he is addicted to the trivial buzz of a compliant 'fan' audience, and panders to them rather than challenge them.
The Beatles wrote 'juvenile' songs like "Yellow Submarine" and "Ob-La-Di.." because they are from East Dublin (aka Liverpool) and totally understood hybrid anglo-irish culture of the céilidh where all ages merge in a celebration of family and tribal conviviality. Morrissey and The Smiths were dreadful in failing to move beyond their snob territory of 'rebellion', appealing to clueless 'hipsters' who imagine(d) that endorsing Morrissey gave them some sort of cachet and kudos. Unfortunately, Morrissey isn't very clever and increasingly reveals himself to have been a chancer all along. Some great lyrics, some great vocal performances, but absolutely nothing to compare to The Beatles. His failure to recognise them is just another example of his jealous rage at his failure.
When The Smiths first appeared some people said to me "Is he that kid who used to hang around in Moseley?" I said I wasn't sure, but it was certainly possible as he was 'very Brimingham Art's Lab, Moor Street Peace Centre Salon Society'. What I was sure of was that he had either purloined or simultaneously also discovered a very Birmingham meme about the vast talents trapped beneath the workaday world. Morrissey is really a very simple cultural algorithm, one that can be summarised as follows:
"unemployed and unknown Oscar Wilde wannabe listening to Eleanor Rigby. S&G's "I Am A Rock", "Sound of Silence", and John Donne from the local library".
As far as I can see that's about it. The later desperate boxing/bad-boy motifs and the car-crash 'politics' are just thrashing around in artistic exhaustion. There were people in Brum who came up with snappy cultural algorithms in pubs as a parlour game. I've often wondered if Morrissey nicked his persona largely from Lawrence of Belgravia and then just spiced it up, but who knows. Or cares. He's an amusing and entertaining artist, but he is not Premier League and will fade once he dies, unlike Lennon and others. I wondered if his recent health scares ( a karmically beautiful blowback boomerang from his hate-fest towards David Banda and Kate Middleton) would wake him up, but his absurd and ignorant linking of conditions in the UK to those in China and Syria was not hyperbolic, nuanced or innovative. It was just another shriek from a shrill little Smurf Troll who spends far too much time having smoke blown up his arse by another loser, Julie Burchill. Or so my sources tell me.
This amusing idea that "BrummieBoy spends too much time thinking about Morrissey" is to die for! I'm not thinking about him, he barely detains me. I'm thinking of the collapse of the entire superstructure of Fame as fraudulent and pointless. I'm thinking that the post-war detour to 'hedonism and anhedonia' in popular culture was all a waste of time. I'm thinking that the next stage of cultural evolution will not be a rehash of the past. I'm thinking of The Knife and Sigur Ros and how they are tentatively probing towards something appropriate for current reality, not the 50s to the 00s. I'm thinking of DavidT who, despite his slip-ups, is far more admirable than Morrissey in hosting genuine free speech during Web 2.0 and holding the line against censorship, especially from a ridiculous 'pop-star' who has a tantrum and runs off to issue Tort Lawsuits and appeals to The House Of Common Frauds everytime he's challenged over his trolling.
I'd have done this about The Beatles or Leonard Cohen, but it's pointless: most other sites have 'moderators' who enforce the prevailing orthodoxies of 'the cult' whether it's Paul McCartney, Morrissey or Leonard Cohen. All 3 will be taken down by me for different reasons. They'll all in it up to their necks. So, don't think i'm 'hating' on Morrissey, though I'm sure he spends a lot of time hating on me. Still.
The future is never a re-run of the past, though it sometimes rhymes. Morrissey has quite cleverly provided an aural and visual backdrop for herd consumption which suggests that he is not just a capitalist entrepreneur selling consumer products and experiences (having mostly off-loaded the risk to corporate music behemoths) but has also provided some sort of emotional and psychological sanctuary for the sick and lonely. If that's so, then he's a deeply immoral artist not to firmly reject any such role and to urge his 'followers' to stop sharing their rhinoviruses and risking life and limb to shake his hand or hug him in some delusional rehash of past tropes of 'stardom'. He needs to stop glamorising suicidal ideation and political dilettante gestures and grow up, thereby helping his troubled 'flock' to also move on.
If those 3 albums of new material are any good, they'll still be good in 10 years. Bowie has genuinely surprised and thrilled me with his motifs from mediaeval history on his new album. I'm still just scratching the surface, but it's genuinely nourishing that he put his family first, and 'fame' last. One of us met David 'several times' in the early 70s, just as the apocalypse of fame was engulfing him. That young man watched and learned, studied art and literature and music and listened to Mendelssohn in the same Town Hall that he'd watched Bowie raise the roof. He thought Bowie would do it, but Bowie got side-tracked, as did Micheal Jackson. Lennon very nearly did it but then he was murdered.....Salinger in the Bull Ring..it's time for Art-Pop to face the challenges of the world we now live in and the crises that are unfolding. The solipsism and sophistries of Morrissey suggest he has now further part to play, but you never know...in 10 years time, he could return and surprise us all. Unless he spends the next 10 years touring 'Yugoslavia' desperately highlighting the injustice that has befallen him. The fact that the entire superstructure of the capitalist gate-keeper music industry has collapsed with the Interweb, and with it Morrissey's faux-rebellion, his role as just another purveyor of 'bread and circus' rebellion as 'repressive tolerance' revealed as always having been hidden in plain sight from day one. There's more to life than 'fame', but only if you want it.....