Well there you go, there's a different take on it from multiple of you guys. One act happening, described by three lines - instead of those three lines describing two separate acts. I had him cracking a joke as the first act, setting the tone for that character as a jokester and not itself clearing the room, and then committing a second mystery act that cleared the room, of a type that isn't specified for some reason. That would have to be a pretty bad joke, but maybe that's it rather than one known act and one unknown act.
"The usual way" helps flesh out the nature of the character as a serial offender, but just of a nonspecific type. But this is happening in the context of a family that is about to be broken by the stated impending trouble, so much so that all of them will have to go to therapy to process it. A habit of hurtful or ugly jokes could be symptomatic of a kind of environment where people need therapy for broader reasons, but I got the impression that this house of people loved by the author would be broken by the impending trouble as opposed to already being broken/toxic. He doesn't say that a whole house needs rebuilding, but rather that it will need rebuilding in the future once this unspecified trouble hits. So maybe dad's not so terrible then or the focus of dysfunction. I guess there's no way to know.
I want to understand the song but I don't think its meaning can be pieced together using just the lyrics, as is so often the case. Still, every little bit helps, hence this question. For anyone who thinks this kind of guessing and analysis is dumb or contemptible, this isn't the thread for you, because here comes a lot more. Alternate opinions on the other hand would be great if they beat what I've come up with and help decode the song for those of us who are interested.
When he has talked about the song over the years, particularly back after Vauxhall, he has said it was about him finally growing up, being unshackled from the past, presumably being freed to live in the present, facing the future, and letting go of the library of references he had overused as source material for his lyrics and themes. From passionsjustlikemine.com
That's kind of already an odd mix of motivations even when just stated plainly like that, one very general and life-ish, and the other pretty specific to his songwriting references, which he's saying he went overboard on and finally wrung out. Wikipedia
lists the multiple ways he tapped the play A Taste of Honey, for example, as he mentions above.
But it sounds like, to him, these old movies and books may have been emblematic of him being stuck in the past in general, living there immersed in those works instead of in the present. So then to try to view the lyrics of the song through the lens of that stated motivation, it still winds up a puzzler for me. By mentioning Dallow and the boys, and Doonan, we've got a direct tie to these reference source films he told us he had jettisoned. So maybe by saying his heart is full now, he's saying farewell to these characters, who formerly served as his friends on his many quiet nights alone at home with them, of which he's so often spoken.
So what exactly is this "house"? If Morrissey is growing up in real life and leaving his overtapped body of reference sources behind him now as he mentions in the interviews, and part of the way he's expressing that is by saying that there's a house full of people he loves that soon will be hit by some trouble that will land all of its occupants on the analyst's couch, does that mean this house is a metaphorical house where he "lived" in his imagination with all of his various Dallows and Spicers and whatnots? Is he saying that the coming trouble is that he's leaving them behind and they'll be wrecked without him and have to rebuild their house? Is the house instead the metaphorical house of his songwriting inspiration that will continue on with him, but which he is wrecking in order to completely rebuild it without all of its prior occupants in it, to serve as his new source of songwriting inspiration going forward, rooted more in the now and in real life/people?
Do all of the seemingly disparate types of things in this song actually fit together? That's what you'd generally assume in a song but I'm so often left scratching my head about the integration of various elements of many of his songs (such as what the hope and despair of innumerable Battersea residents has to do with the expressed devotion to Fatty). And how do those things on the surface of the song integrate with Morrissey's stated intent behind the song?
Because here are the puzzle pieces, contiguously connected or not:
In real life
-Growing up, maturing, finally becoming an adult
-Recognizing that the past is actually over
-Being unshackled from the past in a way that brings relief, with the implication that it therefore frees him into the present
-Finally exhausting and draining his past reference sources and being jubilant about it, even if worn out
-Abandoning his library of films as reference sources, and no longer living in amongst them
In the song:
-Some unspecified trouble is coming that will require a whole house to need rebuilding, implying that the trouble is going to wreck it.
-This destructive event is going to land the house's occupants, all of whom Morrissey loves, on an analyst's couch soon. So they're going to go through some trauma so significant that they'll have to go to therapy. Optionally the analyst scene could just be a figurative descriptor of the level of trauma that's about to happen.
-Some unidentified person's father cracks a joke and empties the room in a way that's typical of the father, or for room clearers in general. Apparently it's not Morrissey's dad since he says "your father". Who is the "you" here? Who is Morrissey addressing? Maybe it could be the general "your", as in saying "one's father". As in, "you know, that typical kind of thing where one's dad cracks a joke and clears the room." This part still sticks out as odd and snaggled to me.
-Morrissey wants some unidentified person (maybe the "you" from above, or just anybody) to tell all of his friends something, to deliver a message, presumably the key message of the song, presumably the aforementioned trouble, which maybe has to do with him leaving them behind.
-Morrissey doesn't have many friends, just the siblings of various lovers, real or fictional - lovers who are wearing or have worn raincoats that are real, fictional, or metaphorical. The raincoated lovers and their brothers seem likely to be more characters from more of his film/literature reference sources. It seems likely given the rest of the things mentioned in the song and in the interviews, as opposed to the brothers being real life friends. And saying his only friends are fictional characters is another way of saying he's got no friends, since he stayed indoors cocooned with his movies and books (and maybe also some frightening verse) instead of being out there amongst real people. He told us in the interviews, however, that he had now grown up and was leaving his reference sources behind, and so possibly he was at this point looking for actual friends or already had gotten some.
-Dallow and the guys from Brighton Rock are mentioned here in a position in the lyrics that implies they seem likely to be some of these few friends just mentioned. It is presumably they who rushed to danger and wound up nowhere, perhaps in reference to whatever happened in Brighton Rock, a film-noir crime drama adapted from a novel. The other option would be Moz rushing to danger and winding up nowhere, but Occam says it's Dallow et al.
-The actor Patric Doonan, who committed suicide if that matters, was "raised to wait". No idea. Maybe he the film characters he played were friends with Morrissey in Morrissey's head and this is part of a fond farewell to yet another in this range of fictional friends he's leaving behind as he jettisons his old reference sources.
-Every jammy Stressford poet. Stressford has been mentioned a lot as a descriptive nickname for the Stretford area of of Manchester where young Morrissey lived and went to school under belligerent ghouls who grabbed and devoured in the showers among other horrors. And jammy is UK slang for lucky. Have we taken a step from the fictional into the real here? Or is there a literary/film reference for lucky poets in Stretford? Don't know. Is Stretford so specific as to mean that he's talking about himself as this book suggests
? Maybe Stretford isn't a very likely or prolific source of poets, and maybe exactly one of them, Morrissey, actually got lucky and found success and got out. So maybe every jammy Stretford poet = exactly one person, Morrissey. But would that mean he's saying he's his own friend who needs to be told this message along with the lovers' brother etc.? Or is he talking about himself in some other way? Don't know.
-Loafing oafs in all night chemists. Presumably more film character references here, but I guess possibly some shlubs in his neighborhood who warrant mention for some unclear reason. One book I saw says
it was another Brighton Rock reference though I can't confirm. I've seen people faintly suggest some other possible film sources. But otherwise they don't sound like the kind of people Morrissey would be friends with in real life, unless it's again oddly self-referentially plural.
-Underact, express depression. Well if that's not a pretty plain reference to actors, I'm not sure what would be. A style of acting, maybe in film-noir.
-Ah but Bunnie I loved you. Some have suggested
it comes from The Diary of Jack the Ripper, which Moz was once photographed holding, in which Jack repeatedly expressed love for "Bunny". Maybe it's some film character. Regardless, maybe what we're seeing here is a direct and literal expression of love for a fictional character. But it's past tense love, as in he no longer loves Bunny, another bit of potential support for the idea that he's saying a fond farewell to fictional friends who formerly served as inspiration and source material for his song references.
-Morrissey was tired again and he tried again and now his heart is full. He can't explain it so he won't even attempt to. What did he try again? To squeeze more references out of this old source material? Something else? Don't know. And what is his heart full of and what does that imply? Hearts are typically full of love, or at least more often than other things, and the tone of this song and Moz's description of it as "jubilant exhaustion" would seem to rule out a heart full of, say, hate or bitterness. So let's go with love. Did he try to hang on to his old fictional friends that he loved, but now his heart is full of love from relationships with real people now that he has grown up and been unshackled from the past? Have these real friends displaced the fictional ones from the past, taking up all the real estate in his heart? And so is he having to say goodbye to the fictional friends, as he tells us in the interviews that, in terms of tapping his old reference sources, "all that is over, basically"?
So that all boils down to a handful of elements in this song:
1. Trouble is coming, and Morrissey knows what it is.
2. There's a real or metaphorical house full of real or fictional people that Morrissey loves, that will be traumatized by this trouble and have to be rebuilt/healed.
3. A jokey father empties the room like he usually does.
4. Morrissey wants someone to deliver a message to his friends, a message that will likely cause the aforementioned trouble.
5. He doesn't have many friends to deliver the message to, though, and the ones he mentions are either cryptic, verifiably fictional, or dead.
6. Lucky Stretford poets and loafing oafs, who may or may not be more of these possibly fictional friends, are mentioned for otherwise unknown reasons.
7. He's tired, he tried again, his heart is full, and he's not going to bother trying to explain it (to Dallow etc.? To us?).
It's a hazy mix, but I can see the parts maybe coming together as a farewell to his past in a number of ways inline with what he said in the interviews. All except the father part, #3. I still don't see what that has to do with anything, which is what started all of this. I could see it in some other song about some actual family drama, but am stumped here. Not sure who the dad is or how his room-emptying action ties to the rest of the song or with Morrissey's real life transition point. It was put in here for a reason though. Why?
"What was that?"
"I think he said 'blessed are the cheesemakers.'"
"What's so special about the cheesemakers?"
"Well obviously it's not meant to be taken literally. It refers to any manufacturers of dairy products."