Morrissey A-Z: "Margaret on the Guillotine"

A

Anonymous

Guest
I kind of works in the context of the album, and brings things to a close nicely, but it doesn't really stack up well on it's own. There is some lovely production gloss and guitar playing on it, but it's pretty boring musically. Morrissey's lyrics are outrageous and provocative in an interesting way, and it's quite intriguing to have such vitriolic scorn set against such a restrained and lush musical backing. That said, it's ultimately a fairly shallow piece of propaganda that amounts to nothing deeper than "I hate Thatcher". This level of hate directed at another human being also leaves him open to similar treatment - he really can't complain about any brickbats thrown his way when this is exactly the sort of thing he does himself.

Probably the weakest track on 'Viva Hate', but it still has a certain charm. [6 out of 10]
 

The.Truth.

about Ruth
It's very different from the rest of "Viva Hate!" but it fits perfectly. It's a kind of transition back to reality from the world of memories that most of the rest of the record creates. The final jarring sound effect of the guillotine can snap you out of it or you can just turn your record or cassette over and go back into that world.
 

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
A powerful ending to Viva Hate, summing up the collective hatred for Thatcher that had accumulated at the time from every strike, racist / xenophobic / homophobic policy and the general air of "the queen looking down at her peasant subjects". Accompanied more or less solely by Vini's guitar, and with the extended ending, it sounds more like a Durutti Column track (whom I have praised several times when Vini's name is mentioned) and by the time the titular guillotine has put an end to the tyrant, the guitar has faded into an impressionistic murk. It's used to stunning effect. While Moz doesn't have too much to do here, his simple question "when will you die?" seemed to highlight the question on many minds. In fact, the simplicity works well because, otherwise, I'm sure the track would descend into Billy Bragg-esque force-feeding, which would negatively contrast with the beautiful piece. All in all, a great way to end an album, for sure.
8/10
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
Viva Hate can't quite sustain its quality to the end, and this is a distinctly average album closer.

Most of the guitars on the song were actually played by Stephen Street (Vini Reilly played the Spanish guitar at the end) and I think the producer's opinion of the song is pretty accurate: "I'm not going to defend it and say it's a brilliant piece of work, but it's an OK track."

In the poll on the Hoffman board it ranked 225th from 264 solo songs.
 

Verso

On Timeout
A bold choice to break the general nostalgic theme of Viva Hate by closing it out with a two-dimensional political complaint. I actually do like this song quite a bit and its dreamy outro suggests what we'd be getting a few years later on tracks like "Used to Be a Sweet Boy" or "I'd Love To." The obvious choice would've been to end the album with something like "I Know Very Well..." but that's never been Morrissey's strategy. The song clearly meant enough to him to carry the title and lyrics over from the The Queen is Dead sessions.
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
there used to be 10,000 men used to walk out the shipyard gates at 3 o clock on a friday in my town,made some of the worlds greatest ships sailing the seas and then thatcher decimated it to a few hundred,terrible women,terrible person.
song is very breezy and his voice is great on this,great outro as well,nice song for a sunday morning.
8 thatchers/10 guillotines.
 

Phranc & Open

Just Frenk!
Not heard for a while. When it's on, I think it's great. A fine, sparsely arranged, final accent in his strong solo debut. Indeed, Street's acoustic guitar and Morrissey's charmingly mischievous lyrics make it sound like a very last The Smiths B-side. Recorded in the summer of 1987 without Johnny Marr and with Vinnie Reilly as special guest on Spanish guitar in order to fullfill contractual obligations . I like it very much. Morrissey's voice was so fitting, when it came to lightweight arrangements. Even latter-day tracks like "Mountjoy" are able to transport this strength of him.
 
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skull

Active Member
Beautiful piece of music with lyrics that needed to deepen a bit in the subject or become a little more universal. Instead, this way it is stuck forever in the past, and that's a pity, since the beauty achieved.
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
Yes yes and yes, but usually the music just needs to be a good enough vehicle for Morrissey to do his thing, and this is one of them.

For a closer, as others have noted, It does clear the cobwebs of nostalgia and cuts right to the chase, lyrically.


“And kind people
Do not shelter this dream
Make it real
Make the dream real
Make the dream real
Make it real ... “




:cool:
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
Yep, I love this one.
Again, full of dreaminess in its delivery, & yet again (like many other tracks) laced with icy venom; this time in the form of a 'wonderful dream'...that dream being the death of Margaret Thatcher. The Spanish guitar solo almost has you believing the track will just gently fade away nicely...until the very end when the guillotine slams down abruptly. Simple lyrics, superbly delivered by Moz, but very clever & effective.
Wonderful closer to a wonderful album.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
it's ultimately a fairly shallow piece of propaganda that amounts to nothing deeper than "I hate Thatcher". This level of hate directed at another human being also leaves him open to similar treatment - he really can't complain about any brickbats thrown his way when this is exactly the sort of thing he does himself.

And not even sincere. He is the embodiment of what Thatcher preached. He valued education and literacy (just not the educational system - but then it's the same comprehensive system that Thatcher railed against), he basically started his own, or jointly-owned, wealth-creating business (The Smiths), he believes in minimal taxation of his earnings and he doesn't believe in society. His animus against Thatcher was always just a sop to the NEM/left-wing media. For all his outspokenness on certain issues, it would have surely been career suicide to say back then that he basically agreed with her about a lot of things.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
And not even sincere. He is the embodiment of what Thatcher preached. He valued education and literacy (just not the educational system - but then it's the same comprehensive system that Thatcher railed against), he basically started his own, or jointly-owned, wealth-creating business (The Smiths), he believes in minimal taxation of his earnings and he doesn't believe in society. His animus against Thatcher was always just a sop to the NEM/left-wing media. For all his outspokenness on certain issues, it would have surely been career suicide to say back then that he basically agreed with her about a lot of things.
He's a profoundly flawed and often contradictory human being (oh hi, human condition!) but lots of this is bollocks, sorry. Are you seriously arguing that anyone who's ever started a band has done so in order to create a "wealth-creating business"?
 

Dirk Blaggard

Active Member
For me this LP is brilliant, it shows M at a time. when, for me, he was still the full package- charming, stylish, good looking, talented, with it, clued in and human and Oh, so funny - for me, this period ended as soon Kill Uncle did.
Then came Morrissey Mark Two - Stephen the Lad.. Still grand just less so . .. Sadly, came the 2000s and M turned into American Steve. one which is what we kinda still have to this staying day, in one way or the other.

In terms of pop stars, still top of the tree. Still brilliant but an infrequent visitor to the magic he used to mainline .

This song, for me, was a letdown. It seemed it was a signal song " Don't worry I'm still in the fight, I'm still on your side" and nothing more and it ruined the flow of the lp.
I think it would have made more sense on QID, which was where the general idea was formed, that LP is state of the nation. Whereas Viva was less external, more the state of Stephen, if you will.

For me, a bad Morrissey song is still an ok song and I would still rather listen to it than the best of some other bands out there.
Its not that i am brainwashed and ONLY listen to M. I don't. It's just about love, isn't it? I have a connection to his voice and I expect most of us do
 
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