Morrissey A-Z: "(The) Teachers Are Afraid of the Pupils"

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Probably my favorite song off of SG. This would almost fit on Scott 4, by Scott Walker. Fantastic, ominous atmosphere, and the fact that he sided with the teachers came out of left field.
 

This Charming Bowie

Welcome to this knockabout world
A superbly underrated song, from my 2nd favourite Moz album. I love the intertwining of the string sample and the winding guitar passages that build tension and gloriously release in these absolutely head-bang-worthy passages. For Moz, this is as far out as he had went by 1995, and still now the length and sheer magnitude of the piece still sticks out. If I had just one criticism, I would say that the production needs to be a bit more lively and grandiose to make those climaxes feel as much of a payoff as they should: perhaps getting Steve Lillywhite again for an album that is completely different to its preceding LP, wasn’t the best move. I agree, though, that the lyrics, as small and bitty as they are, carry a different message than one might expect, subverting “The Headmaster Ritual” and giving us a balanced, beaten down insight into the schooling system.
9/10
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
A brilliant foreboding opening to Southpaw Grammar, promising depth and intrigue that the rest of the album can't deliver. Some reviewers criticized Morrissey for sympathizing with the teachers instead of the pupils like he did in the eighties, but I thought that was a fresh and valid angle to write a song about. Stretching the song to 11 minutes is just taking the piss though, 7 minutes should be long enough.
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
as someone who works in a school this song could not be more apt,and im talking primary school.
fantastic song,really takes its time,music is full of drama,voice is fine without having to do too much.
9 scary pupils/10 scared teachers.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
Interesting note from PJLM:

"In a 1995 interview published in Les Inrockuptibles magazine, Morrissey said "There are, of course, two levels of interpretation: the line [To be finished would be a relief] in the song context - these teachers who are afraid of their pupils and dream of escaping - and a second more intimate, more personal thought on my life and career. To leave would effectively be a relief. Not to feel all this pressure anymore, to be able to let up a bit.""

Additionally, "Note: The sample heard at the end of the song is from the 1952 film "Eight O'Clock Walk"."
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
Interesting note from PJLM:

"In a 1995 interview published in Les Inrockuptibles magazine, Morrissey said "There are, of course, two levels of interpretation: the line [To be finished would be a relief] in the song context - these teachers who are afraid of their pupils and dream of escaping - and a second more intimate, more personal thought on my life and career. To leave would effectively be a relief. Not to feel all this pressure anymore, to be able to let up a bit.""

Additionally, "Note: The sample heard at the end of the song is from the 1952 film "Eight O'Clock Walk"."
That way of interpretation applies to very many of Morrissey's songs. The ever present thoughts of ending it all, in one way or another. But yet: Morrissey may find his current life stressful at times, but if he retired, what would he have left in his life? He has no family, he is not good at friendship, doesn't even have a steady home and I can't imagine him filling his time with gardening or whatever. He'll always keep coming back.
 

Phranc & Open

Just another phranc!
Even though the pre-release single "Dagenham Dave" already promised a bit more power and moved away from Vauxhall, the start of this record is surprising. It was not what one had hoped for. Nevertheless, I personally came to terms with it very quickly and recognised how much Morrissey dared to go over the edge with this record. From today's perspective, I still think it was very skilful. With the musical means that still suit him well. The two monoliths that frame the record are among the greatest musical dares of his career. The opener creates oppressive feelings of fear par excellence and transports the sparse, lyrical content almost like "Meat is murder". It's unbelievable, that Boz had to shorten his demo, because it was actually even longer. Indie Prog of the 90s, a helluva ride.
 
Last edited:
This song grows and grows with each passing year. I don't think my musical palette was mature enough to handle Moz doing this in 1995.

That has changed and I appreciate the song much more now than I did then.
 

Nikita

Senior Member
I was never completely convinced by the song, but at least, it does not lack ambition as half of the album does and it was nice to hear Morrissey trying something different.
 

Carlisle baz

Cock of the north
4.19 was all I could bare.
A song that I never listen to but hearing it (one third) again I like the drama of it, And then it got on my nerves as it’s a tad repetitive.

Can remember buying SG as I was renting a house with a friend of mine and we had just recently got back fro Ibiza and he was an oasis fan.
We both loved SG but this song was never played ...
 

Harsh Truth

Ever Felt Had?
I am a supporter of Southpaw Grammar but I just can't get into this track. And I've tried, as recently as a few months ago. I usually start the album with The Boy Racer, I'm afraid.
 

Eldritch

Well-Known Member
Southpaw Grammar is indeed the most radical album of Morrissey's career. After the critical and commercial triumph of Vauxhall it was typically Morrissey to sign to a new label and produce in just over a year a loud and rauceous album bookended by two ten-minue behemoths. Sadly the six rock tracks inbetween them fail the album badly -- only Reader Meet Author is strong, Boy Racer is okay and the rest of them are just awful.

From Mozipedia I also learnt that Morrissey's vocal parts cover less than half of the album. This is a statistic that no other album from him comes even close.
 

Flibberty

Well-Known Member
A song that is twice as long as it should be which is a shame.

It has a decent lyric, which is more than can be said for most of this album, and Boz's score is dramatic.

Its placement on the reissue was senseless.

In the poll on the Hoffman board it ranked 59th from 264 solo songs.
 
T

Trans

Guest
A superbly underrated song, from my 2nd favourite Moz album. I love the intertwining of the string sample and the winding guitar passages that build tension and gloriously release in these absolutely head-bang-worthy passages. For Moz, this is as far out as he had went by 1995, and still now the length and sheer magnitude of the piece still sticks out. If I had just one criticism, I would say that the production needs to be a bit more lively and grandiose to make those climaxes feel as much of a payoff as they should: perhaps getting Steve Lillywhite again for an album that is completely different to its preceding LP, wasn’t the best move. I agree, though, that the lyrics, as small and bitty as they are, carry a different message than one might expect, subverting “The Headmaster Ritual” and giving us a balanced, beaten down insight into the schooling system.
9/10
This is mostly what I would say though I probably wouldnt give it a nine. I don’t mind the long songs from sp when listening to them on there own
 

Mayfly

Well-Known Member
I think that marriage between Shostakovich, Boz & Moz was quite perfect for the time it lasted (= 10 minutes).
As impressive and haunting an opening track as Maladjusted.
I just don’t feel that this track blended well with the rest of the album’ which completely changes gear after Reader.
 
Tags
morrissey a-z
Top Bottom