Morrissey in Linder's monograph

nightandday

New Member
Would you lot be interested to read the essay that Morrissey wrote for the new monograph of Linder Sterling's work, "Linder Works 1976-2006"?

The book was published this summer. I got it from amazon, I've read it, it's great. It has, of course, lots of photos, and presents her work in collages, drawings, photography, etc. and does its best to present her music and performance art as much as it's possible. It also has several really good essays, written by Morrissey, Jon Savage, Philip Hoare, Linder herself (her account of the punk era in Manchester is quite interesting) and a couple of other people. Morrissey's essay is relatively short, but very interesting and IMO, beautiful... (it's also quite interesting that he used a couple of phrases he used in the early Smiths song) and he is also mentioned a few other times in the book.

I'm not sure if it's allowed to quote an entire article from the book, even if it's just 2 or 3 pages long? :confused: Is that OK? Anyway, I'll leave it for tomorrow, I have to go to bed now. Tell me if I should make the effort to type it...

 

M-in-Oz

Active Member
As long as it is not more than 10% of the book, it should be ok to quote, I for one, would be interested in reading it.
 

mozmic_dancer

One of the Good Guys
Yes, please post from the book you think would be of interest. I would like to read it, too.
 

Lor

I have M.A.D.
Another yes... I'd also be very interested.
 

nightandday

New Member
it's OK then, because it's definitely not 10% of the book. The book is about 140 pages long, but most of it are pictures.


Morrissey’s essay is the shortest in the book. This section is on pages 100-107, but except the text itself there two big photos of him from “Morrissey Shot” (one where he’s sunbathing and the one in live performance), and 3 single sleeves she did for him (‘You’re The One For Me, Fatty’, and 2 for the promo single ‘Jack the Ripper’), and across two pages you can see a silkscreen diptych she did, - one part is a silkscreen series of some pictures of (totally unrecognizable) Linder in performance (because she’s in drag representing some sort of mythical Clint Eastwood/St Clare/Jesus figure…um…long story, needs a bit of explaining LOL) and silkscreen version of the photo of Morrissey live in 1991:





There’s also a scan of an amusing card that Morrissey wrote to her, it seems (it says ‘Morrissey, correspondence, 2000, Photograph and marker pen’). It looks like a photo of young Clint Eastwood in a swimming trunk (Linder has a fascination with Clint Eastwood, or rather his character from Sergio Leone’s movies, “Man With No Name” – she uses this a lot in her performance art) talking on a phone (I would say that on that particular photo he bears a certain resemblance to the young Moz – or is that just my impression) and Moz has written on it (in a cartoon speaking balloon, as if Clint is speaking on the phone) “HEY LINDER, WHY DON’T YOU SEE ME UP AND COME SOMETIME?” ;) ;)

The essay itself is a considerably longer version of an article that was published a couple of years ago in an art mag and already posted on this forum, as far as I remember. (It's interesting to notice that he used a couple of phrases from his own early Smiths lyrics - including 'rented room in Whalley Range' from Miserable Lie).


LINDER AND MORRISSEY:
WE ARE YOUR THOUGHTS


I first saw Linder as she introduced Buzzcocks onstage at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester during the summer of 1976. A few months later, I would spot Linder sitting on a table during the soundcheck for the Sex Pistols third Manchester gig. I was 17, and biologically inferior to everyone else. Linder was a bit older, with terrifying hair. I decided to approach her, specifically to prove to her that I had no viewpoint whatsoever about anything. Some 30 years later, that conversation has yet to pause.

Most tormentedly aware, Linder seemed to know something that I knew. We both spoke in cinematic language, and we both somehow knew that our presence on earth was trouble enough for those around us. How had we endured?

From a rented room in Whalley Range Linder's art supplied the unspoken. She led me by the lapel to Janice G. Raymond's The Transsexual Empire, Calvin C. Hernton's Sex and Racism, and to Philippe Aries' Western Attitudes Towards Death. To me, her life, then, was messianic. Linder took up the pen, the brush, the chalk, and stood as if behind a machine gun, perceiving danger swiftly and more keenly than the shell-suited mutants of surrounding Manchester.

In 1980, Linder's art spoke of the delusions of possession, your life - your body! - does not belong to you. She seemed to have a need to sing that went further than revenge.

I did not know or hear anyone at all across human civilisation who was like Linder. The vital centre of Linder's songs was the failure to find personal gratification, for which the singing of these songs momentarily restored the balance. In live performance, Linder carried tales that allowed us to glimpse the abyss, against a backdrop of tough and boyish bog-water guitars and thunderous drums. Linder tore the lyrics out with her teeth, every song addressing the self, or asking: Is your life enough?

The first single by Linder zapped into the then hollowed independent chart in March of 1980 at number 32. All of our suffering seemed to be temporarily over. Although the songs read as screams, Linder moved smoothly like a brooding Julie London. The women of punk sang in clipped and chopped no-moral-code regional accents, while Linder's angry voice was soft and soothing. However, the musical mood throughout England during this time was of sociability and savage ignorance. Post-punk major labels had reinstated the blank aspect that would protect them, as if to tell us that we had had our fun, after all.

Squeezing through, Linder's Single Of The Week status in the reasonably respected Sounds magazine, was chased a week later by the most hateful and paranoid rail against her very being; concern with female desire was seen as a sexual transgression (of some kind). The bad killed the good.

Visually, Linder's protean quality suggested a female Eugene Sandow; the body a vehicle of... unwillingness; a naturally beautiful woman with the ideal of everything, who physically embodied the ideal, yet who sang in temporal terms of forces of containment. 'Would you like to unlock me?' Houdini provided source material for Linder's live presentations.

In 1982, her best album, Riding the Rag, was buried without ceremony by the press. One triumphant review on the NME battleground could not quite provide enough oxygen. Late in 1983, Linder stopped singing. 'I'm by nature / soli-tary'.

The Linder of the Second Period intensified her artistic endeavours. 'A bag of tricks / is my poli-tics.'

In my view, Linder's life is a docudrama, potent and therefore lethal. She is aware of the inevitable punishment for those who seek to kick against the enforced limitations of their lives, and she is aware of the price you pay for exposing restraints. The 1990s had Linder and me replacing the dead white greenish cast of unforgiving Manchester with the bright catacombs of El Paso, Los Angeles and Phoenix; Linder armed with her cameras, and me with a despair long past explaining.

In time a tale will be told.
 
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nightandday

New Member
He's also mentioned a couple of other times in the book. Linder herself mentions him briefly a couple of times - in her own long essay on the days of punk and what she did till the mid 80s, mentions him at one point (page 33):

Morrissey and I shared a fascination with sexual politics. Every so often we would be moved to write a letter of protest over discriminatory vocabulary – but the rise of the price of the postage stamp curtailed our activities.

And she also starts her Foreword at the end of the book with:

’Time is melting’, Morrissey wrote to me recently. In life’s midstream, our sense od age is both heightened and diminished.

He is also mentioned a few times in Philip Hoare’s very long essay about Linder and her art:

Autumn, 2001: after a lifetime spent in Manchester, wandering its warehouse canyons, evoking the spirit of Roxy Music in her WAAF uniform as a graphics student at Manchester Poly, donning Seditionaries bondage to distil the spirit of punk in collages for Buzzcocks and Magazine, playing androgynous, anarchic muse to Howard Devoto and Morrissey, performing in rubber-swathed incarnation of the art-terrorist as Ludus, and transforming north Manchester into a Sergio Leone landscape, Linder, Mancunian legend, leaves the city. It is as if that first half-life had become too charged, just too full… (page 109)

Another mention in Philip Hoare’s essay, page 101:

Later in the 1980s, Linder’s relationship with Devoto was succeeded with her friendship with Morrissey, whom she had known since the late 1970s. The post-punk mutated into neo-rockabilly, as Linder’s hair assumed a quiff and she wore vintage denim, drape coat and biker boots as much as a stylistic reference to her own father, a Teddy boy in his time, as to Morrissey’s rockabilly fetish. At the same time, it was obvious that her art was moving through a yet more personal phase, one which seemed increasingly hidden from the public, perhaps because of the very fact of her cult status (Linder remembers sitting up half the night with Ludus cohort Ian Devine, discussing why they never made a pop record), her name wreathed in northern gothic mystique, ‘Manchester’s devil darkness’, tantalizingly concealed, equally ironically, by the worldwide reach of Morrissey’s own pop fame and mythic identity. If Linder, his muse and alter ego, was the distaff equivalent in this creative partnership, then Morrissey, the androgynous interface of pop credibility, was the male Linder, as much as the other way about.
 

nightandday

New Member
Speaking of Linder, Morrissey was also mentioned in a recent interview with her (it seems it was for a French magazine, in September this year, on the occasion of an exhibition she had in Paris). The whole interview is on this page (when you scroll down, it’s under the Klaxons interview):
http://www.gogoparis.com/gogogo/?q=taxonomy/term/348


You’ve worked a lot with Morrissey, there’s rumours that you’ve been lovers…
There’s lots of gossip. Yes, we met 30 years ago this October, it’s a long time, most friendships don’t endure that long. Our lives very markedly different, maybe it’s the difference that’s made the relationship; that very lack of parity makes for a very diverse friendship.
I imagine there’s been some amazing times.
I think that period when I was photographing Morrissey, on those early tours in the early 90s, when he’d left the Smiths and was re-emerging. When you’re using a camera, you’re quite invisible anyway, and can have that sense of being able to very acutely witness something, and at the same time be quite removed from it… I think seeing that level of world hysteria, witnessing those moments, like when he filled Madison Square Garden.”
 

Lor

I have M.A.D.
Yes, thank you. Linder seems like a fascinating person...
 

M-in-Oz

Active Member
Thanks heaps for posting that...I was really moved by it. Loved the numerous mentions of 'physicality' which I think is sometimes overlooked in the Morrissey world.

Might see if my Uni can order the book...
 

Black Eyed

Isn't he gorgeous !!
Thank you very much nightandday for going to the trouble of posting that. It was a great read and if I didnt already, I even more so now wish I was Linder!!!
 

Sunbags

Sunbags
Fair play, nightandday! Great read. Incidently, who's that girl on the bed in the interview link you posted? It doesn't look like Linder............oh darn my curiousity!!
 

nightandday

New Member
Fair play, nightandday! Great read. Incidently, who's that girl on the bed in the interview link you posted? It doesn't look like Linder............oh darn my curiousity!!
That is Linder, as far as I can see. She even wears the...that bra thing, whatever it is :confused:, that she wore in her live performances... at least in the only one I saw on video on the Tate gallery site.
 
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wolve

the sad punk
thank you nightandday for the effort, it was a nice read!
 

nightandday

New Member
By popular demand, I've scanned the page with Morrissey's postcard a few of the pages from the monograph. I don't have a scanner, but I had them scanned... I thought of scanning all 8 pages of Morrissey's essay, but scanning of every page costs!! so I decided not to scan the pages that contain only text, or text and pictures that are already widely available. The original scans are really huge (about 2000 x 2000 pixels), these are the re-sized versions. So, here is:

page 1 - title, Morrissey's postcard

the tag on page 2:

Morrissey, correspondence, 2000
Photograph and marker pen

 
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