Above: My father around the time he thought The Smiths were at all good.
Last Monday I received a text I never expected from my father: “Ellie—do you want to come to the Morrissey concert next Wednesday as mum isn’t interested”. Recovering from the realisation that my own father was entry level hipster trash, I said sure—honouring my own disaffected teen melancholy and hoping to score a free dinner.
The degree of moralising egotistical wank should have been obvious after the man banned meat from the Opera House and affiliated restaurants for the duration of his performances. And yet I was not prepared for the sheer meme that is Morrissey.
The concert was billed to start at 8. By 8:30 Morrissey was almost done showing us clips from a BBC Face to Face Interview with Edith Sitwell, archival footage from the Thatcher era, and a reading of Matisse by Gertrude Stein. He was (finally) greeted by a standing ovation from Mosman Gen X-ers almost certainly reflecting on the time they plagiarised Smiths lyrics to get laid.
‘Staircase at the University’, though a confirmed banger, describes a daughter’s suicide after university stress and the pressures of her father to get “three A’s”, hitting alarmingly close to home. This should probably be the only thing Morrissey is permitted to sing about considering his upper middle class pain has led him to taking on the struggles of capitalism and just about any minority.
Highlights include his fervent reading from my nihilist/Marxist 12 year old self’s diary in the lyrics of ‘World Peace is None of Your Business’, an ironically self aware (classic Morrissey) track which contains the lyrics “You must not tamper with arrangements / Work hard and sweetly pay your taxes / Never asking what for / Oh, you poor little fool oh, you fool” during which he gestured to sections of the audience who almost certainly have never worked hard or paid taxes. The same song contains the line “each time you vote you support the process”, a sentiment carried throughout his performance despite literally being in Australia.
His rendition of ‘Ganglord’ was set to clips of police brutality over the past two years, including the murders of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Darrien Hunt, Walter Scott and many others, despite statements from several of the deceased’s families asking people for reverence by not spreading these videos. Also, the bridge of ‘Gangland’ suggests policemen chanting the lyrics to the chorus—which is comprised of the lyrics ‘go back to the ghetto’, with the final two minutes just repeating the chorus. This unfortunately resulted in Morrissey chanting ‘go back to the ghetto’ to actual clips of black people being murdered. Classic Morrissey.
His only Smiths song was ‘Meat is Murder’, set to—you guessed it—clips of animal cruelty. Probably all from that one Four Corners program. Considering Morrissey is literally not even a vegan I ate meat for the first time in several weeks the next day to spite him.
All of this was to be expected from a confirmed men’s rights activist (“I think it’s easier to be a woman. The women’s movement has been so successful; the men’s movement has never been accepted”) and actual racist.
He strikes me as the sort of person who would work very hard to secure a blowjob, but would maintain a deeply sullen face for the duration of it, and when pressed for reason would say he was just too sad about the Middle East. He also probably believes in Chemtrails, and is definitely an anti-vaxxer.