Flirting with disaster

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Oops! … He did it again
Or did he? In today’s NME (above, left), Morrissey gives two interviews – one in person, the other a follow-up on the phone – in which his views on immigration to the country he used to live in chime very much with those of the Daily Mail and the News Of The World. Unsurprisingly, the spectre of Morrissey’s alleged racism has reared its ugly head. I feel I should comment, since I was part of the scheming cabal who sought to bring him down in 1992, when we did that (above, far right).

First of all, when, in August 1992, myself, Danny Kelly, Stuart Maconie, Gavin Martin and Dele Fadele knuckled down and filled five pages with our report and dissemination of Morrissey’s flag-waving behaviour at Finsbury Park’s Madstock gig, the NME‘s relationship with the great man was one of embarrassing adoration. If he moved, we put him on the cover. New Morrissey Express, they used to call us. But Moz always gave good copy, and his fans were as loyal as we were, meaning a Moz cover was a “banker”. However, disquiet had set in. He’d pulled out of Glastonbury, after his fans had bought their 49 quid tickets, and he pulled out of the second day of Madstock (another 20 quid down the pan). He’d been mucking about with skinhead imagery, and he’d said one or two odd things in interview (“I really don’t think, for instance, black people and white people will ever really get on or like each other”), and the lyrics to Bengali In Platforms (“It’s hard enough when you belong here” – implication: you don’t) had long rubbed liberals up the wrong way, even though he was simpy addressing what he’d seen around him in multicultural Manchester. Despite being a “news” paper, it was rare in those days of dinosaur printing presses that we actually ran “news” on the cover (the colour pages had to go off on a Friday, which meant that if anything happened between then and press day on Monday, it could only appear in the black-and-white news pages). To bin the planned Kylie cover (she still had the colour centre spread) and draw up a new one was thrilling indeed, but we felt, after a staff meeting, that the subject of Morrissey’s Union Jack dance to an audience certainly made up of a lot of fat, middle-aged skinheads was worthy of examination. That it was Danny, Stuart and I who did much of the leg-work was the ultimate irony – we were the paper’s biggest Morrissey fans. We felt he needed to answer his critics and deny racism, but he chose not to.

Interestingly, we never called him a racist, merely cautioned against the direction he was heading in. Even Dele, our only black writer, eloquently concluded, “For what’s it’s worth, I don’t think Morrissey is a racist. He just likes the trappings and the culture that surround the outsider element. He has some racist friends. And if he carries on this way, he’ll have thousands more.” The conclusion to the editorial went, “So why, at the end of all this, is NME bothering? Why are our knickers in such a twist? Well, there’s nothing new in this. In the past, when the likes of Eric Clapton, David Bowie and even Elvis Costello have dipped their unthinking toes in these murky waters, the music press have been equally quick on the case. And Morrissey, unlike, say, a bigoted idiot like Ice Cube, holds tremendous sway over thousands of fans in Britain and is generally regarded as one of our most intelligent rock performers. Therefore when he sends out signals on subjects as sensitive as those discussed above, there seems little room for playfulness, never mind ambiguity.”

Morrissey was “branded a racist” according to popular lore, which, although untrue, stuck. He declined to speak to the NME after this. In fact, it took 15 years, and a number of editorial regimes later, for the ice to thaw. (Key to remember though is this: when Danny, Stuart and I had decamped to Q, Morrissey never had any problems dealing with us there, which rather suggests that his beef, if any, was with the newspaper as a whole, and not with the specific people who challenged him. This makes it seem a bit more like an affectation than a boycott, doesn’t it? He is a drama queen, and a brilliant manipulator of myth, and it suited him to think that his argument was with the NME. Nobody ever asked him why he still happily entertained a magazine run by someone he had decided was his nemesis, even though Danny wasn’t.)

So now, here he is, interviewed in New York by Tim Jonze, and the world is very different. Morrissey is back on top. As a solo performer, he rides high once again, having put out two amazing albums in a row. The fans never really went away. He did. (I was once called names on a Morrissey forum for single-handedly driving Morrissey out of the country, but my answer was always: he seems so much happier in LA. And lately in Rome, where he looks as fit and handsome as he’s done for years. He misses England, it seems, but not the real one, only an imagined or fondly misremembered one.

The offending section of the Tim Jonze interview goes like this:

You live in italy now. Would you ever consider moving back to Britain?
Britain’s a terribly negative. And it hammers people down and it pulls you back and it prevents you. Also, with the issue of immigration, it’s very difficult because although I don’t have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England, the more the British identity disappears. So the price is enormous. If you travel to Germany, it’s still absolutely Germany. If you travel to Sweden, it still has a Swedish identity. But travel to England and you have no idea where you are!
Why does this bother you?
It matters because the British identity is very attractive. I grew up into it, and I find it quaint and amusing. But England is a memory now. Other countries have held on to their basic identity, yet it seems to me that England was thrown away
Isn’t immigration enriching the British identity rather than diluting it?
It does in a way, and it’s nice in its way. But you have to say goodbye to the Britain you once knew.
That’s just the world changing
But the change in England is so rapid compared to the change in any other country. If you walk through Knightsbridge on any bland day of the week you won’t hear an English accent. You’ll hear every accent under the sun apart from the British accent.

First thought: it’s not that shocking. It confirms that Morrissey has lost touch with his native country just like those salmon-pink, Sun-reading expats in Spain, who have a very fixed idea of when Britain was great and it’s circa 1945. Morrissey is from Irish stock, who arrived in this country in the 50s and 60s just as Poles and Romanians and Lithuanians are doing now. You might think Moz would have a more circumspect view of immigration, perhaps even a more compassionate one (not that it’s a given that one immigrant will have empathy for another). Then again, he doesn’t exactly say: “Enoch was right! Get back to where you belong!” – he merely laments the loss of British identity. I say: surely immigrants are part of the British identity and have been for decades. Moz does not take this view because a) he’s a bit older than me, and b) he feels no need to confirm his liberal credentials in public. Is he actually a liberal anyway? He doesn’t have to be; it’s not enshrined in showbiz law. The fact is, if you walk through Knightsbridge, which is a tourist trap anyway, you’ll hear every accent under the sun including British. But that image doesn’t fit his romantic argument.

Morrissey is not a racist today, and he wasn’t the last time. He’s a showman. He likes to cause trouble. Unlike 99% of all the other, younger bands interviewed in the NME, he is eternally interesting, and always comes up with something new to say. Morrissey has done what a lot of people who love this country do, and that’s leave it to go and live in another one. My guess is that if you live in Sweden or Germany, you’ll have noticed plenty of changes over the past couple of decades, just as we have. Again, it’s a romanticised view. But Morrissey is a romantic. Always has been. In the Smiths, he found romance in the grease in the hair of a speedway operator and as a solo artist he has found romance in a seaside town they forgot to close down, and in Latino gangs, and in being misunderstood. The one thing that seems to be true is that he was quoted in context this time, and there is less speculation based on behaviour and implication. He appears to have actually used the phrase, “England’s gates are flooded” (as quoted on the cover of the paper), which might have come from a Peter Hitchens column.

Morrissey’s manager seems to claim that he had an email from the journalist disassociating himself from the piece, but since his name appears on it, I don’t see how this could be true. The plot will probably thicken for a few days, but I doubt it’ll develop into another Jade Goody. Not enough people read the NME or – and I hate to say this – care about Morrissey.

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138 thoughts on “Flirting with disaster

  1. Do the Italians want Morrissey in their country? Has he diluted the essential Italian-ness of the country by moving there? Will shops spring up serving weak tea, causing the espresso disappear? These are the questions we need answered!

  2. Do the Italians want Morrissey in their country? Has he diluted the essential Italian-ness of the country by moving there? Will shops spring up serving weak tea, causing the espresso disappear? These are the questions we need answered!

  3. the italians have their own problems with immigration. the difference is you are ‘allowed’ to discuss it in public; without it degenerating into ‘who’s racist and who’s not.’ they certainly wouldnt put it all over the front pages of papers-that-arent-as-good-as-they used-to-be because it isnt really news and most people in italy would probably agree with him anyway.

  4. the italians have their own problems with immigration. the difference is you are ‘allowed’ to discuss it in public; without it degenerating into ‘who’s racist and who’s not.’ they certainly wouldnt put it all over the front pages of papers-that-arent-as-good-as-they used-to-be because it isnt really news and most people in italy would probably agree with him anyway.

  5. When was this marvellous age of Englishness he’s banging on about anyway? Pre war? Victorian period? The middle ages? It’s hard to argue the toss on this when his point is so unspecific. ‘Englishness’ isn’t definable, so he’s talking twaddle, but not in a particularly nasty or offensive way. Reading his quotes just then was like listening to the berks who call up Nick Ferrari on LBC of a morning. Inoffensive because the source is easily ignored.

  6. When was this marvellous age of Englishness he’s banging on about anyway? Pre war? Victorian period? The middle ages? It’s hard to argue the toss on this when his point is so unspecific. ‘Englishness’ isn’t definable, so he’s talking twaddle, but not in a particularly nasty or offensive way. Reading his quotes just then was like listening to the berks who call up Nick Ferrari on LBC of a morning. Inoffensive because the source is easily ignored.

  7. Irrespective of whether he is racist or not (and there isn’t anything in what AC has quoted to suggest he necessarily is) I just don’t recognise the version of Britain that Moz is complaining about. I live in ‘race torn’ Oldham and work in Manchester; you’d think I’d have spotted it. It’s using Knightsbridge as some form of racial barometer that bugs me most. London has always been a magnet for outsiders, whether from this country or overseas. But it’s hardly representative of what is really going on in the country as a whole. Maybe he’s not a racist, just an old fashioned snob.

  8. Irrespective of whether he is racist or not (and there isn’t anything in what AC has quoted to suggest he necessarily is) I just don’t recognise the version of Britain that Moz is complaining about. I live in ‘race torn’ Oldham and work in Manchester; you’d think I’d have spotted it. It’s using Knightsbridge as some form of racial barometer that bugs me most. London has always been a magnet for outsiders, whether from this country or overseas. But it’s hardly representative of what is really going on in the country as a whole. Maybe he’s not a racist, just an old fashioned snob.

  9. Of course he’ll be allowed to get away with it. It’s double standards. It’s okay for Morrissey because he’s a great singer and a interesting interviewee and a great British icon. But Jade’s from the gutter so she’s bad and must be banished from the media, even though she and Morrissey are singing from the same hymn sheet. Rather like Chris Langham. He’s a convicted paedophile, but we all loved him in The Thick Of It, and now – according ot him at least – he’s getting offers of work. It’s insane. I’m not defending him, and much as I like his old reocrds, but Gary Glitter’s a convicted paedophile too, but he was a figure of fun and past his sell-by date, so therefore if there’s even a whiff of him making any sort of comeback there will be an immediate witch hunt. It’s time we made it clear that racism and paedophilia, etc, are unacceptable by anyone’s standards. I mean I liked the character of Kramer in Seinfeld, but I’ve no time for the person that is Michael Richards after his vicious racist rant, or Mel Gibson after his. That’s clearly how they think. No moments of madness, or all in the name of research, or they were drunk, etc. It’s too late. There’s no way back. No one should get a second chance in this sort of situation. Just cos you find someone good-looking or funny or you’re a great admirer of their oeuvre shouldn’t excuse their behaviour. When are we going to learn that? Reality TV doesn’t help. Basically if you’re a thief, fraudster, adulterer or you’ve been in jail then you can expect a brilliant media career. It’s all wrong.

  10. Of course he’ll be allowed to get away with it. It’s double standards. It’s okay for Morrissey because he’s a great singer and a interesting interviewee and a great British icon. But Jade’s from the gutter so she’s bad and must be banished from the media, even though she and Morrissey are singing from the same hymn sheet. Rather like Chris Langham. He’s a convicted paedophile, but we all loved him in The Thick Of It, and now – according ot him at least – he’s getting offers of work. It’s insane. I’m not defending him, and much as I like his old reocrds, but Gary Glitter’s a convicted paedophile too, but he was a figure of fun and past his sell-by date, so therefore if there’s even a whiff of him making any sort of comeback there will be an immediate witch hunt. It’s time we made it clear that racism and paedophilia, etc, are unacceptable by anyone’s standards. I mean I liked the character of Kramer in Seinfeld, but I’ve no time for the person that is Michael Richards after his vicious racist rant, or Mel Gibson after his. That’s clearly how they think. No moments of madness, or all in the name of research, or they were drunk, etc. It’s too late. There’s no way back. No one should get a second chance in this sort of situation. Just cos you find someone good-looking or funny or you’re a great admirer of their oeuvre shouldn’t excuse their behaviour. When are we going to learn that? Reality TV doesn’t help. Basically if you’re a thief, fraudster, adulterer or you’ve been in jail then you can expect a brilliant media career. It’s all wrong.

  11. I hope I was wasn’t defending Morrissey, merely contextualising his remarks. I don’t think he needs a “second chance” after parroting daft rhetoric about immigration, F-C. I’m sure there are right wing people who can’t stand to watch Susan Sarandon in her films because of her abhorrent liberal apologism (it’s abhorrent to them). As long as he hasn’t committed a crime – and I don’t anyone’s saying he has – why must he do the time? He strayed into dangerous territory in 1992 that made him look thoughtless. He’s not quite done it again, but he has taken his eye off the left-wing ball. I don’t think it’s for us to say who can and cannot be deemed “acceptable”, as long as they haven’t committed a crime. You’re right about the hypocrisy surrounding Chris Langham and Gary Glitter, but Langham wouldn’t have made the papers so often and in such detail if he hadn’t done that fine work on telly. It’s his work that makes his crime such a shock to people.it’s an interesting conundrum – can you like the pop record/sitcom of someone who turns out to have downloaded unsavoury or criminal images off the internet? I like Rock’N’Roll by Gary Glitter if I ever hear it, which is rare (except on my own iPod in a 70s shuffle), but it doesn’t mean I condone his actions.Again, I don’t think Morrissey is a racist, nor is he inciting racial hatred. That’s Martin Amis, isn’t it?

  12. I hope I was wasn’t defending Morrissey, merely contextualising his remarks. I don’t think he needs a “second chance” after parroting daft rhetoric about immigration, F-C. I’m sure there are right wing people who can’t stand to watch Susan Sarandon in her films because of her abhorrent liberal apologism (it’s abhorrent to them). As long as he hasn’t committed a crime – and I don’t anyone’s saying he has – why must he do the time? He strayed into dangerous territory in 1992 that made him look thoughtless. He’s not quite done it again, but he has taken his eye off the left-wing ball. I don’t think it’s for us to say who can and cannot be deemed “acceptable”, as long as they haven’t committed a crime. You’re right about the hypocrisy surrounding Chris Langham and Gary Glitter, but Langham wouldn’t have made the papers so often and in such detail if he hadn’t done that fine work on telly. It’s his work that makes his crime such a shock to people.it’s an interesting conundrum – can you like the pop record/sitcom of someone who turns out to have downloaded unsavoury or criminal images off the internet? I like Rock’N’Roll by Gary Glitter if I ever hear it, which is rare (except on my own iPod in a 70s shuffle), but it doesn’t mean I condone his actions.Again, I don’t think Morrissey is a racist, nor is he inciting racial hatred. That’s Martin Amis, isn’t it?

  13. Sorry, bit a of rant going on there. I agree about the song thing. I posed this question on my blog and someone said you have to separate the crime from the song and go with it, which is probably the best way forward. I couldn’t stand it if I had to live my life never hearing I Didn’t Know I Loved You Til I Saw You Rock and Roll again.I do hope Gilbert O’Sullivan continues to behave himself.

  14. Sorry, bit a of rant going on there. I agree about the song thing. I posed this question on my blog and someone said you have to separate the crime from the song and go with it, which is probably the best way forward. I couldn’t stand it if I had to live my life never hearing I Didn’t Know I Loved You Til I Saw You Rock and Roll again.I do hope Gilbert O’Sullivan continues to behave himself.

  15. Hold your horses there, Five-Centres, you’ve just lumped Goody in with Morrissey and the two of them in with the career of an ex-Kramer!And you’ve stuck Langham in the same box as Glitter… hardly fair.Pigeonholing people without a whiff of context is pretty dangerous if you ask me.Morrissey’s comments are only borderline offensive, it’s not like he’s made an inept and badly judged ‘gag’ (like Richards) or in a fit of blind idiocy called an asian a popadom (a la Goody).The NME is basically desperate for stories so dug out an old one. I hope you’re getting royalties on this, AC.

  16. Hold your horses there, Five-Centres, you’ve just lumped Goody in with Morrissey and the two of them in with the career of an ex-Kramer!And you’ve stuck Langham in the same box as Glitter… hardly fair.Pigeonholing people without a whiff of context is pretty dangerous if you ask me.Morrissey’s comments are only borderline offensive, it’s not like he’s made an inept and badly judged ‘gag’ (like Richards) or in a fit of blind idiocy called an asian a popadom (a la Goody).The NME is basically desperate for stories so dug out an old one. I hope you’re getting royalties on this, AC.

  17. The irony of the ex-pat complaining about immigration goes without saying. It sounds like a bit of a storm in a cup of very weak tea to me.By the way, Digital Spy are saying that season 3 of Not Going Out has been confirmed – congratulations! Now get on with writing it … 🙂

  18. The irony of the ex-pat complaining about immigration goes without saying. It sounds like a bit of a storm in a cup of very weak tea to me.By the way, Digital Spy are saying that season 3 of Not Going Out has been confirmed – congratulations! Now get on with writing it … 🙂

  19. Unfortunately Morrissey has grown progressively more uninteresting as he has aged. Even though his last two albums had glowing reviews, I was disappointed in them, especially in the rather dull rock backgrounds. He doesn’t seem to appreciate what Johnny Marr did for him, which to me is rather tragic. The point is though the strange nostalgia Morrissey is steeped in. Even as a young Mancunian the Smiths sleeves were a homage to the fifties/early sixties, an imagined English and occasionally arty European past which as Andrew says, is pure romantic, escapist fantasy. In that sense nothing has changed, except he has overlaid it with the expat’s bewildered alienation from his old haunts.But blaming it on immigration is stupid and remarkable uninformed, when a moment’s thought might suggest a whole host of other reasons for change – political, economic, cultural.When the young Mozzer wrote and sang all those incredible songs, I remember thinking how he seemed to bring a new literacy and wit to music, which could go in some potentially fascinating directions. Indeed Johhny Marr is on record as saying that the next Smiths music he thought would be a song cycle like a Scott Walker record. That, to me is a measure of how brilliant they could have been, and how original.But Mozzer, with his ego and spite chose to try and repeat the Smiths formual with ever decreasing success, blunting his ambition and his creative powers with some musicians who would not challenge him. And now he is turning into a Dirk Bogarde exile, instead of the great writer he could have been. What a shame.

  20. Unfortunately Morrissey has grown progressively more uninteresting as he has aged. Even though his last two albums had glowing reviews, I was disappointed in them, especially in the rather dull rock backgrounds. He doesn’t seem to appreciate what Johnny Marr did for him, which to me is rather tragic. The point is though the strange nostalgia Morrissey is steeped in. Even as a young Mancunian the Smiths sleeves were a homage to the fifties/early sixties, an imagined English and occasionally arty European past which as Andrew says, is pure romantic, escapist fantasy. In that sense nothing has changed, except he has overlaid it with the expat’s bewildered alienation from his old haunts.But blaming it on immigration is stupid and remarkable uninformed, when a moment’s thought might suggest a whole host of other reasons for change – political, economic, cultural.When the young Mozzer wrote and sang all those incredible songs, I remember thinking how he seemed to bring a new literacy and wit to music, which could go in some potentially fascinating directions. Indeed Johhny Marr is on record as saying that the next Smiths music he thought would be a song cycle like a Scott Walker record. That, to me is a measure of how brilliant they could have been, and how original.But Mozzer, with his ego and spite chose to try and repeat the Smiths formual with ever decreasing success, blunting his ambition and his creative powers with some musicians who would not challenge him. And now he is turning into a Dirk Bogarde exile, instead of the great writer he could have been. What a shame.

  21. That seems like a very good summing up of Morrissey’s position, Andrew – I doubt he’s a die-hard racist – and it’s all a bit rich coming from the child of immigrants. When I was in school my friends and I used to joke about claiming the Smiths as an Irish band because they were all of Irish origin and at least two of them (Morrissey and Marr) were second generation Irish, and only just about – if their parents had lingered here just a little bit longer they’d have been plain old Irish-Irish. Well, we’d rather have claimed them than the equally second-generation and much more Irish-stereotype-peddling Pogues. In fact, years later I was part of an RTE panel of music journalists voting for the best Irish song ever and, as the Pogues were included (in fact, ‘Fairytale of New York’ won), I passionately advocated the inclusion of the Smiths and Elvis Costello. But I was outvoted. Bah. Not that I hate the Pogues, by the way, but when I was a teenager in the early ’90s (and an avid reader of the NME – in fact, I rememeber my best friend and I reading that very issue with Morrissey and the flag on the cover while trying to make a pot of tea last for hours in Bewley’s), we were so in need of an image of Irish music that wasn’t either U2 or trad-based that we couldn’t appreciate the fact that many of the Pogues songs were genuinely good. Kevin Shields was basically a godlike figure – he was in an amazing band AND he grew up down the road from us! Anyway, back to the topic! There really is something loathsome about someone whose parents would definitely have been lumped in with the waves of allegedly culture-changing, seditious arrivals of the ’60s coming out with stuff like this. I mean, he did grow up at the tail end of the “no dogs, no blacks, no Irish” era, after all. But I’ve always felt that the Mozzer’s love of all things English does seem like he’s trying to prove that he really is English, and at times it seems like he’s protesting a bit too much. Johnny Marr seems way less fussed about it – here’s a snippet from a recent-ish interview in the irish Times, which confirms the idea Morrissey is all too aware of his outsider status: “Well, I am Irish. My parents are from Athy in Kildare and I was the first one in the family born in Manchester. Just like Morrissey will tell you, growing up in an Irish family in Manchester in the 1970s you did feel at a bit of a remove – all those snide comments about Irish people and all of that. It’s something I’ve got in common with Noel Gallagher, because his parents are Irish also. I still look at the Union Jack flag and think: ‘that’s nothing to do with me’.”And I always remember the Irish gigs. I remember the time The Smiths played the SFX in 1984 and the time The The played The Olympia in 1990.”Marr has toyed with the idea of changing the spelling of his surname back to the original Maher.”I am a Maher, but there are two reasons why I switched the spelling to Marr. First, the drummer with The Buzzcocks when I first started was called John Maher and I didn’t want to be confused with him. Second, the English could never pronounce my surname properly; it would come out as Meyer or something like that. So to make it easier, I just used the phonetic spelling.”Yeh, I have been thinking about going back to Maher. The only problem is that I’d have to get the gold registration plates on my gold Rolls Royce changed as well!”But back to the Mozzer – there’s the ridiculousness of someone living in another country complaining about what immigrants are doing to the country he’s left – Morrissey’s words do ring of the traditional rightwing ex-pat rant – “I’ve been driven away by the changes immigrants have enforced on my country! Of course, I won’t make any changes to the country I’m now living in and even if I did, they’d be for the better.”

  22. That seems like a very good summing up of Morrissey’s position, Andrew – I doubt he’s a die-hard racist – and it’s all a bit rich coming from the child of immigrants. When I was in school my friends and I used to joke about claiming the Smiths as an Irish band because they were all of Irish origin and at least two of them (Morrissey and Marr) were second generation Irish, and only just about – if their parents had lingered here just a little bit longer they’d have been plain old Irish-Irish. Well, we’d rather have claimed them than the equally second-generation and much more Irish-stereotype-peddling Pogues. In fact, years later I was part of an RTE panel of music journalists voting for the best Irish song ever and, as the Pogues were included (in fact, ‘Fairytale of New York’ won), I passionately advocated the inclusion of the Smiths and Elvis Costello. But I was outvoted. Bah. Not that I hate the Pogues, by the way, but when I was a teenager in the early ’90s (and an avid reader of the NME – in fact, I rememeber my best friend and I reading that very issue with Morrissey and the flag on the cover while trying to make a pot of tea last for hours in Bewley’s), we were so in need of an image of Irish music that wasn’t either U2 or trad-based that we couldn’t appreciate the fact that many of the Pogues songs were genuinely good. Kevin Shields was basically a godlike figure – he was in an amazing band AND he grew up down the road from us! Anyway, back to the topic! There really is something loathsome about someone whose parents would definitely have been lumped in with the waves of allegedly culture-changing, seditious arrivals of the ’60s coming out with stuff like this. I mean, he did grow up at the tail end of the “no dogs, no blacks, no Irish” era, after all. But I’ve always felt that the Mozzer’s love of all things English does seem like he’s trying to prove that he really is English, and at times it seems like he’s protesting a bit too much. Johnny Marr seems way less fussed about it – here’s a snippet from a recent-ish interview in the irish Times, which confirms the idea Morrissey is all too aware of his outsider status: “Well, I am Irish. My parents are from Athy in Kildare and I was the first one in the family born in Manchester. Just like Morrissey will tell you, growing up in an Irish family in Manchester in the 1970s you did feel at a bit of a remove – all those snide comments about Irish people and all of that. It’s something I’ve got in common with Noel Gallagher, because his parents are Irish also. I still look at the Union Jack flag and think: ‘that’s nothing to do with me’.”And I always remember the Irish gigs. I remember the time The Smiths played the SFX in 1984 and the time The The played The Olympia in 1990.”Marr has toyed with the idea of changing the spelling of his surname back to the original Maher.”I am a Maher, but there are two reasons why I switched the spelling to Marr. First, the drummer with The Buzzcocks when I first started was called John Maher and I didn’t want to be confused with him. Second, the English could never pronounce my surname properly; it would come out as Meyer or something like that. So to make it easier, I just used the phonetic spelling.”Yeh, I have been thinking about going back to Maher. The only problem is that I’d have to get the gold registration plates on my gold Rolls Royce changed as well!”But back to the Mozzer – there’s the ridiculousness of someone living in another country complaining about what immigrants are doing to the country he’s left – Morrissey’s words do ring of the traditional rightwing ex-pat rant – “I’ve been driven away by the changes immigrants have enforced on my country! Of course, I won’t make any changes to the country I’m now living in and even if I did, they’d be for the better.”

  23. Just shows how often Mozzer goes back to Manchester – London is like nowhere else in Britain, and is a complete melting pot. He’d have a fit if he got on the number 41 bus and all the accents he heard were Eastern European. London is the least English town in the country. Try getting back ‘oop North if your view of the country is slightly more Coronation Streety, Moz.

  24. Just shows how often Mozzer goes back to Manchester – London is like nowhere else in Britain, and is a complete melting pot. He’d have a fit if he got on the number 41 bus and all the accents he heard were Eastern European. London is the least English town in the country. Try getting back ‘oop North if your view of the country is slightly more Coronation Streety, Moz.

  25. Like Morrissey, my parents were Irish immigrants from the ‘No Irish No Blacks No Dogs’ era. I’ve heard similarly off-kilter sentiments to Mozza’s expressed many, many times by other Irish first and second generationers ( members of my family among them). We really do seem to be among the worst offenders for believing that it was those immigrants who came AFTER us, with their funny languages, clothes and food, who have ruined it all. There’s a palpable sense of needing to ‘pull the ladder up’ behind us, and possibly to enjoy having ‘others’ to look down on (having been looked down on ourselves, for so many years) Maybe this is a pattern successively repeated by all immigrant groups – I’d love to know.Since it became cool to be Irish, I’ve watched certain indigenous English folk (assuming there is such a thing) discovering that they had a Grandmother who once went to Kilburn, and going to ridiculous lengths to ‘reclaim’ their ‘Oirishness’. But I’ve seen an equal number of Irish like Mozza, who’ve embraced an equally romantic, and false, views of ‘Englishness’. He’s a feckin’ eejit.

  26. Like Morrissey, my parents were Irish immigrants from the ‘No Irish No Blacks No Dogs’ era. I’ve heard similarly off-kilter sentiments to Mozza’s expressed many, many times by other Irish first and second generationers ( members of my family among them). We really do seem to be among the worst offenders for believing that it was those immigrants who came AFTER us, with their funny languages, clothes and food, who have ruined it all. There’s a palpable sense of needing to ‘pull the ladder up’ behind us, and possibly to enjoy having ‘others’ to look down on (having been looked down on ourselves, for so many years) Maybe this is a pattern successively repeated by all immigrant groups – I’d love to know.Since it became cool to be Irish, I’ve watched certain indigenous English folk (assuming there is such a thing) discovering that they had a Grandmother who once went to Kilburn, and going to ridiculous lengths to ‘reclaim’ their ‘Oirishness’. But I’ve seen an equal number of Irish like Mozza, who’ve embraced an equally romantic, and false, views of ‘Englishness’. He’s a feckin’ eejit.

  27. Just a side-thought: funny to think what’s become of the “bigoted idiot” Ice Cube. Straight outta Compton and into the blandest, feeblest family comedy films like “Are We Done Yet?”

  28. Just a side-thought: funny to think what’s become of the “bigoted idiot” Ice Cube. Straight outta Compton and into the blandest, feeblest family comedy films like “Are We Done Yet?”

  29. Personally, I thought “Ringleader of the Tormentors” was hugely disappointing and far from brilliant. Another example of “the press” (if I may lump them all in together) missing the good album last time out (“You Are The Quarry”) and over-compensating with a plethora of features and rave reviews the next time out.Is he racist? No idea, but I don’t think so. Is he always good copy? Yes. ST(and much though I love his solo work, the more I listen to it, the more I realise what Johnny Marr brought to the party. God I hope they never reform for the money)

  30. Personally, I thought “Ringleader of the Tormentors” was hugely disappointing and far from brilliant. Another example of “the press” (if I may lump them all in together) missing the good album last time out (“You Are The Quarry”) and over-compensating with a plethora of features and rave reviews the next time out.Is he racist? No idea, but I don’t think so. Is he always good copy? Yes. ST(and much though I love his solo work, the more I listen to it, the more I realise what Johnny Marr brought to the party. God I hope they never reform for the money)

  31. It’s interesting watching US news programming. Immigration is a big issue in the forthcoming election and yet racism (on the face of it at least) appears to have little to do with it. It is entirely possible to be against immigration without being remotely racist. (And yet even as I type that I feel obliged to point out that I’m not against immigration.)It’s probably also worth pointing out that Morrissey hasn’t been living an everybloke life in this country since the early years of Thatcher. The country as a whole really has changed hugely since then. And if you were a conservative fifties throwback even then, you’re probably not going to be enamoured with today’s Britain, or England, or whatever. I think Morrissey has always sought refuge in a romanticised past because he simply hates the modern world. He likes living in foreign countries because when everything is new you can’t see what’s changing and what is being lost. Plus the tax situation is probably favourable.I think Irish Blood, English Heart made it clear that Morrissey too acknowledges his immigrant roots. Note that in the quote from the NME interview he says of the British identity: “I grew up into it and I find it quaint and amusing” [my italics]. That’s an outsider’s viewpoint. It’s not uncommon for immigrants to be very defensive of their adopted home and even to be against future immigration (perhaps because they fear it will stir up anti-immigrant feelings that they will be on the wrong end of).If this sounds like an out-and-out defence of Morrissey, it isn’t. I remember the disappointment when I heard Bengali In Platforms for the first time. But I think it’s important to distinguish between the fear of change that makes many people anti-immigration, and straight-up racism. Know your enemy and all that.

  32. It’s interesting watching US news programming. Immigration is a big issue in the forthcoming election and yet racism (on the face of it at least) appears to have little to do with it. It is entirely possible to be against immigration without being remotely racist. (And yet even as I type that I feel obliged to point out that I’m not against immigration.)It’s probably also worth pointing out that Morrissey hasn’t been living an everybloke life in this country since the early years of Thatcher. The country as a whole really has changed hugely since then. And if you were a conservative fifties throwback even then, you’re probably not going to be enamoured with today’s Britain, or England, or whatever. I think Morrissey has always sought refuge in a romanticised past because he simply hates the modern world. He likes living in foreign countries because when everything is new you can’t see what’s changing and what is being lost. Plus the tax situation is probably favourable.I think Irish Blood, English Heart made it clear that Morrissey too acknowledges his immigrant roots. Note that in the quote from the NME interview he says of the British identity: “I grew up into it and I find it quaint and amusing” [my italics]. That’s an outsider’s viewpoint. It’s not uncommon for immigrants to be very defensive of their adopted home and even to be against future immigration (perhaps because they fear it will stir up anti-immigrant feelings that they will be on the wrong end of).If this sounds like an out-and-out defence of Morrissey, it isn’t. I remember the disappointment when I heard Bengali In Platforms for the first time. But I think it’s important to distinguish between the fear of change that makes many people anti-immigration, and straight-up racism. Know your enemy and all that.

  33. He’s not a racist. I would go so far as to say that Conor McNicholas is, he’s so excited to stir up trouble and pit people against one another. He’s definitely not trying to be part of the solution here. What trash.

  34. He’s not a racist. I would go so far as to say that Conor McNicholas is, he’s so excited to stir up trouble and pit people against one another. He’s definitely not trying to be part of the solution here. What trash.

  35. I suspect Morrissey would be quite disappointed at the balanced – occasionally indifferent – response his comments have provoked on this blog (although just as Knightsbridge is a long way from being the barometer of the UK, I fear those of us reading and contributing to Andrew’s blog may not be very representative of the public at large).Aware that I’m dragging this away from the original theme but I think it’s important to point out that Chris Langham was not charged with or convicted of paedophilia – he was convicted of possessing child pornography.Now that’s not to excuse it and you may treat with scepticism his continuing claim that he has no sexual interest in children but there is a difference. The charges of having sex with an underage girl, brought at the same time, were dismissed.And I’ve always been interested in how Bill Wyman continues to escape censure in these debates and is now regarded as some sort of national treasure. I doubt I’m going to set the libel phones ringing by suggesting he had a sexual relationship with a significantly underage girl and yet the reaction to this has always been more along the lines of ‘the old goat’ than anything more damaging.None of which has anything to do with Morrissey. Sorry.

  36. I suspect Morrissey would be quite disappointed at the balanced – occasionally indifferent – response his comments have provoked on this blog (although just as Knightsbridge is a long way from being the barometer of the UK, I fear those of us reading and contributing to Andrew’s blog may not be very representative of the public at large).Aware that I’m dragging this away from the original theme but I think it’s important to point out that Chris Langham was not charged with or convicted of paedophilia – he was convicted of possessing child pornography.Now that’s not to excuse it and you may treat with scepticism his continuing claim that he has no sexual interest in children but there is a difference. The charges of having sex with an underage girl, brought at the same time, were dismissed.And I’ve always been interested in how Bill Wyman continues to escape censure in these debates and is now regarded as some sort of national treasure. I doubt I’m going to set the libel phones ringing by suggesting he had a sexual relationship with a significantly underage girl and yet the reaction to this has always been more along the lines of ‘the old goat’ than anything more damaging.None of which has anything to do with Morrissey. Sorry.

  37. I wonder if what’s printed is word for word what was said. I don’t claim to have an inside knowledge of how the media works, but I’d assume misquoting is common. Having said that, I think Morrissey’s just said something a bit stupid, but won’t end up apologising because he’s Morrissey, which seems to give him license to do what he wants. He’s unique in his position, in as much he’s lauded in very ‘trendy’ circles for whatever he does.The only thing I’d disagree with Andrew about here is how his article seems to use the word ‘romantic’ fairly often. I don’t see how Morrissey can make his comments about how Britain is if he’s hardly ever here, but I don’t think he has a romantic view of it. If you’re writing lyrics/music and creating art with his (in my view, misguided) statements, you may be able to call it romantic. I’m not sure the same applies in a phone interview with the NME though. More like badly informed. And surely the British identity corresponds exactly to how Britain is at the present time?

  38. I wonder if what’s printed is word for word what was said. I don’t claim to have an inside knowledge of how the media works, but I’d assume misquoting is common. Having said that, I think Morrissey’s just said something a bit stupid, but won’t end up apologising because he’s Morrissey, which seems to give him license to do what he wants. He’s unique in his position, in as much he’s lauded in very ‘trendy’ circles for whatever he does.The only thing I’d disagree with Andrew about here is how his article seems to use the word ‘romantic’ fairly often. I don’t see how Morrissey can make his comments about how Britain is if he’s hardly ever here, but I don’t think he has a romantic view of it. If you’re writing lyrics/music and creating art with his (in my view, misguided) statements, you may be able to call it romantic. I’m not sure the same applies in a phone interview with the NME though. More like badly informed. And surely the British identity corresponds exactly to how Britain is at the present time?

  39. Morrissey’s manager, Merck Mercuriadis, called in the lawyers and threatened the NME editor, Conor McNicholas, with court action. Ahead of publication, he accused the NME of a “hatchet job”. Mr McNicholas received a letter explaining that Morrissey was “extremely concerned that the article will be defamatory of him, in particular carrying expressly or by imputation the false assertion that our client is a racist or holds racist views”.Mr Mercuriadis accused the NME of trying “to create controversy to boost circulation at the expense of Morrissey’s integrity”.A spokeswoman for the NME said it stood by its story and awaited a writ. “We haven’t done anything to make the interview read in a more inflammatory way,” she said.

  40. Morrissey’s manager, Merck Mercuriadis, called in the lawyers and threatened the NME editor, Conor McNicholas, with court action. Ahead of publication, he accused the NME of a “hatchet job”. Mr McNicholas received a letter explaining that Morrissey was “extremely concerned that the article will be defamatory of him, in particular carrying expressly or by imputation the false assertion that our client is a racist or holds racist views”.Mr Mercuriadis accused the NME of trying “to create controversy to boost circulation at the expense of Morrissey’s integrity”.A spokeswoman for the NME said it stood by its story and awaited a writ. “We haven’t done anything to make the interview read in a more inflammatory way,” she said.

  41. AC – I was at the Finsbury Park gig where Morrissey waved the Union Flag. Were you there, Andrew? I hadn’t realised you had your hands on that anti-Moz episode, Andrew, and you can cleverly refute now any claim of calling Moz a racist then, but that article effectively made Morrissey “a racist” and here we are again.The skinheads at Madstock were there for Madness and they were in a very small minority (most in attendance were average Brits having fun and there were more black faces than at most ‘indie’ gigs). I took (then and now) Morrissey’s decision to wave a Union Flag as being part of the stage set for his stand-out track (National Front Disco – not a racist song, as you know, Andrew) on the Your Arsenal album that he was promoting. The NME – so you, Maconie, Kelly et al – chose to ignore this aspect of Morrissey’s decision and focused on something that was either a dubious assertion or probably untrue – that Morrissey waved the flag to attach himself to skinheads who weren’t there to see him anyway!I believe, whatever you say now Andrew, that the NME’s decision in 1992 was purely a classic British media trick of knocking someone down from the exalted platform that they (you, Andrew) had erected.The NME today is using another media trick of trying to prop up an ailing publication with a bit of controversy.

  42. AC – I was at the Finsbury Park gig where Morrissey waved the Union Flag. Were you there, Andrew? I hadn’t realised you had your hands on that anti-Moz episode, Andrew, and you can cleverly refute now any claim of calling Moz a racist then, but that article effectively made Morrissey “a racist” and here we are again.The skinheads at Madstock were there for Madness and they were in a very small minority (most in attendance were average Brits having fun and there were more black faces than at most ‘indie’ gigs). I took (then and now) Morrissey’s decision to wave a Union Flag as being part of the stage set for his stand-out track (National Front Disco – not a racist song, as you know, Andrew) on the Your Arsenal album that he was promoting. The NME – so you, Maconie, Kelly et al – chose to ignore this aspect of Morrissey’s decision and focused on something that was either a dubious assertion or probably untrue – that Morrissey waved the flag to attach himself to skinheads who weren’t there to see him anyway!I believe, whatever you say now Andrew, that the NME’s decision in 1992 was purely a classic British media trick of knocking someone down from the exalted platform that they (you, Andrew) had erected.The NME today is using another media trick of trying to prop up an ailing publication with a bit of controversy.

  43. Roger, what was all the business with the ‘Suedehead’ references to the Richard Allen books about? I wasn’t a huge Morrissey fan at the time, but I remember the books being passed around at school along with James Herbert’s Rats books, and I recall thinking that they were a bit nasty.

  44. Roger, what was all the business with the ‘Suedehead’ references to the Richard Allen books about? I wasn’t a huge Morrissey fan at the time, but I remember the books being passed around at school along with James Herbert’s Rats books, and I recall thinking that they were a bit nasty.

  45. Neil H – I have not read any Richard Allen books so I cannot comment, sorry, though IMO Morrissey’s writing about something shouldn’t be construed as approval (which is the problem with all this in my view).However, Rats was passed around and its only purpose/impact as I recall was the equivalent today of boys browsing youporn.com. **The scene on the hill comes flooding back**

  46. Neil H – I have not read any Richard Allen books so I cannot comment, sorry, though IMO Morrissey’s writing about something shouldn’t be construed as approval (which is the problem with all this in my view).However, Rats was passed around and its only purpose/impact as I recall was the equivalent today of boys browsing youporn.com. **The scene on the hill comes flooding back**

  47. A few thoughts that haven’t been discussed much. I find it strange that Morrissey’s solicitor’s letter to Conor McNicholas marked “Strictly Private & Confidential” finds its way to the Morrissey-endorsed website true-to-you.I relaise it’s been said that Morrissey lives in Italy but I’m not exactly sure that’s true. I know he stayed longer than a weekend in a very plush hotel but I don’t know that he set up home as such. He’s spent more time travelling the USA this year. Presumably it’s pretty good from the tax point-of-view.I was disappointed about his comments on the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes – making it out to be a case of police brutality. I think it’s much more complicated than that.

  48. A few thoughts that haven’t been discussed much. I find it strange that Morrissey’s solicitor’s letter to Conor McNicholas marked “Strictly Private & Confidential” finds its way to the Morrissey-endorsed website true-to-you.I relaise it’s been said that Morrissey lives in Italy but I’m not exactly sure that’s true. I know he stayed longer than a weekend in a very plush hotel but I don’t know that he set up home as such. He’s spent more time travelling the USA this year. Presumably it’s pretty good from the tax point-of-view.I was disappointed about his comments on the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes – making it out to be a case of police brutality. I think it’s much more complicated than that.

  49. The England he’s on about is the one where we were civilized, the streets were relatively safe, people treated each other with respect, displays of good manners & courteousness were commonplace. Not the greedy, violent, abusive shit hole it is today. It all started falling apart at the end of the 60’s, early 70’s, throw in the greed of the 80’s & we have the hell that is inner-city England in the new millennium. If you can’t see it you either weren’t around when it was oh so good or you’re a delusional idiot, no offence meant.Bomber.

  50. The England he’s on about is the one where we were civilized, the streets were relatively safe, people treated each other with respect, displays of good manners & courteousness were commonplace. Not the greedy, violent, abusive shit hole it is today. It all started falling apart at the end of the 60’s, early 70’s, throw in the greed of the 80’s & we have the hell that is inner-city England in the new millennium. If you can’t see it you either weren’t around when it was oh so good or you’re a delusional idiot, no offence meant.Bomber.

  51. So obviously a cheap hatchet job by the NME,it worked though and now we’re all adding to the publicity with our faux consternation, cruel accusations so lightly thrown…looking to stand shoulder to shoulder with the valiant Conor Nichols on the front line against the racists.I went to a lovemusic hate racism night last year at Fabric and found it to be one of the most dispiriting experiences i’ve ever had at a gig, you would struggle to find a more disunited crowd, truly depressing. So many big issues that surround this whole debate, shame the NME just play it for cheap publicity

  52. So obviously a cheap hatchet job by the NME,it worked though and now we’re all adding to the publicity with our faux consternation, cruel accusations so lightly thrown…looking to stand shoulder to shoulder with the valiant Conor Nichols on the front line against the racists.I went to a lovemusic hate racism night last year at Fabric and found it to be one of the most dispiriting experiences i’ve ever had at a gig, you would struggle to find a more disunited crowd, truly depressing. So many big issues that surround this whole debate, shame the NME just play it for cheap publicity

  53. “Morrissey’s manager seems to claim that he had an email from the journalist disassociating himself from the piece, but since his name appears on it, I don’t see how this could be true.”I thought it said “interview: Tim Jonze, words: NME”. Is that usual? This is an honest question, not sarcasm, I don’t have your experience of music journalism.

  54. “Morrissey’s manager seems to claim that he had an email from the journalist disassociating himself from the piece, but since his name appears on it, I don’t see how this could be true.”I thought it said “interview: Tim Jonze, words: NME”. Is that usual? This is an honest question, not sarcasm, I don’t have your experience of music journalism.

  55. Does he mention black or asian people? I’m not sure it can be racist to complain about white immigrants to a historically white majority country. Can it? It’s not their race is their foreign-ness, not the same thing…Obviously it goes without saying that complaining about immigrants coming to London is like complaining about waves hitting the beach.

  56. Does he mention black or asian people? I’m not sure it can be racist to complain about white immigrants to a historically white majority country. Can it? It’s not their race is their foreign-ness, not the same thing…Obviously it goes without saying that complaining about immigrants coming to London is like complaining about waves hitting the beach.

  57. An incredibly persuasive argument from Bomber there. If you don’t agree with him, or what he tells us Moz means, then you’re an idiot.I’m an idiot. And everybody I know is too.

  58. An incredibly persuasive argument from Bomber there. If you don’t agree with him, or what he tells us Moz means, then you’re an idiot.I’m an idiot. And everybody I know is too.

  59. Hmm, so according to true-to-you, “By the way, the good news of the day is that Morrissey signed his new record deal with Polydor / Decca this afternoon!”What an absolutely extraordinary coincidence then that he’s also plastered all over the news today for the first time in years.I’ve also heard more about the NME today than I have in a long, long time. So everyone’s a winner really.

  60. Hmm, so according to true-to-you, “By the way, the good news of the day is that Morrissey signed his new record deal with Polydor / Decca this afternoon!”What an absolutely extraordinary coincidence then that he’s also plastered all over the news today for the first time in years.I’ve also heard more about the NME today than I have in a long, long time. So everyone’s a winner really.

  61. Does any one know what they make custard creams from? I love custard creams, they’re my favourite, but my national assistance is running out and I can’t afford to buy any more. Does any one know what they’re made from? They’re my favourite.

  62. Does any one know what they make custard creams from? I love custard creams, they’re my favourite, but my national assistance is running out and I can’t afford to buy any more. Does any one know what they’re made from? They’re my favourite.

  63. Didn’t Mr Lydon mutter something about there being too many foreigners in the country too? Seems to be a popular theme of late, especially amongst very rich ex-pats. I see his comments as curmudgeonly and middle aged. It comes to many of us. Nothing there suggests anything other than the strange perceptions that come with detatchment. Was the tag-line in the interview? Is that maybe what Morrissey was objecting to?

  64. Didn’t Mr Lydon mutter something about there being too many foreigners in the country too? Seems to be a popular theme of late, especially amongst very rich ex-pats. I see his comments as curmudgeonly and middle aged. It comes to many of us. Nothing there suggests anything other than the strange perceptions that come with detatchment. Was the tag-line in the interview? Is that maybe what Morrissey was objecting to?

  65. I remember just after the Smiths broke up excitedly buying a book of Morrissey quotes. On almost every page he contradicted himself. I quickly came to the conclusion that he is a great songwriter (the four Smiths albums would all be in my top 20 albums)but a complete berk.I watched a documentary about him several years ago. Where Noel Gallagher was kising his ass. Same result once he started talking. He is a loudmouth pretentious idiot.I ignore all interviews with him and just enjoy the music.

  66. I remember just after the Smiths broke up excitedly buying a book of Morrissey quotes. On almost every page he contradicted himself. I quickly came to the conclusion that he is a great songwriter (the four Smiths albums would all be in my top 20 albums)but a complete berk.I watched a documentary about him several years ago. Where Noel Gallagher was kising his ass. Same result once he started talking. He is a loudmouth pretentious idiot.I ignore all interviews with him and just enjoy the music.

  67. ah, I might be in the minority here because I saw the reports and kind of agreed with him. I don’t think his views (or my agreeing) are racist but a recognition that our country is changing. Because so many people can now access the country (which is great if they are prepared to add something in terms of skills etc) our cultural landscape is changing. WH Smith in Swindon now has a Polish section, when I visit Tescos half the people in the queue are not English speakers. This is a big change over the last couple of years. So I read the comments as a view that the country is changing and evolving and absolutely agree that it is not the same place that it was when he buggered off for the tax breaks. I personally think the English have never really embraced their identity to the degree that the Scots, Welsh and Irish have so it is not real surprise that it is being eroded.This may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on which paper you read and how paranoid you are but I have boiled Morrissey’s comments down to nothing more then a recognition of change. What’s all the fuss about?AnonoNick

  68. I saw on the BBC News that joke-figure Billy Bragg entering the debate, declaring Morrissey “naive” for speaking out on the immigration issue. The same Billy Bragg who is SO fond of diversity in the UK that he moved to that hotbed of multiculturism, a small village on the West Dorset coast.

  69. ah, I might be in the minority here because I saw the reports and kind of agreed with him. I don’t think his views (or my agreeing) are racist but a recognition that our country is changing. Because so many people can now access the country (which is great if they are prepared to add something in terms of skills etc) our cultural landscape is changing. WH Smith in Swindon now has a Polish section, when I visit Tescos half the people in the queue are not English speakers. This is a big change over the last couple of years. So I read the comments as a view that the country is changing and evolving and absolutely agree that it is not the same place that it was when he buggered off for the tax breaks. I personally think the English have never really embraced their identity to the degree that the Scots, Welsh and Irish have so it is not real surprise that it is being eroded.This may be a good thing or a bad thing depending on which paper you read and how paranoid you are but I have boiled Morrissey’s comments down to nothing more then a recognition of change. What’s all the fuss about?AnonoNick

  70. I saw on the BBC News that joke-figure Billy Bragg entering the debate, declaring Morrissey “naive” for speaking out on the immigration issue. The same Billy Bragg who is SO fond of diversity in the UK that he moved to that hotbed of multiculturism, a small village on the West Dorset coast.

  71. Custard Creams are made of biscuits, bread, eggs and whey.The Morrisey ‘story’ made the Channel 4 news last night. What a load of old rubbish. Morrisey is a songwriter, an English songwriter. As such he’s more than entitled to bemoan the dilution of a distict English culture.True British pop music really began in the 60’s and was spawned from America. However it didn’t really start working until the cultural exchange program initiated by The Beatles and Bob Dylan. When everybody learned the vocabulary of rock and roll they started to be creative and could express the deep vein of their respective cultures, whether that came from Victorian/ Edwardian England or the frontier days of America. Whatever, we’re talking about the artistic expression of a culture, real or imagined. Art. Maybe, in 50 years time, there’ll have been the same sort of dialogue between other cultures, and that’ll throw up some distinctive music. I just can’t see it at the moment. Shared language helps. I’m losing the thread here, but I hope you catch my drift. Morrisey isn’t a Daily Mail reading Little Englander harking back to the 50’s, he’s an artist, mining a seam from which it’s getting more and more difficult to extract gold from. However, I don’t think immigration is to blame. Try the now utter dominance of American culture, where what was once an exchange is looking more and more like a one way street. The only music promoted is usually homogenised mulch or polarised self parody. Commerce and idiocy has undoubtedly triumphed over art. As far as immigration goes, maybe if the British Government cared more about culture, and tried to attract more artists into the country instead of plumbers (ooh, controversial!) or just made it easier for foreign nationals to engage with the culture of their chosen home instead of forcing them into poverty and shit jobs because of out now rubbish welfare state. Can anybody tell me how an immigrant artist is supposed to live here if the government won’t allow them to claim benefits?Morrisey’s been stitched up by a crap newspaper in order to get it’s circulation up. There is a debate in here somewhere, and it’s nothing to do with race. It’s about the triumph of greed and the rise of the idiots, and the value of people and art measured in money instead of love and the spirit of giving.

  72. Custard Creams are made of biscuits, bread, eggs and whey.The Morrisey ‘story’ made the Channel 4 news last night. What a load of old rubbish. Morrisey is a songwriter, an English songwriter. As such he’s more than entitled to bemoan the dilution of a distict English culture.True British pop music really began in the 60’s and was spawned from America. However it didn’t really start working until the cultural exchange program initiated by The Beatles and Bob Dylan. When everybody learned the vocabulary of rock and roll they started to be creative and could express the deep vein of their respective cultures, whether that came from Victorian/ Edwardian England or the frontier days of America. Whatever, we’re talking about the artistic expression of a culture, real or imagined. Art. Maybe, in 50 years time, there’ll have been the same sort of dialogue between other cultures, and that’ll throw up some distinctive music. I just can’t see it at the moment. Shared language helps. I’m losing the thread here, but I hope you catch my drift. Morrisey isn’t a Daily Mail reading Little Englander harking back to the 50’s, he’s an artist, mining a seam from which it’s getting more and more difficult to extract gold from. However, I don’t think immigration is to blame. Try the now utter dominance of American culture, where what was once an exchange is looking more and more like a one way street. The only music promoted is usually homogenised mulch or polarised self parody. Commerce and idiocy has undoubtedly triumphed over art. As far as immigration goes, maybe if the British Government cared more about culture, and tried to attract more artists into the country instead of plumbers (ooh, controversial!) or just made it easier for foreign nationals to engage with the culture of their chosen home instead of forcing them into poverty and shit jobs because of out now rubbish welfare state. Can anybody tell me how an immigrant artist is supposed to live here if the government won’t allow them to claim benefits?Morrisey’s been stitched up by a crap newspaper in order to get it’s circulation up. There is a debate in here somewhere, and it’s nothing to do with race. It’s about the triumph of greed and the rise of the idiots, and the value of people and art measured in money instead of love and the spirit of giving.

  73. Aaaah yes, it’s nice to back.I’ve been away from my computer for the best part of a day, so apologies for having to answer so many comments in one, but here goes:RJ asks, why did I have a go at Ice Cube in the piece. I didn’t. This was a quote from the editorial in the NME from 1992. I daresay it was written by Danny Kelly, who took the lion’s share of that job. At the time, Ice Cube was spouting a lot of separatist stuff, and the usual sexist, homophobic bilge that tended to come out of the mouths of rappers in those days. (Still does, in some cases.) And I think the point was being made that you don’t have to be white to be a bigot.One of the many Anonymous posters said that NME editor Conor McNicholas is a racist. I know him. He is not a racist. That’s a daft thing to say.The most serious accusation here comes from Roger, who says I “cleverly refute any claim of calling Moz a racist.” Not that clever really, just reprinting the words we printed in that issue of the NME. Morrissey didn’t like it, and nor did a lot of hardcore Morrissey fans, which rather proves that to have done the cover just to knock him down would have been commercially inadvisable. We did it because we genuinely felt that questions should be asked – about someone we personally loved. We asked Morrissey to comment for that issue, but he refused, making the situation far worse than it is this time around. The fact that a black writer, Dele Fadele, wrote the leading article, and was at Finsbury Park, justified it. He returned from the gig in a daze and wanted to express his feelings about it. (Note, once again, even Dele didn’t call Moz a racist. I though it was important to quote our original piece, and yet, Roger, you still think we called him a racist. You obviously have a very clear opinion on what happened, and nothing I write is going to change your mind.)Bomber, I’m no fan of the way the country is at the moment, so we have common ground. I also agree that the 80s were the pivot (although not the 60s and 70s). But to blame it, or even imply blame, to immigration is way too simplistic. Yes, people were more courteous in the old days, but they were also more racist, sexist and homophobic than people generally are today. It’s never black and white.Justin: I hadn’t noticed the subtle “words by NME”, “interview by Tim Jonze” – the plot thickens indeed. I still can’t see why a journalist would contact a manager personally before a piece is published, unless he’s really fallen out with the NME. We shall see.(By the way, those who think it’s a cheap publicity stunt, by either Moz or the NME, has a romantic view of why artists give interviews to magazines, and why magazines publish them. It’s almost nothing but publicity, on both sides. I write about this because I find it fascinating, and because I was at the NME.)Another Anonymous: as the official biographer and a good friend of Billy Bragg, I must refute that he is a “joke figure”, not that this will change your mind if that’s what you think. He moved to Dorset because he and his family love Dorset. He spent the first 40-odd years of his life in Essex and London, so I believe he is entirely justified in having an opinion on multiculturalism. He’s written a book about Englishness. It’s his specialist subject. There are few musicians I’d trust more to give a reasoned view on political and cultural matters than Billy Bragg.And another thing: not all skinheads are racist, obviously, nor is having a view on immigration necessarily racist, but talking of the gates being flooded uses the same inflammatory language of racists. You have to be careful what you say when your views are influential to a certain amount of people.

  74. I really struggle to see why Morrissey is held in such high esteem by people.I don’t like the majority of music, and his lyrics mean absolutely nothing to me. They certainly don’t move me.It’s weird how people within a certain age bracket love The Smiths and Morrissey, and still hold them dear.Morrissey has always come across as a self-satisfied, smug fool. His interview and subsequent behaviour does little to dispell this, in my eyes.There’s nothing wrong with Britain, England, immigration or multiculturalism. The world is changing, why get annoyed at it?Chris

  75. Aaaah yes, it’s nice to back.I’ve been away from my computer for the best part of a day, so apologies for having to answer so many comments in one, but here goes:RJ asks, why did I have a go at Ice Cube in the piece. I didn’t. This was a quote from the editorial in the NME from 1992. I daresay it was written by Danny Kelly, who took the lion’s share of that job. At the time, Ice Cube was spouting a lot of separatist stuff, and the usual sexist, homophobic bilge that tended to come out of the mouths of rappers in those days. (Still does, in some cases.) And I think the point was being made that you don’t have to be white to be a bigot.One of the many Anonymous posters said that NME editor Conor McNicholas is a racist. I know him. He is not a racist. That’s a daft thing to say.The most serious accusation here comes from Roger, who says I “cleverly refute any claim of calling Moz a racist.” Not that clever really, just reprinting the words we printed in that issue of the NME. Morrissey didn’t like it, and nor did a lot of hardcore Morrissey fans, which rather proves that to have done the cover just to knock him down would have been commercially inadvisable. We did it because we genuinely felt that questions should be asked – about someone we personally loved. We asked Morrissey to comment for that issue, but he refused, making the situation far worse than it is this time around. The fact that a black writer, Dele Fadele, wrote the leading article, and was at Finsbury Park, justified it. He returned from the gig in a daze and wanted to express his feelings about it. (Note, once again, even Dele didn’t call Moz a racist. I though it was important to quote our original piece, and yet, Roger, you still think we called him a racist. You obviously have a very clear opinion on what happened, and nothing I write is going to change your mind.)Bomber, I’m no fan of the way the country is at the moment, so we have common ground. I also agree that the 80s were the pivot (although not the 60s and 70s). But to blame it, or even imply blame, to immigration is way too simplistic. Yes, people were more courteous in the old days, but they were also more racist, sexist and homophobic than people generally are today. It’s never black and white.Justin: I hadn’t noticed the subtle “words by NME”, “interview by Tim Jonze” – the plot thickens indeed. I still can’t see why a journalist would contact a manager personally before a piece is published, unless he’s really fallen out with the NME. We shall see.(By the way, those who think it’s a cheap publicity stunt, by either Moz or the NME, has a romantic view of why artists give interviews to magazines, and why magazines publish them. It’s almost nothing but publicity, on both sides. I write about this because I find it fascinating, and because I was at the NME.)Another Anonymous: as the official biographer and a good friend of Billy Bragg, I must refute that he is a “joke figure”, not that this will change your mind if that’s what you think. He moved to Dorset because he and his family love Dorset. He spent the first 40-odd years of his life in Essex and London, so I believe he is entirely justified in having an opinion on multiculturalism. He’s written a book about Englishness. It’s his specialist subject. There are few musicians I’d trust more to give a reasoned view on political and cultural matters than Billy Bragg.And another thing: not all skinheads are racist, obviously, nor is having a view on immigration necessarily racist, but talking of the gates being flooded uses the same inflammatory language of racists. You have to be careful what you say when your views are influential to a certain amount of people.

  76. I really struggle to see why Morrissey is held in such high esteem by people.I don’t like the majority of music, and his lyrics mean absolutely nothing to me. They certainly don’t move me.It’s weird how people within a certain age bracket love The Smiths and Morrissey, and still hold them dear.Morrissey has always come across as a self-satisfied, smug fool. His interview and subsequent behaviour does little to dispell this, in my eyes.There’s nothing wrong with Britain, England, immigration or multiculturalism. The world is changing, why get annoyed at it?Chris

  77. Having read the actual piece, it seems the furore has been caused by the editorial the NME tacked on to the end of the piece, which also caused Tim Jonze to disassociate himself from the article. The gist of it is that the NME (not clear how many of them) feel they had to make a comment about it, and their main complaint is not that Moz is a racist, but that he (foolishly, if unintentionally) gives succour to BNP types. That is to say, his views are easily appropriated by racists and give credence and circulation to their prejudices. It seems to me that Moz, knowing the NME history, is at pains to make clear that he is not racist, but nevertheless mourns a vanished England (as he always did, one which may never have existed). Nothing remarkable about bemoaning cultural change, but fixating on immigration as the dominant factor causing it seems foolish and uninformed to me. Put it this way, if immigration had been completely stopped in the 80’s, do you think that the types of changes which have happened would not have occurred? I don’t think so. It is far more a product of social, political and particularly economic changes. Eastern European immigration, which seems to be the current focus of the hysteria, has only been going for the last few years, hardly long enough to change a cultural landscape.Given NME’s history with Moz, I can understand why they felt they had to comment, but arguably they have just added fuel to the fire, and given undue prominence to his remarks. They also underestimate the readers who can make their minds up, without being told what to think.Ultimately, I think both of them are at fault. Moz, for his inconsidered remarks, not about cultural change, but about immigration being at the root of it, and the NME, for fanning the fire with their cover and editorial.

  78. Having read the actual piece, it seems the furore has been caused by the editorial the NME tacked on to the end of the piece, which also caused Tim Jonze to disassociate himself from the article. The gist of it is that the NME (not clear how many of them) feel they had to make a comment about it, and their main complaint is not that Moz is a racist, but that he (foolishly, if unintentionally) gives succour to BNP types. That is to say, his views are easily appropriated by racists and give credence and circulation to their prejudices. It seems to me that Moz, knowing the NME history, is at pains to make clear that he is not racist, but nevertheless mourns a vanished England (as he always did, one which may never have existed). Nothing remarkable about bemoaning cultural change, but fixating on immigration as the dominant factor causing it seems foolish and uninformed to me. Put it this way, if immigration had been completely stopped in the 80’s, do you think that the types of changes which have happened would not have occurred? I don’t think so. It is far more a product of social, political and particularly economic changes. Eastern European immigration, which seems to be the current focus of the hysteria, has only been going for the last few years, hardly long enough to change a cultural landscape.Given NME’s history with Moz, I can understand why they felt they had to comment, but arguably they have just added fuel to the fire, and given undue prominence to his remarks. They also underestimate the readers who can make their minds up, without being told what to think.Ultimately, I think both of them are at fault. Moz, for his inconsidered remarks, not about cultural change, but about immigration being at the root of it, and the NME, for fanning the fire with their cover and editorial.

  79. Errr… sorry if my puerile attempt at humour has created some total nonsense. Previous relationships have described going out with me as ‘like going out with a Carry On film…’ and I shall delete my previous post.xx

  80. Errr… sorry if my puerile attempt at humour has created some total nonsense. Previous relationships have described going out with me as ‘like going out with a Carry On film…’ and I shall delete my previous post.xx

  81. Thank you for your response Andrew. My point was that the article was spun to position Morrissey as a racist and to sensationalise the issue. You say that Dele Fadele came back from Madstock ‘in a daze’ and it was his article – the only witness statement, you suggest – that prompted the cover and furore. Just assume that Dele misunderstood Morrissey’s intention (which I think he did, as per my National Front Disco comment above), then the reputation/career of a leading artist was affected by a possible misconception that was endorsed by Kelly and the whole NME team. That’s quite shocking isn’t it? I accept the point that none of you called Morrissey a racist, but that was quite obviously the inference from the article because here we are today talking about ‘Oh dear not again’.

  82. Thank you for your response Andrew. My point was that the article was spun to position Morrissey as a racist and to sensationalise the issue. You say that Dele Fadele came back from Madstock ‘in a daze’ and it was his article – the only witness statement, you suggest – that prompted the cover and furore. Just assume that Dele misunderstood Morrissey’s intention (which I think he did, as per my National Front Disco comment above), then the reputation/career of a leading artist was affected by a possible misconception that was endorsed by Kelly and the whole NME team. That’s quite shocking isn’t it? I accept the point that none of you called Morrissey a racist, but that was quite obviously the inference from the article because here we are today talking about ‘Oh dear not again’.

  83. Ah but imagine this alternative scenario, Roger: Morrissey agreed to our request for a response (which he had a couple of days to do) and put his case across. Then we would have had a cover that said, “Morrissey speaks out on Madstock/flag row.” A much better outcome for everybody. Instead he deliberately kept out of it, maintaining that ambiguity he enjoys so much. Still, he didn’t speak to the NME for 15 years, so not speaking to us was just the start of it. Let’s hope the NME can find the interview tape this time around, as lawyers are very keen to hear it. I think the “inference” from the article was that Morrissey was putting his foot in his mouth again. Apologies to Chris Burgess, but I’m removing the comment you commented on, as it’s fucking stupid. And anonymous – what a surprise!

  84. Ah but imagine this alternative scenario, Roger: Morrissey agreed to our request for a response (which he had a couple of days to do) and put his case across. Then we would have had a cover that said, “Morrissey speaks out on Madstock/flag row.” A much better outcome for everybody. Instead he deliberately kept out of it, maintaining that ambiguity he enjoys so much. Still, he didn’t speak to the NME for 15 years, so not speaking to us was just the start of it. Let’s hope the NME can find the interview tape this time around, as lawyers are very keen to hear it. I think the “inference” from the article was that Morrissey was putting his foot in his mouth again. Apologies to Chris Burgess, but I’m removing the comment you commented on, as it’s fucking stupid. And anonymous – what a surprise!

  85. Yes, very interesting to read Tim’s take on it, written from a beach internet cafe in Thailand. Although he – and the NME – come in for some unedifyingly cheap abuse underneath the piece. Those Guardian blog groupies are vicious! It’s like a tearoom round here in comparison.The documents printed on the true-to-you site are fascinating too. (How did they get hold of legal letters?)I’m starting to think it may blow over. If the NME can produce the tapes, and the interview is pretty much as printed, what can Morrissey’s lawyers do next? I think an apology is all we’ll see. And another 15-year boycott. If the NME lasts that long. (See? I’m doing it now. Damn those Guardian comments!)

  86. Yes, very interesting to read Tim’s take on it, written from a beach internet cafe in Thailand. Although he – and the NME – come in for some unedifyingly cheap abuse underneath the piece. Those Guardian blog groupies are vicious! It’s like a tearoom round here in comparison.The documents printed on the true-to-you site are fascinating too. (How did they get hold of legal letters?)I’m starting to think it may blow over. If the NME can produce the tapes, and the interview is pretty much as printed, what can Morrissey’s lawyers do next? I think an apology is all we’ll see. And another 15-year boycott. If the NME lasts that long. (See? I’m doing it now. Damn those Guardian comments!)

  87. I’ve just looked again at the true-to-you site, which Morrissey’s manager (whom I have met in a previous incarnation) seems to use as a message board to Morrissey fans. It seems as if he is supplying the legal letters, which are stamped all over with “NOT FOR PUBLICATION”, which seems ironic. (I’m glad to have read them though.)

  88. I’ve just looked again at the true-to-you site, which Morrissey’s manager (whom I have met in a previous incarnation) seems to use as a message board to Morrissey fans. It seems as if he is supplying the legal letters, which are stamped all over with “NOT FOR PUBLICATION”, which seems ironic. (I’m glad to have read them though.)

  89. Those Guardian commenters are as reactionary as they come. It seems they delight in going to the site of a liberal newspaper and roundly abusing everyone. They have little interest in the articles, certainly no idea about Moz or the NME, not of course that that will stop them curling their lip in their best Col Bogey style. Scarey!

  90. Those Guardian commenters are as reactionary as they come. It seems they delight in going to the site of a liberal newspaper and roundly abusing everyone. They have little interest in the articles, certainly no idea about Moz or the NME, not of course that that will stop them curling their lip in their best Col Bogey style. Scarey!

  91. What the fuck is with all the abuse towards the NME? Is it because you’re too old to like the music featured in it or are you just miserable?! They can’t win- previously someone on this blog claimed the NME was just turning into Smash Hits and now they do something that takes balls and it’s still just a publicity stunt. But sorry, the NME was better in ‘the old days’. The same old days Morissey kept banging on about! OK, I’m getting carried away but seriously, leave the NME alone!

  92. What the fuck is with all the abuse towards the NME? Is it because you’re too old to like the music featured in it or are you just miserable?! They can’t win- previously someone on this blog claimed the NME was just turning into Smash Hits and now they do something that takes balls and it’s still just a publicity stunt. But sorry, the NME was better in ‘the old days’. The same old days Morissey kept banging on about! OK, I’m getting carried away but seriously, leave the NME alone!

  93. Each generation gets the NME it deserves, I think. I still buy it, so I feel qualified to comment. It has moved with the times. It has to fight harder than we ever did for a thin slice of a crowded music market, with more distractions from print than ever before. I will always think the NME I fell in love with in the late 70s/early 80s was the best. Younger readers may even feel the same way about the NME I worked for in the late 80s/early 90s. Today’s readers must feel a similar ownership, even though it’s smaller and glossier and more commercial than it ever was. You can see why generations cannot, and should not, ever get on!

  94. Each generation gets the NME it deserves, I think. I still buy it, so I feel qualified to comment. It has moved with the times. It has to fight harder than we ever did for a thin slice of a crowded music market, with more distractions from print than ever before. I will always think the NME I fell in love with in the late 70s/early 80s was the best. Younger readers may even feel the same way about the NME I worked for in the late 80s/early 90s. Today’s readers must feel a similar ownership, even though it’s smaller and glossier and more commercial than it ever was. You can see why generations cannot, and should not, ever get on!

  95. Aidan, it was I who compared today’s NME unfavourably with Smash Hits. I’d stand by that because at least (when it was good) Smash Hits was funny and had an original house style. But of course, that’s only my opinion and you are entitled to yours. Don’t take it to heart. (Is this patronising enough yet?) Note, though, that in the old days that Morrissey has always been banging on about, NME was a very light and frothy thing that patronised its readers and did little more than rework the press releases it received. You can make up your own punchline to that but suffice to say those weren’t the same old days as when it was good.”…nor is having a view on immigration necessarily racist, but talking of the gates being flooded uses the same inflammatory language of racists. You have to be careful what you say when your views are influential to a certain amount of people.”It’s true that it would help if Morrissey were more clear, and frankly I wish he’d keep his mouth shut about the issue. But on the other hand he has a view and he has a right to express it, just as we have a right to disagree with it and to counter it. The thing is he’s no better qualified to talk about vegetarianism, the monarchy, homosexuality, child killers, or cross-dressing clergy than he is about immigration. I don’t think we can pick and choose which issues it’s ok, or safe, for him to influentially wax lyrical about. We can just choose to say “You’re wrong” and perhaps to stop buying his records. (That seemed to have worked for quite a while there.)I agree that “England’s gates are flooded” is uncomfortably close to the inflammatory language of racists. But of itself it isn’t racist. I guess my point is that racists have hi-jacked the immigration issue because it provides a usefully big tent that can accommodate a lot of people who aren’t far-right or racist. I think we’re letting them keep that veneer of respectability every time we veer away from discussing immigration simply because it’s dangerous ground, or every time we wrongly dismiss as racist anyone who speaks out against immigration. Instead of pondering whether Morrissey is a racist, or whether he’s put his foot in it, or whether he should speak his mind on this issue, I think it would be healthier just to have some open debate about whether there’s any truth at all in what he’s saying (there isn’t). I know that’s more or less what most of the comments here have been doing, but it isn’t what most of the wider rumpus has been about.

  96. Aidan, it was I who compared today’s NME unfavourably with Smash Hits. I’d stand by that because at least (when it was good) Smash Hits was funny and had an original house style. But of course, that’s only my opinion and you are entitled to yours. Don’t take it to heart. (Is this patronising enough yet?) Note, though, that in the old days that Morrissey has always been banging on about, NME was a very light and frothy thing that patronised its readers and did little more than rework the press releases it received. You can make up your own punchline to that but suffice to say those weren’t the same old days as when it was good.”…nor is having a view on immigration necessarily racist, but talking of the gates being flooded uses the same inflammatory language of racists. You have to be careful what you say when your views are influential to a certain amount of people.”It’s true that it would help if Morrissey were more clear, and frankly I wish he’d keep his mouth shut about the issue. But on the other hand he has a view and he has a right to express it, just as we have a right to disagree with it and to counter it. The thing is he’s no better qualified to talk about vegetarianism, the monarchy, homosexuality, child killers, or cross-dressing clergy than he is about immigration. I don’t think we can pick and choose which issues it’s ok, or safe, for him to influentially wax lyrical about. We can just choose to say “You’re wrong” and perhaps to stop buying his records. (That seemed to have worked for quite a while there.)I agree that “England’s gates are flooded” is uncomfortably close to the inflammatory language of racists. But of itself it isn’t racist. I guess my point is that racists have hi-jacked the immigration issue because it provides a usefully big tent that can accommodate a lot of people who aren’t far-right or racist. I think we’re letting them keep that veneer of respectability every time we veer away from discussing immigration simply because it’s dangerous ground, or every time we wrongly dismiss as racist anyone who speaks out against immigration. Instead of pondering whether Morrissey is a racist, or whether he’s put his foot in it, or whether he should speak his mind on this issue, I think it would be healthier just to have some open debate about whether there’s any truth at all in what he’s saying (there isn’t). I know that’s more or less what most of the comments here have been doing, but it isn’t what most of the wider rumpus has been about.

  97. Younger readers may even feel the same way about the NME I worked for in the late 80s/early 90s. Heh, yes, that was “my” NME. Literally every issue from 1991 (when I was 15) to 1995 is under the bed in my old room in my parents’ house. And yeah, I find today’s NME more or less unreadable – it really seems like it’s aimed at a much younger audience. One of the cool things about reading it when I was a teenager was the feeling that it was aimed at grown-ups. Now it’s like the target readers are 14 year old Emo kids.

  98. Younger readers may even feel the same way about the NME I worked for in the late 80s/early 90s. Heh, yes, that was “my” NME. Literally every issue from 1991 (when I was 15) to 1995 is under the bed in my old room in my parents’ house. And yeah, I find today’s NME more or less unreadable – it really seems like it’s aimed at a much younger audience. One of the cool things about reading it when I was a teenager was the feeling that it was aimed at grown-ups. Now it’s like the target readers are 14 year old Emo kids.

  99. “If you travel to Germany, it’s still absolutely Germany.”What does that mean??Is Morrissey aware that Berlin is one of the biggest Turkish cities in the world (a couple resources claim it’s only second to Istanbul)?What is he doing in Italy anyway making Italy losing its Identity??

  100. “If you travel to Germany, it’s still absolutely Germany.”What does that mean??Is Morrissey aware that Berlin is one of the biggest Turkish cities in the world (a couple resources claim it’s only second to Istanbul)?What is he doing in Italy anyway making Italy losing its Identity??

  101. Yes, Morrissey is aware of that, but he still thinks Germany is recognisably German.Maybe that tells you that he wasn’t talking about race in the NME article.

  102. Yes, Morrissey is aware of that, but he still thinks Germany is recognisably German.Maybe that tells you that he wasn’t talking about race in the NME article.

  103. Ask any German and 99 percent of them would tell you that BERLIN IS NOT GERMANY. some probably with a tone of resentment, no doubt, but most with a sense of envy and admiration. It’s the diversity, among other things, that makes a city great: New York, Paris, Berlin, and certainly London. Is New York losing her “American identity”? Is Paris losing her “French identity”? London is one of my favorite places and I don’t see what’s so “unbritish” about it. I’m not saying he’s a racist; but just wondering since when has he become the expert of what “Real Britain” should be like?If Morrissey wants to maintain that so-called “British identity”, where everyone is “authentic British”, is [enter your own “British” stereotype here] and lives in a Austenian Disneyland, he might want to open a new theme park in Italy called “Real Great Britain Amusement Island” so he can go amuse himself whenever he craves some “British identity”.

  104. Ask any German and 99 percent of them would tell you that BERLIN IS NOT GERMANY. some probably with a tone of resentment, no doubt, but most with a sense of envy and admiration. It’s the diversity, among other things, that makes a city great: New York, Paris, Berlin, and certainly London. Is New York losing her “American identity”? Is Paris losing her “French identity”? London is one of my favorite places and I don’t see what’s so “unbritish” about it. I’m not saying he’s a racist; but just wondering since when has he become the expert of what “Real Britain” should be like?If Morrissey wants to maintain that so-called “British identity”, where everyone is “authentic British”, is [enter your own “British” stereotype here] and lives in a Austenian Disneyland, he might want to open a new theme park in Italy called “Real Great Britain Amusement Island” so he can go amuse himself whenever he craves some “British identity”.

  105. I don’t personally think Morrissey is a racist but he certainly talks rubbish when he mentions “England changing faster than any other nation”, etc…Spain and Italy, for instance, went from having literally NO IMMIGRATION until the early 90s to becoming the top EU destinations for migrants. In the space of 10/12years both Spain and Italy have turned into hosts to millions of people. That brought up significant change in workforce, housing, ethnic composition etc.The NME, if you would allow me, disappointed me in so far as it failed (this time round) to challenge Morrissey with more factual, intelligent arguments. They just started shouting “Enoch Powell!” and that knocked any chance of a factual debate.Like everything in the world, mass immigration is neither black or white but it poses a lot of questions. I don’t blame the immigrants either.My argument is exposed on http://www.mymarilyn.blogspot.combut basically, big business, casualisation of labour and agencies have a lot to answer for. Ken Loach’s latest film is testament to that.Claude

  106. I don’t personally think Morrissey is a racist but he certainly talks rubbish when he mentions “England changing faster than any other nation”, etc…Spain and Italy, for instance, went from having literally NO IMMIGRATION until the early 90s to becoming the top EU destinations for migrants. In the space of 10/12years both Spain and Italy have turned into hosts to millions of people. That brought up significant change in workforce, housing, ethnic composition etc.The NME, if you would allow me, disappointed me in so far as it failed (this time round) to challenge Morrissey with more factual, intelligent arguments. They just started shouting “Enoch Powell!” and that knocked any chance of a factual debate.Like everything in the world, mass immigration is neither black or white but it poses a lot of questions. I don’t blame the immigrants either.My argument is exposed on http://www.mymarilyn.blogspot.combut basically, big business, casualisation of labour and agencies have a lot to answer for. Ken Loach’s latest film is testament to that.Claude

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