THERAPY ME: Hello, this is a pleasant surprise. Have you come for one of our self help therapy sessions?
ME: You know I have. We haven't done one of these for ages, so I thought it might be fun.
THERAPY ME: Fun? They aren't supposed to be fun. These sessions are for you to clear your head.
ME: And for you.
THERAPY ME: Yes, and for me, although let's not forget that I am the professional here, and YOU are the patient. So, what is it then?
THERAPY ME: What is it that you'd like to talk to me about? Not having homo-erotic dreams about Morrissey are you? I've told you before, it's quite normal for straight men to fancy Moz, even burly builders in Norwich fancy Morrissey.
ME: No, no homo-erotic dreams. No dreams at all actually. Now you come to mention it, I could do with a good dream. Anyway, there is no such thing as homo-erotic anymore. Ever since Moz put the word humasexual into the Oxford English dictionary, homo-eroticism ceased to exist. Something is either erotic, or it's not, sexuality doesn't come into it.
THERAPY ME: Ooooo! Look at Mister Professor of eroticism. I don't think you'll find that humasexual is actually in the Oxford English.
ME: Give it time, give it time. Anyway, can we get on with today's topic?
THERAPY ME: Yes, of course. What are we going to talk about? Is it your new friend, Kevin?
ME: Yes, how did you know?
THERAPY ME: Oh, just a guess. Come on then, tell me about Kevin. Do you want to lay on the couch?
ME: No, it'll be too difficult to type. I'm fine sat here, thanks.
THERAPY ME: Well, if you're doing the typing, do you mind if I have a lay down, it's been a busy day?
ME: Help yourself, but don't go thinking that you're getting paid for this.
THERAPY ME: Fair enough. Off you go then, tell me about Kevin.
ME: Well, as you know, I closed my twitter account last week. I decided to ditch my 1800 plus followers and get rid of the 15000 plus tweets.
THERAPY ME: Yes, I noticed that. Why did you do that again?
ME: I just didn't like the idea that anybody could trawl through everything I've ever tweeted. I also read something recently that said our twitter accounts will one day act like photo albums, and that when we are dead and buried, our children will trawl through everything we ever tweeted.
THERAPY ME: How horrifying!
ME: Exactly. So I deleted the account last week, and opened a new one a couple of days ago. Keep it fresh.
THERAPY ME: What's all this got to do with your new friend Kevin?
ME: I'm getting to that. Be patient.
THERAPY ME: No, you're the patient.
ME: Oh, very droll, and actually, as you're the one laying down, I think we've switched roles, so would you like to take over with the story?
THERAPY ME: Yes, ok. Let's call me 'ME', and you are now 'THERAPY ME'. Can I get naked?
THERAPY ME: Why?
ME: I just thought it would be quite funny..... oh, and I want to be a woman.
THERAPY ME: For fuck's sake, can we PLEASE just get on with this?
ME: No, no, no. The therapist has to be softly spoken and understanding. Right, I'm now naked, female and blond. Why don't you lay on the floor, close your eyes, and I'll proceed.
ME: Yesterday morning, I was all alone in the Twitterdilly Arms, minding my own business, playing the jukebox, when suddenly I was pulled into the loo.
THERAPY ME: Pulled into the loo? What do you mean?
ME: The 'Direct Message' box on twitter is known amongst us all as the Twitterdilly Arms toilets. It's where the private conversations take place.
THERAPY ME: Oh yes, I remember now. I think Rosy Mires invented that. Very funny. I miss her wit in the Twit Arms. Anyway, carry on. You were being pulled off in the Twit Arms toilets.
ME: No, I was being pulled into the Twit Arms toilets, by none other than the mysterious Banjaxer.
THERAPY ME: Go on.
ME: There has been an awful lot of mention of Banjaxer in this blog of mine over the past two and a half years, and not always complimentary.
THERAPY ME: Very rarely in fact!
ME: I have thrown all sorts of allegations and accusations his way, but he has always kept mum.
THERAPY ME: Which is rather ironic really, isn't it?
ME: Yes, because yesterday morning, in the Twit Arms toilets, Banjaxer proved to me that he was behind the MorrisseysMum twitter account, although in the words of the late, great, John Lennon, he added, "but I'm not the only one."
THERAPY ME: Hold on a second. What compelled you to call John Lennon "great". I have no problem with the "late" bit, but was he great? Really? How many of Lennon's lyrics can touch Morrissey's? None.
ME: Well, there was She's leaving home and A day in the life.
THERAPY ME: Yes, I'll grant you those two are good, but McCartney actually wrote some of the lyrics on both of those, so Lennon can't take all the credit. What is it Morrissey said, The Beatles wrote four good songs?
ME: Yes, something like that, but I'm not here to talk about John Lennon, I'm here to talk about Kevin Marrinan.
THERAPY ME: Ok, but it's going to have to wait.
THERAPY ME: Your time's up.
ME: But you're not real, you can't call time.
THERAPY ME: Is any of this real? Listen, you and I have been so busy at work today, that we just haven't got the time to finish this blog today. We're going out to our friend's house for dinner this evening, had you forgotten?
ME: Yes, I had. Thanks for reminding me. I haven't told you anything about me and Kevin becoming friends.
THERAPY ME: I'm sure your little tale of making a new friend in the toilet of a make belief internet pub can wait. We'll continue this tomorrow.
ME: We're busy tomorrow.
THERAPY ME: Sunday then.
ME: We probably won't get a chance, it's Mother's day.
THERAPY ME: Oh for fuck's sake, when then?
ME: How do I know, you cunt.
THERAPY ME: Don't call me a cunt, you cunt.
ME: This is pathetic. Really pathetic.
THERAPY ME: Somebody, somewhere might find it slightly amusing. Right then, let's get out of here, but let's leave our audience with that great video you found on Youtube. That Brigid Berlin was something else.
ME: She's still alive you know.
THERAPY ME: Does she still get her tits out?
ME: I have NO idea. Here's the video:
THERAPY ME: Are we done now?
ME: No, I just need to post those photos that Astraea brought into the Twit Arms:
THERAPY ME: Now are we finished, we really have to go. We'll finish your Kevin story soon. Meanwhile, let's post his finest two moments in life, other than the birth of his two or three children; his starring role in a FTM parody (from Day 574, about Thatcher's death), and his interview with Morrissey:
FROM DAY 574 OF FTM:
(The scene is the living room of the two-up, two-down terraced house shared by Morrissey and his mother, Betty. Both Morrissey and his mother are sat in arm chairs opposite each other, with a small coffee table in between them. They are playing a card game called 'Old Maid'. Radio 4 is on quietly in the background. It is just after 1.30pm on Monday April 8th.)
BETTY: *Takes a card from her son's hand and throws down her final 'pair'* (In a mixed Irish/Mancunian accent) Well, Steven, that's another game to me. What's the score now?
MORRISSEY: Seventeen all.
BETTY: (Irate) Is it 'eckers loicke! How can we be drawing, I was five games ahead before.
MORRISSEY: That was ages ago, mother. I've just won six games on the trot, I was winning before that game.
BETTY: Six games on the trot? You haven't won six games all morning! If you can't play fairly Steven, then there is no point playing at all! (stands up) I'm going to go and make something for us dinner, what would you like?
MORRISSEY: Mother, 'please'! It's lunch, NOT dinner.
BETTY: Don't go getting all lah-de-dah with me, my boy, do you want something to eat or not?
MORRISSEY: Oh go on then, I'll have a cheese and pickle sandwich.
BETTY: I thought you were going to give up the cheese?
MORRISSEY: (Defensively) It's my ONE vice mother, my ONE vice! I don't feel good about myself when I eat it, but it helps remind me that we ALL have flaws. No animal actually dies in the process of cheese making you know, so I can just about cope with the exploitation. (Betty leaves the room and heads for the kitchen) (Shouting) Actually, I'll have some mushroom soup, you've made me feel bad about myself with your quite unnecessary cheese jibe.
BETTY: (Shouting) Well, if you hadn't cheated with the cards, I wouldn't have brought it up. Perhaps you'll think on next time.
(The telephone rings in the front room. Morrissey is sat right next to it, but ignores it as it rings six times)
BETTY: (Shouting) Steven, are you going to answer the telephone? (Morrissey ignores both the phone and his mother until eventually she walks back into the room. She is now wearing her pinny) Why haven't you answered the telephone, Steven?
MORRISSEY: I don't want to talk to them.
BETTY: You don't even know who it is yet, and anyway, it moight be for me.
MORRISSEY: It is irrelevant WHO it is, I don't want to talk to them, and I very much doubt that it's for you, the only person who ever calls you is me, and I'm here.
BETTY: Well that's not true on both counts! Your sister rings me regular, as do the boys, whereas YOU never ring. Anyway, I'd better answer it. You never know, it moight be your friend Mortin, such a lovely boy.
MORRISSEY: It won't be! Boz is far too busy playing Polecats to be bothered with me. (Betty picks up the phone).
BETTY: (Talking into the receiver) Hello, yes?
BANJAXER: Hello Ms Dwyer, it's me Kevin, Kevin Marrinan.
BETTY: Oh hello Kevin, how's the family?
BANJAXER: All good thanks Ms Dwyer. Is Morrissey there please, I need to talk to him about Margaret Thatcher, she's died.
BETTY: Oh yes, we know, we heard it on the wireless a little earlier. I'll pass you over Kevin, love, hold on. (Betty holds the receiver towards Morrissey to take, but he doesn't.)
MORRISSEY: (To Betty) Who is it?
BETTY: It's Kevin, the journalist friend of yours from Wythenshawe.
MORRISSEY: Mother, I don't 'have' friends, and if I ever did care to 'take a friend', it would certainly NOT be a journalist.
BETTY: (To Morrissey) Are you going to speak to him or not?
BETTY: (To Morrissey) But he can hear that you are here, don't make this awkward for me, you're always doing this. (Betty covers the receiver with her hand)
MORRISSEY: Then you shouldn't make false promises to people.
BETTY: (To Morrissey) What false promises?
MORRISSEY: Promises that you will put me on the phone, when I have made no indication whatsoever that I wish to speak on the phone! It's like the Isle of Wight festival and the Andy Rourke incident all over again! You people only have yourselves to blame for getting into these 'awkward' positions, and then you all come running to me to dig you all out of the shit?
BETTY: (To Morrissey) Mind your language Steven, I won't have that sort of filth under my roof, and how DARE you put me in the same bracket as all those others, I'm your Mother for Christ's sake *crosses herself* and DON'T you forget it.
(Morrissey licks his upper lip and smiles to himself.)
MORRISSEY: I'll tell you what Mother, if you are prepared to concede the current Old Maid tournament, I will dig you out of your hole, and I'll take the telephone call from this dreadful little journalist.
BETTY: (To Morrissey) Ah, bollocks to your Old Maid, you can have the win if you want it that much.
MORRISSEY: YES! Hand over the trophy, Mother.
BETTY: (To Morrissey) I'll hand it over once you've spoken tho Kevin, and once you've finished your exploitation.
BETTY: (To Morrissey) Your cheese sandwich!
(Betty hands Morrissey the telephone receiver and heads back to the kitchen)
MORRISSEY: (Shouting to his mother with hand over the receiver) I said I'd have soup! (Talking into the receiver) Hello, who is it?
BANJAXER: Hi Moz, it's me, Kevin Marrinan.
BANJAXER: Walter Ego?! I'm the one who does your internet work.
MORRISSEY: Oh yes, Walter Ego, my troll. What do you want Walter? I'm a very busy man.
BANJAXER: Yes, sorry to disturb you Moz, but Maggie Thatcher's died.
MORRISSEY: Yes, I heard it on the wireless. Please don't make her sound warm by giving her a christian name, her name was Thatcher, nothing more. Anyway, why are you telephoning me with this most uninteresting news?
BANJAXER: The press want to know your thoughts Moz, they want word from the man who wanted to put her on a guillotine.
MORRISSEY: I am FAR too busy and far too disinterested to write a statement about that hateful piece of shit. On the wireless they were saying how much she'd done for feminism, which is utter crap Kieron, she HATED feminists, even though it was largely due to the progression of the women's movement that British people allowed themselves to accept that a Prime Minister could actually be female! Because of Thatcher, there will never again be another woman in power in British politics. No, Walter, I just cannot be bothered to release a statement about THAT woman, I have tours to arrange, record executives to speak to, t-shirts to design, I am an artiste, and my art needs me. I also have a thirty question interview that I have promised to answer for my fans. I suppose you think that I just sit around all day playing Old Maid with my Mother?
BANJAXER: (Laughing) No, of course not, I realise that you are very busy, but I really do think you should issue some sort of statement today, your fans are expecting it. I don't mind writing it for you!
MORRISSEY: (Sounding incredulous) YOU, write on behalf of ME, the people's poet? Oh the thought of it. I have started to spasm.
BANJAXER: Well, if you don't get something out there today Moz, then the papers will go after Bragg or Costello for the eighties indie music comment! They may even go for Dave Wakeling!
MORRISSEY: (Sounding incredulous.... again!) Bragg or Costello? Fucking Wakeling? Who cares what THEY think? Bragg's gone soft in his old age, I bet he'll even use her christian name, or god forbid, refer to her as Baroness. In fact, I can tell you EXACTLY what Bragg will say, he'll say, (adopts a wide boy London accent) "The death of Margaret Thatcher is nothing more than a salient reminder of how Britain got into the mess that we are in today." It's all so predictable.
BANJAXER: There's talk among the journalists I know, that they are seeking Russell Brand's view on Thatcher.
MORRISSEY: (Sounding incredulous... AGAIN!) Gristle? What the FUCK does he know? He wasn't even born when she was sinking retreating ships. Oh Christ, OK, I'll give you a statement, but I don't want to see any of your shitty journo spin on it, I don't want any "Outburst" or "Explosive attack" pinned to my statement, do you understand?
BANJAXER: I can't control the headlines they give Moz. Shall we get to work?
MORRISSEY: Get to work? Sod that, old son, just copy everything I said in that Loaded interview about the old cow, and add in that bit I gave you a minute ago about the feminists. I can't waste anymore time on this, I REALLY AM extraordinarily busy. *Puts down the phone* (Shouting to the kitchen) Mother, how do you fancy another championship? First to twenty five!
There was no mistaking the worried expression on Morrissey's face as he walked over the neat garden and down towards the heavily padlocked black ornamental gate. He wouldn't have been the first super-rich resident on this exclusive side of town to discover someone from the nearby council estate loitering outside their property, so his anxiety was for good reason. Having waited many years for this moment, I refused to be intimidated by his piercing gaze and confidently stood my ground, looking straight ahead and wondering if it was obvious I really was from the nearby council estate.
As we peered at each other through the rusty iron bars of the garden gate, I thought about the anonymous telephone call I'd received that afternoon, saying there was a chance of meeting Morrissey if I moved fast. Now, only half an hour later, here I was at a secret address and about to meet the "devious, truculent and unreliable" man with a reputation for chewing up journalists before spitting them out and stamping on their pencils.
On this warm, sunny afternoon near Manchester, Morrissey was, in fact, softly spoken and polite. In conversation, he was a man of few words, but each one is carefully chosen, polished, then delivered with the kind of accuracy Stephen Hendry would give his right arm for.
His famous wit and much celebrated one-liners did not disappoint, but most unnerving was the way he would cut dead the topic of conversation without saying a word. I knew it was time to change the subject when his expression changed slightly and his eyes looked down to the floor.
My time had finally come. Outside, in the summer heat, a cat spied on us from the shade of a tree.
As I prepared to launch my first question, Morrissey suddenly became agitated and displayed the first signs of his mistrust of the British press.
"What's that ?" he asked, pointing to a highly suspicious little black wallet in my hand. After a quick examination of the contents, a small notepad and a press card, I asked about his new album, Maladjusted, out today.
"I'm afraid it will probably sink without trace."
The first single was quite well received.
"Yes, and I'll be happy if those who do buy the album, treasure it."
The title track, Maladjusted, opens the album with a screech of distortion and Moz crooning: "I want to start from the beginning." [sic]
It's the sorry tale of a "working girl, like me," who, in true Morrissey style, is feeling a bit cheesed off, "with my hands on my head, I flop on your bed, with my head full of dread, for all the things I've said."
Hmm, does this mean Manchester's most famous big mouth has decided to repent for all those nasty things he's said over the years about certain people he knows ? Not a chance.
As we discussed the lengths some people will go to get close to him, I make the mistake of saying he must know how Sandie Shaw felt when he turned up at her door.
"She's a very cold person. No feelings at all."
She made some good pop records, though, don't you think ?
"She has lost the ability to feel anything."
I wouldn't know. Has she upset you ?
"It's because she had too much success when she was young. And no success after that. That's what caused it."
The UK pressing of Maladjusted is missing a track that's on the American release. Sorrow Will Come In The End drags the listener into the dark and deeply worrying thoughts of a man out to get his bitter revenge from someone who's "pleaded and squealed".
Suggestions that Morrissey's recent experience in the High Court inspired lines such as "legalised theft, leaves me bereft, I get it straight in the neck, somehow expecting no less," and "a court of justice, with no use for truth, lawyer, liar," have been dismissed by his record company. A few months ago, I read these lyrics to ex-Smiths drummer, Mike Joyce. Mike had just won a £1 million settlement from Morrissey and guitarist Johnny Marr in the High Court. He laughed off the song's content, saying, "Morrissey will probably say it's about his cat."
If I were Morrissey's cat, I'd be worried. Heavy strings serve to add to the chill of the words spoken - not sung - by Morrissey as he resolves: "I'm going to get you. So don't ever close your eyes, don't ever close your eyes."
This was delicate, and had to be approached carefully. The last thing I wanted to do was upset Morrissey.
Who knows what could happen if I did ? My clever strategy was not clever enough. When I asked if he'd seen a letter that appeared in the national music press recently, which suggested that one of the songs had been dropped from the album because it referred to the court case, he ignored my point and made his own.
"They make up all the letters themselves."
Not all of them. I had one published a few years ago.
"Yes, all of them. Any good letters that arrive in the post go straight into the bin."
That must be why mine survived. So they write their own, instead ?
"That's right. It's all made up by the journalists. They're not real letters sent in by the readers."
Morrissey had that look on his face again. The one that told me I should change the subject, or go home. The Smiths were the darlings of the music press. Every interview was used as a vehicle to display Morrissey's unique charm and unending wit.
As a solo performer, Morrissey has had to deal with the critics in a way The Smiths never encountered.
"Yes, things have changed. I suppose it's because we all move on. When you're young, you tend to believe in things more. As the years pass, the cynicism takes over."
Maybe the press has less to write about these days, and they resent not having you to brighten up their lives ?
"They're just interested in the latest fad. Pages full of nonsense about Oasis and whoever else happens to turn up on the day.
"Manchester, especially, is crammed with the stuff. It's all very strange and a complete mystery.
"They're horrible to me all the time. Nothing good ever appears."
The release of Maladjusted, and the tour planned later in the year, means that Morrissey is once more up for discussion.
Only those of us whose lives were changed by The Smiths, and who have grown alongside his solo work, can ever begin to understand why this "working girl" inspires such passion. No amount of bad press or stories about his alleged exploitation of those around him will change that.
A taxi crawls up the driveway, Morrissey announces, "I'm off to Paddyland," and is gone.
The cat looks across at me standing alone on the path. He knows I had a lucky escape.