Total Pageviews

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Day 1012 - An Essay On The Beginnings of a New Man by Morrissey

There has been no sign of Broken for a few days, and Our Mozzer hasn't been seen for weeks, so unless one of them appears, this will be my last blog entry, as I really am only here for the MorrisseysWorld phenomenon.

I shall sign off with one of the best pieces to come from the MW blog, An Essay On The Beginnings of a New Man. It was published on Sunday, 21 August 2011, and was signed Morrissey. So the question is, who wrote it? Was it: A) Me, a full three weeks before I discovered MorrisseysWorld, B) Banjaxer, who despite claiming to be a journalist, struggles to put two sentences together, C) Morrissey or D) The Unknown author of MW; who has not only managed to remain unidentified for seven years, but has also managed to get Morrissey to do many, many things, as catalogued here: http://followingthemozziah.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/morrisseysworld-and-blue-rose-society.html. There is NO E).



Sunday, 21 August 2011
An Essay On The Beginnings of a New Man

The nineteen eighties were passing me by. Snarling androgyny, the dullish glamour of those sickly pale-thin creatures in scarlet lippy and girlish belts juxtaposed with crunching guitars - T Rex, The Dolls and Ziggy Stardust - had faded gracelessly into handfuls of black earth, rock 'n’roll retirement, and tie-wearing early 80s chic respectively. The cheaply-assembled but eagerly-deployed scud missile that was British punk seemed to detonate unexpectedly in mid-air, causing chaos, panic and the odd ill-advised trip to the barber’s, but surprisingly little lasting structural damage. As the ash clouds of punk spilled over and fell, gathering like anti-snowflakes on Manchester’s light-absorbing grey paving stones, bringing down as they fell over weeks and then months our studiedly vague aspirations for a slightly different world, the two-up two-downs remained indignant. They seemed to peer up over the brutal urban wasteland – all ersatz municipal parkland, stubborn decaying semis and that mild, nauseating smog that was the Manchester air - wondering what might come next. What would come next? Nothing at all.

Winter 1982. Manchester seemed glassier than ever, all pale angries, and pale sads, and pale cruelties. The death of punk had informed me of the true power of music – which is that it means absolutely nothing. Aestheticism as pure as any Wildean short story, utterly devoid of a moral; music is about beauty and - Being a Pop Star-? Being a pop star is about being fascinating. If you cannot be fascinating, then be handsome. If you cannot be handsome, may I suggest The X Factor Auditions?

In 1982, intention was all that I had. Wintriness breeds wintriness, as a writer once wrote. When the soul lives in a glum rock box and the air is frostier than any half-remembered June day-excursion to Scarborough, the beauty of the freezing cold is all that one possesses. Sycamore tree leafless and crippled leans, like stag antlers bored into frozen top soil; green frog-eye Wellington boots scurry for grip on un-gritted roads; small bluish hand enshrined in fuliginous fingers, glinting under raw sodium lights; the Arndale centre like some oafish soul-cemetery, sucking in the human spirit like coke through a straw, and twisting it into a walking, breathing, cacophonous death. Snow fell that winter. And I made my plans.

The room was probably not as small as I remember. It had that lived-in smell which is inevitable when one never leaves: this I did my best to disguise with scattered rose petals – roses were an undeserved gift from one to oneself, or otherwise nicked from innumerable tiny-but-prim front gardens on the estate. Of course in winter the gardens were as barren as the singer who filled my ears and tugged at my tear ducts like lovelessness itself: Nico. In the absence of red rose petals or white rose petals, orange peel – always in good supply in our house – would adorn the radiator for days, even when, as was more often than not the case, they were switched off. Me? I stayed in and wrote furiously. The New York Dolls thing; the James Dean thing: they passed effortlessly by and yet without any real sense of destiny. Milky, embattled, frozen prose followed. It drifted imperceptibly from the pen, just like one of the many snowstorms that murky Thatcherite November-December, until it no longer resembled prose at all. The first songs were born entirely by accident. This I have always put down to fate.

As I wrote, I would gaze up at the Marc Bolan poster over my bed, pore over the horribly cream-coloured wood chip and wish it would simply disappear; I would crank up the volume on my plasticky record player; it cost £11.30 from a second hand shop in Moss Side called Andy’s (I still have the receipt). And as the stylus hopped over the worn groove, I would sink into Diana Dors, Johnny Rotten, Ziggy Stardust and The Sparks. The natural ageing process of those scratchy records implored me to listen in a way that no horse-throated geography teacher ever could.

The joy of music is that it allows one to dream, which in turn allows one to find that grain of hope. Hope is not a moral; it is a life-force. A good song is as abstract as a dream or nightmare, tethered to reality by frayed threads, liable to snap at any given moment. The song drags one out of bed, it pushes one back into bed and it fills the short period in between. The song – to the true lover of music – is birth, death, and that other part we bravely call ‘life.’ Most people cannot live. They are immobilized: by the fear of rejection, by the self-loathing they endure, by a slim conviction that they are unable to love another; and more than anything else by a crippling sense of devaluation imposed by this world on all of us, unless we fit the idealized notion of what a human being should – these days, must - be. These poor souls shuffle, mumble and crumble through the years like shadows. I knew very, very early on that I was one of those souls.

Well, what could I do? I could spend my life with the shadows, pretending to live: a man with a life-sentence to serve, which never quite materializes. Or I could transform myself into a symbol and give up entirely on real life, as they call it. The song becomes the living; the singing becomes the life; the haircut becomes the material body – fading over the years but never quite leaving. And I began just then to write about life the way it really is. I began to write songs for those who cannot live – which is almost everybody. At least in England it is. While the rest of the world at least attempts to live life, we English apologise and queue politely. This – girls and boys – is why we’re so good at the old art thing. Art is nothing but a survival instinct for the English.

When one is desperate and cold, the hardest thing to feel is hope; and yet precisely – and only - when one is desperate and cold, hope is utterly life-transforming. To have absolutely nothing except hope was what sustained me through those nights. When you’re young, tears are precious. They seem to contain the very essence of life. As my tears landed on that newish pine desk, slipping into the cracks in the useless veneer, in that bland, desolate box room, the Manchester rain pattered on the windows and the roof tiles. The flowing motion of water, of rain, of tears is something that can be found in those early songs, as real to me as blood itself. And just as essential.

By Christmas 1982 I was a jobless waif in my mid-20s possessed of the frankly ludicrous hope of becoming a singer. In the grimness of day, of course, I had no real prospect of becoming one. My hair was all wrong, my clothes were all wrong, my skin, and - my face? As I set about willing into existence the pop star whose name I did not yet know, I gathered up every mossy pebble of a death-wish, each vocal hook I had ever murmured, fewer than five literary influences, and my eternally shattered faith in love. I would sing-whisper in those days, which I pretended was in honour of my beloved Nico but in truth was probably to avoid being overheard by Mam in the room downstairs. I did not breathe a breath of fresh air for more than two months. The windows rarely opened and the curtains never twitched. I had lost weight; my family members were worried for my wellbeing; over my shoulders hung the clothes of an anorexic teenage girl. And then finally out of that bedroom wobbled, and then stumbled, and then fell a singer called Morrissey without a record deal, without a band and without a decent pair of shoes.


Morrissey

20 comments:

  1. This is one of the first pieces I remember reading on the MW blog. It blew me away, then & still does nearly 3 years on. I will never tire of reading it
    I treasure the words deeply. It is a beautifully rich, pure & fragile essay.

    A true work of art.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. This piece should have been included in Autobiography.

      Delete
    2. Yes, yes... All very somber and serious now. We've had our fun with the parody. Now, lets get back into the monk's habit and put some real Moz love on the table.

      Delete
  2. I'm going for C) & D). Neither Rat nor Banjaxer could write that in a million years. Only ONE person could possibly have written with such meaning. It's Morrissey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No one is buying that anymore.

      Delete
  3. One of my all-time favorite MW essays, a perfect example of why MW remains near to my heart. Whoever the author is, they are quite remarkable, not only for their writing skills, but for being able to accurately predict so many coincidences and remain unidentified after all this time. Even the timing of the coincidences is notable, because many of them happened soon after they were mentioned by MW. Of course, many more coincidences have occurred since the posted list was written, such as wearing the blue rose in 25Live, posting the blue rose artwork on TTY, and singing Trouble while wearing a blue rose.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Always thought this could be a first attempt to start the Autobiography. ....

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is just so wrong. What sort of voting system are you operating? You can’t say ‘who wrote it’ and then say that it could not have been you because you weren’t there and it could not have been someone else because they struggle to put two sentences together. There should really be some sort of hustings where each candidate can explain why it could or could not have been them.
    Despite this vote rigging I am plumping for D - a potpourri of Batman, Zorro, and the Scarlet Pimpernel. Batzopimp.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Still all about you Rat. The whole thing and this last card you play... So self indulgent. So sad. You're like the stalker in Alan Partridge.

    ReplyDelete
  7. You were so close whiskers... You and Moz going to gigs together... Swapping records... Cups of tea... Then serious chats about your addiction to chicken. And then going to Beiber concerts together. Ah! The love that could have been! And then meeting Heather and discussing Cocteau over tea and cakes. So close whiskers. Hope this last piece of emotional blackmail gets you singing again!

    Goes off singing 'Grow up Rattykins'

    ReplyDelete
  8. I really am going now... Honest. I'm going now. Bye then. Did I tell you that I'm going? Yep. Going now. I'm going. That will be it. Gone. Gone. But wait! What have we here? Lo and behold! A sign! MW is back! I'm staying. Waves palms!

    This Is So Tedious Now

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right on cue! MW came back to Twitter this morning! The whole thing does feel choreographed.

      Delete
    2. Dear Anons.,Please use your name rather than hide as anonymous, then I can write about you when the journey ends, and it is finally proven you have got everything wrong. If you are so sure that YOU are the ones who are right, and that I have indeed made everything up, then you have nothing to worry about.

      And if you don't believe any of this nonsense of mine, then why on earth do you come here?

      Delete
    3. You haven't made anything up. Not saying that. I'm sure Morrissey is playing along with this. It's just that many of the Twitter accounts are not him. Look at your record... You've had most people down as him at some point. I suspect he is there but nowhere in the places you are looking.

      Delete
  9. Apparently Morrissey has been in the hospital for a few weeks, rumor so far. Must be very serious. Let us put all of our differences and egos aside and hope for a full recovery for Morrissey. Take care of yourself Morrissey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. he is not that ill that he came back to london.. also cliff may have crossed wires.. regards, manc lad

      Delete
    2. Please Manc you've been wrong before. You have no connection.

      Delete
  10. A very thoughtful and well written essay. I too, like Romina, thought it was a prelude to his autobiography. Thank you, Mr Ratty, foe reminding us of it and that MW could be serious and sensitive at times. That it wasn't always frivolous and going just for the laughs, although most of those were well crafted also. It does not matter who wrote what, as it was all about Morrissey. I too am very worried about him at the moment, if what they say is true, that he has been hospitalized for 2 weeks. I do hope he has not aggravated his Barrett's esophagus, as that could destroy his voice. Hopefully, it is just a virulent virus or dehydration from too rigorous a tour. He may have to space his concerts father apart than what he has been doing. Whatever it is, he needs his rest at this time and the support, prayers and thoughts of a united BRS, the anons and any other Morrissey fans

    ReplyDelete
  11. This Blog hates Morrissey and just let's people write shit about him- Right? How does someone destroy their own Blog, keep watching OO

    ReplyDelete
  12. Do you have more of Morrissey's work available? This piece was very enjoyable.

    ReplyDelete

Mozziah Archive