Total Pageviews

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Day 1480 - Beneath the kitchen table

Longtime BRS member, Girlwithout, yesterday left the following comment on FTM:

girlwithout has left a new comment on your post "Day 1479 - Logging off":

As perhaps fitting of my propensity to chase after empty crisp packets, I googled a bit of the back cover blurb and stumbled across a letter to a young poet. Interesting read.

Posted by girlwithout to Following The Mozziah at 29 September 2015 at 19:51

I'm not sure what words from the back cover blurb GWO googled, but it obviously led her to A Letter to a Young Poet by Virginia Woolf, which turns out to be a really interesting read. Being the unread philistine that I am, I know nothing of Virginia Woolf, so I decided to google her.


Apart from me now believing that Morrissey actually IS Virginia Woolf, I was particularly drawn to a number of things: A) Woolf's mother died when she was just 13, B) Woolf suffered from extreme depression, C) Woolf drowned herself in the river Ouse at the age of 59.

My thoughts were immediately drawn to the Morrissey song, Drag the River, and particularly to these lines:

"She would gaze into the river as we'd look into a mirror, and her reflection would beckon her to, "join me, join me, join me - happy we will be"."

"By the river with the soul of submersible stone, every second of my life prepares to go. she would call into the river as she'd cry out for her mother."

Drag the River HAS to be about Virginia Woolf, it just HAS to be.

List of the Lost continues to be discussed in The Twitterdilly Arms, with favourite quotes being shared around. I don't think any of us initially realised just how good this book is, and it is going to have to be re-read, and re-read and re-read again. Because Morrissey doesn't go into any depth regarding the individual characters, you are left building your own picture of their background and make-up. For instance, yesterday I wrote about Chesty Normous, a character who is mentioned just once, and very fleetingly, and yet I now have this need to know all about her. Who chose that name? Where did she grow up? What led her to lead the life she leads? I love the fact that the author leaves the reader to paint their own picture regarding the characters.

Another character who I have been discussing today in The Arms, is Harri's mother. Her death leads to Harri then taking his own life, but what I want to know is WHY was she found dead beneath the kitchen table? Did she literally crawl under the table to curl up and die, and what did she die of? If it was a sudden death, then what was she doing underneath that table in the first place, had she dropped something? Perhaps she banged her head on the table, forgetting that she was under it! I'm pretty sure that she wasn't the sort of person to take her own life, because earlier in the passage, she is described thus:
"Harri's mother was drawn to those who carried their small lives in small bags, for everyone was there to be saved, no matter how diminished their will." 

Rosy Mires has argued that being beneath the kitchen table may just be a turn of phrase, and that it shouldn't be taken literally. She points out that in Morrissey's autobiography, he writes:
 "My very first disc has been 'Come and stay with me' by Marianne Faithfull, acquired after howls of insistence from beneath the kitchen table. The howls worked and my parents gave in."
I think Rosy could be right, and it would appear that Morrissey likes the 'beneath the kitchen table' phrase.

Whether it should be taken literally or not, the writing is absolutely beautiful, with one of my favourite lines of the passage (and there are MANY) being, "instantly he (Harri) was no longer as he had ever been, for the voice of love had gone." I would imagine that Virginia Woolf was no longer as she had ever been after the death of her mother, but unlike Harri, who made the instant decision not to go on, Virginia Woolf battled for another 46 years before ending her struggle with life.


That's all for today, although I feel compelled to re-publish on FTM, Bitter Bobby Neville's review of Morrissey's concert in Hull. BBN has taken influence from Morrissey's writing style, and his review of Hull is the best concert review I have ever read:

Hullsome fun

A four hour car journey dramatically doubles in duration as the distant doesn’t decrease.  Drive, break, drive, break, drive, break, striving to arrive.  Not once do I take the wheel, I do not drive for I was born to be driven. Ironically the car is controlled by someone named Harri and that’s where the similarities begin and stop.  On top of laborious launch north I had to deal with lungs that refuse to believe fresh air is real air.  Every service station is a chance to enhance a meeting with the sniggering, snickering, giggling grim reaper. Life cannot end cheaper.  Cigarettes, all thirty of them consumed in twenty-four. Seconds, minutes or hours? The power of deduction is yours. Most consumed on the motorway where clever men never ever know the end. Until the end. Humans’ content in contraptions hell bent on destruction. Ford Fiesta’s with handling made to test ‘ya.  Metal death traps and one day death will rat-a-tap-tap on the door, that’s the end, no more.  When feet finally reach the streets of Hull, it a pub we find ourselves positioned in.  A public house for the irregular regulars of which there are some.  Fun consumes us as one hour turns into three as those young enough to not remember pain continue on for four.  Uncouth youth with time on their side idly discus their idol as those old enough to know no better drink more until the floor seems unstable.  As closing time dooms us all, we decide to head to the arena after we slide back to our hotels to freshen up and make ourselves cleaner. 

As I drunkenly dance inside the hotel door I check a message on my phone and my jaw nearly breaks the floor.  “Check True-To-You” conveyed the message as disbelief morphs into dismay.  There was no way that the truth lay in front of me.  I left the hotel still reeking of sleepless regrets and dead-set alcohol sweats.  As I arrive at the venue I notice bodies bulging bigger than brutes on the floor like shoots of the bluest of roses in recumbent poses.  I write my name of the list in a cold shake of the pen hoping that whoever reads the list out gets the gist.  Number thirteen is my chosen number, and certain people know what numbers mean. Gin and beer turns into thins of fear as news filters through to those who make up the queue.  Shock and surprise flocked to the ears, eyes, and minds of those lost souls of the queue as the realisation of what their life may be in lieu of Morrissey.  Morose figures fail to ascertain what the statement really pertains to. Retirement or not? Can Art even retire? A dozen deluded delinquents demeanour drifts downwards as realisation finally rolls into regret.  Could we have done more shows? Where did all the time go? Those who can sleep, those that just can’t, weep.  More booze soothes the body but numbs the mind until we are dumb enough to roll naked into baths of ice.  Nobody laughs. 

By 3am my body shivers and my liver quivers and I know it’s time for the sweet sanctuary of a soft sheet and most welcoming mattress. I say my goodbyes. The warmth of the hotel greets and meets me like an old friend, enemy, then friend again. 3am turns into 11pm and I am certainly sure that the place in the list is lost. With nothing to lose I check Grindr because who knows what you might find there. Gloria Hole, Amanda Bang, and Dixie Normus throw hello’s my way but offer nothing to make me stay as I stroll, hop and roll gingerly and orangely back to the queue. The queue grew in my long luxurious lounging absence.  The kitty-cat shutty-eye sleepy time refreshed nothing I confess. As clocks go ticky-tock more flock to the back of the rack of the stack and the queue twists and the list closes.  Where sad glamour glamorises my life when she says a Canadian hello. Although it took me many looks to realise who stood before mine eyes and for that I apologise.  The venue is an ice-rink and stands next to an imitation Salford Lads Club and Toys ‘R’ Us which reminds us all of the inner child who would stand in the aisles going wild.  “Why do I have to have Action Man, why can’t I have a Barbie Doll?” I screamed to nobody in particular. And nobody in particular never answered. 

Tiredness troubles me still. The excitement of the occasion had made me forget that I actually have two tickets for this concert, as feelings subvert. I leave the queue to meet the man who shall be called He as that was his chosen gender. The road to the train station is not bendier that a ruler as the northern air makes me cooler than the ice rink behind me.  I know the place is the list is lost forever but these are the things you do for love, or is it loathe? I collect the He and we arrive back at the back of the queue. I care not because I calculate the state of the situation as not being too bad. However this changes when we notice a sign that tells us that we are not allowed to bring in bouncing balls. Fine, if not a little weird considering.... However the bag on the back of He spells a slight snag as security officers have faces that attack.  As we turn to return to the Hotel I spot a certain Mrs Boozey and husband happily by her side. Booze oozes from her every pour like death escaping the tomb as you open the tomb door. We cannot stay. The time on the wall is making a joke of us all. By 5:30 I know that my place is lost in the second position I found myself in. The bag of misdemeanour lays on the bedroom floor. Unfortunately there is no time for salutations of the bulbous kind as my mind returns to the growing numbers making up the queue. 

By the time we arrive back  I see the flashes of the masses who I must now stand behind. I find myself probably number 333 in the queue as sandwich bags are handed out for no particular reason, surely a conspiracy by the boil family and if you do not comply you’ll be accused of treason.  To my surprise once inside we find ourselves third row but to the side. I check our view and notice that Morrissey would have no place to hide. Directly in my view, the band hidden. It would be like Morrissey was on stage by himself.  Every Morrissey concert starts with the anticipation of his arrival.  Those not in the know cannot know that every show starts with music, then videos, and then finally the man they paid to see struts onto stage as only he can. The inside is no place for timid-toe Thomas who will face here harsher realities than the outside. Children of hamburger unhappiness and mothers of questionable intentions mention the fact that they know no solo songs and fondly remember The Smiths. “You’re in for a long night” I volley back to them. They register nothing. 

It feels as if the videos end as soon as they start. Feet start to pound the ground as Wayward Sisters launches the masses into blisters of excitement.  Morrissey arrives and body’s push forward and the familiar chant starts. Suedehead begins and the crowd bounces and pounces on any open space.  Alma Matters means more to me than most. May I say that it’s a song that describes my life? Well I just did, so there. Speedway is a song that describes my life, have I said that before? Well, I just said it again. Gustavo’s Spanish sounds splendid sparking confused looks from those who don’t know.  The video accompanying Ganglord shocks most into silence as Morrissey rightly rounds on the American Taliban. The next few songs pass by in a blur of why. All I can remember is psychos punching psychos presumably for being too psycho. Around the time of Paris He says a blood test has made his body ache and He could do with a rest. I hesitate because I’d hate to give up a position for the third time until he shows a gash on his head where He fainted on a table and was unable to move and when he awoke he believed in every fable. “Heard of Morrissey’s world?” I question. He looks at me with eyes that disguise nothing and ignorance is sometimes bliss. With our tired feet we retreat to two empty seats. A decision is to be made. It’s either pay attention to the man next to me or in front of me. There is no competition. I know it, He knows it, the other he knows, and they know it. Eyes locked front.

The concert from here is not clear. Morrissey is smaller than a drummers pre-courtcase wallet. Judges judge with pre-determined ideas. Mama turns into a man who has a crisis of gender who bullfights but then rightly dies. Oboe obviously reduces me to onion tears.  Meat is Murder is a crowd divider in a way that the crowd divides to let those out who faint when they can’t believe their eyes. Meat is not a treat for animal or human. But who has the time to care? Do you care? The meat in your mouth is grit, shit, and dirt. Do you care when an animal is hurt? By the way did you ever find that Sunday is just like every other day? And that those with knives smile while sharpening? Perhaps ponder these points. 

What She Said was the encore as Morrissey arrives on stage in red shining like a Christmas decoration. Decorate me with merry. The song ends as stage invasions cease. Every crease of the shirt no longer matters as Morrissey moves to remove it from his iconic torso. The shirt is flung as the last note is sung. As a mess of flesh shifts, shapes, but never saunters forwards towards the shirt, no fear of being hurt.  Those lucky enough to be plucky pluck the shirt from anyone who dare has a grip as the idea of chivalry slips and drops dead as men see the sight of red.  Men slap women and women rap children across the head.  Arms fling and voices sing, some retreat whilst others stick to the beat.  A whole shirt reduced to scrambles and people gamble on either leaving the crowd or sticking their feet to the ground. Stone cold are the hands that hold. I leave to retrieve a taste of the northern air.  A dodgy man stands outside doing all he can to sell rip off merchandise to manically mental fans.  The back aches and cracks as if attached to a torturing device with a latch.  Back in the hotel I smoke lungs to death again. He states that he never knew Morrissey could be so powerful.  A more truthful statement I’ve never heard. As we move to the aftershow a brief happiness elopes me and doesn’t let go.  In some ways Hull is a town time forgot.  Morrissey is a man time will never forget.  Morrissey, please tell me when? Please tell me quando. I would turn into a pear and poach myself for you. 


  1. Interesting blog Ratster. If only someone were to make a fan video of Drag The River, let's say, using clips from 'The Hours' or 'Mrs Dalloway'..

    1. Lol I should pay more attention, shouldn't I. Needless to say, I have never heard of either The Hours or Mrs Dalloway. If only I had been educated.

    2. Moz education. Best education I've ever had.

    3. Yes, same for me. The frustrations I feel at having had neither an education or parental guidance runs very deep. Having said that, what difference does it actually make to be well educated or well read? Ultimately we all die, so is knowledge actually any use?

    4. I guess the only difference is you, and how you feel.
      Personally I like knowing things that others may not, not to be smug and pompous. I just like possessing knowledge. Even if I don't take things in the first time or fully understand, I always remember a small amount and then can always go back and read/study agin if I so wish.

      Strange how we are so similar with our education/parental annoyances, but we've not done that badly have we?

  2. Although Woolf's influence on Morrissey has been recognized since the days of The Smiths (which the Drag the River video beautifully illustrates), I thank GWO and Rat for steering our attention in this direction. Out of all the WPINOYB songs, Drag the River is the nearest to my heart because it helped me through a difficult period of depression soon after its release, so I appreciate any insights into its inspiration. And I was fascinated to see the connection between the Woolf letter and the back cover blurb for List of the List. Appropriately enough, my copy of the novel just arrived, so I'm thrilled to finally have the chance to relish and savor it myself.

  3. As the fall term settles in, and the autumn goes about painting the leaves all shades of golden yellow, a student plunges to his death from the 4 story parking structure. He survived and later died. As for myself, I’ve been away but reading your blog quietly. The similarities between Woolf’s suicide and that of the unnamed described in the lyrics of Drag the River are undeniable, but only Moz knows for certain. It’s one of my favorite “bonus” songs by the way. What is it about rivers? The way they flow forward and out to sea? A washing away of what you were? Rivers are appealing, I guess.
    I’m still waiting for my copy of The List… hoping it arrives earlier than the estimated date.

  4. I'm not sure what exact words I googled either, but it was some combination of 'pompous' and 'prophetic airs'. Have tried that again and get ... nowhere. How very strange. Excellent link to Drag the River.

    1. As Rosy has pointed out, I am a year too late with the link to Drag the River, as the fan video features Woolf's The Hours & Mrs Dalloway.

    2. Jigsaw, jigsaw, jigsaw. It’s about fitting the pieces together. ‘Intimate and indiscreet’ and ‘pompous, prophetic airs’ from the blurb are referred to in the letter to a young poet. That draws you to Virginia Woolf and onto Drag the River. Bringing these pieces together we have a little picture of sorts, which may be right or not, but is nevertheless interesting.
      Funnily enough, Morrissey was asked in the latest interview if he recognised himself as the novelist that he had described – pompous, indiscreet, seeking privacy. He replied that writers absorb what goes on around them and never stop collecting items from here and there. Well something to that effect, as the interview was in French. Or more likely, English, into French and back again.


Mozziah Archive