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Monday, 11 September 2017

Day 2288 - Axe factor

Yesterday had been a pretty uneventful drizzly old day, but that all changed when I looked on twitter at around 5.30pm and saw that people were discussing Morrissey's new LP, Low in High-School, or more to the point, they were discussing the cover to the LP which had been posted online by Morrissey's long-time friend, Linder Sterling.... although all was not what it seemed.

Linder's Instagram post was shortly followed by a Facebook post by another of Morrissey's long-time friends, James Maker, who also posted the album sleeve along with the following words:

"I publish this in support of a friend, and in the cause of democracy. Trade and Retail* have informed BMG that they will refuse to handle Morrissey's new album, 'Low in High School' on the grounds that the sleeve art is "offensive". Thus, the entire campaign is in jeopardy unless Morrissey and his record company rethink the album cover. x
(*The HMV chain refuse to stock it.)"

This was then followed by a post by the wife of Morrissey's guitarist, Mando Lopez, stating:

"Proud Mama moment is an understatement. This is the new Morrissey album out Nov. 17th and my little boy from East LA is on the cover!!!!! Eeeeeekkkkkk! Maxie LowInHighSchool OneOfOurOwn Photo Tony Molina"

Jesse Tobias also posted the cover on Instagram, and when asked by one of his followers if it was real, replied, "Yup".

Related image

My first thought was to question the authenticity of the cover, as there was no hyphen in High-School, but with Linder, James, Jesse and Mrs Lopez all stating that this was the actual LP cover, I quickly accepted that it had to be genuine, and that the hyphen must have been given the elbow.

I could instantly see why the picture of the child holding an axe would cause problems for HMV, as it gave a literal meaning to the slogan on the placard, and therefore could be seen to be inciting violence - the wording on the placard alone is not offensive, and merely an opinion. I also deduced that Morrissey would know this too, so my conclusion was that this cover had been issued to purposefully gain publicity, and would eventually end up with the axe getting the chop! My thoughts were drawn to the banned Beatles 'butchered babies' LP cover. I tweeted my deduction and conclusion, and indeed a photo of the aforementioned Beatles cover.

Image result for beatles yesterday today

My deduction and conclusion with regard to the album cover were to be turned upside down with the the appearance of Morrissey (as @TrueMorfessa) in The Wrong Arms later on in the evening.

Morfessa didn't mention the album cover to start with, but instead tweeted:

"I have no time for self-doubt; it gets in the way of self-disgust."

Morrissey then replied to a tweet that I had posted, in which I wrote, "Saying you want to axe the monarchy is merely a view point, it's the actual axe that will be causing the problem." Morrissey wrote, "When does an error become a mistake?"

For two reasons, I didn't really understand what Morrissey meant: A) I see no difference between an error and a mistake and B) If this was all a publicity stunt, then where was the error/mistake? I told him that I could see no error or mistake, to which he replied, "Give it time."

Morrissey's next tweet:

"Sincerity is the same as insincerity, only without the elegance."

M then responded to the tweet I had posted of the Beatles butchered babies LP cover, tweeting:

"The Dawn of the Black Hearts."

Goodness only knows what that was supposed to mean, but the word 'dawn' has reminded me that someone recently posted on social media that one of the tracks on the new LP is allegedly entitled, New Vegan Dawn. If there really is a song on the LP with dawn in the title, it would be yet another to add to our rather long list of 'coincidences'.

I then tweeted to Morrissey to say that I liked the album cover, and he responded, "Deluded".
He then pulled me into the pub toilets where the following conversation took place:

MOZ: Today has been somewhat entertaining

ME: Don't tell me, it's all been a hoax! Actually, do tell me...

MOZ: Must I?

ME: Yes! How am I supposed to know what's real or not real?

MOZ: That's the whole point. You're not!

ME: So it is all fake news then, with the point being that we believe anything?

MOZ: And accept anything?

He also added, "Someone on Facebook has noticed that was active as was the Morfessa account. Coincidence of course." I may be being a little thick here, but I don't understand what he means by this. What was active?

Morrissey also returned to the public bar of The Wrong Arms to tweet:

"High in Low Tide"

"Don't take guidance from anyone - especially not me."

Old Mozzer also favourited a tweet that I posted:

"If something comes from a person we trust; even though we don't know that person & therefore have no reason to trust, we accept anything."

And then he was gone.

So, was the whole 'Axe cover' a hoax? Was James Maker's statement a complete fabrication? Surely the very excited Mrs Lopez didn't make that whole thing up? She seemed genuinely excited that her son was to be portrayed worldwide as an axe wielder - actually, I'd not stopped to think about that before now, why would a mother let her young son pose with an axe? A different culture perhaps? And actually, why would Morrissey use a child in this way? An error? A mistake?

Linder Sterling has since deleted her Instagram picture.

The NME has picked up on the story, and no doubt other publications will too.

* Monday - 1.30pm - An Update*

At 11.30am, HMV tweeted the following:

'Contrary to reports, hmv have not refused to stock the new Morrissey album.
BMG shared the artwork with us last week and we are looking forward to continuing to work with BMG on the forthcoming release.
For the second time this year it appears Morrissey's camp have made a statement about hmv without being fully aware of the facts.'

This statement clarifies one thing, the cover is most definitely real. 
We must presume that the axe will be staying, but the hyphen has now gone.
HMV may not have a problem with the cover after all, but the Daily Mail and the rest of the royal loving British media sure as hell are going to have a problem with it. Major publicity for Low in High School should be on its way very, very soon.

*Monday - 4.45pm - Another update*

At 4.14pm, BMG tweeted the following:

'BMG is happy to confirm that HMV has not refused to stock the new Morrissey album.
BMG's Korda Marshall says, "Suggestions that HMV is trying to censor Morrissey are wide of the mark. What is true is that the level of excitement and interest in what Morrissey has got to say on this record is phenomenal. Morrissey cannot and will not be silenced."'

Still no sign of outrage from the Daily Mail yet. Tick, tock, tick, tock...


  1. The older I get, the more I recognise that things are rarely as they first appear to be.
    For what its worth I rather like the album cover.

    1. I too like the cover. I like the cleverness of the two meanings of 'axe the monarchy', but perhaps using such a young child was a mistake. I get that it is as an artistic statement, but that child is far too young to know what he is doing - or maybe that's the point, and this picture has a further meaning, in that we TELL children what to believe. I guess only Morrissey can answer that, if indeed this is his design and not a complete and utter hoax.
      I also think that in an era where terrorists are hacking people to death in the street, having someone hold an axe is perhaps a little close to the bone, but Morrissey does like to push boundaries.
      If this cover is real; and Mrs Lopez's reaction still makes me believe that it could be, then perhaps it will remain, but with the axe removed. Perhaps the square placard could take the shape of an axe head, therefore still giving the double meaning, but more subtlety.
      If there hadn't been all the recent terrorist attacks, the physical message of beheading the monarchy probably wouldn't be an issue; after all, the monarchy have their own history of beheading people.... actually, I take that back, it WOULD still be an issue - NO ONE is allowed to speak out against the royals.
      It will be interesting to see where the story goes from here.

    2. I think it too and anyway all the discussion is giving to Morrissey's new album visibility. I like the boy's face, he looks thoughtful quite like he was saying:"what kind of world is this?" We'll see...😘👏🏼😘

    3. I am in agreement regarding the album cover. On a LP sleeve it would be rather striking.
      I guess there will be a large backdrop at the concerts planned. Wonder if it'll get past the BBC on 02/10/17?

  2. I have to say I don't like the cover. Just cannot believe it will be that.

    This is my honest opinion but Morrissey of course will do what he likes.

    I respect that of course.

    1. It's all down to taste. I didn't like the cover to Maladjusted.

  3. That is true. I have loved every cover of Morrisseys albums.But he has good reasons for this one too I suppose.
    We don't have royals in Finland. So it is very strange system in every possible way.

    1. I guess you have no royals because you are a relatively new country. Can you imagine what the Finnish people of 1917 would have said if some family or other had turned around and said, 'we are going to be your royal family, and you must do as we say'? It just wouldn't have happened. Any country that still has a monarchy in this modern era is so, so out of step. It really does make you wonder why the masses don't question it, although we know why they don't question it, because the media, churches, schools, governments, councils etc won't let anyone question it. What happened to Jeremy Corbyn 's republican views? He has been dumbed down.

    2. I agree that the royal system is too expensive and rubbish. I have never understood that.
      You should use money more wisely.

    3. Wonderful that you knew the year 1917.

      I respect that.

  4. I am going with the flow... It is all quite amusing. Is it the actual cover, or is it not? The idea to cause confusion and people to talk about it worked wonderfully well. Free publicity is the best, and it fits well in today's world where anything is thrown on the net and no one really knows what is true. No offense meant, but I personally do not like the sleeve. It has nothing to do with the axe, the boy, or the suggestion to slice your sodding Queen's head off. It's just the design I'm not so fond of. The message comes across though, and if that is the point then the design does it's job well. What I'm most curious about is what the songs will be like on this album. Still a long wait....

    1. Sure is interesting. The Day I did not like his cover.

    2. As Ratty tweeted, the whole 'Is it fake or not' debate is certainly analogous to MW and gets everyone talking and wondering. And as M tweeted, it's quite entertaining to watch it all unfold.

  5. So the error/mistake was Morrissey being given incorrect information regarding HMV?

    1. Ah, now that makes perfect sense. Thanks Dan.

  6. Dawn of the Black Hearts is a album by a band called Mayhem. The cover had a picture of their lead singer after he committed suicide.

    1. Ah, thank you once again, Dan. My knowledge of Norwegian metal bands is somewhat limited. I did try googling Dawn of the Black Hearts, but just got a book about the Iraq war. This fully explains what Morfessa was saying.

  7. I'm not keen on the cover. Knives or axes make me feel uncomfortable yet the young lads pose whilst not benign is not especially menacing. What I don’t like about the cover art is that it is poorly executed. The top right corner where a little bit of the gate sticks out above the placard really bugs me.

  8. Interesting when non physical format music is so popular, how cover art can make an impact.

    1. It that sense this is awesome. I always kept my vinyl because of the coverart.

  9. My first thoughts of the cover were irrationally prideful that there is a little mex-american kid on a Moz album cover, and from my very neck of the woods so to speak.
    My second thought upon further scrutiny of the cover was the word monarch.y
    Ok put on your tin hats Ready? No? Oh well, has anyone ever heard of the Monarch program? In the beginning of MW there were many mentions of NWO and the Illuminati, in that vien Monarch is a mind control program that takes celebrities or persons in the public eye and rewires their minds through drug or sexual abuse, ultimately creating dissassoiative personalities. To me that sounds like MW with different pessoas. But that's just my take. Carry on.

    1. Any theory for the 'dot' inside the 'O'?

    2. A speck on the lens.
      Those 2 spots also bug me, a bit of tippex and they'd be gone. They would have looked ok if they had been higher on the plackard.

    3. I don't know if Jaz's theory is correct, but those dots could easily have been taken out, so the reason they weren't certainly makes me think they are there for a reason.

    4. I noticed the dots. Weirdly.
      I'm still puzzled by the cover...

    5. So, I might have over thought this, maybe they are just tacks holding the board to the wooden handle. Which would explain their deliberate position.

  10. ah, just absolutely spiffing publicity, let their minds work overtime, reminds me of " let them eat cake " bravo old chap, I just love it.. alas I am work all day tomorrow, please.. if you must light the blue touchpaper then stand well back.. sorry our American friends, that may be lost on you

  11. I was so entertained yesterday reading everyone's take on the new cover . I also noted the dots. My first impression was that the boy's sign was photoshopped and I couldn't imagine using a child with an axe. As a parent it seems inappropriate, but if you are trying to make a statement, well this does it. I am respectful towards an individuals sense of art, it just seems to me something is missing or the message will be different. Again, he is an artist and I am truly more concerned about the new songs /lyrics and how they are connected to the album theme. At least his lyrics (so far ) have not been explicit, I have been listening to lots of songs my teens are listening to and slowly repeating the lyrics back to them /or as I describe what the song means. Tonight was a beauty . Nothing is more entertaining to me watching my teens turn red after I gently repeat the lyrics back, like a poetry reading :) The oldest had some friends over and they were asking me questions they can't ask their parents .(I should have been a Sex Ed district nurse ). When did WE get so old that we have kids at an age who feel they can't ask their parents ? I would be happy to share the lyrics I have some across , I just don't want to offend anyone , let me know if interested. Look at how many Morrissey solo albums we have been through . I did not like Kill Uncle ... Remember when we were young and the excitement of a new album coming in at the record shop ? ?? Immense anticipation for Morrisseys new release ,even if the artwork stays . I also agree that any publicity is good for him .


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