Shortly after performing “This Charming Man,” the former Smiths frontman and most influential figure in music (according to the 2002 NME poll—suck on that, John Lennon!) collapsed onstage at a concert in Swinton and was rushed to the hospital. He was released the next day and, according to Boz Boorer’s facebook update, he is resting and greatly appreciates our concern.
This is uncommon for Morrissey. He has always shown a bit of gleeful contempt for his hoards of rabid fans and we love him for it. Despite his long-time vow of celibacy and hints of homosexual tendencies, women throw themselves at him in concert. I saw him on the You Are the Quarry tour and the security guards had their hands full, chucking waifish indie girls off stage like shot puts. If someone in the front row threw flowers, Morrissey stomped them beneath his well-heeled foot. He has proclaimed himself as unlovable and we couldn’t love him more. But it’s good to know that we are finally breaking through to his shielded heart.
I, like all Morrissey fans, firmly believe that I am the only one who understands him, that I am who he wrote “William, it was ReallyNothing,” “These Things Take Time” “Sister, I’m a Poet” and “This Charming Man” for. He is part of my Holy Trifecta of musicians, alongside Warren Zevon and Tom Waits. I lost Zevon in college, and Tom Waits will probably live forever. But when a friend alerted me to Morrissey’s sudden lapse into mortality (while pointing out that God, or perhaps the Devil, continues to spare the Jonas Brothers) I panicked and began immediately playing every Morrissey song on my shelf, as though my prayers and devotion might be heard in his hospital bed.
My boyfriend does not understand Morrissey. I have yet to find a man who really does. Because Morrissey is so . . . well, Morrissey-esq, you have to have listened to him at a critical period in your life, for instance, when your teenage beloved dumps you to marry an awful fat girl, and all you can do is play “Last Night I Dreamt that Somebody Loved Me” over and over and over. I suppose I should be glad my boyfriend never went through such a dark phase. But while we grow up and lose our virginities and get to finally stop listening to the Cure, the Smiths remain ever vigilant.
Morrissey knows we will need him someday, and his music is so precise, so deliberate to the subtle moments of life, that there is a Smiths song for every occasion, every emotion. In love with someone who cannot be yours? “I Want the One I Can’t Have.” (Meat is Murder) Dumped by your best friend of nine years in favor of your emotionally abusive ex? “You Have Killed Me” (Ringleader of the Tormentors). Another rejection letter? “You Just Haven’t Earned it Yet, Baby” (Louder than Bombs). Just generally having a cruddy day? Try “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” (Hatful of Hollow).
This has not been a good year to be an 80’s icon. The 1980’s were the last holdout of true iconic status—we’ve become far too fickle with our Miley Cyruses and our Kim Kardashians and the other blink-and-you-miss-them antics. We twitter, literally and figuratively, about the oh-no-she-didn’t moments on reality TV and move on. We mourn the deaths of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcet and Patrick Swayze because they stood as true testaments to the lasting power of hard work. I wasn’t a huge fan of any of them (although I did have an ironic attachment to the Swayze) but there is no denying that Thriller was a major cultural landmark. In five years, no one will care about the Jonas Brothers. I actively pray for Morrissey’s recovery. I am not ready to lose him, I am not ready to be without him. No one ever likes to see their icon perish. But Morrissey fans are a unique breed, because when Morrissey goes, we will feel a part of ourselves die with him. We have entrusted him with the parts of our souls that no one else understands, and we will not ever get those back.
end/ by Libby Cudmore~~~~~~~~~~~photo: Libby: courtesy of author; Morrissey #1: IGN.com