Friday, 25 September 2015

Morrissey: Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before

I think the sex scene in Morrissey’s much-mocked first novel, List of the Lost, sounds quite fun: “A rollercoaster coil of sexually violent rotation with Eliza’s breasts barrel-rolled across Ezra’s howling mouth and the pained frenzy of his bulbous salutation.” I mean, that sounds better than the rollercoasters I’ve tried at EuroDisney. But the moral of Morrissey’s otherwise terrible foray into literature is: repression can be a wonderful thing.

I don’t mean repression for everyone. For humans, it’s not good, as a rule. But for artists, yes. As a teenager, like so many of my generation, I yearned with Morrissey, not for him. It was only in adulthood that I realised why: he was a gay man born in 1959, facing a triple whammy of Irish, Catholic, and Northern repression. No wonder he hated the gay scene, himself and everyone else, with a twisting, superior self-loathing that royally screwed him up for evermore.

But for everyone else, it was great. In the closet he became a songwriter of genius. Now, I look back and see he was hiding in plain sight — his best songs hissing with anger at forcing his self away. Yet it was coded enough that I never noticed at the time; I didn’t need to. Putting on record after record in my bedroom, his peculiar, dated, suffering became universal. It was a longing made sarcastic.

Repression, paradoxically, restricted Morrissey enough to be creative. Now he has the licence of his latter years to write this novel, he just isn’t editing himself enough. What if Morrissey had been born in Brighton today and found contentment and a lovely boyfriend aged 17? All of his best stuff would never have been written.

Helen Rumbelow, The Times.

Well yes, of course.

Though this point has been made before and - dare I say - far more eloquently in the essays, Ambisexality and Morrissey: The God That Failed in Richard Smith's quite brilliant Seduced And Abandoned: Gay Men And Popular Music.

PS As with the stinking reviews of the Stonewall movie, I can't be arsed compiling all the bad reviews of List Of The Lost.

1 comment:

  1. Ohhh. "Crap sex"? Are you suggesting 'ol Moz might be scatologically inclined?