When I was in my late teens and twenties, one of my regular pastimes was arguing with my best friend Graham about music. He thought my favourite bands (Duran Duran and U2) were rubbish; I thought his favourite band and associated artist (The Smiths and Morrissey) had superlative lyrics, but dirgy and discordant melodies that often sounded the same. We only found common ground with Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys, two bands we both loved.
Getting back to Morrissey: I also thought ‘Bengali In Platforms’ was up there with The Kinks’ ‘Apeman’ as the most racist song I’d ever heard. Morrissey had written the lyrics:
‘Bengali, Bengali, Bengali, Bengali
Oh, shelve your Western plans
That life is hard enough when you belong here’
and he was therefore racist.
Graham argued Morrissey wasn’t racist; he was just a provocateur who liked to court attention by saying shocking things.
20 years later, he has had to admit that I was right. He has been horrified by Morrissey’s support for the far-right political party For Britain, and his Islamophobia, to the extent that he’s refused to buy Morrissey’s latest album California Son.
“Can you imagine if Simon Le Bon turned out to be a massive racist?” Graham asked me. “It’s so distressing.” (I said I couldn’t imagine any such thing, especially as Simon’s wife is half-Asian and Duran Duran have been so heavily influenced by bands like Chic, The Temptations and Public Enemy.)
Anyhow, let’s go through and debunk a few of Morrissey’s claims:
Morrissey on For Britain: “For Britain seem to say what many British people are currently thinking, which is why the BBC or Channel 4 News will not acknowledge them, because, well, For Britain would change British politics forever.”
Fixed it for you:
“For Britain seem to say what many racist British people are currently thinking, which is why the BBC or Channel 4 News will not acknowledge them, because they don’t want to entertain racists, and For Britain would change British politics for the worse forever.”
Morrissey on Sadiq Khan: “The Mayor of London tells us about ‘Neighborhood policin’ – what is ‘policin’? He tells us London is an ‘amazin’ city. What is ‘amazin’? This is the Mayor of London! And he cannot talk properly! I saw an interview where he was discussing mental health, and he repeatedly said ‘men’el’ … he could not say the words ‘mental health’.”
What he means:
“The Mayor of London is Muslim and I don’t like Muslims, so I’m going to pick at his London accent as I can’t find anything else to pick on him for. I also have flat Mancunian vowels and Sadiq Khan could well say ‘What is a “bath”? What is a “mug”?’ But he wouldn’t because he’s not that small-minded and petty and understands that the UK is a diverse place with many different equally valid accents.”
Morrissey on Diane Abbott: “No, I haven’t ever voted. I don’t have sufficient faith in the circus of politics … and … you can see why! It is a moral disaster on every level. Even Tesco wouldn’t employ Diane Abbott.”
“No, I haven’t ever voted, because I am a moral disaster on every level. Even Tesco wouldn’t employ Diane Abbott because she would be way over-qualified even if she applied to be CEO.”
And one more:
Morrissey on being called ‘racist’: “When someone calls you racist, what they are saying is “hmm, you actually have a point, and I don’t know how to answer it, so perhaps if I distract you by calling you a bigot we’ll both forget how enlightened your comment was.”
“When someone calls you racist, what they are saying is ‘hmm, you are actually a racist’.”
Anyhow, I could do this all day, but the internet doesn’t have enough space for me to refute all of Morrissey’s stupid remarks, so I’ll go and do something more productive now.
Me and Big G in front of the atheist bus, back when he loved Mozza.
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