Picked up the NME finally and have read the controversial Morrissey supposed hatchet-job. The immigration issue seems to have been brought up by him at the end of a wide-ranging interview. Now apparently he’s suing. He makes some ambiguous remarks on the British “character” largely consistent with what he’s trotted out before. He seems to hint at setting limits on inward migration but does remark in a postscript to the main interview “I find racism very silly. Almost too silly to discuss. It’s beyond reason. And it makes no sense and is ludicrous.” It is difficult to place him politically in left-right terms. When asked if he resides overseas because of UK diversity he answers “I am actually extremely worldly and there are other reasons that I would find England very difficult, such as the expense and pressure. And certain things do worry me.”His next example seems oddly contemporary coming from the mouth of a man who as a Smith was closeted in a land of Taste of Honey kitchen sink drama and Carry On humour while Thatcher’s Britain equated more with Alan Bleasdale and Ben Elton:“In my view the face of modern Britain is not Gordon Brown or David Cameron but Jean Charles De Menezes, his story I find shocking, absolutely. It was termed an ‘accident’ but you don’t shoot someone seven times in the head by accident. The people who control these investigations are always on the game and everybody associated with the murder was exonerated or promoted, which is shocking.”
Morrissey is not exactly Nick Griffin. He’s more pop’s equivalent of Tony Benn: a chap of longevity whose current status is loveable eccentric, still capable of voicing controversial views. Harold Wilson famously remarked of the politician once known as Wedgie that he “immatures with age.” Morrissey is almost like an embarssing auntie. Unless like Benn, he has the paraniod tendency to carry a dictaphone around to counter-tape all interviews and he didn’t say what he’s quoted as saying I can’t see his legal action being successful. Mind you the fact that he poo-pooed a £2.8million offer to reform the Smiths to reform suggests he’s not short of a bob of two.
On a related note I have to say the rest of the NME was deeply disappointing. I graduated to the mag from Smash Hits in my teens when their 1987 general election cover-star was Neil Kinnock. There was a discernable editorial line at the time eg with their “Carry on Disarming” compilation and comedy leftist columnist Alan Parker Urban Warrior who railed at oppreSSion. In those days there were three weekly music mags. The current NME is thinner and pricier than before and – I’m going to sound like a real fogey here – I’ve hardly heard of anyone in it bar Moz. How long it can soldier on in the age of blog when Melody Maker, Sounds and Smash Hits have long gone to the wall remains to be seen. Perhaps the appropriate Smiths line for the NME these days is “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.”