Sunday, January 28, 2007

Everyone loves Morrissey

Where have I been?

Did you know that there is a huge Morrissey fan scene in California, among Latino youth?

Did you know that there was a huge Morrissey fan scene?

I became a fan of The Smiths in college. However, I didn't know until last night that they actually broke up the same year that I discovered them. That's the kind of fan I am. I love the music, but I don't necessarily have to keep up on the artists themselves. Sometimes, that works to your advantage and then there is no chance that their real personalities or proclivities can disillusion you.

But after watching William E. Jones documentary Is It Really So Strange? (2004) at the ADA Gallery, I saw that many of these young fans don't take that approach. Some comments made it seems as if they were talking about a religious figure, saying that when everything seems to be going wrong, 'HE is always there' or you can always 'depend on HIM'. Creepy.

There was some unintentional humor in the film (well, I don't think it was intended) where a member of the Smiths/Morrissey tribute band, Sweet & Tender Hooligans, spoke about his attraction to Morrissey's music alongside his dad. Having him do the interview with his dad was strange enough but it was hilarious seeing his father's facial reactions throughout the interview. The filmmaker kept them in a wide two-person shot so that you could catch every slight grimace, intake/outtake of air, or raised eyebrow that the man made in response to his son's declarations about the music, the man, and whether or not Morrissey was gay or celibate.

It a good film to see, it says a lot about how it is and was to be a teenager trying to find something that seemed to relate to what you were going through at the time. I know that I used Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me and Asleep to mend a few broken hearts and lift me up whenever I felt I wasn't worth anything. They always made me feel better, because after listening, I always realized that things really weren't that bad.

However, for Morrissey as a solo act, I never listened to him again. Apparently, it was his mournful sound contrasted with the usually more upbeat jingle jangly guitar of Johnny Marr that was my real attraction. I remember feeling that Morrissey wasn't a sincere individual, too tied up in building a particular image. So I guess I did find out too much about him as a person after all. Hmmm...

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