I can’t help but feel like I’ve been living a lie. The best part of 20 posts in, and I’ve made – at best – passing reference to Morrissey. Most people who know me would probably quickly attest to my deeply unhealthy obsession with all things, um, Mozzerian.
One of my favourite activities at work is to chuck in as many semi-relevant Smiths/Morrissey references as possible (lots are the equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel: Still Ill, do you think you’ve made the right decisions this time?, and, of course, Barbarism Begins At Home). Just today in fact, while discussing a part-time role, 0.5 of a full-time equivalent, out I came with “So, for this half a person…”.
I still can’t decide whether my subsequent, painfully detailed, explanation of these references to all those in the room at the time (occasionally involving the use of flipchart and pen) adds or takes away from their piquancy.
One of my favourite Smiths’ tracks (by which I mean it makes my top 75) is Girl Afraid, a 1984 B-side to Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now. A great example of the band’s early sheer depth of material, the lyrics display characteristic ambiguity around sexual desire (“Where do his intentions lay / Or does he even have any?”), and a pessimist view of ‘normal’ relationships
Morrissey contemplates a girl and boy’s perspectives in what seems to be a shy, uncomfortable relationship, and highlights their complete misinterpretation of each other’s feelings:
“He never really looks at me / I give him every opportunity / … I’ll never make that mistake again”
“Prudence never pays / … She doesn’t even like me / And I know because she said so”
This scenario is painfully evocative of young teenage romances, doomed to fail through a near-complete inability to string two words together between each other, ‘going out’ ending up as a series of awkward events where the participants sit and stare and worry, possibly over bottles of cheap white cider. At least that’s how the teenage me always assumed these things played themselves out.