On… Morrissey’s flowers

“To call the singer’s use of flowers parodic is to recognise that it is no longer innocent. And how could it be? For it doesn’t only come after Wilde, it comes after the parody of Wilde (one thinks of The Green Carnation by Robert Hitchens, George Du Maurier’s sketches in Punch or the famous lines from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience: ‘Though the philistines may jostle, you will rank as an apostle in the high aesthetic band, / If you walk down Piccadilly with a poppy or a lily in your mediaeval hand’).

His back-pocket buttonhole additionally follows on from Baudelaire’s famous association of flowers with ‘le Mal’ – which the singer seems comically to reperform, in having flowers appear to sporut out of his backside. Morrissey’s ironic posture may also owe something to Dame Edna Everage, who used to encourage interaction with the gladiolus.”


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