How thrillled I am that, after twenty years, Morrissey has finally given the New Musical Express a good kick up the backside. The British music press--with the NME and Melody Maker leading the field when it comes to being spiteful, two-faced, and just downright nasty--was in those days on a par with The National Enquirer and The News of the World for pulling out all the stops to ruin lives. Morrissey appeared at Finsbury Park, and made his curtain call draped in the Union Jack, before a backdrop of skinhead girls. He was vilified as a racist. Athlete Sally Gunnell wrapped the flag around her and did a lap of honour after winning a gold medal--and was hailed a heroine.
I was in a theatre bar once with two music journalists, before the show, and watched watched one of them writing a review of the performance yet to come. "He ain't getting no good things written about him from me," the journo said.
Just as happened with The Case Of The Lost Child, I met some very nice people courtesy of Morrissey: one such was Dockyard Doris (Colin Devereaux, depicted here), a friend of my favourite childhood singer, Joan Regan. Polite, charismatic, talented, much-loved and now lamented. Unlike her gruesome, foul-mouthed, manipulative alter-ego. Had I seen the transexual on the Aviva ad--the one with a face like a bag of spanners, and a spitting image, I kid you not should you check them out--back then, I would not have insulted Colin's memory by calling her after him. But that's another story.
Morrissey is not a racist. He is the quintessential Englishman with traditional values--the kind we had in this country before political correctness took over our lives. The NME lambasted him because he said that he had once walked the entire length of Kensington High Street and not heard one person speaking English. I have frequently walked from Clichy to République, via Place Blanche and the rue Amsterdam without hearing many people speak French--that doesn't make me a racist. It makes me observant.
I agree, Morrissey has made more than his share of faux pas, as have I. We tend to say what other people are only thinking--but without effing and blinding all over the show. I didn't like some of his comments about Wills and Kate, and the anecdote he told about the Queen Mother had me worried for a while, when I repeated it in my first biography of him. I received a letter from Clarence House, though this didn't contain a warrant to have me committed to the Tower--the dear lady had heard that I was writing about Gracie Fields and...well, that's another story too!
Of course, the naysayers will always have their opinion, as naysayers have their opinion about me. And that's something else I learned from Morrissey--not to give a damn!