Jackie Little: The People See The Light
Jackie Little, ponders the absurdities of modern life.
Oh Happy Day! Joyous, joyous day!!! My best friend just texted from England to inform me of the final result in the Greatest Living British Icon poll. And Boy did those proud compatriots of mine get it right?
The very first thing I had to do was phone my father for a damn good gloat.
Well, I deserve it after the week I've had, incorporating the six year old double fracturing his arm after falling from the school monkey bars, a sinister and thus far unexplained shattering of my bedroom window while I was out (does someone not like this column? You only have to say.) and an infuriating inability to track down a Christmas tree.
You see, the results came in as thus: FIRST place, David Attenborough. No argument there (or as my friend put it in the abbreviated language of text; "fair cop!") What an inspiring, consistent educator, entertainer and all round gent' over the decades.
THIRD place was the fabulous Sir Paul McCartney, and doesn't he deserve it at such a time? At any time, bless him. I sort of wish he had won - great man!
But, here's the thing. In SECOND place, even ahead of the mighty Macca, was my much beloved and to the eternal shame of dimwits everywhere, much maligned, Mr Steven Patrick Morrisey.
Now I know The Smiths (of which aforesaid Mozzer was the frontman) were not such a big deal in this country except amongst a select and happy few.
But during the fruitless Christmas tree trawl this very morning I had been telling my boys- to the sublime strains of "Every Day Is Like Sunday" - how the band, and more particularly the man himself, was the seminal influence of the 1980s.
I listened to the haunting, mournful, beautiful tunes with obsessive joy, I split my sides with laughter at the subversive, acerbic humour. I despaired of the dolts who took it all at face value. Why couldn't they SEE???.
As a very simplistic example: "Heaven knows I'm miserable now" was not actually an overt expression of being miserable, except in the sense of - oh it's no use trying to explain - go and listen to the track.
I revelled in this weird looking guy with the quiff, the smug conceit combined with the self deprecation, the gladioli and the effortless ability to be the only person in the world to ever understand all tortured teens (Ok, Ok, tortured early twenties in my case)
I dissected the content and meaning of each new gem with my fellow Smithsonians and went into a decline when the band split up - only to recover at lightning pace when it became crystal that the solo Morrissey was still pure, undiluted genius.
The man had no need of anyone else. (Except perhaps me; sadly it never came to that)
It was only a few months ago that I was indulging in a spot of nostalgia with some Morrissey marvels I had recently downloaded from ye good old Internet.
I had not heard some of the tracks for SOOO long - they are all on vinyl of course, and all this child rearing nonsense in recent years had left me little time for trawling through musical archives.
Anyway, there was I, so very happy, bopping around the kitchen to "Suedehead".
Imagine my fury: My silent, but you may be assured, INTENSE fury, when my dear Pater dropped by and after perfunctory greetings, sneered: "I see your musical tastes haven't matured much "
This from a man who is capable of playing a Leonard Cohen CD back to back six times - not that there's anything wrong with that!!!
He just doesn't understand - a common Smiths' fan complaint!
For those of you still in the dark about all this here is a quote from the Wikipedia which fairly well sums up the gulf between those who "get" Morrissey and those sad souls who do not.
"Morrissey is often noted as one of the key English-language lyricists of his generation, with many subsequent bands hailing his influence. Detractors usually describe his work as depressing, while fans point to the sardonic humour and acidic wit which underpins (sic) his songs' frequent references to alienation and failed love."
See Pa? and from the results of that poll - obviously a thoughtful and well rounded one given the recognition of solid, outstanding achievement and snubbing of vacuous reality TV "stars", celebrity chefs and ex boy band members (forgive me Robbie, but Mozzer was my first love) - it would appear that it is not just me suffering from musical "immaturity".
Its me and a few million others. I think I can live with that.
Love you Dad. Love you too Moz!!! "There is a light that never goes out."