So Morrissey has cancelled his remaining tour dates on account of a ‘cold’ he claims to have caught from his support act.
I have never been a fan of the Mancunian self-dramatist, ever since the days of the Smiths, when his idea of a melody was to rock back and forth in the narrow gap of a minor third. I mean, I see why Morrissey is interesting. He’s fey, he’s literary, he’s pulling all sorts of cultural bell-ropes, he endorses his fans’ collective passive-aggression in a way that they clearly find immensely soothing. He had to come along sooner or later, right? He’s like Michael Stipe for people from Britain, only less kind, less collegiate, less cuddly, less interested in showing solidarity with humans than with animals. He is the living embodiment of Yeats’ quip that out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric, but out of the quarrel with ourselves, we make poetry. The big problem with Morrissey’s memoir, the reason why it was kind of embarrassing that it was a Penguin Classic, is that on reading it, it was all too clear that he no longer found anything in himself to disagree with.
But now he’s cancelled a tour. Again. He cancelled 22 US gigs last year, apparently. For all the lip-service the man pays to figures from English showbiz history, and it’s all over his album covers and general presentation, the man does not appear to have learned the basic lesson of showbiz: you make the gig. Morrissey has money. He can get medication. He’s not Paul McCartney, who’s also ill, who is over 70, and who has not cancelled his gigs, merely postponed them.
By contrast, here is an extract from Get In The Van, the memoirs of Morrissey’s testosterone-fuelled and altogether more dedicated American counterpart, Henry Rollins:
2.21.83 SOMEWHERE Last night in Vienna was real bad for me. A guy took the microphone from me, called me a pig and bashed me in the mouth with it. People spat at me, hit me in the face. One guy burned me a few times with a cigar. I got these big burns on my leg. Some big guy got onstage and the bouncers were trying to hit him. I got between them to try and save the guy and for my trouble, the guy hauled off and punched me in the jaw. After that, it got wild.[. . .]
This is show business. I have war stories of my own, which I won’t tell here. Unless you are actually dying, you make the gig.
Morrissey is a pussy.