The Morrissey miniseries continues rapidly today, here’s part seven:
7: Remember—An Oath can be Amputated Morrissey was behind The Smiths’ record artwork, don’t you know? So Morrissey outlines the MozArt Manifesto, which involves being secretive, ordinariness, the past, “the North” and monochrome, or something like that. Morrissey meets loads of famous people in America and admits he was wrong about the Rolling Stones. Morrissey realises that for most people he is “a bit much”; he needs triple the stated dose of valium just to get through the day. The Smiths don’t do as well in America as they should do, but that’s not Morrissey’s fault. The actor Richard Davalos gives Morrissey a ring and writes him a few letters. Morrissey catches Johnny Marr and John Porter up to no good in a studio in Chalk Farm with Bryan Ferry; Morrissey is disappointed. Morrissey considers putting Geoff Travis out of his misery when Panic does not get to number one. Rough Trade ask Morrissey to explain to the press that Shoplifters of the World Unite is not about shoplifting even though it’s about shoplifting. Paula Yates calls Morrissey “some prat”. Nannie dies aged 71 and when she is buried they forget to put her dentures in. EMI Records try to lure in Morrissey and Marr with the offer of a Christmas hamper and it must have done the trick because Morrissey and Marr sign to EMI for £60,000 a piece. Geoff Travis accuses them of being greedy (must have heard about the Christmas hamper…). Craig Gannon has joined the band but does not seem to do much other than cause chaos and sleep 15 hours a night. He causes so much trouble the band decide not to call Craig anymore when they get back from America and to wait and see if he calls them; he doesn’t call, thank goodness, but then he sues for loss of earnings and somehow wins. I get the impression Morrissey has a low opinion of the law. Strangeways, Here We Come is recorded in Bath and all seems well with the world until suddenly the band folds – just like that. Rumours abound of arguments, but they are just rumours. Morrissey wants to cry when Geoff Travis suggests replacing Johnny Marr with Roddy Frame, even though he doesn’t know what a Roddy Frame is. There’s trouble with Sire and EMI and Morrissey seems to be bearing the brunt as Johnny Marr is off gallivanting with Bryan Ferry or Talking Heads or someone. Morrissey’s prescribed some bad mood pills by his doctor, who promptly dies. Nick Kent asks if he can play guitar for The Smiths but when he receives no response from Morrissey, an uncomplimentary article is printed in the Face magazine. Sour grapes. David Bowie sends Johnny Marr flowers, but he’s not interested even though he is asked to leave the Pretenders because of his bad time-keeping. Stephen Street leaves some of his songs with Morrissey and they record Viva Hate together. Geoff Travis “worries” if Morrissey has enough money now The Smiths are well and truly over, the cheeky b******. Viva Hate is number 1 and Johnny’s work with Talking Heads is number 4 – nur-nur-na-nur-nur! Rourke and Joyce work on a couple of Morrissey tracks but it’s not working out and then there’s pressure from Joyce’s lawyers to keep him in the band if Morrissey doesn’t want to be sued for a percentage of The Smiths’ royalties. Trouble. And there’s more – this time for Margaret on the Guillotine (I’m confused, I thought he always called her Thatcher?) – as Morrissey is seen to be a security threat. Morrissey moans about Thatcher – or Maggie, or Margaret, what have you. Morrissey moves to 2 Caroline Place and has panic attacks. Juergen Teller pretends not to be in when Morrissey calls. Michael Stipe comes for tea and then goes on stage with REM without changing clothes or brushing his teeth – dirty! Linder announces she is pregnant. Morrissey rescues injured birds from naughty cats; an injured starling he takes home to nurse to health dies on him. Morrissey rattles on about the moors.