Sonic Salamander's Fantastic Fact File

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NME, April 1988

THE MAD CHATTER NME, 9th April 1988

BIG MOUTH strikes again... and again and again and again... For years now the loudest squawk in pop's deafening parrot-house has belonged to Steven Patrick MORRISSEY. By turns poetically thoughtful, corrosively razor-lipped, brazenly provocative and scathingly hilarious, he's reigned unchallenged as music's most quotable, and quoted, chatterbox. DANNY KELLY presents a selection of nuggets panned from our back pages; the wit, wisdom, whimsy and waffle of Mozzer on the subject of... GROWING UP "I'm really chained to those iron bridges. I'm really chained to the pier, persistently on some disused clearing in Wigan..." (Feb '84) "I've never had a flat cap and I've never smoked Senior Service." (Feb '88) "I read persistently. I swam in books as a child and at some point it becomes quite ruinous. It gets to the point where you can't answer the door without being heavily analytical about it. But ultimately I think they've proved to be positive weapons for me." (Feb '84) "I went to discos that were quite violent, and youth discos in the afternoons. I have certain fond memories... the grime, certain records like 'Double Barrel' and 'Young, Gifted And Black'. There was a tremendous air of intensity and potential unpleasantness - something interesting grabbed me about the whole thing. Perhaps only in retrospect, not at the time, because on your way home you'd always get duffed up." (Feb '88) "I tried to do a lot of things but they didn't actually work until I had money because I didn't make any attempt whatsoever to thrive in very horrendous hovels. I couldn't really face the gasfire that didn't work, the eight blankets on a bed, or the frost on the windows. I wasn't quite that resilient." (Dec '84) THE HEADMASTER RITUAL "I learned that if I ever wanted to be educated I'd have to leave school. So anything I learned was from outside of the education system. The Catholic church has nothing in common with Christianity. I can remember being at school on a Monday and being asked, 'Did you go to church yesterday?' And if you hadn't been you literally had your arms twisted off you. It's, 'We'll sever your head for your own good, you'll learn my son'." (June '85) "I always felt, 'These things are happening because I'm an awkward, gawky, individual' and that stayed with me for years and years. I used to believe that if I wasn't successful in any way it was because I was a totally worthless shallow slob." (June '85) "And I'm still waiting to be chosen for the swimming team!" (June '86) THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING A SMITH "Before I joined The Smiths I was in a serious medical condition. The group are like a life support machine to me." (May '83) "It's more essential to me than breathing - it's more natural to me than breathing. The whole thing really is a matter of life and death. And that's how serious we are." (Sept '83) "Johnny, Mike and Andy played their instruments in a very aggressive way. The feeling of power was just like having a vacuum cleaner shoved up your blazer." (date not indicated) HANDSOME DEVILRY "Oh yes, I am vain. If someone punches me in the face and I lose five teeth then I'm going to get upset, make no mistake about that. Yes, it's vanity - I care about the way I look, the way I feel and the way I am - and I don't want to apologise about it. I like to have a lot of photographs (of myself) on the wall. I want to chronicle everything. People can picture me laying naked in my house, covered in feathers, rubbing these pictures on myself..." (June '85) "I always thought my genitals were the result of some crude practical joke." (June '86) A STITCH TO WEAR "I didn't religiously belong to any cult except when T Rex happened and I bought a satin jacket. It was the first independent statement I made. I did stray into a pair of loons on some occasions. Quite naturally green at the bottom and quite naturally yellow at the top... When the New York Dolls happened, I tried to buy a pair of knee-length platform boots but I was very wisely stopped. It was tempting disaster." (Feb '88) "I once bought a Manchester United hat, which I think was 12 shillings, and somebody ran up behind me and pulled it off and just ran ahead. I thought, 'It's a very cruel world, I'm not prepared for this'. And I decided to get my revenge on society." (Feb '88) LOVE (A FOUR-LETTER WORD) "The lyrics I write are specifically genderless. I don't want to leave anybody out. Handsome is a word that people think is applied to males... but I know lots of handsome women. After all, there is such a thing as a pretty male." (Feb '84) "All the so-called liberators spout excessive hatred. On the one side feminists scream men are the enemies, they're killing us, on the other extreme it's the Tetley bittermen thing. I refuse to recognise the terms hetero-, bi-, and homo-sexual. Everybody has exactly the same sexual needs. People are just -sexual, the prefix is immaterial." (Dec '84) "It's just the whole point about romance and love songs; people seem to want to make things difficult for themselves. I don't want to sit here for hours and hours talking about W H Auden when we just want to exchange underwear or something." (Feb '84) CELIBATE CRIES "I constantly spectate upon people who are entwined and frankly I'm looking upon souls in agony. I can't think of one relationship in the world which has been harmonious. It just doesn't happen." (Feb '84) "... It's all really a total travesty of human nature that it's all thrown at us, such sensitive and relatively restrained people. I live a life that befits a priest virtually and to be splashed about as a child molester... it's just unutterable." (On The Sun's accusations, Sept '83) "I do think it's actually possible to go through life and never fall in love or find someone who loves you." (June '85) "I have always half expected some fictitious Sun spread like 'MORRISSEY INJECTS SLEEPING NUN WITH COCAINE!' but there's really nothing to report, and I'm half humiliated to have to confess such a thing." (Feb '88) HEROES "I'm bored stiff with them!" (June '85) "For me one of the greatest lyricists of all time is George Formby. His more obscure songs are so hilarious, the language was so flat and Lancastrian and always focused on domestic things. Not academically funny, not witty, just morosely humorous and that really appeals to me." (Dec '84) "Wilde mocked in a clever way, he mocked British society and British nobility and that's why ultimately they were pleased to net him and punish him. He did it with a great degree of taste and flair but also with an astounding degree of sadness. Practically anybody could read Oscar Wilde and understand. He wasn't complicated yet he still left you lying on the bed panting because it was so real and truthful." (Feb '88) "Trouble is there's a gap of a decade between each good song." (On Lou Reed, Dec '84) "Working with her has been an endless thrill. It's almost like meeting oneself in a former life. She's very down to earth, very humorous, there's a certain veil which she lowers at a certain time of the day..." (On Sandie Shaw, Feb '84) "I would like to go to Indiana and mess with James Dean's soil, but so many others have done it. They've taken away the monument, they've taken away the stone and they've taken away the grass. People have been so greedy. What's left for me?" (June '85) ...AND VILLAINS "I despise them... No, I think they're worth saving." (On the Human Race, Feb '84) "And when one looks at all the individuals within the Royal Family they're so magnificently, unaccountably boring! I mean, Diana herself has never in her lifetime uttered one statement that has been of any use to any member of the human race. The whole thing seems like a joke, a hideous joke. We don't believe in leprechauns, so why should we believe in the Queen?" (June '86) "I'm not saying that Americans are models of perfection, but 'diseased orangutans' is a little extreme. I'm sure they're a couple of steps up from that! Why is Reagan there? I'm sure this is a question that's even foxing Americans. It's the Daz mentality! I'm sure they'd elect Joan Collins if she were available." (June '85) "He just made people feel so neurotic about their lives. I mean, if you dreamt about a lampshade, it meant you wanted to be whipped by the local vicar or something." (On Freud, Feb '84) POWER, POP, POLITICS "I'm not totally averse to violence. It think it's quite attractively necessary in some extremes. I would say that violence on behalf of CND is absolutely necessary, because all sorts of communication via peaceful methods are laughed at and treated with absolute violence by governments. Therefore I think it's now time to fight fire with fire and attack very strongly. I don't think that is terrorism, it's more a self-defence. Obviously CND care about people and that's why they do what they do. That's patriotism. In some cases I think violence is profoundly necessary - when the consequences of no violence are frightening." (Dec '84) "... People are still disturbingly vague about the treatment of animals. People still seem to believe that meat is a particular substance not at all connected to animals playing in the field over there. People don't realise how gruesomely and fighteningly the animal gets to the plate..." (Dec '84) "I got a foul scent when it (Live Aid) first occurred and I still get the same smell. It's an inch away from Hollywood. When will the film appear, the solo LP is on the horizon, the book is here. It's bully boy tactics and dining out with royalty... and hearing Bob talk so lovingly about Prince Charles! To me it's so unreal. I never mentioned the word 'greed'. If it had dealt with a domestic issue I don't believe it would have received any attention whatsoever. If we talk about unemployment in England we're slapped across the face. I think there was something almost glamorous about the whole Ethiopian epic. In the first instance, it was far away, overseas. Pop stars, film stars, it was and still is escapism." (June '86) "I find people who're quite artistic and creative crawl from dreadful conditions, while people who're cushioned in life tend not to produce anything dramatically artistic. To me popular music is still the voice of the working class, collective rage in a way, though not angst-ridden. But it does really seem like the one sole opportunity for someone from a working class background to step forward and have their say. It's really the last refuge for the articulate but penniless humans." (Dec '84) "Being on EMI doesn't constitute any degree of power over the public." (May '83) NEXT? "I don't like it when people say let's leave the past and go ahead, because a lot of the future isn't that attractive." (June '85) "I've seen a tramp with an Afghan coat on. I think we'll reach the stage where tramps no longer wear old 1930s overcoats and cloth caps, that they'll actually be going round in platforms and Chicory Tip t-shirts. It will happen!" (Feb '88) "I don't want to walk onstage with a hair transplant, with shoes on the wrong foot. I find pop senility totally appalling to witness and obviously there's so many strong examples of it now. I don't want to haul the carcass across the studio floor and reach for the bathchair as I put down the vocal." (Feb '88) "I'm really chained to those iron bridges. I'm really chained to the pier. I'm persistently on some disused clearing in Wigan. I shall be buried there, I'm sure, and shall be glad to go at that point. I mean, I certainly don't want to be buried at Rough Trade." (Feb '84)

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