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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Hullsome fun

Hullsome fun

A four hour car journey dramatically doubles in duration as the distant doesn’t decrease.  Drive, break, drive, break, drive, break, striving to arrive.  Not once do I take the wheel, I do not drive for I was born to be driven. Ironically the car is controlled by someone named Harri and that’s where the similarities begin and stop.  On top of laborious launch north I had to deal with lungs that refuse to believe fresh air is real air.  Every service station is a chance to enhance a meeting with the sniggering, snickering, giggling grim reaper. Life cannot end cheaper.  Cigarettes, all thirty of them consumed in twenty-four. Seconds, minutes or hours? The power of deduction is yours. Most consumed on the motorway where clever men never ever know the end. Until the end. Humans’ content in contraptions hell bent on destruction. Ford Fiesta’s with handling made to test ‘ya.  Metal death traps and one day death will rat-a-tap-tap on the door, that’s the end, no more.  When feet finally reach the streets of Hull, it a pub we find ourselves positioned in.  A public house for the irregular regulars of which there are some.  Fun consumes us as one hour turns into three as those young enough to not remember pain continue on for four.  Uncouth youth with time on their side idly discus their idol as those old enough to know no better drink more until the floor seems unstable.  As closing time dooms us all, we decide to head to the arena after we slide back to our hotels to freshen up and make ourselves cleaner. 

As I drunkenly dance inside the hotel door I check a message on my phone and my jaw nearly breaks the floor.  “Check True-To-You” conveyed the message as disbelief morphs into dismay.  There was no way that the truth lay in front of me.  I left the hotel still reeking of sleepless regrets and dead-set alcohol sweats.  As I arrive at the venue I notice bodies bulging bigger than brutes on the floor like shoots of the bluest of roses in recumbent poses.  I write my name of the list in a cold shake of the pen hoping that whoever reads the list out gets the gist.  Number thirteen is my chosen number, and certain people know what numbers mean. Gin and beer turns into thins of fear as news filters through to those who make up the queue.  Shock and surprise flocked to the ears, eyes, and minds of those lost souls of the queue as the realisation of what their life may be in lieu of Morrissey.  Morose figures fail to ascertain what the statement really pertains to. Retirement or not? Can Art even retire? A dozen deluded delinquents demeanour drifts downwards as realisation finally rolls into regret.  Could we have done more shows? Where did all the time go? Those who can sleep, those that just can’t, weep.  More booze soothes the body but numbs the mind until we are dumb enough to roll naked into baths of ice.  Nobody laughs. 

By 3am my body shivers and my liver quivers and I know it’s time for the sweet sanctuary of a soft sheet and most welcoming mattress. I say my goodbyes. The warmth of the hotel greets and meets me like an old friend, enemy, then friend again. 3am turns into 11pm and I am certainly sure that the place in the list is lost. With nothing to lose I check Grindr because who knows what you might find there. Gloria Hole, Amanda Bang, and Dixie Normus throw hello’s my way but offer nothing to make me stay as I stroll, hop and roll gingerly and orangely back to the queue. The queue grew in my long luxurious lounging absence.  The kitty-cat shutty-eye sleepy time refreshed nothing I confess. As clocks go ticky-tock more flock to the back of the rack of the stack and the queue twists and the list closes.  Where sad glamour glamorises my life when she says a Canadian hello. Although it took me many looks to realise who stood before mine eyes and for that I apologise.  The venue is an ice-rink and stands next to an imitation Salford Lads Club and Toys ‘R’ Us which reminds us all of the inner child who would stand in the aisles going wild.  “Why do I have to have Action Man, why can’t I have a Barbie Doll?” I screamed to nobody in particular. And nobody in particular never answered. 

Tiredness troubles me still. The excitement of the occasion had made me forget that I actually have two tickets for this concert, as feelings subvert. I leave the queue to meet the man who shall be called He as that was his chosen gender. The road to the train station is not bendier that a ruler as the northern air makes me cooler than the ice rink behind me.  I know the place is the list is lost forever but these are the things you do for love, or is it loathe? I collect the He and we arrive back at the back of the queue. I care not because I calculate the state of the situation as not being too bad. However this changes when we notice a sign that tells us that we are not allowed to bring in bouncing balls. Fine, if not a little weird considering.... However the bag on the back of He spells a slight snag as security officers have faces that attack.  As we turn to return to the Hotel I spot a certain Mrs Boozey and husband happily by her side. Booze oozes from her every pour like death escaping the tomb as you open the tomb door. We cannot stay. The time on the wall is making a joke of us all. By 5:30 I know that my place is lost in the second position I found myself in. The bag of misdemeanour lays on the bedroom floor. Unfortunately there is no time for salutations of the bulbous kind as my mind returns to the growing numbers making up the queue. 

By the time we arrive back  I see the flashes of the masses who I must now stand behind. I find myself probably number 333 in the queue as sandwich bags are handed out for no particular reason, surely a conspiracy by the boil family and if you do not comply you’ll be accused of treason.  To my surprise once inside we find ourselves third row but to the side. I check our view and notice that Morrissey would have no place to hide. Directly in my view, the band hidden. It would be like Morrissey was on stage by himself.  Every Morrissey concert starts with the anticipation of his arrival.  Those not in the know cannot know that every show starts with music, then videos, and then finally the man they paid to see struts onto stage as only he can. The inside is no place for timid-toe Thomas who will face here harsher realities than the outside. Children of hamburger unhappiness and mothers of questionable intentions mention the fact that they know no solo songs and fondly remember The Smiths. “You’re in for a long night” I volley back to them. They register nothing. 

It feels as if the videos end as soon as they start. Feet start to pound the ground as Wayward Sisters launches the masses into blisters of excitement.  Morrissey arrives and body’s push forward and the familiar chant starts. Suedehead begins and the crowd bounces and pounces on any open space.  Alma Matters means more to me than most. May I say that it’s a song that describes my life? Well I just did, so there. Speedway is a song that describes my life, have I said that before? Well, I just said it again. Gustavo’s Spanish sounds splendid sparking confused looks from those who don’t know.  The video accompanying Ganglord shocks most into silence as Morrissey rightly rounds on the American Taliban. The next few songs pass by in a blur of why. All I can remember is psychos punching psychos presumably for being too psycho. Around the time of Paris He says a blood test has made his body ache and He could do with a rest. I hesitate because I’d hate to give up a position for the third time until he shows a gash on his head where He fainted on a table and was unable to move and when he awoke he believed in every fable. “Heard of Morrissey’s world?” I question. He looks at me with eyes that disguise nothing and ignorance is sometimes bliss. With our tired feet we retreat to two empty seats. A decision is to be made. It’s either pay attention to the man next to me or in front of me. There is no competition. I know it, He knows it, the other he knows, and they know it. Eyes locked front.

The concert from here is not clear. Morrissey is smaller than a drummers pre-courtcase wallet. Judges judge with pre-determined ideas. Mama turns into a man who has a crisis of gender who bullfights but then rightly dies. Oboe obviously reduces me to onion tears.  Meat is Murder is a crowd divider in a way that the crowd divides to let those out who faint when they can’t believe their eyes. Meat is not a treat for animal or human. But who has the time to care? Do you care? The meat in your mouth is grit, shit, and dirt. Do you care when an animal is hurt? By the way did you ever find that Sunday is just like every other day? And that those with knives smile while sharpening? Perhaps ponder these points. 

What She Said was the encore as Morrissey arrives on stage in red shining like a Christmas decoration. Decorate me with merry. The song ends as stage invasions cease. Every crease of the shirt no longer matters as Morrissey moves to remove it from his iconic torso. The shirt is flung as the last note is sung. As a mess of flesh shifts, shapes, but never saunters forwards towards the shirt, no fear of being hurt.  Those lucky enough to be plucky pluck the shirt from anyone who dare has a grip as the idea of chivalry slips and drops dead as men see the sight of red.  Men slap women and women rap children across the head.  Arms fling and voices sing, some retreat whilst others stick to the beat.  A whole shirt reduced to scrambles and people gamble on either leaving the crowd or sticking their feet to the ground. Stone cold are the hands that hold. I leave to retrieve a taste of the northern air.  A dodgy man stands outside doing all he can to sell rip off merchandise to manically mental fans.  The back aches and cracks as if attached to a torturing device with a latch.  Back in the hotel I smoke lungs to death again. He states that he never knew Morrissey could be so powerful.  A more truthful statement I’ve never heard. As we move to the aftershow a brief happiness elopes me and doesn’t let go.  In some ways Hull is a town time forgot.  Morrissey is a man time will never forget.  Morrissey, please tell me when? Please tell me quando. I would turn into a pear and poach myself for you. 

Friday, 25 September 2015

Black dog of depression

My colleague's daughter has been suffering from severe depression for a while now and I gave her my copy of "I had a black dog" and "Living with a black dog" by Matthew Johnstone. That event made me remember something that I had almost forgotten... In his interview with Larry King, Morrissey referred to his depression as his black dog. 

This could be a nod to writer Samuel Johnson and Winston Churchill, who used the same phrase to describe their own depression but it could also have been a not to the DDD, as I distinctly remember tweeting Our Moz the link to Matthew Johnstone's webpage 

This was quite a while ago (probably at least a year) and I can't even remember which twitter account was being used at the time. Just writing this makes it sound ludicrous but these little coincidences have simply happened far too many times over the past four years to be ignored! 

Maybe I am just deluded, but at least I know I am not on my own!

Keep l'OO'king!


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Review: Morrissey, Hammersmith Apollo, 21 September 2015 by Marcus Markou

Don’t get me wrong. Morrissey was incredible. Morrissey is incredible. He is a force. He has the power to rewire you from the inside. I came home with an artistic buzz. He is artists’ ecstasy.

I say to my wife Victoria, who came with me, “I want to stay up all night and write. That is what I want to do”.

“Do it,” she says.

Instead, I foolishly lie down in the dark for the next four or five hours unable to sleep, my mind on shuffle alternating between Speedway and The Queen is Dead.

The madness of attempting sleep in this state was broken three times in the night. Constantine, our youngest, had a nightmare. Hector, our one-eared refugee cat from Cyprus, howled like a child loon and Alexander, our eldest, cursed Hector for waking him.

“Get out!” he screamed.

Outside, the cosmos was in alignment with the internal schism of the household. Rain and wind.

The energy of a Morrissey concert is something else. I mused on this through a sleepless but surprisingly upbeat night. I also pondered on ex-girlfriends and failed friendships. Broken images and imaginary conversations were underscored by Morrissey, my ears still buzzing. In a half state of consciousness I was asking myself whether Morrissey had fused punk with opera. It seemed like a good idea at 4am. And why did Oboe Concerto remind me of being 14 again and listening to Hunky Dory for the first time? Hunky Dory, Morrissey, all so strangely seductive.

Could this really be the last time? I tweeted Manclad earlier in the day about Artie Shaw giving up the clarinet and becoming a novelist. Artie Shaw was huge. A maverick. In an age before pop stars he was a pop star. He sold over 100 million records and was a pioneer in fusing jazz with classical… okay, okay. You get the picture. Artie Shaw was big and he was very big with the clarinet and one day he just dropped it. Just like that. He literally put down his clarinet and never played it again. He picked up a pen and never stopped writing.

Victoria and I are crossing the road. We arrive early at Hammersmith. As we cross a man next to us says: “Is it a Morrissey gig?”

“Yes,” I reply.

“That’s so cool. Are you going?”

Victoria is only seconds into her first Morrissey gig and I already feel validated. She’s brimming with gig coolness.

“Apparently, it’s going to be his last,” I say.

“Ha! Yeah. They all say that,” the man says.

“Yeah,” I say.

“Yeah,” says Victoria.

“Have a great time!” The man says. And gone.

“You see,” I say to Victoria. “Something about Morrissey brings complete strangers together… It’s so blue rose,” I add.

Victoria rolls her eyes.

We are so early. I assumed doors at 7pm and Morrissey would be on at 8pm. We sit in the balcony – close to the front. I take a few pictures and tweet. A striking blonde in the immediate row in front of us is having trouble locating her seats. A few minutes later, Russell Brand, the comedian-actor-activist, appears alongside the same blonde and also seems to be having trouble with the seats. He is fidgety.

Victoria and I are momentarily star struck. It quickly fades. The temptation to be star struck and take pictures is replaced by a sense of dignity – for us and the celebrity. He is human after all. A man a few rows further down has no shame. He whips out his phone. Russell Brand crosses his arms into an ‘X’ and pulls a pose for the photo.

“Was he just doing an X Factor pose?” I ask?

“I think he’s trying to get better seats,” whispers Victoria.

Russell Brand is looking down towards the front of the balcony, speaking on his phone, and at one point goes down and starts a conversation with someone, pointing back towards the row in front of us.

“Look at me… don’t look at me… Look at me… don’t look at me,” whispers Victoria. “Massive ego issues,” she adds. Victoria is also in recovery.

“I still like him,” I whisper back.

“I do to,” Victoria says.

“His spat with Fox News was one of the best things ever,” I say. “He took on an entire mind control programme,” I add. The new world order reference is lost on Victoria but she is in agreement.

“He looks lost,” she adds.

“On the list of the lost?” I reply. But the eponymous reference to the forthcoming novel by Morrissey is… well, ironically, lost.

On the screen, Leo Sayer is singing, Won’t Let the Show Go On dressed as a clown.

“I told you!” I almost scream to my wife who is a Leo Sayer fanatic and cites One Man Band in her top 50 all time. “Morrissey has amazing taste in music.”

“Shit,” I say.


“It’s just occurred to me that Leo Sayer’s clown look was four or five years before Bowie… Fuck… Bowie copied Sayer!”

“Sayer was ahead of his time. Please listen to the lyrics on One Man Band,” Victoria pleads.

“Victoria. You’ve been asking me to do that for 23 years...” I leave a space for comic timing then add, “I’ll do it on Monday.”

The video presentation builds to a climax and Morrissey enters to high operatic gusto. He starts to sing alone without a band and then jokes about it before going into his set.

As I said at the beginning of this review. Morrissey is an incredible artist. His vocals were stunning. I spent half the concert leaning over to Victoria saying, “Fucking hell. How good is his voice?”

Victoria always responding with, “It’s amazing.”

At this point I would like to point out that Victoria was a big fan of the Smiths and Morrissey as a teen and dated someone that looked like him. She tweeted this. She loves Suedehead with a passion so when it came on I was delighted for her.

My standouts were Oboe Concerto, Speedway, Crashing Bores, and The Queen is Dead – if only because these were the songs that seemed to have embedded themselves into me through a sleepless night. But it was great to hear Staircase at the University, World Peace is None of Your Business and The Bullfighter Dies – which are starting to form longterm relationships with me. It takes time for songs to become part of your core memory. The songs from World Peace are starting to do that.

But there was something in the energy tonight. Where the O2 in November had flamboyance, flair and a tenderness, here at the Apollo there was a slight impatience, a shortness. Just a pinch of it.

“I love you,” Morrissey was saying. “I am so grateful for your support… but there is a new love in my life. I don’t know whether it will work out but I am excited for us. You might just have to let me go – as you did when I left before. I may come back. I may not. I don’t actually know. But if I seem a little disconnected… well, you can understand why…”

And I do understand. I am probably more excited about the idea of Morrissey giving up music for literature than is acceptable. But I am a writer too. I am excited for him. 

"He will never give up music," Victoria says. 

"Artie Shaw did," I reply.

"He has so much to say and he says it well. I don’t care whether he says it in song or in tweets... I wish Morrissey was on Twitter," I lament.  

Monday, 21 September 2015

Concert post - London, Eventim Apollo (2nd night)

Hallo again. Welcome to the last TWoM live report of Morrissey's 2015 tour! Sad, but it can't be helped, the only one of us to see more shows on this tour still refuses to purchase a smartphone or any other mobile internet device. Damn technophobes.

Here's one of the first pictures from the queue, which formed directly after (rather during) yesterday's show:

I hope Mlle M feels a bit warmer by now.

Next - news from Boozey. I'm not sure what witchcraft Monsieur Le Furball performed on her yesterday; first, he managed to make her wear a blue rose, second, she even described the whiskered one as a "very nice and pleasant gentleman" later, and third, Boozelette has decided not to booze today. Surreal.

Another BRS member that will be in the audience tonight again is Mlle EARS, this time, as usual, armed with roses:

No news yet from BBN, but I wasn't holding my breath for any updates from the lazy Monsieur anyway!

UPDATE: Queuing in the rain:

NOT boozing in the rain:

Visual proof of what I just said - that's a diet coke for Mlle, and water for Monsieur Chauffeur. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HER, RAT?

Blue sky at last:

Boozey walking in:

Boozey's view:

And Mlle M's view - front row centre stage!! That was highly deserved after yesterday, where the ticket scanner didn't work at first, and she was let in later than her actual spot on the list was.

I didn't actually believe my eye, but Monsieur BBN could be bothered to give an update after all! Here's his view:

Seems like he found the other DDD one, and D:

And now, more and more known names show up! This is from Monsieur Southkirk:

Marcus the Greek is in the audience too, with currently having the best view:

Now how do we badger them all into writing a review? *note to self* Need to consult rodent later

Crowd through Monsieur Bitter Bobby's camera:

Pre-show started!

Packed house again:

No photo, but Monsieur Le Greek just spotted Gristle Bandage.

UPDATE: Setlist!

"If I made you feel second best, I'm so sorry I was blind"

1. You'll Be Gone (Elvis Presley cover)
2. Let The Right One Slip In
3. Suedehead
4. Speedway
5. Ganglord
6. Boxers

7. World Peace Is None Of Your Business 
8. Kiss Me A Lot 
9. Staircase At The University
10. Alma Matters
11. Will Never Marry (with piano intro)
12. My Dearest Love 
13. The Bullfighter Dies 
14. Oboe Concerto

(band introduction)

15. The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores 
16. Meat Is Murder 
17. Now My Heart Is Full
18. Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed
19. I Will See You In Far-Off Places 
20. Everyday Is Like Sunday 

Encore: The Queen Is Dead

Boozelette also sent "Utupou trnjto Jmtrotjy" which I haven't translated yet, but I assume it's her way of expressing that she's rapt away by the sh*ny sh*rt for the encore.

About her pictures from the encore: "I'll be blowing these up and framing them. End of UK tours. End of my favourite shirt. Sad day for me."

Now I'm sad too :-/

A bit of consolation though - seems like Mlle M managed to get some piece of the sh*ny one, and shared with Boozelette ("It's made my hand shiny")

Here's Marianne's piece, and apparantely Monsieur even shook her hand, what a fabulous way to end a Moz tour!

Boozey's pictures:

Two from the encore:

Marcus' pictures:

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Concert post - London, Eventim Apollo (1st night)

Good day. As there's already considerable activity at the venue in Hammersmith, I thought I could as well start blogging. Yes, you're stuck with the dreary Fruit again.

This might turn out to be interesting to report on, as there'll be an unusual amount of well-known names in the audience tonight, including BRS members, DDD members, ex members, and a rodent.

The first one to arrive at the venue was our resident insomniac Mlle M at around 6 a.m. this morning, after being ripped out of her well-deserved sleep as the fire alarm in her hotel went off, allegedly caused by two teenagers smoking pot in their shower. But at least this saved Mlle M a spot on the list at #41, although drama has already started, as it seems that there are now two lists (UPDATE: No drama. According to M, the first 50 people get wristbands and walked in, so I assume the second list was started for the rest of the queue). Here's M's picture of the venue:

Always a pleasure to spot this bus:

Mlle Boozelette and her chauffeur aren't on their way to the venue yet, as they don't intend to queue, but my guess is that Mlle will turn up shitfaced 10 minutes after doors open, stumble inside the hall and magically appear front row centre stage, only to give up her spot to have another drink before she secures herself a nice cozy place at the barrier Jesse side. Maybe not, London isn't Plymouth... Right now, Boozey B, Bitter B, and D enjoy some drinkles in the sun at the Thames:

While one part of Moz fans queued up at the Eventim Apollo, a second queue had formed at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home this morning, to check out the Mporium pop-up shop, and to hopefully grab one of the very limited signed vinyls (picture stolen without permission from

On popular demand, here's the first pictures from the hairy-b*cked pest on his pilgrimage to London. Current location: Waterloo Station (in case you're keen on an autograph).

UPDATE: The Rodent Monsieur strolling around the area:

Meanwhile, Mlle M spotted a second bus:

UPDATE: Mlle Boozelette and her manservants are on their way to meet up with Le Raton - so there's either lachrymose scenes of hugs and kisses to come, or some people might be decorated with face lingerie later...

Monsieur Rodent already arrived - dressed to the nines. "I'm a Sol man, de de der, de de der"

Switching back to the venue - the queue is getting longer and longer behind Mlle M:

Boozelette and Bitter Bob arrived at the pub. So far, they still look happy:

Earlier in the park today - getting tossed around again. Typical! I didn't ask what they did to those poor oranges later and I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW.

First impressions from the annual 2015 Blue Rose Society meet-up; a major success so far. The picture is a bit blurry, but I think one of them is just eating a blue rose. And is that a rose on that... lamp (?)... too?

The r*t-shaped b*****d managed to bully Bitter Bobby into wearing a blue rose. Maybe alcohol was involved, too.

UPDATE: Alcohol WAS involved. Otherwise it's impossible to explain the following picture... Monsieur Rat, you succeeded where I failed. Badgering people to death DOES work!

The Blue Rose brigade (that's the Furball and his two freshly recruited rookies) made it to the venue...

... while Mlle M is already in the building! Second row, Jesse side:

Lovely blue light from the ceiling - this venue really looks appropriate for Old Mozza, after melting that ice rink recently:

Here's Boozelette's current view:

And another view from Mlle EARS, who is without a rose this time - but it can hardly be held against her that the Hull blue rose didn't stay alive long enough, and London flower shops in the area are probably still trying to surf the gladioli wave.

Bright smile from Boozelette before pre-show - blue flowers on her blouse, blue flowers in her hair...

Mr Rat Sir's current view. I have no doubt that the shifty rodent will scuttle to front row in no time, while simultaneously forcing convincing everyone along the way to bring a blue rose for tomorrow's show:

What did I just say? Boozelette and Rattelette are now three people behind Mlle M, having successfully bullshitted their way through the crowd ("Must reach my little niece, she has no phone with her!!")

UPDATE: Setlist!

"I give you my life!"

1. Suedehead
2. Alma Matters
3. Speedway
4. Ganglord
5. Staircase At The University
6. Kiss Me A Lot
7. World Peace Is None Of Your Business
8. I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
9. Istanbul

"I hope Jeremy Corbyn does not go to Buckingham Palace and does not kneel before the Third Reich!"

10. The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores
11. I'm Not A Man

(band introduction)

12. The Bullfighter Dies
13. Mama Lay Softly On The Riverbed
14. Yes I Am Blind (with piano intro)
15. Oboe Concerto
16. I Will See You In Far-Off Places
17. Meat Is Murder
18. You'll Be Gone (Elvis Presley cover)

... and then the power was gone...

"Can you hear me now? It's a conspiracy! It's Buckingham Palace! They're gonna get me! And I'm not kidding either!"

19. Everyday Is Like Sunday

"Part two, Battle of Britain, tomorrow!"

Encore: What She Said/Rubber Ring

Pictures from Boozelette:

Mlle managed to catch a plectrum that was thrown by Monsieur Jesse earlier in the set:

First tweet from El Rat after the show: "Rose didn't make the stage but I got over barrier & got a handshake. What a show"

Finally, years after having touched the Mozziah's left knee, he made it!

Meanwhile, people are already queuing up for tomorrow's show:

Tomorrow's list, minutes after the show has ended... (Thanks @ModernMorrissey)

It's either queuing or after-show... Furball at Duke of Cornwall pub:

Final UPDATE: Moz in that fetching turquoise shirt (Boozey's 2nd favourite?) plus band. Good night.