7 September 2006
post-tour notes from Morrissey / September 2006.
Thanks, as always, to Julia for the invitation to write some more notes for True To You. I will try my best to be interesting although I fare far better these days with hand signals.
Thanks to everyone who came to Brussels for our 70th concert of this year.
The audience was fantastic and the night was one of my most enjoyable. It was the perfect way to end our jaunt. We were immediately asked back to Belgium to play four major cities, something I could only manage if steel rods supported my lower back..... not a great look.
Brussels was boosted by the news that Kristeen's single had done well in its first week of release, and although our 'In The Future When All's Well' was #6 in over-the-counter sales in the UK, once downloading sales were added we found ourselves marooned at #17. The same had happened with our previous single 'The Youngest Was The Most Loved' which was #3 in physical sales, yet not even in the top ten once downloads had been counted. No doubt these absurd new chart rules will change soon, and it's worth remembering that they were introduced on the week that 'You Have Killed Me' entered at #3, so you can't blame me for thinking that someone is out to dislodge me. The song that ended up at #1 wasn't even buyable in any record shop at the time! A very fair system ....
Kristeen's single is 'Kill the Father' and is the best song I've heard for 50 years. I especially love the line "strangle Bowie with/his neckerchief" which, you must agree, is quite an idea. Kristeen is from St Louis - which, I am told, is another way of saying Mars [although I really shouldn't say this in view of the fact that we play St Louis in November.] Kristeen is a dramatic woman - monumental vocal gifts, unwalkable heels, hypnotic way with the keyboard, and underneath it all she is still 16 (and a half.) I watch her set every night and I am dazed. I was thrilled by audience reactions to Kristeen - especially in Iceland and Italy where their intakes of breath could be heard as Kristeen ripped into the high notes. She is an artist who adapts the world to her own needs, which I appreciate. There's no other way.
In Iceland I saw the film "Capote" and, like everybody else, my jaw dropped at the performance of Philip Seymour Hoffman. I think it is somewhat implausible though that Capote would be quite so casually accepted by the hardened natures of Dick and Perry, especially in view of Capote's bubblegum lisp. However, don't make fun of Truman's voice. It's easy to arrange a story into loving myth once all the central characters are dead, and I'm not even sure if Truman was a writer at all, or just someone who sneaked around and watched. But he was funny. When I put him on the cover of the Smiths single 'The Boy With the Thorn In His Side' a certain member of the Smiths (who unfortunately is still alive) said, "is that Ernie Wise?" .... dear God ...
On the nighttime drive from Karlstad to Oslo I felt surprised, amazed and privileged to be alive. The scenery was tearfully breath taking; full moon on still lakes. I'm humbled by the beauty of Scandinavia, and by how the people and the press are so open and welcoming. During the afternoon of the Oslo festival I walked through the center of the city and sat in the park. A lone British voice said "'ullo Morrissey" but otherwise I went unnoticed and felt securely at home. I sat on the grass in the park and, when the sun struck at a certain angle, I felt that life really wasn't that bad. This moment passed quickly.
At Oslo we attempted our own version of Roxy Music's "Street Life" - which we had tried at Karlstad to the blankest of blank reactions from the audience. The same blankness occurred at Oslo, and I couldn't wait for the song to end even though Mikey had done well with the whirring white noise. It's the first time I felt stranded in time, and that the audience hadn't a clue what the song was meant to be. I'd only sing it again under hypnosis - and that's a promise.
Like Iceland, Austria was a big thrill for me, and I was astonished that the audience was so large. Austrian life and landscapes seem measured and orderly and beautiful to me; I feel deformed and punctured in comparison. Life is like that. Beauty makes me shrink, whereas grime gives me strength.
At the V festival in Stafford there was a large screen on which I looked hunched and contorted [but only because I am.] After the Chelmsford festival three teenagers were killed in a car crash on their way home. Nobody knows what human life is...
I had made the download request at V because Sanctuary had asked me to, and they had suggested it because we were faced yet again with zero airplay and the unassailable competition of all the usual marketing devices that would pull the mid-week #6 rug out from underneath us. It all seemed so unfair.
We would be pushed out by 'artists' whose audience wouldn't fill an average kitchen in a Battersea council flat. Modern life is war.
I did not enjoy the Dublin festival as much as I'd hoped; the Point would've been better. Just as, earlier in the year, the two nights at the Olympia seemed silly; the Point would've been better. Also, at Marlay Park I had no say in the rest of the bill, yet the groups were presented on all advertising as being my special guests! Now, of course, as nice as the Magic Numbers are - and they are - my own choice of bill would have been Kristeen Young, Damien Dumpster (if he would deign), the Immediate, Sack, the Pony Club, The Seven Deadly Skins, Gaynor Tension, and Annie Balls.... I'm not saying they'd agree to take part, but I would've asked....
From Dublin we went to Paris to walk and melt and walk and melt and walk and melt; this is what people do in Paris. It's the only city in which I bitterly regret not being a smoker. I did an interview for Canal+ television and I said all the usual things in the usual way. I ought to be beheaded.
The Rock En Seine concert was fantastic - for me, anyway; I have no idea why I talk so much onstage when, years ago, I would virtually sing with my mouth closed - sealed up like an envelope until the final song. Now, I stick one word after another in the hope of making a sentence. Occasionally, it works.
Whilst wandering in Paris I find an LP copy of "Live at Earls Court" which surprises me since I had no idea it had ever been pressed on vinyl. I then notice that the track 'The World is Full of Crashing Bores' is printed as 'The World is Full of Crashing Boars,' a mistake that is repeated inside on the label. Further, 'The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get' is listed as 'The More You Ignore Me,' and 'Bigmouth Strikes Again' is misprinted as the obligatory 'Big Mouth Strikes Again.' It is difficult for me to understand how anything of this nature could be misread and THEN misprinted without some determined effort. But it is not as bad as the original UK CD copies of "Your Arsenal" which have the immortal line: 'Track 1 taken from the album Your Arsenal,' printed on the label!
Or, the original LP copies of "Kill Uncle" in the UK, which have me, named as ...Morrisey......sigh.
It is not unreasonable to assume that all people who work in record companies have eyes that are too large for their sockets.
If they don't make mistakes they will die.
Throughout the 70 dates I still rate Gothenburg highly - partly in view of the fact that the McDonalds restaurant attached to the venue agreed to shut down entirely for the night of the concert. We all found this to be an astonishing gesture. It would never happen in either England or the US. Sweden is civil.
The worst night, I think, was Gateshead, and this was because of the venue's policy to give the first two rows over to its staff - and not to the public. This quite obviously means that the people in the first two rows aren't terribly excited, but take their place anyway, and without much enthusiasm. It was unsettling for me to sing to people who were chatting amongst themselves and looking away and knitting sweaters whilst I yelped my guts out. I think the Sage should ditch this policy. But who am I?
For the immediate future I am excited to be asked by Morricone (yes, Morricone) to sing and supply words for one of his musical pieces with a view to presenting this song at Carnegie Hall. Joy, joy, joy.
Now, much more importantly, I seek no praise for predicting [in Uncut magazine in April] that Italy would win the World Cup. I sat by myself and watched the final game, but I promise you, I didn't whoop or gloat. Life is for whoever has the luck. Finicky ways pay off.
I spent the rest of the night sitting at the window of the hotel, with studied diffidence and not much else.
For your own sakes, take care.