mozzers

“My Mother who’s an assistant Librarian introduced me to his writing when i was eight. She insisted i read him and i immediately became obsessed. Every single line affected me in some way. I liked the simplicity of the way he wrote. There was a piece called ‘The Nightingale And The Rose’ that appealed to me immensly then. It was about a Nightingale who sacrificed herself for these two star-crossed lovers . It ends when the Nightingale presses her against this rose because in a strange, mystical way it means that if she dies, the two lovers can be together. This sense of a truly high drama zipped through everthing he wrote. He had a life that was really tragic and it’s curious that he was so witty. Here we have a creature persistently ceased in pain whose life was a total travesty. He married, rashly had two children and almost immediately embarked on a love affair with a man. He was sent to prison for this. It’s a total disavantage tro care about Oscar Wilde, certainly when you come from a working class background. It’s total self-destruction almost. My personal saving grace at school was that i was something of a medal athlete. I’m sure if i hadn’t been, i’d have sacrificed in the first year. I got streams and streams of medals for running. As i blundered throught my late teens, i was quite isolated and Oscar Wilde meant much more to me. In a way he became a companion. If that sounds pitiful, that was the way it was. I rarely left the house. I had no social life then, as i became a Smith, i used flowers because Oscar Wilde always used flowers. He once went to a Colorado Salt Mines and addressed a mass of miners there. He started his speech with, ‘Let me tell you why we worship the Daffodil’, of course, he was stoned to death. But i really admire his bravery and the idea of being constantly attached to some form of plant. As i get older, the adoration increases. I’m never without him. It’s almost biblical. It’s like carrying your rosary around with you.” - Morrissey (Smash Hits, 1984)

The strange cult of “El Moz“

Steven Patrick Morrissey, born May 22nd of 1959 in Lancashire, to a working-class Irish migrant family, Morrissey grew up in Manchester where he established the well known band The Smiths in 1982. Six years later he would launch his solo act as Morrissey which is still going on. He has been acclaimed as one of the greatest lyricists in the history of rock with themes that diverge from the typical Rock themes of bravado and glorification. Morrissey is often referred to as one of the most influential artists of modern times, he has been a gay icon and animal’s right activist…but did you know he is also the cult icon of a strange Mexican subculture?

Of all the bizarre connections in the world of music, one of the strangest by far is that of Morrissey and Mexican people. In a culture that is notable for its firm machismo that despises anything that has to do with feelings and expression…why is Morrissey so popular? The answer is in the question, the toxic masculinity of the Mexican culture can only go so far before men themselves begin to feel asphyxiated by it. When you are taught from an early age that men don’t have feelings and men don’t cry and they have to be tough as nails, something snaps.  In comes Morrissey singing of that sense of estrangement and longing that can be found in traditional Mariachi and Ranchera songs of Mexico…the only difference is that men are allowed to feel.

Rancheras often speak of heartbreak and hurt in the only way they are allowed to without showing any emotions that are not manly, this often reduces the themes to anger. Anger that she left, anger that she is sleeping with another. Then the protagonist gets drunk and maybe fires a gun or rides a horse into the sunset. Well everything is different in Morrissey’s lyrics, they have the sentiment of a true Ranchera and the hurt and heartbreak, but it can be manifested in sadness and longing that is not patriotic or hyper-masculine. Basically Morrissey tells us that Boys cry too, and it’s OK.

In the spring of 2000, after seven years of silence, Morrissey decided to tour Latin America for the first time ever. The ¡Oye Esteban! Tour was obviously aimed at his extensive Latino-based fans which had grown out of proportion during those seven years. John Schaefer, host of WNYC’s “Soundcheck,” said about that run of dates. “At a time where he couldn’t get a record contract, here was this audience that was loyal and perhaps kind of unexpected, and he went and played to them. For many of us, that was the first inkling we had that there was something unusual and peculiar going on there.”

This new found awareness took music critics by surprise, they started to question why was Morrissey such a huge deal south of the border? Some made the association between Mexican folk music and Morrissey’s music. Others noticed how Morrissey’s style makes an appeal to the greaser culture of Hot Rods–and-pompadours that’s also quite popular among certain Latinos. Some ethnographers decided to look closer to home and found another answer in the Chicano community. A new generation of American born Mexicans felt displaced in their new land. With Latin roots and traditions but lost at sea in a country where you are not wanted felt the same angst that Morrissey was singing about; a deep-seated melancholy about where to belong. It’s easy to see how many of Morrissey’s lyrics deal with that identity crisis, with a sense of alienation, of being an “other” appeal to the entire Chicano community.

Morrissey took notice of this and for the past 15 years he has been making this link very explicit. His most famous recognition of this was during his ¡Oye Esteban! Tour where he declared in the middle of the concert “I wish I was born Mexican, but it’s too late for that now.” Other examples include him strutting around wearing the uniform of the Mexican soccer team Chivas de Guadalajara, rocking shirts with the most iconic Mexican saint La Virgen de Guadalupe. And then there’s Mexico, one of Morrissey’s newer songs which could double as an anthem of Chicano love for the homeland.

On the other side, in Mexico there are countless Morrissey and The Smiths tribute bands, most of them created by kids that call themselves neo-Mozzers. There are conventions, clubs and events with the only purpose of venerating one Steven Patrick Morrissey.

Is Morrissey’s love affaire with Mexican people legitimate? or only a shrewd business strategy? Only time will tell but the love that people south of the border feel for him is true and is pure as a light that never goes out.

-Schlimazelbabe

“Billy Fury is virtually the same as James Dean. He was entirely doomed too ad i find that quite affectionate. He was persistently unhappy and yet had a string of hit records. He was discovered working on the docks in Liverpool, was dragged to London, styled and orced to make records. He always wanted to mke ve emotionally over-blown ballads but he found himself in the midst of the popular arena. He dispised almost every aspect of the music industry and was very, very ll from an early age. This album is the rarest i have. It was his first album made in those days were thrust to appel to a mature audience. They talked about ‘Chandeliers’ and ‘Cocktail Dresses’. Singles were for teenager and i’m afraid i always preffered the singles. I was the kind of child who’d bound out of bed on a saturday, leapfrog down to the local shop and stay there inhaling the air for hours and smelling all the vinyl and caressing the sleeves. I’d leave about mid-day and go to bed and consider that a completely successful day. I was really quite poor so whatever i could buy was like a piece of my heart something i couldn’t possibly exist without. Billy’s singles are totally treasurable, i get quite passionate about the vocal melodies and the orchestration always sweeps me away. He always had such profound passion.” - Morrissey (Smash Hits, 1984)