Earlier this month, Christopher J Fox, aka Bleek Noir, released his latest EP, Bite Thy Pigsty (our review here). A typically strange and eerie affair yet never less than intriguing. The same could be said for an artist he admires deeply. So here goes as Christopher declares his devotion to that most polarising of artists, the incomparable Morrissey.
Only July 11th 2004, in a Manchester cricket ground, my life was changed. 30 odd shows later, it remains so. My sixteen-year relationship with this music is one that I can’t comprehend, and one that is unwavering, precious and personal.
Stereotypes of a typical fan of The Smiths or of his solo work were rife throughout the “nineteen haties”. Lonely, awkward, box-room bedroom rejects, with their posters of the man himself above their beds, and Morrissey reduced to the title of “misery monger”. Such reductive generalisations still appear today in fact, in the comment sections of articles written about him. (Where absolutely nothing of value is ever found).
While that stereotype certainly fit teenage-me like an ugly glove, (with my enormous quiff only matched in size by thick rimmed glasses), it is an over-simplification and one that does nothing but caricature and diminish the importance of an artist who has moved generations of fans in a way that is uniquely his.
Go to as many Morrissey gigs as I have in the last decade or so, and you’ll see, consistently, a sight tantamount to church (not that I’d know anything about all that).
Grown men throwing themselves at the stage, as I have, gleaming faces with teary eyes, and everyone together, arms aloft in a celebration of the music, the absolute humanness of the songs, and their writer, whom the lyrics are bellowed back to.
Lyrics that have saved lives (as they have mine), consoled, validated, justified, amused, lyrics that have served as words to live by, from songs that have become personal soundtracks to the lives of millions across the world.
I was changed by those songs, for so many of them seemed to speak for me, and for those like me. Songs that validated my struggle, those that helped to raise me above it, to liberate me, and those that make a discography of wonderfully written material and incredible lyricism.
But the man plays a part too, for me at least. The man that can be found between the devastating stanzas of Smiths classics, between the songs of longing throughout his incredible solo catalogue, the songs that plunged the depths of the human condition, and the man who, often with tongue firmly in cheek, is unapologetically himself. Perhaps it’s this, and the absolute honesty of the lyrics that binds the audience to this music for a lifetime.
For me, I’ve felt the music is always there, always moving, always healing, and when we meet (he, I and tens of thousands of others), I get the distinct impression that each is there for the other. He for us, we for him.
Why do I love the work of Morrissey? Simply put, because his words, voice, and musical presence in my life could enrich a thousand more. Because I felt he understood, and still feel that way today.
“In my own strange way, I’ve always been true to you”.
Our thanks to Christopher for his contribution.
Listen to Do Me A Favour by Bleek Noir:
Read more from the Why I Love archive, here.