The Straightness of George Michael

Back in the early 1980s, I was one of those annoying “alternative” British teens who, when pressed, would admit they quite liked “Wham Rap!,” which extolled the freedoms of unemployment (“I’m a soul boy! – I’m a dole boy!”), and acknowledged he was “really talented,” but essentially dismissed George Michael as “too commercial.” Which in the inverted snobbery of the era essentially meant “uncool.” And also – you may find this rather difficult to believe – “too straight.” Me on the straightness – and subversive […]

The Queen is Dead – but not buried.

So I checked the register of historical facts, and was shocked and ashamed to discover The Queen is Dead was released thirty years ago. To commemorate/commiserate three whole decades of vicars in tutus and boys with thorns in their sides – though we’re still waiting on Charles appearing in his mother’s bridal veil – the Kindle edition of my ‘psycho-bio’ Saint Morrissey is available  to download for the next couple of days from Amazon US/UK for just 99 cents/pence.

1983: The High Summer of (Synth-)Pop

From the gender-bending of Eurythmics, Culture Club & Marilyn, to the propulsive synthpop of Depeche Mode, New Order, & the Human League, 1983 was, argues Mark Simpson, a high-water mark for pop experimentation. (Originally appeared on Out.com, 18 Feb, 2014) IN 1983, THE YEAR THAT MCDONALD’s introduced the Chicken McNugget and the second Cold War was at its height, the world very nearly ended when huge NATO exercises were mistaken by an extremely jittery USSR for preparations for a nuclear first strike. More ominously still, compact […]

Dear Hero in Prison – Quotes From Morrissey’s Autobiography

Well, I’ve read that book. You know, the fastest-selling music biography ever. And while it would be hideously indecorous of me to review it – especially since Morrissey was kind enough not to mention my biography of him – I will say this: It certainly didn’t disappoint. In lieu of a review, here are some especially cherished lines. Because of course, everything that he says rings true-oh-oh-oh. On his hometown …we live in forgotten Victorian knife-plunging Manchester, where everything lies wherever it was left over one […]

Will Morrissey Have The Last Laugh – Again?

 ‘Has any book in recent memory not actually about wizards provoked so much interest?’ Mark Simpson on the most eagerly-anticipated music biography ever. C4 News, 14 October, 2013 MORRISSEY HAS ALWAYS enjoyed the last laugh. His entire career has been based on it. Back in the 1980s, when he was in his pomp as the pompadoured front man of The Smiths – and loudly rejecting everything the 1980s stood for – Morrissey was asked if he thought that success was a form of revenge. “Absolutely and […]

Polymorphous Perversity & One Direction Fandom

Fame, fame, fatal fame. It can play hideous tricks on the brain. Last week C4 aired Crazy About One Direction a documentary about ‘Directioners’, febrile fans of the globally – some would say criminally – successful reality TV assembled UK boy band One Direction, or ‘1D’ if you’re typing with your thumbs. They were all teenage girls. Now, I’m sure there are male Directioners out there (and that would make for an interesting doc in itself), but I reckon many of them would turn out […]