“The Smiths are sooooooo depressing!” said every naff twat you knew in the Eighties – which was millions upon millions. But, annoying as it was, every time you heard that lazy dismissal it confirmed something deeply, almost sexually satisfying: that most people simply didn’t deserve to be Smiths fans.” I wrote an essay for Rolling Stone celebrating the 30th anniversary of the demise of The Smiths, explaining why we’re really lucky that they split in 1987.
Mark Simpson on how George Michael was the missing, subversive gay link between Bowie and Beckham (Rolling Stone, 28/12/2016) Back in the early 1980s, I was one of those annoying ‘alternative’ 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 – […]
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.
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 […]
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 […]
‘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 […]