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Morrissey - Our Collective Moral Barometer

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MORRISSEY
PA

Oh dear. Being a Morrissey fan these days isn't easy. What with his comments about the Norwegian massacre and KFC, his pithy views on the Chinese, and now suing the NME for libel three years after the offending article was published, it is becoming a rather heavy cross to bear.

But Morrissey is for life, not just for Christmas. I liken being a Moz fan to finding yourself in an intense relationship with someone you totally fancy and adore, but who is just a teeny bit embarrassing when you take them down the pub to meet your mates. You don't stop loving them, but every time you go out together you say a silent prayer hoping they won't do or say anything too weird.

I've been a Smiths and Morrissey devotee for nearly 25 years; long term fandom is a strange and wonderful thing. Attend any Morrissey concert and you'll see a fine collection of forty somethings with sparse quiffs and beer bellies - and that's just the women. While each concert is, by nature, a collective experience, Morrissey has the unique ability to appear to sing his lyrics of longing to each person individually. This creates a heady atmosphere of undying loyalty and obsessiveness. Dare any Moz fan challenge his comments or advise him to avoid High Court judges?

Some may label Morrissey as a racist, a radical animal rights activist; a miserablist. I see Morrissey as a soothsayer, a rabble rouser, and an uncomfortable but entirely necessary thorn in our sides. I also think he has a devastating sense of humour. Morrissey is someone who makes upsetting, sometimes vile and often insightful observations, then "forgets" he's a global superstar and that the media just might pick up on what he says. Bigmouth strikes again... and again... and again.

We like our pop stars clean, shiny and shrink wrapped; no controversy, no commotion, just pure fluffy fun. Which is fine if you are a tweeniebopper, or on an alcopop binge drinking session at a student disco. But what about the rest of us? There's little hope - we've been culturally victimised by Pop Idol and X Factor. Why should pop stars make a fuss or express an opinion that fans may disagree with when it may affect record sales? If Simon Cowell is your boss, you best keep your mouth shut unless you're singing.

We need people like Morrissey to force us into thinking what we really believe. He is on the vanguard of issues that are affecting the nation: the rise of China as a global superpower and how that will impact the UK; Immigration; Our waistline increasing "fast food" culture.

Morrissey is our collective moral barometer. You may not agree with what he has to say- or the way he says it- but he is pushing the boundaries of public discourse in a direction no one else dares. If you don't like it, then go and download the new Steps album. I've heard it's the perfect filler for an empty mind.

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