05/21/2004: "The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores"
Driving into work today the public radio station here played a little homage to Morrissey in celebration of his new CD, You are the quarry and I felt like I was catapulted back in time.
I first heard The Smiths when I was 18 years old. I was a dorky kid from a little town in Nebraska with only a country radio station, transported to an AP summer arts program at Skidmore College in swanky Saratoga Springs New York. There I met people who seemed like rock stars themselves...most of them rich, some International students...I was a relatively poor student there on a full ride scholarship and a bit of a novelty so people seemed to like me right away; they'd take me on forages into NYC where I was treated to things like cab rides (thrilling) and lunches in exotic foreign cafes as well as shopping trips to Macy's and Bergdorf Goodman's. It felt like being in a movie.
I met a fellow art student at Skidmore named Matt Benison who was wearing a t-shirt that looked like it had a self-portrait on the front. He told me it was this amazing musician from Manchester England who sang for a group called The Smiths. After that we spent hours upon hours listening to them in his room or in the painting studio.
I had the BIGGEST crush on this guy; he was the first (of many) guys I fell for who turned out later to be gay (I'm cursed that way). But the music, ah, the music was like nothing I had ever heard before, and I think I fell even harder for it. Matt had an excellent music collection, full of other bands part of the "Manchester Sound" as well as groups like They Might Be Giants, Butthole Surfers, The Cure, Psychedelic Furs, Cult...Peace Dog is still one of my favorite songs:
Oh, peace is a dirty word
She used to be a painted bird, yeah
And war, she’s a whore
Don’t you know we love her more and more? yeah
Anyway, Morrissey and the Smith's seemed to voice everything I was feeling in my life at the time (and still does to an extent)...
Last night I dreamt
Somebody loved me
No hope no harm,
Just another false alarm...
I think sometimes when you get older and you hear music you used to be into when you were younger it's a little embarrassing, but I don't feel that way at all about The Smiths. I still have all of their music and Morrissey's solo stuff too; I'm going to buy this new CD as well, just the song titles alone have me intrigued:
1. America Is Not The World
2. Irish Blood, English Heart
3. I Have Forgiven Jesus
4. Come Back To Camden
5. I'm Not Sorry
6. The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores
7. How Could Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel
8. First Of The Gang To Die
9. Let Me Kiss You
10. All The Lazy Dykes
11. I Like You
12. You Know I Couldn't Last
It's Hard To Walk Tall When You're Small
Munich Air Disaster 1958
The Never Played Symphonies
I saw Morrissey on CNN a week or so ago and I was shocked by how old he looked, and the fact he was living in Southern California...it just seemed so...wrong. He was frozen in time in my mind in his early 20s, sad and brooding somewhere rainy... But in the end it's his music that is the important thing, and to me it still sounds fantastic.