I’m a ridiculous fan girl about many things – Primal Scream, my amazingly talented chap, Mutti tomato products… But nothing makes me go weak at the knees as much as Mr Steven Patrick Morrissey. (Sorry chap.)
It’s a love affair that has lasted longer than any ‘real-life’ relationships.
I first discovered Sir Steven aged 13 at orchestra camp – it was the traditional end of week party, and Louder Than Bombs, interspliced with bits and pieces of Talking Heads and The Cure, was the soundtrack. I filched the home-dubbed tape at the end of the night (apologies, forgotten party host) – and my heart was Morrissey’s forever more.
He’s stuck by me through thick and thin ever since (literally – the above NME cover graced my wall for years). He helped me feel suitably miserable the first time my heart was broken. He gave me tips on wit and sarcasm so that I could lose friends under the influence at university parties. He provided the soundtrack for every solo car journey I’ve ever undertaken. (For some reason it’s always Morrissey I sing along to when the radio’s off. After all, some of those songs I’ve been singing more than half my life.)
I’ve seen him live three times. The first was the Kill Uncle tour in 1991, when a 16-year-old me flipped the bird to the ‘rents and ran away to Wellington for the weekend, c/o my then-boyfriend, my rusty old Hillman Imp and the Interislander. Or maybe he wasn’t my boyfriend by that point, I forget now – either way we argued a lot and there were four of us sharing a twin room so there was no opportunity for anything untoward (you can relax now, Mum).
I wish I could remember more, but shamefully I got so stoned before the concert (at the St James) that the only fragments I recall are the string quartet as the support act, pushing my way into to the front row, almost passing out due to not being able to take off my suede jacket in the crush, Morrissey lying on his back with a double bass between his legs, and finally emerging, blinking into the light, on Courtenay Place grasping a crushed daffodil and a small tatty piece of his shirt.
It was 11 years until I saw him again, at the Royal Albert Hall in London with another then-boyfriend, the Donkey (nicknamed for ass-like behaviour rather than anything else). Despite my mother’s lifelong complaints, the man could actually sing. My cheeks were moist – he was everything I’d dreamed and more.
The last time I saw him was at the Manchester Arena in 2004, on the occasion of his 45th birthday; this time with then-boyfriend the Frenchman. We had excellent seats, just above the stage – so close I could almost reach out and touch the man himself… I wish. But they were pretty good.
Close up, Morrissey was older, grey-er and stockier than I remembered, and unkind critics said he wouldn’t have been out of place at a workingmen’s club. But it was magic. The night started with support from Franz Ferdinand and finished with There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, and never paled once in between.
And that’s why I’ll never go to see him again. Nothing could top that. Now my heart is full.
[Morrissey rambling ends]