I’m not a child, I understand that writers don’t wait for inspiration. They write. However, in the last several weeks, I’ve been undisciplined and lazy, spending too much time watching tv and feeling like I must have some kind of disease or disorder. (I wonder if there is some kind of causality (or at the very least, a connection between the 2…))
So. Today I will write. And it feels very good, like an ice bath or batting practice.
I heard ‘Suedehead’ for the first time in my sister’s car when I was 14 years old, an insecure, depressed misfit without a clue, and when I did, a crack appeared in the darkness and a seismic heart-shift occurred. For the first time in a long time, something made sense. The space around me felt safe and warm, like I was home, that I belonged somewhere (even if it was imagined in a voice on a cassette tape.)
All of my spare time was focused on him, searching out old albums, books, interviews, bootlegs, b-sides, videos, live recordings, anything I could get my hands on. There was a week where I agonized over a decision to drop over $90 I didn’t really have on the cd single for ‘Suedehead’ because it had a track I hadn’t heard and couldn’t find elsewhere: ‘I Know Very Well How I Got My Name.’ I didn’t do it, but if I had, the song was absolutely worth it.
I’m now 43 years old and don’t feel quite the same way – is it even possible to feel as deeply about art as an adult as we did as teenagers? I still circle release dates on calendars, still love awesome things with an irrational love, still think Morrissey is THE GREATEST.
A new covers album called California Son comes out next month and I will not be buying it. Sure, there will be moments where I put it in a virtual shopping cart and listen to segments on iTunes and entire tracks on YouTube, but I will stand strong.
As you know, there is a disgusting practice in pop culture (following the slimy trail of technology companies) re-releasing “special editions” with “extra tracks” or “all new material.” Books are re-packaged, sometimes with new titles, always new covers, and a fresh chapter or 2. Albums are called “Deluxe” have live, acoustic and/or demo versions. Films have a “Director’s Cut” or “Bonus footage.” These things are all designed to fleece those suckers who have already bought inferior versions and have to upgrade. It is now high art, this method of separating us from our money.
Morrissey used to write songs of disdain about this very thing! (See Paint A Vulgar Picture, and Get Off The Stage) As he himself said, “Oh, the sickening greed.”
I have countless copies of the same album. I am the target market. It only recently stopped, with the Low In High School deluxe edition (a sub-par offering, as originally released, but I still would love to hear the tacked-on, what-I-would-assume-to-be filler…maybe someday…)
So. I suppose this is my small revolution, my insignificant rage against this sleazy machine. I want all Morrissey albums to sell a gazillion copies, all radio stations to play nothing but old Smiths records, but I can’t do it anymore. I am trying to, as the Bible says, no longer “conform to the pattern of the world,” especially when those patterns make me feel like an utter imbecile. This is a toxic relationship, I can see that now. So this is goodbye. It’s not you, it’s m… No, no, wait, it IS you. “But you could have said no, if you wanted to. You could have walked away, couldn’t you?”