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The creepy fantasies that inspired John Fowles’ novel ‘The Collector’

Acollectorcoevrfowles.jpg
 
John Fowles was a 37-year-old school teacher when his first novel The Collector was published in 1963. Though Fowles had been writing for fifteen years completing two novels and an early draft of his second book The Magus, he considered himself “unpublishable.” Then he started work on an idea about a man who kidnaps a young art student and keeps her imprisoned in the basement of his home.  Fowles wrote the book in about a month, and thinking he had nothing to lose sent the manuscript off to his agent, Michael S. Howard who liked it and passed it on to the publishers Jonathan Cape. Tom Maschler at Cape thought The Collector a powerful and impressive debut, but was concerned that Fowles (who thought of himself a “serious writer”) may damage his reputation with such a lurid and disturbing tale. Fowles was adamant—he wanted the book published under his own name.

Anyone familiar with The Collector may have wondered what inspired Fowles’ grim tale. In a letter written to Maschler in July 1962, the author explained his sources in writing the novel:

...all this came from a newspaper incident of some years ago (there was a similar case in the North of England last year, by the way). But the whole idea of the woman-in-the-dungeon has interested me since I saw Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle, which was before the air-raid shelter case.

 
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Film poster for ‘The Collector’ starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, 1965.
 
The news story Fowles mentioned concerned “a man who had kidnapped a girl and imprisoned her for several weeks in an air-raid shelter at the bottom of his garden.”

While the musical reference Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle (1911) told the story of Duke Bluebeard who warns his new bride Judith not to open any of the seven doors in his castle. Impelled by curiosity, Judith opens each of the seven doors finding behind the first a torture chamber and behind the last, the ghosts of Bluebeard’s previous wives.
 
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Terence Stamp as butterfly collector Frederick Clegg.
 
However, there was far darker, more personal and disturbing inspiration for the novel, which Fowles explained in his journal entry for February 3rd, 1963:

The Collector. The three sources.

One. My lifelong fantasy of imprisoning a girl underground.

I think I must go back to early in my teens. I remember it used to be famous people Princess Margaret, various film stars. Of course, there was a sexual motive; the love-through-knowledge motive, or motif, has also been constant. The imprisoning in other words, has always been a forcing of my personality as well as my penis on the girl concerned.

Variations I can recall: the harem (several girls in one room, or in a row of rooms); the threat (this involves sharing a whip, but usually not flagellation—the idea of exerted tyranny, entering as executioner); the fellow-prisoner (this by far the commonest variation: the girl is captured and put naked into the underground room; I then have myself put in it, as if I am a fellow-prisoner, and so avoid her hostility).

Another common sexual fantasy is the selection board: I am given six hundred girls to choose fifty from and so on. These fantasies have long been exteriorized in my mind, of course; certainly I use the underground-room one far less since The Collector.

Two, the air-raid shelter incident.

Three, Bartok’s Bluebeard’s Castle.

 
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Samantha Eggar as art student Miranda Grey.
 
Fowles separated The Collector into three sections, where the captor (Frederick Clegg) and his prisoner (Miranda Grey) describe the events of the book. It begins with Clegg describing the subject of his obsession:

When she was home from her boarding-school I used to see her almost every day sometimes, because their house was right opposite the Town Hall Annexe. She and her younger sister used to go in and out a lot, often with young men, which of course I didn’t like, When I had a free moment from the files and ledgers I stood by the window and used to look down over the road over the frosting and sometimes I’d see her. In the evening I marked it in my observations diary, at first with X, and then when I knew her name with M. I saw her several times outside too. I stood right behind her once in queue at the public library down Crossfield Street. She didn’t look once at me, but I watched the back of her head and her hair in a long pigtail. It was very pale, silky, like burnet cocoons. All in one pigtail coming down almost to her waist, sometimes in front, sometimes at back. Sometimes she wore it up. Only once, before she came to be my guest here, did I have the privilege to see her with it loose, and it took my breath away it was so beautiful, like a mermaid.

 
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Clegg (Stamp) and Miranda (Egggar) in William Wyler’s film version of ‘The Collector.’
 
Fowles’ intention was not just to write a horror story, but to use the characters of Clegg and Miranda as conduits for his own analysis and critique of modern society, in particular his contempt for the lack of intellectual rigor in contemporary fiction—the Angry Young Men who had so forcefully invaded with John Osborne’s play Look Back in Anger—and for the failure of socialism to bring equality and change to Britain:

The plot of the novel was:

1. present a character who was inarticulate and nasty, as opposed to the “good” inarticulate hero, who seems to be top dog in post-war fiction and whose inarticulateness is presented as a kind of crowning glory.

2. present a character who is articulate and intelligent—the kind of young person I try to make Miranda Grey—and who is quite clearly a better person because she has a better education.

3. attack the money-minus-morality society (the affluent, the acquisitive) we have lived in since 1951.

On its publication, The Collector was a best-seller. The paperback rights were optioned for “probably the highest price that had hitherto been paid for a first novel”.  The film rights were sold and a movie starring Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar was made in Hollywood and London directed by William Wyler.
 

 
In 1984, The Smiths used a still of Terence Stamp as Clegg from The Collector on the cover of thier single “What Difference Does It Make?” As the actor had not given permission for the image to be used, the single was quickly reissued with Morrissey copying Stamp’s original pose—though a glass of milk had replaced the chloroform.
 
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Terence Stamp as Clegg on the cover of The Smiths single ‘What Difference Does It Make?’
 
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Morrissey as Clegg on the reissued single.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Pop Stardom is Murder: Early Smiths interview by Tony Wilson, 1985
04.28.2014
09:55 am

Topics:
Music
Television

Tags:
Morrissey
The Smiths
Tony Wilson


 
Tony Wilson was a multi-media Renaissance man, a co-founder of Factory Records, a TV reporter, journalist and host, and the man who helped make Manchester a city of cultural and musical importance during the seventies, eighties and nineties with such bands as Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, The Durutti Column and Happy Mondays. Wilson may have been Manchester’s “Mr. Music” but he was also known as the man who didn’t sign The Smiths.

Like all tales of regret and lost opportunity, there are multiple versions as to why Wilson didn’t sign “the ultimate Indie band,” and this is the one he gave to Ian Watson in 2003:

Watson: Did you ever try and sign The Smiths?

Wilson: “No. I was very close to The Smiths. I was very close to Morrissey. Morrissey was part of that little punk scene until 77 and there was a social whirl around a house called 35 Mayfield Road where Steven partially lived and where Linder lived, who was Howard Devoto’s girlfriend and also still today is Morrissey’s best friend. But I treated Steven, he was our genius writer. He was the speccy kid in the corner, the clever little swotty outsider boy, and very brilliant. My first contact with him was when he sent me as a schoolboy, a battered New York Dolls album sleeve and said ‘Dear Mr Wilson, why can’t there be more bands on television like this?’ so I knew him and I actually was encouraging his writing. He wrote a fantastic short play about eating toast and I think he gave it to me and I lost it.

“Then, at some point, whenever it was in 1980, he phoned me up and said would you come and see me. I drove out to King’s Road, Stretford, to his mum’s house, went to his bedroom upstairs and sat on the edge of the bed while he sat on the chair, surrounded by James Dean posters and he informed me that he’d decided to become a pop star. I sort of went ‘well Steven that’s very interesting’, and inside I was thinking ‘you must be fucking joking’. The least likely, you’re off your fucking head. Completely in my mind, absolutely, the least likely rock n roll star imaginable in the universe.

“So then obviously we were all part of a group of mutual friends and I can remember saying this same thing to Richard Boon, my mate who manages the Buzzcocks, and about four or five months later the two of us went to a gig in the Manhattan Club in Manchester. I think it was probably the Smiths’ first or second gig and as we walked out, I was blown away, it was fantastic, and he said ‘what do you think?’, and I said ‘I take it back completely, he’s amazing’.

“However, at that point in time Factory had gone through its wonder days of 78, 79 and we were now in late 1980 and into early 81. This is pre ‘Blue Monday’. We weren’t selling records, we were useless, we’d lost our plot and I was very depressed by the company. I had a band called Stockholm Monsters, I couldn’t sell Stockholm Monsters records and I thought fine and my honest approach was, I’m not going to saddle Steven with this pile of shit, with Factory when it’s shit. So I didn’t even pursue it. I said to him ‘I wouldn’t be any use to you’.

“That was my version of why I didn’t sign the Smiths. I know the Smiths have their version. Everyone has.”

Morrissey is not the kind of man to let a grievance go untended, and in his autobiography he relates how The Smiths had revenge on Wilson in 1986, when he asked the band to play on the bill of “Festival of the Tenth Summer” at the G-Mex in Manchester. This was a music festival to celebrate Manchester ten years after The Sex Pistols had played the city’s Lesser Free Trade Hall in June 1976. Having originally said “no” to playing the festival as the ticket prices were too high, Morrissey was swayed by a letter from Wilson urging The Smiths to take part, which they did.

In fact, the G-Mex event is a great day, and theatrician Wilson is at his best master of ceremonies scarf-flowing staginess. He calls everyone ‘dahling’, but it’s all a part of the public relations aspect of his showboat routine and not at all disingenuous. Before the Smiths go onstage, film-maker Derek Jarman is brought into the dressing room and is introduced. Johnny says ‘Hello,’ and then turns sideways to vomit. It is certainly a moment, but unfortunately it wasn’t caught on film.

Onstage, the Smiths are received as a life-giving source, and this begins to enrage Wilson so much that he flutters and fumes backstage, demanding to technicians that the Smiths’ power to be cut off. No backline crew will comply with Wilson, who is effectively gagged at his own festival. At the base of it all, general opinion assessed Wilson’s rage to be the blustering fury in realizing that the Smiths had meant more to the crowd than his nurtured proteges New Order. Suddenly Wilson’s divine right to be Mr. Manchester is scuppered, and he spends the remainder of his life with a Morrissey-Smiths wasting disease of the lower limbs, whilst oddly admitting that his big mistake in life was that he didn’t sign the Smiths to Factory.

Yes, well, there we go.

Back in the knife drawer, Miss Sharp.

Of course, history is always written by those who outlive their rivals, and Wilson sadly died in 2007, so we won’t hear his account of this supposed “blustering fury,” but so it goes.

Long before this, Wilson promoted as many bands as he was able through his show So It Goes and innumerable insert reports on Manchester’s evening news program. This then is Mr. Wilson dropping in on The Smiths as they rehearsed for a tour in 1985, during the week their second album Meat Is Murder went straight to number one in the UK album charts, and the band was voted “Group of the Year” in an NME poll. Wilson interviews drum & bass players Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke, before strumming a few questions with Johnny Marr, and then there’s a minor clash of egos with Morrissey, when Wilson asks him why he ever wanted to become a pop star in the first place?

Perhaps a similar question could have been asked of Mr. Wilson?
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Unknown Madonna opens for The Smiths, completely fails to impress them, New Year’s Eve, 1983
04.02.2014
05:29 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Smiths
Madonna


 
It was a clash of two future musical titans, New Year’s Eve, 1983 at New York’s legendary Danceteria.

Madonna, still the part-time coat-check girl at the nightclub, was chosen to open for, of all artists, The Smiths. This was the band’s first trip to the U.S. and they had just landed hours before. It was also on this trip that Morrissey worried about being thrown out of the band, and two days later Johnny Marr sweet-talked Sire Records’ Seymour Stein into buying him a new guitar: his iconic cherry red ‘59 Gibson ES-355.

smiths83
 
According to Marr, the jet-lagged band paid very little attention to the girl opening for them, and he personally didn’t think very highly of her. Of course, Morrissey has said a lot nastier things about her over the years.

Johnny Marr on the night Madonna opened for The Smiths:

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Derek Jarman’s videos for The Smiths and Pet Shop Boys
12.03.2013
09:57 am

Topics:
Movies
Music

Tags:
Derek Jarman
The Smiths
Pet Shop Boys

The Queen Is Dead
Still from ‘The Queen Is Dead’

I only recently learned that the singular British polymath artist Derek Jarman, director of Caravaggio, Blue, and Jubilee, directed a bunch of music videos in the 1980s, including several for The Smiths and Pet Shop Boys, which is a perfect fit when you think about it.

The Smiths, “Ask”

 
This 12-minute short movie, already tackled for DM by Paul Gallagher in 2012, is called The Queen Is Dead—basically it’s three videos strung together for the title track, “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,” and “Panic”:

 
Both of Jarman’s videos for Pet Shop Boys were for their second album, Actually
 
Pet Shop Boys, “It’s a Sin”

 
Pet Shop Boys, “Rent”

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’: The Smiths meet ‘First World Problems’


 
Youtuber Absolute Destiny created this hilarious montage of infomercials mixed with The Smiths’ “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want.”

Who knew this maudlin song was a paean to consumerism???
 

 
With thanks to Brian Braun!

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
While you wait for Morrissey’s ‘Autobiography,’ here’s The Smiths live, 1984
09.20.2013
10:03 am

Topics:
Books
Music

Tags:
Morrissey
The Smiths

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The recent Internet rumor that Morrissey: Autobiography was no longer to be published by Penguin Books (allegedly due to a “content disagreement”) has been finally quashed by the publishers, who claim the eagerly anticipated memoir will be published in the coming weeks. This has also been confirmed by the Morrissey fan site, True To You, which posted the following:

“The publication of Morrissey’s Autobiography remains with Penguin Books. This is a deal for the UK and Europe, but Morrissey has no contract with a publisher for the US or any other territory. As of 13 September, Morrissey and Penguin (UK) remain determined to publish within the next few weeks.”

So, it looks like American Morrissey fans may have to wait for a US publisher to pick up the rights. With the interest shown in this memoir, that shouldn’t take long.

Meanwhile, the former Smiths’ guitarist Johnny Marr, who released his debut solo album, The Messenger, in February of this year to overwhelmingly positive reviews, has been telling the press what he likes in music:

“...short, sharp, snappy songs with glamorous, sexy guitars and lyrics that sound like poetry that moves at the speed of light – that’s what rock or pop music should be about and it should come alive on the stage. Bands you can see and come away knowing they’ve put a lot into it. A lot of bands I saw when I was younger gave me that feeling of really wanting to be there. You feel like you’re having a unique experience with the band and they’re having a unique experience with you.

You’ll find a damn fine selection of short, sharp, snappy Smiths’ songs (all dressed up with poetry and guitars) on this classic edition of Rockpalast, from 1984. You’ll also note that the band repeat three of the set list as an encore—obviously they didn’t have enough songs back then—finishing on “Barbarism Begins At Home” which would feature on their 1985 album Meat is Murder.

Track listing

01. “Hand in Glove”
02. “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”
03. “Girl Afraid”
04. “This Charming Man”
05. “Pretty Girls Make Graves”
06. “Still ill”
07. “Barbarism Begins At Home”
08. “This Night Has Opened My Eyes”
09. “Miserable Lie”
10. “You’ve Got Everything Now”
11. “Handsome Devil”
12. “What Difference Does It Make”
13. “These Things Take Time”

Encore

14. “This Charming Man”
15. “Hand In Glove”
16. “Barbarism Begins At Home”

Johnny Marr tours the UK in October and the US October/November, details here.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
This Charming Charlie: The Smiths meet the Peanuts gang
08.14.2013
11:50 am

Topics:
Amusing
Music

Tags:
Morrissey
The Smiths
Peanuts
Charlie Brown


 
Finally, a website after my own, cold, cold heart… This Charming Charlie.

The Tumblr is by San Francisco-based graphic designer Lauren LoPrete.
 

 

 

 

 

 
Via Nerdcore

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
The Smiths: The last documentary made before they split-up in 1987
07.20.2013
04:46 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Morrissey
The Smiths
Johnny Marr


 
Originally made for The South Bank Show, this documentary on The Smiths was filmed just days before the band went their separate ways in 1987. It’s a fitting testament to one of the most talented and influential bands of the 1980s. The film contains interviews with Morrissey, Marr, and the other two, as well as assorted fans, John Peel, and rock journalist, Nick Kent, who declared The Smiths were “the first English pop group,” who would be as popular as The Beatles in ten-year’s time. He was right to a point. And even 26-years later, middle-aged fans sigh at the thought of The Smiths.

Me? I’m listening to Diana Ross.
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’: Johnny Marr explains how to write a classic song in one afternoon
06.18.2013
04:17 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Smiths
Johnny Marr


Johnny Fuckin’ Marr

Johnny Marr is the antithesis of a stereotypical hard rock or heavy metal guitarist. He is associated with unforgettable riffs but not endless guitar solos, whether as a solo artist, band member in The Smiths, The The, or Electronic, or as a session player for The Pet Shop Boys, Billy Bragg, Bryan Ferry or Modest Mouse.

Johnny was not camp and didn’t thrash around on stage like an attention whore but he was often quietly the center of attention anyway, regardless of what Morrissey was doing. Not only was he an amazing, awe-inspiring, seemingly effortless player, he always dressed stylishly.

It’s hard to sum up his style without using descriptors like “elegant” and “jangly” and “English.” His playing is similar to The Pretenders’ late, great James Honeyman-Scott’s and Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera, with maybe some Johnny Thunders thrown in. His eclectic influences include, among others, T. Rex, Motown, Nile Rodgers, Bert Jansch, Rory Gallagher, and The Stooges’ James Williamson. He told Pitchfork:

I was pretty young when I bought my first record — nine, I think. I got “Jeepster” by T.Rex on a 45rpm 7”. It was a cool start and the band were my first love, but the truth is I got it because the label had a great photo of Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn on it, so I was snagged by that. I was really into the pop singles of the day, which were all the U.K. glam stuff: Roxy Music, Bowie, the Sweet, everything…

I got into Raw Power by Iggy and the Stooges because a friend of mine who was a little older, Billy Duffy, now of the Cult, heard me playing a riff I’d written, and he kept saying that it sounded like James Williamson from the Stooges, who I had never heard. There were quite a few guys in my neighborhood who played guitar and hung out together, sort of competitive, but a very healthy scene. I was one of about five or six teenage boys, and we all had our own thing. One guy was really into Neil Young, another was into Nils Lofgren, another Pete Townshend and [Free’s] Paul Kossoff, and I was into Rory Gallagher, and then I discovered Johnny Thunders in a big way.

Marr used to appear to dislike doing interviews. I remember two dullard American journalists for Creem and Spin who just did not get Morrissey and Marr’s Mancunian sarcasm and humor. Marr would wear cool sunglasses and fabulous threads and let Morrissey do most of the talking, creating an aura of mysteriousness as well as Jimmy Page ever did. But these days, especially promoting his excellent first solo album The Messenger (the one we’ve waited for for a few decades) he is wonderfully open and chatty.
 

 
Above, NME’s 2013 Godlike Genius Award winner Johnny Marr recently told NME about the guitar he conned Sire Records’s head honcho Seymour Stein into buying for him in New York—a cherry red Gibson ES-355—and how he wrote The Smiths classics “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” and “Girl Afraid” on it in a single afternoon:
 

 
Bonus clip: Johnny Marr makes a cameo appearance on ‘Portlandia’

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Charles Dickens does Morrissey

Charles Dickens
Uncanny, eh?

Children’s television can be absolutely unbearable if you’re not actually a child. Luckily, the smart shows know this and throw you a bone every once in a while.

The BBC’s Horrible Histories recently decided to teach the kiddies about the life of Charles Dickens with a decidedly Smiths-vibe, and it’s an eerily accurate impression. Despite his reputation for being a bit humorless, I hope Moz would get a kick out of this one—I mean, it’s totally funny, and it’s for the kids!
 

 
Via Slate

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
The Smiths debut TV interview: Morrissey predicts the death of the music video in 1984
05.27.2013
06:22 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Morrissey
The Smiths

Moz sunbathing
Who sunbathes in socks? Morrissey sunbathes in socks. He is immune to tanlines because his body rejects sunlight

Screaming over what sounds like a soundcheck in the background, Moz and his interviewer do their darndest to get through the spot without completely losing composure. He may have jumped the gun foretelling the end of music videos (and thank heavens, since they provided some truly wonderful examples of his weird dancing), but you have to admire that moody Mancunian’s trademark negativity!
 

 

 

 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Heaven Knows He Was Miserable Then: Morrissey’s first postcard to a pen-pal from 1980

morrissey_penpal_1980
 
This is Morrissey’s first correspondence to his Scottish pen-pal Robert Mackie, from 1980.

21-year-old Morrissey was writing in response to a personal ad placed in Sounds magazine, and his message, written on the back of a postcard featuring a picture of James Dean reads:

Steven Morrissey
384- Kings Rd
STRETFORD
Manchester- M32 8GW

Dear Person,

So nice to know there’s another soul out there, even if it is in Glasgow.

Does being Scottish bother you? Manchester is a lovely little place, if you happen to be a bedridden deaf mute.

I’m unhappy, hope you’re unhappy too.

In poverty,

Steven

Morrissey and Mackie remained pen-pals for 18 months, shortly before the formation of The Smiths in 1983.
 
morrissey_letter_of_note_1980
 
With thanks to Letter of Note
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
‘The Queen Is Dead’: Derek Jarman’s film for The Smiths, from 1986

Jarman_Smiths_Queen_Dead
 
As Britain prepares for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations for Her Majesty, here is The Queen is Dead - Derek Jarman’s Super 8 film triptych (made in collaboration John Maybury, Richard Heslop and Chis Hughes) for 3 classic tracks by The Smiths: “The Queen is Dead,” “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” and “Panic.”

Inner city angst, urban decay, alienation, cute hairstyles, and lots of hand held camera work, well it was the eighties.
 

 
With thanks to Neil McDonald
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
This Night Has Opened My Eyes: Early Smiths concert, 1983
04.24.2012
08:38 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Smiths


 
Jump into a time machine and watch the Smiths performing “Handsome Devil,” “Still Ill,” “This Charming Man,” “Pretty Girls Make Graves,” “Reel Around The Fountain,” “What Difference Does It Make,” “Miserable Lie,” “This Night Has Opened My Eyes,” “Hand In Glove,” “These Things Take Time” and “You’ve Got Everything Now” during a pro-shot show at the Assembly Rooms, Derby, December 6, 1983. This was before their first album was released.

From Passions Just Like Mine:

This concert is usually misdated as having taken place on the 7th of December. Tickets were free, John Peel announced
the ticket giveaway on his show. It was a very wild gig, the crowd was very energetic and constantly shouting requests.
It all ended in chaos (read further). “Back To The Old House” was also on the setlist but it seems like it was not played .

After shushing the audience, “Pretty Girls Make Graves” was introduced by Morrissey with the words “A little quirk…
a little quirk friends… pretty girls make!” During “Reel Around The Fountain” he handed one of the bead necklaces he was
wearing to someone in the crowd. He changed a line in “What Difference Does It Make?” to “I think i can rely on me.”

At some point during “Miserable Lie” Morrissey was hit in the eye by a flower, dropped his microphone to the floor and left
the stage. The band finished the song mostly as an instrumental. Morrissey returned to the stage on time for the ending of
“I need advice, I need advice”, adding at the end “and so do you!” for the rowdy audience. He remained playful following
this, but Johnny Marr later said in an interview that this was his most embarrassing moment. Actually in the 1985 programme
for the Meat Is Murder tour, he said this concert was his ‘greatest embarrassment’.

Following the latter number, song requests were shouted by fans and Morrissey shushed them again and shouted “No! This!”
He changed a few lines in “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” to “this night has opened my eyes and I will never see again”,
“The dream has gone, the crying is real” and “And I’m never happy and I’m never sad”. “Hand In Glove” was introduced by
Morrissey with a high pitched shout of “Hand In Glove!!!” During that song someone made it on stage and hugged Morrissey,
making him miss a few lines. After “These Things Take Time”, Morrissey just shouted “Goodbye! Stay handsome… goodbye…”
and the band left.

The band was soon welcomed back with a big collective cheer. They launched into “You’ve Got Everything Now” but it wasn’t
long before the stage became crowded with fans. Band members disappeared from view and Morrissey could barely sing his lines.
He tried as best he could but made strangling noises as he was pulled left and right and tried not to get drowned in a sea
of dancing people. The stage got filled with as many fans as was physically possible. It was one of the Smiths’ first major
stage invasions (including a small child!).

This concert was recorded for The Old Grey Whistle Test and first broadcast the following Friday and Saturday. Some later
rebroadcasts were shortened to seven songs, leaving out amongst others the near-instrumental “Miserable Lie”.

As one of the YouTubers commented:

“They should make a hologram of THESE guys”

If you want to see The Smiths in their prime, absolutely killing it in front of an adoring audience, press play now. Easy to find in DVD quality via the various torrent trackers.
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The Sex Pistols: ‘I Swear I Was There - The Gig that Changed the World’

sex_pistols_manchester_1976
 
It’s been described as one of the most important gigs of all time, one that saw hundreds, even thousands of people claim they were there. In truth only around 30-40 people saw The Sex Pistols perform at the Manchester’s Lesser Free Trade Hall on June 4, 1976. But of those who did, most went onto form a generation of legendary bands - The Fall, The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Smiths.

Also, allegedly in the audience were such future ambassadors of taste as Anthony H. Wilson, who would co-found Factory Records and the Hacienda nightclub, and nascent journalist/writer Paul Morley.

Culturally, it was an event akin to the storming of the Bastille, for it unleashed a revolution.

I Swear I Was There tells the story of that now legendary night, and talks to the people whose lives were changed by The Sex Pistols.
 

 
With thanks to Graham Tarling!
 

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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