The Smiths have two enduring legacies. Their music is the first, of course, particularly their run of perfect early singles, a collection of gloomy, fragile, almost hilariously depressed bummer-pop songs. The second is their singer’s gloomy, fragile, almost hilariously depressed public image. So, what’s the least likely place to find Morrissey in the summer of 1984? How about frolicking in a park with a gaggle of excitable children?
We are so far away from the time and place this video was first produced that it now seems like a warped parody of itself, like a hip late-night comedy sketch from some obscure corner of cable TV or a surreal dream you had after spinning all your Smiths albums and drinking straight gin all night.
This clip is from ITV’s breakfast television franchise TVAM in Britain, presumably from 1984. It aired during their Saturday morning kid’s line-up, SPLAT. “Charlie’s Bus” was a recurring segment on the program. It allowed kids to interview and interact with various celebrities. On this particular day, a bunch of bemused pre-teens mixed it up with The Smiths, who they have clearly never heard of. And why would they have? They weren’t exactly a kid-friendly band. I mean there’s a song on their first album about notorious kid-killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, for chrissakes. But here we all are, on Charlie’s Bus on a sunny afternoon.
The kids want to know how The Smiths got their name. Johnny Marr explains that he wanted to call the band the Rolling Stones, but Morrissey thought that was too much of a mouthful.
Kid: “Where are we going?”
Morrissey: “We’re going mad.”
Kid: “I thought we were going to Kew Gardens.”
More after the jump…