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Author Topic: The Smiths
Anchoress
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4650

posted 22 April 2005 01:43 AM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
The Wizard of Moz

quote:
On one of the more recent rainy days in Manchester, a mixture of academics and civilians congregated in the atrium of a white-walled building at the Metropolitan University. From a distance this could have been a crowd at any academic conference, but a telling clue came from the state of the men’s hair. Amongst the styles were a suspicious number of quiffs in various states of elevation. (A quick definition: a quiff is “a man’s prominent forelock, worn elevated.” Quaff means drinking; quiff means hair like Elvis.)

quote:
The crowd in the atrium had gathered from universities in Norway, Portugal and Germany to discuss the literary and cultural significance of the Smiths. The name chosen for this first-ever academic conference to focus on their music and lyrics was a Smiths’ lyric, “Why Pamper Life’s Complexities?” Over the next day and a half there would be discussions of “The Smiths, Manchester and Identity”; “Subjectivity, Suicide and the Smiths”; “The Smiths, Morrissey and Sexual Dialogics.” Ellen Gorman, from George Mason University in Virginia, arrived to talk about the images on Smiths album covers. Amanda Graham came from Oxford to deliver a paper on how the music of the Smiths worked as an inside joke for its fans. There was even a paper entitled, simply, “Does the Body Rule the Mind or Does the Mind Rule the Body? I Dunno.”

quote:
The question for the conference was: what made these Smiths fans tick? During his paper entitled “Last Night They Dreamt That Somebody Loved Them: Fans of the Smiths during the late 1980s,” a lecturer named Karl Maton, from Keele University, attempted to delve into the mind of the Smiths lover. First, he would have to come clean about himself. He projected a photograph on the overhead screen that showed a young man with a dazzlingly high forelock.

“This handsome devil,” said Maton, “is me circa 1990. And yes, aficionados will notice the quiff and the glasses. And yes, that is Oscar Wilde’s grave in Paris in the background.” There was a pause. “And yes, those are flowers that I’ve strewn over the grave.”

Years ago, when he was researching his undergraduate dissertation on the Smiths, Maton placed an advertisement in New Musical Express asking for the experiences of fellow Smiths fans. Bundles of replies came in from the U.K., the U.S., Asia. There were essays, fanzines, poetry. The common theme was that Smiths fans “expressed themselves less as a community and more as individuals who enjoyed a singular relationship with, above all, Morrissey.”

“It’s like having an invisible friend,” one fan wrote. “You know he’s there, but you can’t see him.”

There were murmurs of what sounded like recognition from the audience.

In the main lecture hall, keynote speaker Professor Sheila Whitely of the University of Salford ended her address entitled “This Charming Man” with the simple last line: “All I can say is, Morrissey, I love you and thank you very much.”

After the applause died down, the Q&A started, and quickly settled on the topic of Morrissey. The audience members began to explore their own intricate relationships with the Quiffed One. Was he sexy? Did anyone want to sleep with him?

“You desire him because you can’t have him,” offered one woman.

“Well, he is very aesthetically beautiful,” said another woman. “He’s good looking. But you’d rather have a cup of tea with him than a snog, wouldn’t you?”

A murmur of approval rose up.

“He’s like Jesus,” said another woman. “I don’t want to shag him. I mean, would anyone want to go to bed with Jesus?”


quote:
Steve looked tall and gangly with his Meat is Murder T-shirt under his suit jacket. His fandom was definitely major league. “If I’m not in the premiership of being a fan of the Smiths,” he explained in between mouthfuls of bread, “I’m definitely in the first division. But I came late to them. I wasn’t listening to the Smiths in my teen angst times. You know what I was listening to? Billy Joel.”

“Really?” asked Tony.

“The Stranger is a good album,” I offered.

“OK, sure. He’s got some good lyrics but you really shouldn’t spend your teen angst years listening to Billy Joel, should you?”



From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
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Babbler # 4791

posted 22 April 2005 01:56 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Over analysing music can kill all the fun of listening to it.
From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Anchoress
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Babbler # 4650

posted 22 April 2005 01:57 AM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I don't think they're overanalysing music. They might be overanalysing musicians.

Edited to add: And I personally don't think overanalysing music can kill the enjoyment of listening to it; listening to people overanalysing music can kill the enjoyment of listening to it.

[ 22 April 2005: Message edited by: Anchoress ]


From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
beluga2
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Babbler # 3838

posted 22 April 2005 02:01 AM      Profile for beluga2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Don't they know the proper setting for Smiths-listening is moping alone in your bedroom?

I'm proud to say that both my "quiff" and my Meat Is Murder T-shirt are still intact after all these years. (Though in my defense, my hair does that naturally all by itself.)

When your teenage music becomes the subject of academic dissertations, are you officially old?


From: vancouvergrad, BCSSR | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Amy
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Babbler # 2210

posted 22 April 2005 02:11 AM      Profile for Amy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I had to do a project on RiotGrrl punk when I was 18 and there was a fair bit of peer reviewed literature on it, so I'd have to say no, even if that question was tongue-in-cheek.

This is definitly something I've got to forward to a few of my friends, though. Like Jesus? Morrissey is like Jesus?


From: the whole town erupts and/ bursts into flame | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Surferosad
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4791

posted 22 April 2005 02:19 AM      Profile for Surferosad   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Anchoress:
I don't think they're overanalysing music. They might be overanalysing musicians.

Edited to add: And I personally don't think overanalysing music can kill the enjoyment of listening to it; listening to people overanalysing music can kill the enjoyment of listening to it.

[ 22 April 2005: Message edited by: Anchoress ]


(Nods in silent agreement)


From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Anchoress
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4650

posted 22 April 2005 02:26 AM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Surferosad:
(Nods in silent agreement)


From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
Anchoress
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 4650

posted 22 April 2005 02:41 AM      Profile for Anchoress     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
quote:
Originally posted by Amy:
I had to do a project on RiotGrrl punk when I was 18 and there was a fair bit of peer reviewed literature on it, so I'd have to say no, even if that question was tongue-in-cheek.

You mean the question about sleeping with Jesus? I don't know, get some nice candles going, break out the Absorbshun...


From: Vancouver babblers' meetup July 9 @ Cafe Deux Soleil! | Registered: Nov 2003  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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Babbler # 2

posted 22 April 2005 10:44 AM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
This is happening here.
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged

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