Oh Morrissey

Sunday 18th September, 2016

In the middle of the night a spider crawled across my face – a blueprint of flower, a tear-star or ray-of-song crawled across the landscape of nose, freckle, eyebrow, lip – half way across I squashed it, felt its raw innards come apart over my check bone. I was only semi-awake. A dull-wrap-of-skin flayed, the juices glowed to me. I went straight back to sleep, fell deeply into a brine-pool, a bosom of plenitude. This morning I remember that tender little spider who got smeared between cosmos. It makes me shiver a little to think of an eight-legged creature sauntering across my face while in restfulness, maybe journeying up my nostril, or into my eardrum, or even into my mouth if it cracks open to expose a chasm of the dream world – when I ride across the milky way unencumbered by the weight of life.

When I first woke up this morning I saw another tiny warlock on the ceiling, flitter across the panelled wood roof, weaving in and out of slates, a fleck of shadow. It made me shiver a little. Then I recalled that I live in Amsterdam and my heart sank. It’s like I’m not sure if we made the right choice to move here. I feel so displaced. I have none of my stuff and no budget to create a lovely space. The children are struggling. I need to fully become myself and go ahead here. I love that story that Patti Smith tells in Just Kids about performing at Max’s Kansas City in New York and fully becoming herself on stage, probably while singing Rock N Roll Nigger – what a great song. I saw her perform it live in Melbourne. A call for the artists to challenge the status quo. Bob Dylan was in the audience at Max’s Kansas City and saw it all transpire. It’s a brave and liberating thing to fully become yourself in life. Patti’s book Just Kids is all about her journey to become an artist. Of course, she lived on the streets and in poverty before she achieved success as an artist. 

I listened to Russell Brand interviewing Morrissey on the radio the other day. On the program Morrissey gives an excellent definition of what an artist is: ‘Someone who is on a course and they’re unstoppable. They live and die by what they do. They cannot be moulded. They cannot be controlled. They cannot be directed.’ As soon as I heard his definition I instantly knew it to be a true definition, which I’ve abided by. I remember when I was about fifteen or so and I burst into the kitchen to tell my mother that I wanted to be an artist and she didn’t get it. She had no framework for understanding what an artist is and neither did I back then. We live in a society in mourning over lost creativity. It is a truly subversive act to become an artist and to continually choose to be one. To stick with it. It’s so hard, that is, if you’re truly committed to craftsmanship like I am, motivated, almost aesthetically disciplined about working. It goes against-the-grain of cultures expectations of the individual to desire success, that is, within the deranged framework of patriarchy. 

I realised over the course of the interview between Brand and Morrissey, in which they flirt incessantly, albeit quite endearingly, that I’ve finally become one of the Morrissey people. Not a fan. He doesn’t have fans. Rather, he has people who are for Morrissey. And apparently, he doesn’t perform. He appears. Maybe if I choose to appear as an artist on a daily basis I will potentially be radically protesting patriarchy. I will affectively be choosing to employ my imagination in the affirmative task of making, writing, becoming myself. After listening to the interview I couldn’t stop watching Morrissey performing with The Smiths on Top of the Pops. I think that Morrissey’s sexuality is profoundly transgressive and fluid. Morrissey – a self-described poet with absolutely no obligation to art whatsoever, just to himself, that is, to exist. To continuously appear as himself. Despite his nihilism. Despite his extraordinarily narrow-minded view of contemporary music. How wonderful that Morrissey exists. How subversive to choose to be a poet or an artist.