Morrissey meeting with Gal Uchovsky in Berlin Ritz Carlton, late-February 2020

https://www.mako.co.il/music-Magazine/one-album-per-week/Article-3e97c7db5827171026.htm

Description of an encounter that Gal Uchovsky {Israeli screenwriter Etc,} had with Morrissey back in February, in the Berlin Ritz Carlton bar.

As seen through the mouth of Google Translate, so blame 'it' for any weirdness...

"Don't Pay Me": Gal Uchovsky recalls his memorable meeting with Morrissey

Here is a story: About a month and a half ago, I went to the big annual Berlin Film Festival (20th Feb – 1st March). It looked like a thousand years ago now, but it was not too long ago, just before the Corona was completely out of control, so we were wearing masks to take care of the flight - but that's about it.

I stayed at the Ritz Carlton Hotel which is really close to the center of the festival and serves as a meeting place for filmmakers and industrialists from all over the world. This hotel, although very worth it, rarely hosts famous movie stars, but in general the Berlin Festival has been a "half-power" for many years in the matter of glamour.

On my first morning, on my way to breakfast, I get in the elevator and in front of me stands an older English man who looks like someone. He wore a beautiful wool coat and hid under his hat. From the side, he seemed a little familiar to me, but he obviously didn't deserve eye contact, so I wasn't staring.

When we reached the ground floor, I made an elegant gesture with my hand and signaled him to come out in front of me. He made quick strides toward the concierge, and I paused for a peek at the festival newspaper. When I looked up, I almost caught my breath: the man from the elevator was talking to the receptionists, and it was Morrissey. He did not turn.

I moved quickly towards him. I gently patted him on the shoulder and turned to him: "Morrissey, hello, what are you doing here?"

- "Did you come to the festival?", I asked.

- "No, I didn't even know the festival was happening right now. What are you doing here? Did you come up with a new movie?"

- "No. I came for business ... Wait, if not here for festival then what are your plans?"

- "I do not have".

- "Really?”

- "Yes. I'll go out and about ...".

- "Wait, so maybe we'll do something together? How about?"

"Happy," he answered.

Now, let's explain the situation. Morrissey is my youth idol. He’s that man who, when we were both in our mid-20s, broke into my life and turned it around. He's the one who sings heartbreaking love songs about men and loneliness I knew personally, actually I know to this day.

As Smith's provocative vocalist, he became a huge star all over the world; to me he was simply God. The first important gay in English rock - even if he never agreed to take on this role. But with lines like "15 minutes with you, I wouldn’t say know. You can pin and mount me like a butterfly" - at 25, I was convinced that this was artistic perfection in its embodiment.

The Smiths fell apart after four and a half albums, two collections with extras and a live album. The whole business lasted five years. Morrissey retired for a solo career that started off well, and has been inconsistent ever since, even though, as far as I'm concerned, I can defend almost every song he has recorded in his life. He has released albums consistently, appears all the time and on stage there is nothing like him. At the same time, he also got involved with the English press in statements that seemed right-wing, nationalist and sometimes racist. He moved around the world, lived a lot in Los Angeles, but kept a large and very loyal fan base. It seems to me that someone who still loves him, especially the older ones, is really torn by him. Does Billy Eilish even know who this is? I'm not sure.

I always dreamed of meeting him, and our first meeting was in London, about a decade ago. Morrissey saw the movie "A Late Wedding" in the early 2000s and turned up there on Lior Ashkenazi. This led him to the movie "Walk on the Water" and the other Eytan (Fox) and mine films - thus creating a bond between us.

Before his first appearance in Israel, he said that he would only agree to an interview if Lior was present, and so we traveled together from Yedioth Ahronoth to meet him and sat with him for a long time. He was less interested in answering my questions and more in asking Lior questions. At night we went to his show and were even invited backstage where we messed with Chrissie Hinde and Russell Brand, as well as his Mother and nephews. Next to them, he suddenly looked completely ordinary.

After the visit to Israel we wrote a little more, but he is someone who changes addresses every month, and is generally a very elusive type. In both his poems and interviews, he always introduced himself as a lonely man, without a regular partner, without love, without real friends. In short, when he said "happily" in the middle of the Berlin lobby, I realized he really didn't mean it and had to check a little.

- "Wait, how will we meet? Do you have a cellphone?", I asked.

- "God forbid."

- "So how do we keep in touch?"

- "What is your room number?”

- "422, and yours?”

- "1212"

- "Great. So leave me a message? Will I leave you?"

- "Yeah something like that"

I held back for a whole day and the next morning I tried to call him. The call center politely explained that calls cannot be forwarded to "Suite 1212. This is our large suite. Prohibited." At the reception, too, they would not accept a message claiming that 1212 messages could not be forwarded. "The guest disagrees. Neither notes nor letter."

In the meantime, my work meetings started and I decided to treat everything as an amusing episode. Something like that, which is unclear if it ever happened, but every time I walked through the lobby I made a small turn to see if it happened to be there. I quickly realized that this was it - a half-session - and that's how four days went by.

On my last day in Berlin, I returned from lunch and passed by the bar to go off duty. Suddenly I catch him sitting at a small table in the corner and drinking vodka. Our eyes intersected so I went over. "Can I join the drink?” I asked. "Sure, sure, sit down," he replied. I took a breath without feeling it I sat down. I ordered a glass of wine, and he ordered himself another double dose of vodka with a tonic, and that's how we started three hours of the most excitement I've ever had.

Suddenly, in mid-life and surprisingly, you're sitting with someone you've been admiring for decades, someone you've mastered in his work and every detail of his life, and just like that talking to him in the middle of a Berlin hotel bar. And not just talking - a heart-to-heart conversation. So you can ask whatever you want, and I have 1,000 questions in my mind that I want to ask. But I didn't want to be a snooze - so first of all I calmed down.

When I tried to figure out what he was doing in Berlin, he said that in 2007, he sold the last house he had, and has lived in hotels ever since. He travels the world with four large suitcases, one of which is also a small studio. The rest of his stuff is stored. Moving from place to place, sometimes for a period of time and sometimes a few days. He recently spent a month in Paris, and in Berlin he came to rest before the English tour to accompany the new album (and of course now canceled of course).


He has been to Tel Aviv three times and he loves us a lot (he is also a little scared of Muslims, which is not pleasant to find out), and in his most recent album there is even a song about a girl from Tel Aviv, and a song simply called "Israel" and has the sentence: "They are all also jealous of you, love yourself, you deserve it.” I do not know if he really has no home, but in any case I pleaded with him that if this is the case, he will come a month to Tel Aviv and I promised him that he will have fun here, and no one will bother him. Oh, some Israeli on my part.

You probably ask yourself now what we were talking about, and since I didn't record anything, it all comes from memory, and the conversation itself went in many circles too: He said his mother's beloved cat had just passed away at 18 and that made the whole family sad. He also complained about the media in England and the media in general, saying he didn't really know who needed another new album from him, but that he would continue to write songs and record, because that was the thing he loved most in the world - that and singing.

For example, we talked about David Bowie, who we both grew up with and shaped our consciousness. Morrissey said they spoke only a few times in life, short conversations over the phone, and that they always had a talk about money: "You will do so and so, and earn so and so," and never talk about art. He also said that Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys always talks about him badly and slanders him, and it's unclear why. When I tried to figure out if he had a spouse or love, he claimed he never had a real partner. Then, as a sophisticated fan, I explained to him that he couldn't lie to me because there are songs that prove the opposite.

I mentioned to him a song from 15 years ago called "Dear God, Please Help Me," in which he explains that he goes in search of love on the streets of Rome, and all that. "Ahh," he recalls, "yeah right. There was a guy there. I met him on a flight to Rome, with his partner, and it will be a two-year affair." That's how he told me, a mysterious smile, and I realized I wouldn't really get any answers. Whatever, I didn't really push it. We both drank a lot and it got happier. When I told him I was a judge on "A Star Is Born" he started throwing peanuts at me, claiming it was the most hilarious thing in the world and that TV singing programs were the devil. Morrissey!


At one point we discussed the Eurovision Song Contest where he tested my knowledge of obscure songs from the 1960s and 1970s. Morrissey insists they once called it "Eurovision Song Contest" and then there were really songs, but nowadays it's called "Eurovision" because it's just a circus and it disgusts him. Not that he misses the competition, and besides some Sixties Austrian song I knew everything he asked and so we loudly sang, not to mention shouting, Olivia Newton John's "Long Long Live Love" which represented England in 1974, and also the Dutch song "I see a star "of exactly that year, and more pearls of this kind. Surprisingly, I defeated him with "Ginjis Khan" from 1979 that he didn't even know.

The time was really pleasant, and after more than three hours he told me: "I have to go to the bathroom and I'll be back." He took his words and got up to go. After two steps, he turned around and said, "By no means pay me." I smiled at him and didn't really understand what was going on. After 20 minutes, when the penny dropped to me that he actually went up to his suite and would not return - I called the waiter and paid only for my wine. I told him to charge the suite for his part. And I went happy.

And now his new album is out and he is probably in a good time because the new album "I'm not a dog on a chain" is a great, tight, and somehow more related album than his last three albums. It is full of great songs. "Love is on its way out" is really a classic for his best list. And it's also a bit electronic and contemporary.

Or for example "What kind of people live in these houses" which is a bit of sixties and a bit of Smiths with the sad and depressing suburban text. So true, the name of this song sounds like a parody of the name of a Morrissey song. But that's the thing itself. At this point in history, when Morrissey is 61, it is hard for me to believe that a person who does not know and loves him can be persuaded to try to listen to it. Like many of his contemporaries, Morrissey continues to create for himself and for the people who love him. And if you are - this is an album that will really delight you.

At the beginning of our meeting at the bar, we talked about his expected arrival in the country. That was before they published in Israel where it would appear, and much before everything was canceled. He found out that he had three appearances here. The first two are regular. One in Tel Aviv, and one in a different place.

He tried to explain the name "Binyamina" to me, and he knew it was north of Tel Aviv, south of Haifa and not Caesarea. But I could not identify and just claimed that he could not appear in "Netanya" because there is nowhere of that name. The third performance was supposed to be a private performance in the house of someone who paid a fortune in front of a very limited audience. My dream is to come to this show if and when. It is currently unclear if and when Morrissey will ever come. Anyway, let's hope he comes, because he may have matured a bit, but he's still Morrissey.

A special genius who is all magic.
My idol.
Morrissey.

.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The only mild 'revelation' here is that Morrissey was at least considering doing a private concert for cash. This does seem to be pretty much standard practice amongst celebrity musicians and artists - including ones much bigger than Moz though, so it wouldn't suprise me. Sling enough bags of $$$$ at a pop/rock star, and they'll happily turn up and play in your living room. If I was some rich oil baron in Saudi Arabia I'd definately try booking him - imagine all the obscure songs you could demand on the setlist. The shirt toss at the end would also be easier if you only had to wrestle with your cat and grandma for it.
 
M

Moz Fan

Guest
It's nothing to do with the translation although that is poor, it's the revelations to and by some guy he's met on 2 or 3 occasions over say twenty years, they sound like they're made up. Moz is a very private guy so why would this character think it's ok to reveal details of a private conversation like this? I don't believe any of it.
Gal revealed nothing much really.
Morrissey knows well who Gal is, despite having met him personaly only a few times. The guy is very well known for his films (which Morrissey's seen) and TV shows, and is a celebrity in Israel - country that Moz loves.
 
M

Moz Fan

Guest
The only mild 'revelation' here is that Morrissey was at least considering doing a private concert for cash. This does seem to be pretty much standard practice amongst celebrity musicians and artists - including ones much bigger than Moz though, so it wouldn't suprise me. Sling enough bags of $$$$ at a pop/rock star, and they'll happily turn up and play in your living room. If I was some rich oil baron in Saudi Arabia I'd definately try booking him - imagine all the obscure songs you could demand on the setlist. The shirt toss at the end would also be easier if you only had to wrestle with your cat and grandma for it.
Some people here always seem to forget that a tour is a costly endeavour. It isn't carried on without a many people working and requiring transport, catering, boarding ... So if the management is offered an extra gig (a private one) why on earth would't they accept it?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Morrissey has been advertised as being available for private bookings for several years now. I'm not sure if I've ever heard any confirmation that any have gone ahead (you'd think someone would brag about it, and stick some photos from a private event on twitter or somewhere). If you want to book him for your kids birthday party, weddings, etc - here is the link: https://www.bookingentertainment.com/artists/adult/morrissey.php
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

Nobody's Nothing
Morrissey has been advertised as being available for private bookings for several years now. I'm not sure if I've ever heard any confirmation that any have gone ahead (you'd think someone would brag about it, and stick some photos from a private event on twitter or somewhere). If you want to book him for your kids birthday party, weddings, etc - here is the link: https://www.bookingentertainment.com/artists/adult/morrissey.php
What a weird and random list of songs. Some of these haven't been played live since 1991 and they're not exactly his greatest hits either.
songs.JPG
 

Uncleskinny

It's all good
Subscriber
So, now you've had time to reflect, how do you all feel about the fact that at the exact same time Morrissey was exhorting you to stop using wool, he was travelling around wearing a wool coat? Is he privileged enough to get away with this perhaps? This is fact, by the way, not made up. Your hero was preaching one thing and doing the exact opposite.
 
M

Mr. Susan

Guest
So, now you've had time to reflect, how do you all feel about the fact that at the exact same time Morrissey was exhorting you to stop using wool, he was travelling around wearing a wool coat? Is he privileged enough to get away with this perhaps? This is fact, by the way, not made up. Your hero was preaching one thing and doing the exact opposite.
"I saw Morrissey only about three weeks ago in Altrincham and he had a brilliant leather jacket on. And I was like, Yer f***in'... trying to rip it off his back. And it was PVC. But it was the best PVC I have ever seen in my life."
-Mike Joyce
 
B

bo bo boy

Guest
So, now you've had time to reflect, how do you all feel about the fact that at the exact same time Morrissey was exhorting you to stop using wool, he was travelling around wearing a wool coat? Is he privileged enough to get away with this perhaps? This is fact, by the way, not made up. Your hero was preaching one thing and doing the exact opposite.

Reminds me of that old story.

Man ,"hates racism",meets Brian May at the airport.
Completely forgets the Sun City gigs.
"But he WAS a nice guy"

HIM

And rea
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member
So, now you've had time to reflect, how do you all feel about the fact that at the exact same time Morrissey was exhorting you to stop using wool, he was travelling around wearing a wool coat? Is he privileged enough to get away with this perhaps? This is fact, by the way, not made up. Your hero was preaching one thing and doing the exact opposite.

So, now you've had time to reflect, how do you feel about the fact that at the exact same time you were exhorting everybody to stop paying attention to Morrissey, you were spending hours every day online paying attention to Morrissey? Are you mentally unwell enough to do this, perhaps? This is fact, by the way, not made up. You were preaching one thing and doing the exact opposite.
 

hand in glove

40 percent papier mache
Subscriber
If I had the luck to spend three hours with Morrissey in conversation I would never write an article online about it. I think because it would be so special and dear to me. I’d tell maybe two people and my mom...
 
E

Ego is not your amigo

Guest
It would be really strange to meet up with someone at a bar and then see your whole convo in an article. No wonder he is a bit nervous around people. I'd never spill the beans, I'd feel like a whore.
 
C

Carlislelbaz

Guest
And here comes the cognitive dissonance, defending the indefensible.
Dick and splash, seem to follow your good nature.... you don't need any one on your side, far to hard faced, or just a brilliant man.... I just can't decide..... maybe the latter as you are a something in life........ ah personallity disorder Jack....but which one people will ask in a few hours time.......probably I would think, something to do with your mother....... abandonment issues........ the worst one really..... I hope my assessment on you has been of some help.......please post back if you need any more help with your recovery, not that you are any where near to this right now....... I'm here to help......
 
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M

Moz Fan

Guest
So, now you've had time to reflect, how do you all feel about the fact that at the exact same time Morrissey was exhorting you to stop using wool, he was travelling around wearing a wool coat? Is he privileged enough to get away with this perhaps? This is fact, by the way, not made up. Your hero was preaching one thing and doing the exact opposite.
I don't believe for one minute that you think Morrissey wears animal wool coats. What I believe in you have an agenda and keep looking for anything you can find to diminish Morrissey"s importance to the music culture, and to us fans. Your real motives are unknown to me, but it makes me kind of sad... Because I know you once loved Morrissey very much, and in some way, you might love him still. At least, a love enough to keep driving you towards him. Endlessly.
 

Uncleskinny

It's all good
Subscriber
I don't believe for one minute that you think Morrissey wears animal wool coats. What I believe in you have an agenda and keep looking for anything you can find to diminish Morrissey"s importance to the music culture, and to us fans. Your real motives are unknown to me, but it makes me kind of sad... Because I know you once loved Morrissey very much, and in some way, you might love him still. At least, a love enough to keep driving you towards him. Endlessly.

Right - so what you're saying is that the article is true, apart from that one bit which would show him up in a hypocritical light - yes? That one bit is wrong - that's what you're saying? I mean - the likely alternative, that your man is an enormous hypocrite - preaching one thing and at the same time doing the exact opposite himself - that's too crazy to consider, right?

You could address these points, or you could shoot the messenger - now which would be easier for you?

And do go ahead and list the alternatives to 'animal wool' that you reckon look and feel like it. In your own time. I promise I won't use the time I was the head of a textile lab to put you down.
 
M

Moz Fan

Guest
Right - so what you're saying is that the article is true, apart from that one bit which would show him up in a hypocritical light - yes? That one bit is wrong - that's what you're saying? I mean - the likely alternative, that your man is an enormous hypocrite - preaching one thing and at the same time doing the exact opposite himself - that's too crazy to consider, right?

You could address these points, or you could shoot the messenger - now which would be easier for you?

And do go ahead and list the alternatives to 'animal wool' that you reckon look and feel like it. In your own time. I promise I won't use the time I was the head of a textile lab to put you down.
Even though I'm no textiles expert, it is quite easy for me to answer. The alternatives to animal wool (sheep, llama, etc) is obviously synthetic wool. Currently, synthetic materials used in fashion are so sophisticated that you can't really tell them from natural fibers, unless you read the garment label. And I'm sure Gal Uchovsky didn't do that. He simply mentioned a coat Moz was wearing. He simply guessed it was made of wool by the appearance of it. When you highlight that bit of the article, and accuse Morrissey of being hypocritical, you are affirming something that neither Gal Uchovsky not yourself really know, that is, whether the coat was made of wool or a wool-like synthetic material. Well, that bothered me!

I admire Morrissey's music and I love him, but I'm not that kind of fan who's blinded by some mythologies running around about him. Be them negative or positive.

However, I truly believe Moz is sincere about his love of animals and his intentions and efforts to contribute to their protection.
 

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