Alain Whyte FB "Your Arsenal" listening party via Mozarmyquiz Twitter: April 26, 2020 (12 PST / 8 pm UK time)

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
According to an article in Mojo published in 2002 Morrissey said Angel, Angel Down We Go Together was written about Johnny Marr. It's the only song he's admitted to be about Johnny "post-Smiths".

Concerning the other songs on Viva Hate, I think it's true that his youth also had a huge influence on the lyrics and most songs are a mixture of different episodes from different periods of time, which isn't surprising given the way he describes his writing process (he once said it was "similar to the process of what is known as automatic writing") and to me most lyrics from that era have a stream of consciousness type of feeling to them, mixing emotions and events together.
People around Morrissey and also Morrissey himself have pointed out that the break-up effected him quite severely at the time so it's not irrational to assume that he put all his feelings into the songs he wrote at the time.


Well, here's how I see it:

"The black peat of the hills
When I was still ill
See this mess and forgive someone"

Morrissey loves self-referencing - when was he 'still ill', well, that's obvious but I think "the black peat of the hills" refers to Saddleworth Moor. In Autobiography, he writes about going to Saddleworth with Johnny after the split and trying to talk things over - a time 'where the coffin lifted shifted and the old spark rose like a small miracle.' They reconciled for a period, then fell out again - he references it again after the court case.

"And then recall if you can
How all this even began
Forgive someone"

"Recall.. how all this began" - 'this' being, to my ears, his music career rather than his life. "I know you're pissed off with me but remember when we were starting out?" It's not unusual to appeal to old feelings when you've fallen out with someone.

I completely agree with your interpretation of that part of the lyrics. In Autobiography he also references the "peat" of the moors so I think that one is as clear as it gets.

Also, yeah, Billy Budd is about Johnny. It was written around the time they first met again after the break-up, wasn't it?
 

bhops

Last of the famous international screw ups.
Well, here's how I see it:

"The black peat of the hills
When I was still ill
See this mess and forgive someone"

Morrissey loves self-referencing - when was he 'still ill', well, that's obvious but I think "the black peat of the hills" refers to Saddleworth Moor. In Autobiography, he writes about going to Saddleworth with Johnny after the split and trying to talk things over - a time 'where the coffin lifted shifted and the old spark rose like a small miracle.' They reconciled for a period, then fell out again - he references it again after the court case.

"And then recall if you can
How all this even began
Forgive someone"

"Recall.. how all this began" - 'this' being, to my ears, his music career rather than his life. "I know you're pissed off with me but remember when we were starting out?" It's not unusual to appeal to old feelings when you've fallen out with someone.

The stuff about track and field - it's just a strange little verse that doesn't seem to fit it in with the rest of the song. What Mancunian uses a word like 'bleachers'? And Jon Daly - well, Jon was gay, right? But the song says "Here's one thing you'll never have" - which gives me the impression the person knew he liked them but wouldn't/couldn't reciprocate.
You are assuming Morrissey never went walking on Saddleworth Moor with anyobe else. 'Still Ill' was a song written about someone pre-Smiths, or are you saying that he and Johnny once kissed? I think the person Morrissey referenced in Still Ill is the same person referenced in Forgive Someone.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
You are assuming Morrissey never went walking on Saddleworth Moor with anyone else. 'Still Ill' was a song written about someone pre-Smiths, or are you saying that he and Johnny once kissed? I think the person Morrissey referenced in Still Ill is the same person referenced in Forgive Someone.

True, he did pass through Saddleworth with Linder and James Maker after the split (also in Autobio) - but I think you're stretching the possibility a bit far there, given the context in Autobio. Morrissey did have a fixation with the Moors murders and mentions Saddleworth many times, but it's not really a place that you'd go for a casual stroll with your mates. Maybe he went walking there with someone else and just left that out of the story and put Johnny in...but IMO that's not very likely.

"Still Ill" was just a reference to the timeframe, The Smiths period. I don't think that song is about anyone, actually - the 'sore lips' bit is lifted from Viv Nicholson's autobiography Spend, Spend, Spend ("We walked for miles... right under the iron bridge and down underneath it. We were kissing away and getting really sore lips from biting one another.") and at that time he often plagiarised films and poetry for inspiration. The line "Society owes me a living" supposedly came from Myra Hindley.
 
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Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Also, yeah, Billy Budd is about Johnny. It was written around the time they first met again after the break-up, wasn't it?

Given the timing of Vauxhall, I'd assume Billy Budd was written in 1993 or so and at that time they had recently gotten back in touch.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
Given the timing of Vauxhall, I'd assume Billy Budd was written in 1993 or so and at that time they had recently gotten back in touch.

That's how I remembered it as well. He talked about it in interviews promoting Vauxhall.

"We speak constantly, which is a great joy to me because after the great gulf of the horrendous breakdown, it was truly uplifting for us to become friends again and to realise that he was still as funny and creative and uplifting to be around. He's enormously underrated as a musician and, dare I say it, as a personality."

Etc...
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
True, he did pass through Saddleworth with Linder and James Maker after the split (also in Autobio) - but I think you're stretching the possibility a bit far there, given the context in Autobio. Morrissey did have a fixation with the Moors murders and mentions Saddleworth many times, but it's not really a place that you'd go for a casual stroll with your mates. Maybe he went walking there with someone else and just left that out of the story and put Johnny in...but IMO that's not very likely.

"Still Ill" was just a reference to the timeframe, The Smiths period. I don't think that song is about anyone, actually - the 'sore lips' bit is lifted from Viv Nicholson's autobiography Spend, Spend, Spend ("We walked for miles... right under the iron bridge and down underneath it. We were kissing away and getting really sore lips from biting one another.") and at that time he often plagiarised films and poetry for inspiration. The line "Society owes me a living" supposedly came from Myra Hindley.
The mentioning of the "back peat on the hills" could also just be a reference to the place where "all this even began" which in this case would be Manchester. And yes, Still Ill is just a reference point in time.
 

marred

Member


Spencer looks like a sweet kid in this clip and then this voice like some cockney bruiser leaps out.
 
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Verso

Well-Known Member
Given the timing of Vauxhall, I'd assume Billy Budd was written in 1993 or so and at that time they had recently gotten back in touch.
Not to mention the "12 years on..." lyric matching the timeframe of when they met and the fact that Melville wrote "John Marr and Other Sailors" before "Billy Budd."
 

bhops

Last of the famous international screw ups.
True, he did pass through Saddleworth with Linder and James Maker after the split (also in Autobio) - but I think you're stretching the possibility a bit far there, given the context in Autobio. Morrissey did have a fixation with the Moors murders and mentions Saddleworth many times, but it's not really a place that you'd go for a casual stroll with your mates. Maybe he went walking there with someone else and just left that out of the story and put Johnny in...but IMO that's not very likely.

"Still Ill" was just a reference to the timeframe, The Smiths period. I don't think that song is about anyone, actually - the 'sore lips' bit is lifted from Viv Nicholson's autobiography Spend, Spend, Spend ("We walked for miles... right under the iron bridge and down underneath it. We were kissing away and getting really sore lips from biting one another.") and at that time he often plagiarised films and poetry for inspiration. The line "Society owes me a living" supposedly came from Myra Hindley.

Until you explain to me while he explicitly writes about his school days rather than it just being a whimsical stanza I'm not buying what you're selling.

If you want to talk about Auto, in the book he mentions Jon Daley turning up to one of his school sports events and I think he makes it fairly clear that in his pre-Smiths days he did a lot of walking around all parts of Manchester. Is it so unbelievable to you that he might've taken walks on the moors in his teenage years? Apparently so.

The lyrics in 'Still Ill' were clearly written about a time pre-Smiths.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
Until you explain to me while he explicitly writes about his school days rather than it just being a whimsical stanza I'm not buying what you're selling.

If you want to talk about Auto, in the book he mentions Jon Daley turning up to one of his school sports events and I think he makes it fairly clear that in his pre-Smiths days he did a lot of walking around all parts of Manchester. Is it so unbelievable to you that he might've taken walks on the moors in his teenage years? Apparently so.

The lyrics in 'Still Ill' were clearly written about a time pre-Smiths.

Fair enough, you don't have to buy anything - I've given you the sources for Still Ill etc, you can make up your own mind.
 
V

Vegan Cro Spirit .888

Guest
;)


its :handpointright::guardsman::handpointleft: that snoggled with dudes, 45 min at a time. yet claims hes NOT gay.:laughing:

since then, he progressed to having botox and wigs, chick stuff.
AND RECENTLY HE HAS TAKEN TO WEARING MAGENTA PANTALOONS AND WOMEN MASCARA:love:

if DramaLePew is not gay nobody is.:whip:
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
;)


its :handpointright::guardsman::handpointleft: that snoggled with dudes, 45 min at a time. yet claims hes NOT gay.:laughing:

since then, he progressed to having botox and wigs, chick stuff.
AND RECENTLY HE HAS TAKEN TO WEARING MAGENTA PANTALOONS AND WOMEN MASCARA:love:

if DramaLePew is not gay nobody is.:whip:

 
A

Anony

Guest

Definitely worth checking out.
See here at 8pm UK time:

Regards,
FWD.

Is this the first time there has ever been any mention of the similarity between Our Frank and We Hate It When? It's obvious when you think about it, isn't it? The singing melody and the chords v pretty similar. I guess the styles of music are just quite different - maybe that's why no-one picked up on it. Good to hear Alain enthusing about Our Frank. It surely does fall into the over-used category of under-rated.
 

Ketamine Sun

<><><><><><><><><><>
@Amy @GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn
Not to mention the "12 years on..." lyric matching the timeframe of when they met and the fact that Melville wrote "John Marr and Other Sailors" before "Billy Budd."

In this older thread ....




Young and alive said ...

I like how they ponder if Billy Budd is about Johnny Marr - the chronology (1982 - 1994 "twelve years on") etc.

Personally I've always thought that was the case.”





And Jamie replied ....


It's very tidy, but the song was written at latest in early 1993 and recorded that summer. By that timeline, we're back to 1981 which predated JM's first visit to Morrissey's house.


It may not refer to anyone real for all we know. The Melville reference could be a red herring.”
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
@Amy @GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

In this older thread ....




Young and alive said ...

I like how they ponder if Billy Budd is about Johnny Marr - the chronology (1982 - 1994 "twelve years on") etc.

Personally I've always thought that was the case.”





And Jamie replied ....


It's very tidy, but the song was written at latest in early 1993 and recorded that summer. By that timeline, we're back to 1981 which predated JM's first visit to Morrissey's house.

It may not refer to anyone real for all we know. The Melville reference could be a red herring.”
I am aware of the fact that the song was recorded in 1993. But it was scheduled for a release in 1994.
And Morrissey changed the lyrics when he sang the song live to fit the year 1982. In 1995 he sang "now it's 13 years on" and in 1997 "now it's 15 years on".
Granted, he made other changes, like "50 years" or even "100 years" that don't fit the year when they met, but I still think Billy Budd is about Johnny Marr.

"The good people laugh"

"Everyone's laughing"

"This one is different because it's us"

"And it's all because of us"
 

Verso

Well-Known Member
@Amy @GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

In this older thread ....




Young and alive said ...

I like how they ponder if Billy Budd is about Johnny Marr - the chronology (1982 - 1994 "twelve years on") etc.

Personally I've always thought that was the case.”





And Jamie replied ....


It's very tidy, but the song was written at latest in early 1993 and recorded that summer. By that timeline, we're back to 1981 which predated JM's first visit to Morrissey's house.

It may not refer to anyone real for all we know. The Melville reference could be a red herring.”
Twelve is one syllable, eleven is three. Call it poetic license. The "job application" line is one of the funniest Morrissey's ever written regarding The Smiths and the curse of having a legacy.
 

Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
@Amy @GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

In this older thread ....


And Jamie replied ....
It's very tidy, but the song was written at latest in early 1993 and recorded that summer. By that timeline, we're back to 1981 which predated JM's first visit to Morrissey's house.

It may not refer to anyone real for all we know. The Melville reference could be a red herring.”

If you want to think it's a red herring and Moz spun us a mystery with Billy Budd, cool. I'm sure there are some people who think it might be about his Grandad or Geoff Travis or a bloke he met on the 42 bus...but based on the source, I'd say the evidence was against it, that's all. John Marr and Other Sailors, for God's sake.

Herman Melville wrote Moby Dick, as I'm sure you know. If you're interested in other nautical comparisons from the mind of Moz, have a look at this from Autobio:

"As if jealously guarding a can of sardines, Billy Bunter and his playmates are rumbled and the Smiths battleship spring its first mutinous leak; with John Porter as sly Captain Bligh and Johnny as the always-innocent young cabin boy.."

Yeah, Billy Budd is probably about his cousin or something.
 
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Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
I'm surprised more people aren't talking about this one. Has there been any indication in the past that Morrissey wanted the band to have a designated name?

Their name is The Lads...!
 

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