NME: "Does Rock 'N' Roll Kill Braincells?!" - Billy Bragg (October 21, 2021); Smiths / Morrissey mentions

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In Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz an artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them.


Talking about Boris Johnson...

“He wanted to include Kirsty’s cover of it. Here’s the thing: I listened to his Desert Island Discs and, as he was playing The Smiths, I was thinking: ‘He’s going to play ‘A New England’ – he’s going to play one of my songs and kill my reputation! This is going to be awful! But he didn’t – phew! (Laughs) You put out these songs and never know who’s going to hook onto them. I bumped into [austerity architect] George Osborne when he was Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and he exclaimed: ‘Billy Bragg!’ at me, before singing: I was 21 years when I wrote this song/I’m 22 now…’ You can’t choose your fans!”

In 1987, NME readers voted you the second Most Wonderful Human Being. Who beat you?


“I wonder how those readers feel now about making Morrissey the Most Wonderful Human Being.”
CORRECT.
“I got used to coming second to Morrissey and The Smiths. That was par for the course in those days. That was cool. Their standard was so high that getting anywhere near them was good.”
You wrote a statement in 2019 condemning Morrissey for spreading far-right ideas. Can you separate the man from his art?
“As someone who writes political songs, there are plenty of people out there who are Tories who like my love songs, so clearly you can do that. I struggle. I’m OK listening to The Smiths, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to listen to his solo albums anymore – although I wasn’t much of a fan of those anyway.”

 
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Carlislebaz

Cock of the north
View attachment 77288

In Does Rock ‘N’ Roll Kill Braincells?!, we quiz an artist on their own career to see how much they can remember – and find out if the booze, loud music and/or tour sweeties has knocked the knowledge out of them.


Talking about Boris Johnson...

“He wanted to include Kirsty’s cover of it. Here’s the thing: I listened to his Desert Island Discs and, as he was playing The Smiths, I was thinking: ‘He’s going to play ‘A New England’ – he’s going to play one of my songs and kill my reputation! This is going to be awful! But he didn’t – phew! (Laughs) You put out these songs and never know who’s going to hook onto them. I bumped into [austerity architect] George Osborne when he was Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer and he exclaimed: ‘Billy Bragg!’ at me, before singing: I was 21 years when I wrote this song/I’m 22 now…’ You can’t choose your fans!”

In 1987, NME readers voted you the second Most Wonderful Human Being. Who beat you?


“I wonder how those readers feel now about making Morrissey the Most Wonderful Human Being.”
CORRECT.
“I got used to coming second to Morrissey and The Smiths. That was par for the course in those days. That was cool. Their standard was so high that getting anywhere near them was good.”
You wrote a statement in 2019 condemning Morrissey for spreading far-right ideas. Can you separate the man from his art?
“As someone who writes political songs, there are plenty of people out there who are Tories who like my love songs, so clearly you can do that. I struggle. I’m OK listening to The Smiths, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to listen to his solo albums anymore – although I wasn’t much of a fan of those anyway.”

I can’t imagine ANY Tory voter liking BB music.
And even if they did they wouldn’t buy it and it certainly wouldn’t be laying about in their homes ...
Who’s talking shite now ?
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
Do you understand context? Neither of these passages are homophobic, nor do they require defense from Billy Bragg. It certainly doesn’t render the latter as “disingenuous.”

The context being they witnessed homophobia & told Morrissey to put up with it after the NME lied about Finsbury Park & linked it to Morrissey's sexuality.

That is homophobia.

Bragg should have spoken up at the time - he didn't notice & didn't care despite being a straight man who wrote a song apparently to show he was an ally. He wasn't.
 

terrancestamp

Active Member
The context being they witnessed homophobia & told Morrissey to put up with it after the NME lied about Finsbury Park & linked it to Morrissey's sexuality.

That is homophobia.

Bragg should have spoken up at the time - he didn't notice & didn't care despite being a straight man who wrote a song apparently to show he was an ally. He wasn't.
This clearly shows that Billy was not going to defend Morrissey based on Moz's "Acid Tongue". That is basically saying I am jealous of Morrissey and he gets what he deserves. Nobody jumps in to defend the strong...they only jump in to defend the weak!
 
D

Deleted member 28251

Guest
The context being they witnessed homophobia & told Morrissey to put up with it after the NME lied about Finsbury Park & linked it to Morrissey's sexuality.

That is homophobia.

Bragg should have spoken up at the time - he didn't notice & didn't care despite being a straight man who wrote a song apparently to show he was an ally. He wasn't.
He did write Sexuality, a song which makes me cringe now (‘ And just because you're gay I won't turn you away’), but it was bold and exciting in 1992.
 

BookishBoy

Well-Known Member


I lost interest in Bragg's new music a long time ago, but this remains one of the all-time greatest moments of music on television, and I'll always treasure it.
 
D

Deleted member 28251

Guest


I lost interest in Bragg's new music a long time ago, but this remains one of the all-time greatest moments of music on television, and I'll always treasure it.
I didn’t know he’d made it onto TOTPs with that. It is brilliant.

I guess my issue with Billy Bragg is (as with so many on the left) he hates many more of the working classes than he likes. Morrissey is just one of millions he wants on his Procrustean Bed. And when you become idealistic, to the extent you largely hate the reality, then the cause becomes more religious than political—at least in any democratic sense.

But when it comes to lyrics, poetry and wordplay, he’s a match for Morrissey I feel.
 

Bluebirds

Well-Known Member
Well I plan to see Billy Bragg in concert later this week. Life is too short not to.

I was very impressed with his interview on 6Music with Steve Lamacq last week (or was it the week before). The epitome of être bien dans sa peau.

 

Uncleskinny

It's all good
Subscriber
I couldn't care less. He says he cares about homophobia but when the press were printing homophobic things about Morrissey, he did nothing.
Who's being disingenuous now? You've given a supposed situation there, with no examples, and then said this particular chap did nothing. I mean, he does nothing about thousands of issues. So do I.

Pack it in, you straw-grasping creep
 

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