Saturday, 14 May 2011
Excerpt from the autobiography: celebrity fans
From Chapter 19:
The 22nd May 1959
The 1st August 1987
December 11th 1996
December 12th 2008
Four awful days in the life of a certain Stretford poet. To blame, in chronological order: Mother, Marr, Mike Joyce, and Mouthy tw*ts. What possessed them to clamber on-stage like deer trapped in the headlights? Laughing and whining as a modicum of popular success carried their self-esteem to absurd heights: imagining they could placate an audience bereft of the one they adore and whom they came to worship; that is, little old me.
One certainly does not wish to encourage anything so crass as 'celebrity fans.' Indeed, one wishes they would simply disappear. Ideally to the bottom of the Tame. If one clicks on the guardian culture link above and fasts forward to the thirteen minute mark, the one who cannot speak properly, with a rat's tail atop his upper lip, blabbers about perhaps his greatest error of judgement in a career largely bereft of lucid moments; while the mad-eyed chambermaid with chest hair and funny shoes simply repeats occasional glib outbursts, as if a small echo of the older man.
They certainly have no conception of what they did to me that evening. Did Hemingway ever have to witness imbecilic 'celebrity fans' talking nonsense at his book launches? Did TS Eliott (sic?) ever suffer the indignity of being stalked around the UK from venue to venue by low comedians? One doubts it. One doubts it.
If these 'celebrity fans' were at least vaguely human, one could perhaps revel in it a little more fulsomely. As things stand, it is a cause for shame, for self-contempt, for morbid self-reflection of the "what the f*ck did I do wrong to obtain toe-rag fans like these?" kind. Surely they were heading for a Coldplay gig and got lost?
An ageing Alan Bennett in the front row, holding out a paw, nodding like a mole just sniffing the morning air, barely able to see me but filled with love and lust nonetheless; well, that would be fine. Or Ian McEwan propping up the bar, smiling during the chorus of 'The Girl Least Likely To.' But does any artiste really want a disheveled Wossy on stage with him? - or even afterwards when the lights are out? Or - horror of horrors - Phil Jupitus with dirty socks stomping around the stage and yodelling the verses of the poor, simple Ordinary Boys' only top 20 hit live at Glastonbury in front of a TV audience of millions? The answer is a resounding, "No!"
If Jupitus is to blame for the Ordinary Boys' career trajectory in recent years, perhaps Ross and Brand, pictured above, are entirely to blame for the failure of Years of Refusal to go platinum.
What they did that day was beneath contempt. Had they given their own little impromptu stand-up show, no problemmo. If the fans actually enjoy their nonsense, who am I to criticise? Had they bounced around the stage like tweedle dum and tweedle dee, not a complaint. There is merit in consistency. Had they laughed at the fans' misfortune, fair enough. Yer pays yer money and yer takes yer chance. But no, instead they decided to promise the fans a refund live on stage - a refund. 'Out of whose pocket?' - I hear you meekly ask. Oh, yes. Of course. Only little, old Mozza. It's always Mozza. Some wounded animals need euthanising? Ask old Moz. He has nothing to spend his hard-earned cash on, what with not having any kids an' all. You can't afford any veggie kievs this week? Oh just ask Moz. He's good for a few coppers, you know. Well, what's the point in Morrissey having any savings in the bank? I mean it's not like the old duffer even has anyone to treat these days... What? Morrissey suffered a severe case of laryngitis and had to leave a show earlier than expected? Well, obviously the man who is sick and ill and very, very uncomfortable, if not on the verge of death, ought to be the one to foot the bill. I mean, isn't that crystal clear? Woe betide the fans pay their own way just this once. No, that couldn't possibly happen. Don't be silly. No, no. That's my job: to pay for everyone's concert tickets. And why stop there? Why not bill me for the cost of the bus fare, and your pre-gig chicken vindaloo? And why not throw in a few pennies for any inconvenience my near-death caused you that balmy evening? Oh, and what about your border collie's dental work? That's probably my fault, too.
The whole point is money doesn't buy happiness. The fans lost an evening with me and no money was going to bring that back, so why patronise them? Most of them wouldn't even have wanted a refund...
If it was awkward and gauche inviting a drunk Jupitus on-stage for a quick jam (poor Preston, should have known better, but then he did marry an inflatable version of Paris Hilton...), then it was frankly dereliction of duty for the security bods not to rugby tackle a sober Ross and Brand to the floor. Had they had a drink or two, perhaps they would have offered the fans a refund out of their own wallets, which would have been fair enough. But sober? Not a snowflake's chance in Hell...
Still, old Wossy has a wife and kids to support with his 6 million a year from the BBC. Can't be easy.
Perhaps, then, the broomstick with legs ought to have stuck his spindly hand in his pocket? Having a few chromosomes missing is no excuse, Russell. You have two eyes, ten fingers and a hairy chest; I'd expect better, frankly, than passive approval of Ross's disgraceful promises of refunds here, refunds there, refunds every f***ing where, all paid for by an ageing artist with ever-dwindling concert revenues and an inexplicably expanding tax bill. Do you think concerts at Middlesbrough Town Hall pay off mortgages? It's not easy being a high artist, you know. Not that you would, of course...
Still, having the pair of them keeps one's star visible in these dark nights. The faint flicker of embers burning somewhere in the distant maelstrom. Russell will always have his fans, tasteless though they might be; and Wossy will always have the ones who used to like Wogan and buy a lot of Ronseal.
I mean where would one be without the lowest common denominator, after all? One would probably have retired in 1993. A couple of bad habits and the respect of the entire music establishment.... The Smiths, Viva Hate, Your Arsenal and Vauxhall.... One effortless stream of genius. And a life of extreme hardship and poverty, drinking myself into an early grave out of sheer desperation in a small unheated house. That's the end, Mozza. No more success for you. Who do you think you are? Elton s*dding John? Get back to that two-up, two-down up north. Get back to Salford. Go on.
Oh, if only Moz was still poor and anaemic and fey, they drone. Forget new markets, popular approval, a swollen bank balance. We can't have old Mozza achieving any measure of popular success. No, no. Old Moz is selling more records? The fucking ba****d. Isn't he from Manchester? Oh no, we can't have this, we simply can't have this. Destroy him, finish him off, go on.
The lowest common denominator. A glorious plan B. Refining the AOR sound. Utilising 'axes for hire' on album tracks. Throwing in occasional homoerotic warbles to remind the fans of 'the good old days when Mozza had to switch the heating off all winter and shiver himself to sleep...' Just letting it all hang out and singing the good, old songs. Hanging around with other famous people. Enjoying the fruits of one's labours. Seeing the world. Enjoying life a little - is that really such a terrible thing to want to do?
Some men here,
Know the full extent of,
They kneel and Pray,
And they say,
"long may it last."
Oh, if only Moz was still poor and anaemic and fey. Forget comfort. No, no. Get that noose ready. Old Moz isn't going to slip out of it this time...