Pieces of Morrissey

Lisa Sings Her Life

Music has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been fascinated with words and loved writing stories as a child. Interested by the craft of song writing, I would avidly listen to the radio and play my favourite music, listening intently to lyrics and the way a song was constructed. My walk to school was where I would religiously listen to music. Having exhausted my ever growing music collection, I began delving into my parents and I’m lucky that they are such huge music lovers and imbued me with an eclectic taste. It was a cold rainy day, I was a daydreamer at school, the music charts were saturated with faceless dance acts and one hit wonders and nothing was inspiring me. Being an obsessed music fan and aspiring singer, I looked without fail for inspiration, something that would really resonate and reflect what I was feeling.

My walk to school everyday was where I would religiously listen to music on my walkman, lose myself. Having exhausted my music collection, I came across a tape that my dad had left lying around. All it said was ‘The Smiths’. Stepping onto the pavement and heading down the all too familiar route, I popped the tape in, pressed play, and from that moment on my life was changed forever. I had never heard anything like it; incredibly incisive lyrics, beautiful and intricate music with an ability to be melancholic, humorous and uplifting, a unique voice that touched me. A whole new world opened up to me, making me realise that being a songwriter and performer was what I really wanted to pursue, I began writing my first songs around the age of 12, started playing piano at a young age before moving on to the guitar. Although my own music is more in the singer/songwriter, folk genre, the way Morrissey expresses real emotions and his love of words and taste in writers and culture has inspired me.

Ever since school The Smiths and Morrissey have been an important soundtrack to my life. I’ve written an essay about Morrissey’s lyrics at University and so many songs have resonated with me and transport me to special times in my life. ‘Suedehead’ has always been a favourite, reminding me of my first trip alone to the US to visit friends who were living in San Francisco. They were also huge Morrissey fans and I have fond memories of going along the freeway in the California sunshine singing along to that equally summery guitar riff. I really love Morrissey’s solo late ‘80‘s/early 90’s period, particularly the albums ‘Vauxhall and I’, ‘Your Arsenal’ and ‘Bona Drag’. Among his b sides are many heartfelt gems like ‘I’ve Changed My Plea to Guilty’, ‘I’d Love To’, ‘Jack The Ripper’, ‘Lost’ and ‘I Know Very Well How I Got My Name’ – the latter two I’ve recorded live acoustic versions of.

I’ve seen Morrissey live a few times but especially treasure the first time seeing him  during the ‘Vauxhall and I’ tour at Brixton Academy. I remember the intensity and amazing energy of a live gig and seeing people in absolute awe of his stage presence. In the heightened excitement of seeing him live, I endured being trampled on by an enormous crowd of ardent fans much bigger than me just to attain a small piece of the shirt that he had thrown into the adoring audience, desperate to have something of his to treasure. I still keep the piece of shirt with the rest of my large Morrissey/Smiths collection which I’ve amassed over the years.

My favourite memorabilia items include a Morrissey scrapbook from the early 90‘s which includes some great articles, interviews and posters. I’d save any interviews and articles from publications such as Q, Select, Uncut and the NME.

Another treasured item is a shop promo stand from the reissue of ‘There’s a Light that never goes out’ from my local record shop where I would spend many Saturdays rummaging through items looking for Morrissey vinyl, CD’s and more. I keep all my items together and they transport me to when I was an aimless young girl looking for a direction and that rainy February school day when I discovered Morrissey’s music and my world was changed for the better forever.