WHEN I was a miserable teenager, I enjoyed nothing better than sitting in the dark listening to The Smiths.
Like generations of sad adolescents I loved the Mancunian miserabilists with their songs of woe.
But as I’ve got older – and less miserable – I find I listen to The Smiths less and less.
Which is not to say that their music is any less great than it was when I was a teenager. Johnny Marr’s guitar solo on This Charming Man is as wonderful as ever and Morrissey’s lyrics can still make me smile. "If you ever need self-validation, just meet me in the alley by the railway station,’’ being my favourite.
But as the years go by, it becomes harder and harder to idolise Morrissey.
When I was younger I saw him as a sort of representative of all of us who felt we didn’t quite fit in. But now the outcast’s outcast seems to be becoming more and more intolerant of others.
Morrissey has made a number of remarks about race issues which, at my most charitable, I would define as ‘questionable.’
And he appears to have taken on the mantle of the unreasonable vegetarian. Indeed, at a festival in California last week, the great man walked off stage complaining he could smell barbecue.
Dearie me, Morrissey. Time to lighten up I think. It’s not like someone was forcing a steak down your throat.
Still, despite his faults, it’s at least good to see the old man hasn’t lost his way with words.
Before walking off stage last week Morrissey explained to the crowd that he could smell burning flesh. "And I hope to God it’s human,’’ he added.