The stool was wedged up in the corner by the bar, my knees brushing the thick legs of a neo-nazi..."BLOOD AND HONOUR" read his neck; puffer-jacket sleeve adorned imperiously with obscure insignia --a white Celtic cross, jagged hook wheels...
"Morrissey tonight" smiles the barmaid. He grunts in reply, and I check my eyes, having lingered too long on this violent countenance. Behind the row of Hopback pumps my red face is caught in a steamed-up mirror; below it --red paper flowers. The Poppy Appeal for the 11th of the 11th...Remembrance Day, the one minute silence, "blood and honour".
Strolling out of The Gluepot like the Railway Village's little prince I check my bike, yes --still slumped against a post-box stalk. What was the connection between Morrissey's performance and the neo-nazi? None, of course, but an addled brain spins indecent fancies, and I was happy to indulge them. Across the road from the rammed, steamed-up Hopback Gluepot, ex-IRA hotspot, shone The Cricketer's Arms, with its rainbow flag in the window. The twin landlady-barmaids looked kindly on my poverty and offered me a cherry alcopop, which I relished, leaning with my poppy against the brown-lacquered filigree walls. Why had I never been here before? Of course, the gay thing. But there I was, welcomed in comfort and ready for Morrissey. It seemed the place had been unfairly maligned --an injustice which chimed with the night's entertainment, just as the presence of the muscular fascist over the road had...
"I've been dreaming of a time when the English are sick to death of Labour, and Tories, and spit upon the name Oliver Cromwell, and renounce this royal line that still salute him, and will salute him forever"
"Why pamper life's complexities when the leather runs smooth on the passenger seat? ...Will nature make a man of me yet?"
Were some of the wistful yodels that came to mind. A voice for all causes? I didn't know, but it sounded alright walking down the street in Swindon's New Town.
"Good evening...possibly" groaned he of the shyness that was criminally vulgar. As hundreds of speccy fops surged forwards and sung along he winced and moped through the song, then collapsed and was hauled off like the cover star on 'The Queen is Dead'.
"Mark E Smith played for an hour in a wheel chair! He wouldn't whimp out after one song"
"Motorhead would never do that --I watched Lemmy play for an hour and twenty minutes with bottles being thrown at him!"
Were among the scornful pronouncements, intended to cast the man out of the rock'n'roll pantheon. Of course, we didn't know he'd been rushed to hospital with breathing problems, and was not at all well.
"Morrissey has left the building" --and, slowly, so did everyone else, some crying, others confused. A friendly drink was thankfully on the horizon and suddenly there seemed to be a load of people from school I didn't remember the names of, and from somewhere amongst them our old friend Smails reared his ugly head and said something that silenced us like tumbleweed but didn't really mean anything:
"From before we were born and when our skin has long since dried and cracked, we'll bow our heads in matrimony in the highest esteem of the belief in all that is painfully obvious. It's happening already. It's easy to get roped into a world of fantasy that is, shall we say, less than humble? It's got less to do with redemption and more to do with jealousy. But just let sleeping corpses lie."
Morrissey, Swindon has killed you and hopes you'll sleep tonight.
Look out for Morrissey's new album, 'Swindon, You Have Killed Me' in shops now!
Last night at London's Royal Albert Hall Morrissey lay on the floor feigning collapse before jumping to his feet and declaring: "Thank you Swindon." --is this "self-effacing humour or admission of wankerness"? (Guy)