It is a subeditor’s truth quite often acknowledged that articles about Greater Manchester, or about bands from the city, must shoe-horn in a song title or lyric from a Mancunian band. That’s fine, but for some reason, that band is almost always the Smiths, which broke up in 1987. This must change. Anyone would assume that all subeditors are miserablists.
Case in point: last week’s interesting article about Manchester being on the up in the Economist was titled ‘Bigmouth strikes again’. Yes, there was a passing reference to Mancunians being “known for many virtues but not for their modesty” – hmm, and those who hail from other parts of the North such as Liverpool, Yorkshire and Newcastle are known for being shrinking violets, aren’t they. Unless you recognised the Smiths reference (the band was mentioned in passing in the article, the song wasn’t) you might be wondering what was going on.
As for the recent news that Morrissey’s autobiography has been delayed in murky circumstances over a “content disagreement” – and bear in mind ‘Steve’ M has been solo from the Smiths for quarter of a century…
Is Morrissey’s autobiography a book that will never come out? (Independent – Smiths song)
Is charming man Morrissey’s memoir canceled? (Los Angeles Times – Smiths song)
Heaven knows his fans are miserable now (Mancunian Matters – Smiths song)
Times story on this (with sensible headline, log-in required)…
Penguin Press would not comment on the claims, but there was speculation that “big mouth” had struck again. Or perhaps that joke isn’t funny any more. (Smiths song. Correct.)
Enough. It’s time for other bands to share the Manchester headlines spoils. It’s no matter of regret that I have been part of a select movement to make the Smiths lose control, in fact move to the vanishing point, in favour of Joy Division and New Order. (As an aside, looking at the sky this morning, I note it is a Blue Monday.) As previously noted, Joe Fay at the Register showed true faith in this back in 1963, er, 2010 with ‘Manchester ID staff suffer isolation as new dawn fades’ (two references in one headline). I did the same this in a less subtle fashion in 2011. More of this please – let’s get this world in motion.
And what about other fine Mancunian bands, such as the Happy Mondays? The title of this post is derived from the first line of the band’s song Step On, “You’re twisting my melon, man,” also used in the title of singer Shaun Ryder’s autobiography. After all, we are talking about lyrics comparable to those of WB Yeats (by Tony Wilson, who ran the band’s record label Factory Records).
But seriously, wouldn’t this be perfect the next time a Mancunian trading standards department exposes a consignment of dodgy fruit?