Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now – The Smiths

Year: 1984
Artists: The Smiths
Album: Non-album single
Other Hits: How soon is now, Everyday is like Sunday

On the evening of May 8, 2012 I went home disappointed from Fort Canning Park. This is the first time I ever felt I messed up my day by attending a concert to one of my favourite 80’s musician. I woke up this morning and the feeling of having been ripped off from last night’s event just won’t go away. How did a simple concert can go wrong? Let me count the ways… First, the venue. I loved attending concerts to Fort Canning Park I have seen Simple Minds, Pet Shop Boys, Cindy Lauper, INXS, Debbie Gibson, Rick Astley, Sugar Ray, etc. here. It’s the only venue in Singapore that for a minimum pay you can squeeze your way in the front row and see the pores of your favourite artists. The ground is elevated so you will be looking down to the stage instead of looking up, the crowd will be just comfortable seating on the grass because the stage is effortlessly in full view at eye level. For Morrissey, they moved it to Fort Gate and built a stage there so the tendency is for a bunch of people to trample up together and the access to the front row was difficult. Second, He was late but not worth the wait because, thirdly, he did not sing his hits! I’m talking about… Suedehead, Panic, The More You Ignore Me… The Closer I get, Girlfriend In A Comma, This Charming Man, and Heaven Knows I’m Miserable now.

I knew it! I knew it all along…I waited the last minute to purchase those damn tickets because I felt it in my gut he will pull something like this, I knew he was coming months ahead but I procrastinated and completely ignored the early bird promotion. I was contemplating if the 98 bucks I will cough up will be all worth it if ever my hint was correct but all along my brain kept telling me to just risk it …I only have this day to experience Morrissey and never again… so I went out on office lunch break and made my way to Sistic and purchased my freakin’ regret.

He commenced the show by singing ‘How Soon is Now’ and the rest was blah…then halfway thru the ending he sang ‘Every day is like Sunday’ then he mentioned coming from a cold, cold place and how it was scorching in our venue, then he bid goodbye and took off… I sense a lot of people are dissatisfied with the outcome and only his hard core fans could love him that night, so please forgive me if I can’t forgive him… yet. I’m just an admirer of his work who happened to like a few ‘select’ songs. I blamed the temperature for making him uncomfortable thus, not finishing up his play lists, if his playlist included what I really wanted to hear. I should have read concert reviews online before deciding. Sometimes it’s hard to comprehend these artists – being ordinary, I cannot figure out how the extra-ordinary think. When it’s as simple as people spent time and money to see what they want, artist should at least give them what they want and in between artists can do whatever the hell he wants! And if you are going to do things differently give people a heads up, don’t be a selfish arse.

I’m not done ranting, I got to let this fume off, but how do you get piss off when my subject is one of the most influential figures in the history of British pop who redefined the sound of British rock for the past quarter-century? Yes, his voice was golden but only lifelong fans would totally appreciate the show and recognized the songs he played. For some of them their two decades of captivation with Morrissey abruptly ended in one night. I like the man – his undecidable sexuality, advocate for animal rights and supporter of PETA, his obsession with James Dean, his contribution to music, and with his long discography with the Smiths and solo work I think he can give his audience a little more…

I remember he mentioned this after playing 2 or 3 songs.–I can’t recall the exact words but it’s something like… ‘Do you ever think why you are? Later you will ask yourself why you are here”…Yeah, I did ask myself why I was there because heaven knows I’m miserable now…

Suedehead – Morrissey


Year: 1988
Artist: Morrissey
Hit Songs: The More You Ignored Me, The Closer I Get, Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now, 
Every day is like Sunday, Panic, This Charming Man, How Soon is Now.
Album: Viva Hate

One of the artist in my bucket list I want to see perform live is Steven Patrick Morrissey (born 22 May 1959). He is the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock band The Smiths, an English group  formed in Manchester in 1982. Following the demise of the Smiths in 1998 he released the Viva Hate album that includes the track Suedehead and this single charted higher than any of the singles released by his former band, reaching number five in the UK Singles Chart, and remains one of Morrissey’s most well-known songs.

If you came across the movie The Craft (1996) or heard theme song of the television series Charmed then you have stumbled upon his work (How Soon is Now), better yet, If you are not hiding under a rock in 1994 you cannot miss “The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get” played in the airwaves. But Morrissey was big when I was growing up, bigger than that of a movie soundtrack that you cannot help but be drawn to his record releases. His distinct voice and those mundane lyrics that you could not possibly fathomed in your whole life can add value to the refrain of  his hits but it actually made sense when he sings it,  made me  think that this once depressed teenager had it all figured out.

A big fan of James Dean he wrote the book, James Dean Is Not Dead when he was 21 and the video clip for this Morrissey single features the singer walking in the streets of Fairmount, Indiana, the boyhood city of James Dean. In the video are also featured the school where James Dean studied and the Park Cemetery where the actor is currently buried.

As per Johnny Marr, former The Smiths member and Morrissey song writing partner “So much has been made of that first meeting with Morrissey, but I suppose that looking back at it, it must have been the attraction of opposites. Like, he is a very tidy person and very organised and that was a bit of a shock to me, plus I had never seen so many books in the one room. I had certainly never met anyone like him and it still intrigues me why he was interested in JM (James Dean).” (Melody Maker, 1985)

Suedeheads were a subculture that grew out from the original 1960s skinhead movement. The lyrics of the Morrissey song are unrelated to that topic.  Although sharing many similarities to 1960s skinheads, suedeheads grew their hair longer and dressed in a more formal manner. Although working class, like the skinheads who preceded them, some suedeheads worked in white collar jobs. The female equivalent of a suedehead was a sort.

“Age shouldn’t affect you. It’s just like the size of your shoes – they don’t determine how you live your life! You’re either marvellous or you’re boring, regardless of your age.” –  Morrissey