Morrissey Disturbed by Coverage of the 2012 Olympics
Always an outspoken and politically aware performer, former Smiths vocalist Morrissey doesn’t like what he’s seeing this Olympics — and not because of tape delays or insufficient analysis. No, what’s getting Morrissey’s goat this summer is all the depictions of glitz, glamour and consumptive wealth during a time of widespread economic hardship.
Issuing a dispatch from his European tour via his official zine, Morrissey offered what he called “the sore throat of thanks” to audiences who have turned out to see him in Italy, Turkey, Israel and Greece. “The incredible audience reactions in Istanbul, Athens and Tel-Aviv have left me insensible,” he wrote, “and were completely at odds with the common belief that the world of music is now dumb and sterile.”
But that doesn’t mean the famously dour singer has morphed into a cheerful guy. As he was quick to point out, “I am unable to watch the Olympics due to the blustering jingoism that drenches the event. Has England ever been quite so foul with patriotism?”
But it isn’t just mindless flag-waving that’s bugging Morrissey. “As London is suddenly promoted as a super-wealth brand, the England outside London shivers beneath cutbacks, tight circumstances and economic disasters. Meanwhile the British media present 24-hour coverage of the ‘dazzling royals,’ laughing as they lavishly spend, as if such coverage is certain to make British society feel fully whole. In 2012, the British public is evidently assumed to be undersized pigmies, scarcely able to formulate thought.”
Having recently witnessed Greece’s economic turmoil firsthand, he saw obvious parallels. “As I recently drove through Greece I noticed repeated graffiti seemingly everywhere on every available wall. In large blue letters it said WAKE UP WAKE UP,” he recalled. “It could almost have been written with the British public in mind, because although the spirit of 1939 Germany now pervades throughout media-brand Britain, the 2013 grotesque inevitability of Lord and Lady Beckham (with Sir Jamie Horrible close at heel) is, believe me, a fate worse than life. WAKE UP WAKE UP.”