Found singer Ziggy Campbell on what Morrissey means to him
Morrissey gears up for tour of provincial Scottish towns
Someone approached me after a FOUND gig recently and informed me that Morrissey was playing in Hawick town hall. Perfect, I thought. If ever there was a humdrum town that the rain fell hard on it has to be Hawick. I know this because I grew up in a block of flats in the Burnfoot area of Hawick and by the time I had reached my mid-teens the provincial blinkeredness and lack of opportunity there had become painfully apparent. My dad, mum and sister were all working in big, grey textile factories and it looked like I’d probably do the same. At the time I felt like a hopeless underdog caught in the tractor beam of the factories. That’s the same time I discovered Morrissey, the ultimate misfit, with his corpus of songs that seemed to champion my grim backdrop and offer a chorus for all the underdogs to sing along to.
Back then I was in a band called The Sunbirds with some older guys who were really into The Smiths. I was almost immediately hooked after they gave me a ‘biased best of’ compilation. Whenever we were drunk it only became a matter of time before we’d start singing songs by The Smiths in Mozza’s trademark whispery whine. I still indulge in this even now. It seems to be fairly common practice amongst Mozza fans to start mimicking his singing style, usually quite uncannily, at any given opportunity.
Morrissey’s world might well have been a bleak one but there was an optimistic and occasionally hilarious core to it all that I still find encouraging and very funny. Everything is going to be fine because you’re not alone: there’s a buck-tooth girl in Luxemburg and someone out there is the son and heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar. Who else writes about these people?
The main character in his 1995 single ‘Boxers’ is doomed from the opener ‘losing in front of your home crowd’, yet somehow hope spills out through lines like ‘your nephew is true, he still thinks the world of you’. Although the imagery deals with boxing, it’s done with literary grace, typical of Morrissey, that makes you feel like he’s talking to you about your own struggle. Some people find him obnoxious for that very reason but I think they’re missing the humour of it all.
So of course I’m going to the gig in Hawick. It’s only right that I go and support the Ambitious Outsider as he takes on my hometown.
Hawick Town Hall, Hawick, Tue 21 Jun. See our review of The Very Best of Morrissey.