Stuart Maconie reviews Bona Drag by Morrissey, 20th October 1990

Stuart Maconie reviews Bona Drag by Morrissey, 20th October 1990.

Can’t say I agree with this positive, yet workmanlike review from Maconie. Morrissey was coming up short in the lyric dept. with increasing frequency even during The Smiths and post Viva Hate has bluffed it ever since.

Yet with the breakup of the Smiths still fairly recent in 1990, the starving demanded to be fed, unfortunately there was nothing left on the menu except gruel. Viva Hate had its morsels, Suedehead in particular, but without the foundation of Marr’s compositions and his sublime guitar work, the cracks in Morrissey’s irrelevant lyrics just became more and more apparent. With Bona Drag, Morrissey’s long, slow slide into irrelevance began. It pains me more than you realise that it still continues to this day.

But I will stick up for November Spawned A Monster, which I think of as the last great thing Morrissey wrote. Maconie dislikes it because it’s “so morbid and cheerless” Duh! That’s precisely why I like it. I can empathise with it. Sure it lacks wit and is dressed up in a touch too much metaphor but he’s singing to us, for us, the ugly and marginalized here, instead of prattling on about bloody Ouija boards and the like.

If all this just makes you want to listen to The Smiths, and it really should, then why not break out the old records for another spin and while you’re at it read Taylor Parkes latest retrospective piece on The Smiths over at The Quietus.

Note to self: Do not explicitly refer to a TV programme title that could be misconstrued, especially in conjunction with the sexualised use of the F word, if you do not want lots of people coming to your blog for all the wrong reasons.

Note to Pin-Up Nights: Thanks! You flatter me, but you really shouldn’t encourage me.

I spent a few days with some Glaswegians recently.

“What’s the difference between Glasgow and Edinburgh?”

“Well, Glasgow is a lot friendlier but you’re also much more likely to get stabbed”

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John Peel Hitlist NME 22nd October 1988

Stuart Maconie hits the nail on the head in his intro, “The Peel Show has brought me moments of Joycean epiphany when pop has shed its scaly skin and changed my life”.

Anyone who listened to Peel even semi regularly has a story about the time they were sat in the kitchen/driving to a party/lying in bed etc. etc. listening to his show when suddenly he played a record that made them feel like they’d been accelerated through space and time whilst being punched senseless. Those very rare moments when music leaves you stupefied, breathless and gasping….”What the fuck is this – this is amazing!”

Inspiral Carpets: Keep the Circle Around (live 2008 performance!)

Wedding Present – Why are you being so reasonable now? (about 3.45 in)

The Siddeleys: Sunshine Thuggery

Dat Blygu: Ugain I Un (can’t find Wyau)

Mighty Force: Thrashing A Dead Horse

Robert Lloyd: Nothing Matters

A Guy Called Gerald: Voodoo Ray

Dinosaur Jr: Freak Scene

Got nothing on Chinhoyi Superstars after a quick search – if you’re determinded and have more time then maybe you’ll have more luck.

The LA\'s interview NME 20th Oct 1990

Stuart Maconie interviews The LA’s in NME 20th October 1990.

This interview marked the release of their now seminal debut. Look how sane Lee Mavers looks in these photos though. I think the tales of drug abuse and madness have been greatly exagerated in retrospect don’t you?

Stuart Maconie was another excellent writer from this period who went on to TV punditry and rent a quote list shows. And they say Mavers wasted his natural talents – pah!

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