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We have the radio tuned to our favourite alternative Chicago station, WXRT, and suddenly, I am hit with a humming, vibrating guitar sound as the lyrics “I am the son and the heir of a shyness that is criminally vulgar / I am the son and heir of nothing in particular” flow out. I’m a definite Smiths fan, and at first I think Morrissey has said “I am the sun and the air,” as I’m contemplating this in the glow of a neon sign, I get hit with “You shut your mouth, how can you say I go about things the wrong way / I am human and I need to be loved / just like everybody else does.” John and I exchange glances, as we continue winding through the Chicago streets.
And then, as we pass clubs like, Dreamerz, Exit and Medusa’s, Johnny Marr’s humming vibrating guitar chorus bursts through the speakers again, filling the car along with the glow of streetlights and neon signs. Suddenly, Morrissey pulls back the curtain on the last four years of my high school experience, singing “There’s a club if you’d like to go / You could meet somebody who really loves you / So you go and you stand on your own / and you leave on your own / and you go home and you cry and you want to die”. And he continues with, “When you say it’s gonna happen now, well when exactly do you mean / See I’ve already waited too long / and all my hope is gone.”
Suddenly, I’m lost and drowning in four years of teenage angst, frustration, pain, shame, shame, insecurity, four years of wanting to somehow fit in, but never quite managing it. Four years of trying to figure out who I was. Four years of navigating complex social events & burgeoning sexuality, like school dances, my first awkward French kiss at 16, youth group gatherings full of jockeying for position popularity contests, groups of friends in twisted, ever-changing, ever-evolving love/hate relationships, boys thinking I’m cute, but never “fuckable,” (was it my small tits?) My best friend trying to lure me into a race to see who could lose their virginity first (she won, but her stud would later turn out to be gay), and then the ultimate betrayal by the same supposed best friend.
All of it is rushing and swirling around me in a riptide of intense emotion that Morrissey’s words have created. He’s knocked me off my board with those lyrics, and the waters threaten to pull me under, but then the current subsides, and I right myself as the humming, vibrating guitar slowly sweeps in again, and I ride off into the bright, hot Chicago night.
Reproduced with permission
Ellen Marshall has always loved nature, art, movies and music, and has a special place in her heart for British bands of the 80's & 90's. She has contributed writings to the San Francisco-based magazine Morbid Curiosity and the critically respected independent movie website www.filmthreat.com. Ellen currently resides in the Chicago area with her Scottish emigre writer husband Graham Rae and their cat Bailey.
|HOW SOON IS NOW?
(Johnny Marr, Morrissey 1984)
Considered by Ellen Marshall
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