Why I’ll Never See Morrissey

Having been advised by the doctor that a trip to the theatre could prove too much for their son’s delicate constitution, Marcel’s parents ban him from attending, much to his chagrin. He would not just be missing out on entertainment, as the theatre

was something far beyond a pleasure: it was access to truths which dwelt in a realer world than I did, truths which, once glimpsed, could never be taken from me by any of the nugatory incidents making up my futile existence, however painful they might be to my body.

Young Marcel is desperate to see his heroine La Berma in a matinée performance of Phèdre, by Racine.

The only thing that cheered me a little was the knowledge that I was going to be allowed to see La Berma. But, just as the only storms I longed to see were those which raged along the wildest shores, so I wished to see the great actress only in one of those classical parts in which Swann had assured me she rose to the sublime….I knew that if I could ever hear La Berma ….my delight would be the same as when I could step out of a gondola, to stand in front of the Titian in the Frari or the Carpaccios in San Giorgio dei Schiavoni.

Seeing how miserable their ban has made him, his parents relent, but that makes Marcel feel worse

now that I seemed to be under an obligation to enjoy myself, I found it rather irksome.

With such perilously high expectations and the pressure Marcel feels under to enjoy himself, the odds are stacked against a smooth ride. Indeed, on the occasion that Marcel finally goes to the theatre and gets to see La Berma as Phèdre, her performance fails to match his longed for realms of glory.

however hard I strained towards her with my eyes, ears and mind, so as not to miss a single scrap of the incentives she would offer me to admire her, I could not manage to find any.

It’s not very surprising, is it? Yet, would it have been better for him not to have gone at all? Is it better to leave our idols reigning supreme in our imaginations, and avoid seeing them in action at all costs? I don’t know. At the age of 15, my older brother’s failure to get tickets to see The Smiths, meant I missed out on seeing live the most influential band of my tender teenage years. I was distraught. Then the band split up, and I knew that opportunity had gone forever. I regretted it for years.

The Smiths best band of my teenage years

Morrissey toured repeatedly, but I could never bring myself to go as I feared that no performance could live up to my inner teenager’s expectations. So, even if he puts on a surprise show in Maenclochog Village Hall I will never see Morrissey play live, and if young Marcel were around, he’d totally understand.

Morrissey with a cat on his head

Sorry Morrissey, but I won’t come and see you play, even with a cat on your head. You just need to let it go.