‘SINCE we published this article earlier today, denial of this reformation has been rife.” This may be my favourite quote of the week. It was added, late on Thursday afternoon, to the end of Music-news.com’s story that the Smiths “are to throw their differences aside and return to the live stage this autumn”.
By “rife”, Music-news.com presumably meant the swift, categorical denials from both Johnny Marr and Mike Joyce. Or perhaps they meant the howls of derision on their own comments board, whose tone is best summed up by Steve from Manchester: “Obviously a brazen attempt to get shit loads of links from twitter etc for their Search Engine Optimisation campaign. For that I congratulate you. For writing an article which is completely untrue, you’re a bunch of twats.”
At time of writing, the Smiths reunion was still stubbornly refusing to happen, but who knows? This is, after all, a year in which Brian Wilson has not only rejoined the Beach Boys, but is about to release a new album with fellow founder members Al Jardine and Mike Love – a man who, as recently as 2005, filed a lawsuit against Wilson for having “shamelessly misappropriated” the band’s image and music on his version of Smile. The Stone Roses are back together too. And Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn have reportedly become drinking buddies.
Is a Smiths reunion any less likely? Some diehard fans would say so, pointing to the sheer amount of bad blood over the years, and Morrissey’s previous thoughts on the subject (“What’s the point? Just to satisfy other people’s nostalgia?”). Morrissey, though, is as pigheadedly contrary as John Lydon; nothing he’s said in the past should suggest that he wouldn’t change his mind in the future, purely to prove somebody wrong (as opposed to doing it for the money, which seems far less likely).
I have no interest in seeing the Smiths reform. There is no unfinished business here; the back catalogue is perfect as it is. And if you’re just desperate to hear Smiths songs played live, Morrissey is happy to oblige, as are numerous very capable tribute bands. And watching a middle-aged Blur rattle through Girls And Boys at the Brits this year was a little creepy, frankly. Some songs should be performed by young people, or not at all. Part of the Smiths’ greatness was that their songs captured youth – its confusion, misery, longing, disappointment, rage, energy and bravado – better than anybody. That’s partly why Morrissey, still raking over the same old obsessions well beyond middle age, has never surpassed it.
» Last week Andrew... was amused to discover that there will indeed be two venues called Assembly at this year’s Fringe, run by two entirely different organisations. Careful when you’re buying your tickets