Why Morrissey Fans Are Unlike Any Other Music Fans

Why Morrissey Fans Are Unlike Any Other Music Fans

Sure, people swooned over the likes of Madonna, The Beatles and Elvis, but Morrissey fans are in a league of their own.
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The phenomenon of popular musicians having very fanatical fans probably first began with singers like Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, and those "fandoms" were soon succeeded and topped by the likes of Elvis Presley and The Beatles. Crazy, hysterical female fans of popular musicians were given tags throughout the years like "bobby soxers" then "teenyboppers," and now there's a current term, "fangirls," but there was one constant among all these tags. These groups consisted of young women between the ages of 12 and 25 with an unhealthy obsession with these musicians and all of them had a distinctive shriek that could make any mirror shatter. They formed fan clubs, they wrote adoring letters, they tried to break into dressing rooms, and they would even stage invade during a show just in an effort to touch their beloved idols, even if it meant they would get thrown out.

We still see this type of fandom today with the likes of One Direction or Justin Bieber where girls come to their shows and scream so loud that it would be actually difficult to enjoy and hear the concert (though I'm not sure a sensible person is capable of doing this, if you know what I mean), something that The Beatles were definitely accustomed to. In fact, The Beatles actually made a decision to stop playing live altogether, partially due to the fact that they became so annoyed at all the screaming and they often couldn't actually hear themselves playing over all the loud fans (and you also have to remember that the PA systems weren't very advanced at that time either).

So, there were male singers and bands like Frank Sinatra and The Beatles from every decade and genre that made female fans swoon. There were male and female pop stars like Madonna, Lady Gaga, George Michael and Justin Timberlake who made female and homosexual fans swoon. But, what about a musician or band that made every demographic -- young or old, male or female, gay or straight -- lose their minds? No one else comes to mind, except a man by the name of Steven Patrick Morrissey, or as you probably know him, Morrissey.

Morrissey first rose to fame as the lead singer of Manchester rock band The Smiths in the '80s. As frontman of The Smiths, he became known for his distinctive, tall, brown quiff, his unbuttoned, borderline-feminine shirts, his oversized NHS spectacles, and his regular stage prop: a handful of flowers. Now, due to that description and due to the fact that he was a particular admirer of people like James Dean and Marlon Brando, one would think that he was surely a homosexual. Quite the opposite. He actually spoke publicly about his asexuality. It was so strange for someone to visually and lyrically present himself in such a way that oozed of sexuality, but who actually was open about the fact that he never truly desired a physical relationship and to some extent, saw himself as above or beyond the idea of sex.

It was quite odd for a lead singer to flamboyantly rip off his shirt at nearly all his shows and sing about things like "a murderous desire for love" and whether "nature will make a man of me yet," but actually declare himself to be celibate. Throughout his career with The Smiths and still till this day as a solo artist, his lyrics were filled with sexual innuendos, sexual ambiguity and themes of physical intimacy, but it was as if he was untouchable. He presented himself with this "look, but don't touch" mentality, which only made people want him more. Morrissey was viewed as this "sweet and tender" man who sang of sexual confusion and sang with so much honest emotion that he claimed that he has never "performed" onstage, it was all 100 percent true emotion. His lyrics spoke to teenagers of both genders and all sexualities who also shared his interest in sex and maybe even similar feelings of sexual frustration. Though he was openly asexual, he actually became a sex symbol, which seems backwards, but he truly was (and is) a sex symbol in every sense of the term.

At his shows with The Smiths and his solo shows, stage invasions were not unusual. In fact, it happened all the time in the '80s and '90s, probably at every show, and it still happens to this day. Male and female fans would rush on stage in hopes of hugging Morrissey, this godlike figure who sang of the struggles of being a teenager and who spoke of love and sex in a way that was so poetic and beautiful. However, what is truly unmatched by any other musician is the fact that he made heterosexual men go just as crazy as his homosexual fans or female fans. Male, teenage, heterosexual fans of The Smiths and Morrissey (of which there were many) had a very distinct uniform.

They would wear white T-shirts, which displayed either Smiths album covers (all of which were designed by Morrissey) or photos of Morrissey. They wore blue denim jeans and and many of them even tried to mimic Morrissey's iconic quiff. They wanted to hug the man who spoke to them like no one had ever spoken to them before. They saw themselves as outsiders and Morrissey was someone who made them feel understood and who made them feel like they weren't alone. He was the one who made people feel that being awkward, reclusive or intelligent weren't undesirable characteristics, especially when it came to rock and roll, which is often associated with being extroverted and macho.

Morrissey definitely had his fair share of female and homosexual admirers as well, many of whom would throw flowers and underwear at him at shows and stage invade, but what really sets him apart is that his straight, male fans would do all of those things as well in equal measure, perhaps minus the underwear throwing. I mean this characteristic is really unprecedented in music. I'd be damned if I could think of another example of worship on this level from all different demographics of music fans. In regards to this phenomenon, Morrissey acknowledged it in an interview by saying, "a lot of my male followers have very anguished and rabid desires in my direction. And I find that quite historic." After Morrissey would rip off his shirt at his concerts, he would throw it into the crowd, where fans tried to get at least a small piece to take home and cherish before it was inevitably ripped to shreds.

Another thing that was distinctive when it came to Morrissey fans was that they wrote so many letters and tried to give him so many gifts (before, during and after his shows) that it was getting out of control. Eventually, his management started putting boxes outside of venues before his shows that read "gifts for Morrissey" for fans to present Morrissey with whatever they desired. What's also unique about Morrissey was that he welcomed stage invasions and he hugged fans back and shook their hands as they tried to kiss and hug him in mid-song, which, of course, only lead to more stage invasions. When asked about all the love he receives from his fans, Morrissey once said, "Can you imagine being kissed by hundreds of people? It was immensely uplifting."

What's truly remarkable is that these stage invasions still happen today. People of all ages show up to Morrissey gigs with flowers, handwritten letters and a hope of giving the man they love a hug. Morrissey is so beloved that for many people, going to one of his concerts is a religious experience. He's the preacher and the crowd are the loving, faithful followers. Morrissey's intelligent lyrics were a huge reason that people loved him so much (so much so that they read his lyrics like Bible verses). He sang about things that hadn't been discussed in rock or pop music before. He sang about his favorite poets -- John Keats, W.B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde -- but his wisdom didn't stop there. Sure, others sang about their hatred of the British monarchy like he did in "The Queen Is Dead," but he also sang about things like the National Front ("The National Front Disco"), the Kray twins ("The Last Of The Famous International Playboys"), the plight of the disabled ("November Spawned A Monster"), the ineffective Manchester school system ("The Headmaster Ritual"), police brutality ("Ganglord"), the greed and ego of the music industry ("Paint A Vulgar Picture"), black humor ("Girlfriend In A Coma"), and most notably, vegetarianism ("Meat Is Murder").

Morrissey was and still is one of the faces of vegetarianism, all because of The Smiths' second album, fittingly-titled "Meat Is Murder," which contained a song of the same name. Morrissey probably single-handedly converted more people to vegetarianism than any other one person. He was one of the people who brought this issue to the mainstream, and he wore this cause on his shoulder like no other. Many fans, after hearing that album, gave up meat for life and that's pretty amazing when you think about it. A pop-rock song about vegetarianism is something that no record company would ever push for, especially when the live version of the song was accompanied by a video backdrop of animals being slaughtered and abused.

All the venues at Morrissey shows have to go vegan or else he'll pull out of the show. In fact, there was one time where Morrissey was due to appear on a U.S. late-night talk show, but he pulled out after finding that one of the guests was going to be a cast member from the show "Duck Dynasty," a reality show about duck hunters. The animal rights organization, PETA, campaigns at all of Morrissey's shows because his fans are so dedicated to this cause, just like their idol. After The Smiths' song, "Meat Is Murder," Morrissey continued to address animal rights throughout his solo career as well with songs like "The Bullfighter Dies," which contains lyrics like "hooray, hooray / the bullfighter dies / and nobody cries."

So, not only did Morrissey attract an army of adoring fans from the '80s to the present, but he attracted fans of every demographic. Sure, Elvis and The Beatles had plenty of male, heterosexual fans, but those fans wanted to be like Elvis, Lennon or McCartney, none of them wanted to kiss or hug them like they did with Morrissey. Morrissey attracted fans who would do anything for him. They would (and still do) stage invade, they wore oversized glasses, they adopted his signature hairdo, they waved flowers at his shows, they despised the British royals like he did, they wrote letters to him, they got Morrissey tattoos and they kissed the ground he walked on. Sure, all those things are nothing new, but the fact that he converted so many people to vegetarianism is a pretty remarkable accomplishment, especially for an entertainer.

I hope one day that I, too, will be able to give the man that I listen to religiously a huge hug and a thank you. I may not be a vegetarian, but, thanks to him, I definitely look at eating meat in a different way and I've always been a huge proponent of animal rights, being equally disgusted at things like rodeos, horse racing, zoos and bullfighting. I also can thank him for making it acceptable and cool for rock bands to not have to look and act overtly-macho, but they also don't necessarily have to look androgynous either. He's a true, godlike revolutionary whose fans are unmatched by any other group of music fans. I mean, look at these pictures, and still try to tell me that you don't want to give him a bear hug.

Cover Image Credit: Kevin Cummins

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18 Ways The Disney College Program Destroys You

"I can only hope we never lose sight of one thing, that it was all started by a mouse" - Walt Disney
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The Disney College Program, three little words that may or may not forever change your perspective of the world. Working for Disney has been my dream since I was a little kid. That’s all I ever wanted to do with my life-- to become a part of the magic. It wasn’t just because it’s Disney World, the most magical place on Earth. It's because I truly admire everything that this company stands for. Disney is all about bringing families and friends together, creating memories that will last a lifetime and sprinkling a little pixie dust over this magical place that I’ve called home for eleven months. I knew all of this when I received that “Congratulations!” email. Excitement rushed through my veins . The world of possibilities had finally opened its door for me. What I didn’t know, was what those possibilities truly meant, until post DCP depression kicked in. It's a real thing my friends.

1. You are always going to be an extremely friendly and approachable person.

No matter where you are or who you are talking to, you can't help to smile. You always carry a welcoming vibe with you, no matter what situation you are placed in. Working for Disney taught you how to have the patience of a Saint when it comes to dealing with people. You learned that the best way to communicate is listening to everyone with an open mind, even if they’re screaming in your face about Test Track being out of FastPasses.

2. You are constantly finding hidden Mickeys in the real world.

Admit it, your mind creates hidden Mickeys out of almost every random three circle formation. You can’t help it. You have Disney on your mind all the time.

3. You are FULL of Disney Park fun facts.

Did you know that there are 11,324 triangles that make up Spaceship Earth?!

You love sharing your vast pool of knowledge of random Disney Park fun facts. Sometimes even when people don't care about it, you just have to talk about all the things you learned as a CP.

4. You also may speak ride spiel.

“We're not gonna make it, we're not gonna make it"- Dinosaur at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

When you work for Disney, you live and breath Disney. You couldn't even count how many times you've been to the park, even just to hub grass and chill or ride the People Mover four times in a row. Those spiels were a part of your everyday life. You know when you are riding Hunted Mansion with a boatload of cast members when everyone in the stretch room whispers, "I am your host, your ghost host". Going to the park almost every day is a part of CP culture. Accidentally referring to ride spells still sometimes slips into your daily conversation. Did you really do the college program if you don't know at least one ride spiel?

5. You constantly feel the need to get down the small child's level and talk to them about their favorite Disney characters.

"Hi Princess! My, you look dashing today, what Kingdom did you travel from?!"

What you would do to get back to the days when you were paid to sit on the ground to talk to a child dressed up as Cinderella. You see a child at your real world job and you feel the need to ask them about the about their favorite Disney movie. You catch yourself accidentally referring to people as princess in the real world, but it instated of the magic it used to produce, they look at you like you’re a crazy person. *sigh*

6. If your friends hear you say, ”So this one time in Disney…" one more time they may punch you in the face.

OMG-- this reminds me of this one time in Disney when...*insert story of an amazing day you and your Disney fam had here.*

You can’t help it, every single day was filled with an adventure during your CP. You want to share your stories with everyone you encounter. It's like word vomit. The second something reminds you of your CP there is no stopping you. Your friends back home may either get really annoyed or end up learning everything you did when you had free access to Disney World.

7. Boy do you miss the days when Mondays were happy.

"We love you Mondays, we do."

For some who were into the social scene, you blankly gaze out your window on a Monday night wondering what county you would have been playing at Son On The Beach. You watch your remaining CP friends' Snapchat stories and think to yourself, "Anzacs VS. Gayllerie!? Ugh, must have been a good game." You miss the days when your only struggle was to make it out of work on time to get to Happy Mondays. Your friends back home wonder how you are so freakishly good at flip cup. It’s a CP thing.

8. 90% of your best friends are long distance.

Skype dates are essential.

You created bonds with people from all over the world during your CP. You celebrated holidays with these people. You spent every single day with them during your time in Florida. Your program would never be as magical if it wasn't for the amazing people you met here. Some of these people turn into your life long best friends-- even if they currently reside 12 hours ahead of you. There isn't a day that goes by that you don’t think about you CP BFFs. When they say you will meet the most amazing people you will ever interact with working for Disney, they were not kidding. These people are even more than friends to you, they are family. If it means staying up till 2AM to Skype with your old roommate, who now lives on the other side of the world, it doesn't even cross your mind how late it is. Catching up with them is always worth it.

9. You probably have roughly 500 "I'm Celebrating" buttons.

"Happy squad-iversary!"

You found every excuse in the book to rock an "I'm Celebrating" button when you and your squad hit the parks. "I'm celebrating ERs" was a great one to sport when you got off work early. The button days were the special days. You could probably fill an entire cork board with all of the buttons you collected over your CP. Thank goodness for that, you'll have a tangible memory of those magical days for a lifetime.

10. The clock strikes 3:00PM and you know the Festival Of Fantasy Parade is strolling out of Frontier Land.

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the time has come to take your places” -The Festival Of Fantasy Parade.

You continuously catch yourself looking at the clock around 3PM and feeling a little empty inside. To all the days before work when you watched that parade with your roommates, you were the greatest. You can always spot a cast member as “dreams that glow” blur down Main Street. They are usually the ones dancing along and singing as their favorite floats pass by. What you would do to relive those days.

11. You know a lot about the world and the people it's made up of.

I’d be real keen to learn about your culture over some Maccas, eh.

You know to never tell an Australian their accent sounds like a Kiwi's or visa-versa. You can spot the difference from miles away. You’ve learned the lads from down under are some of the funniest people you’ll ever interact with, and there are in fact, no kangaroos in New Zealand— just wallabies. You know that the people from Spain and Brazil are usually down for some fun and it's always a good time to kick back with your friends from France or The Netherlands. It's true that the Italians are loud and outspoken, in the best way possible. The people from Japan are simply the some of the sweetest. You meet so many people from all over the world and learn so much about their culture. You get more of a feel for all of the greatness the world is made up of than any textbook could ever explain.

12. You could draw a map of Magic Kingdom blindfolded.

“Nearest FastPass kiosk?!” “Down the pathway to the left!

Not only is Disney World your home, but you know every square inch of it. You could still probably give someone directions to the nearest quick service restaurant of your location, from wherever you are currently sitting in the world.

13. Applying for jobs? Disney always makes you stand out.

“Wow, you worked for Disney World? Tell me more about that!”

Your resume stands out among the thousands. Potential employers want to hear about your Disney College Program experience and you are over the moon to share. You tell them about the days where you immersed guests into the theme of your location and all of the magic you made. Working for the number one entertainment company is something to be proud of.

14. You are constantly checking airline prices to reunite with your roommates and get back to the place that started it all.

There is nothing better than reuniting with your Disney family. Your most visited web pages are airlines sites. You count the days where you can rule the parks again with your favorite people by your side. You can't help but to run to them in the middle of MCO with tears in your eyes and magic in your heart, ready to create even more memories together. You know you found forever friends in them, it's never goodbye— it's see ya real soon.

15. You have a strong emotional attachment to certain rides of shows.

"The best part is, you'll never run out of wishes"- Wishes Nighttime Spectacular.

There are some shows and rides that take you right back to the days where Walt Disney World was your usual hang out spot. Some of those shows have so much more meaning to you and the magic you made. You tend to get a little teary eyed watching them when you visit. Even when your CP is over, the magic lives on in your soul.

16. Disney is not just a vacation spot to you, it’s your home.

You feel at ease here. You may have even found who you are and who you aspire to be here. It’s a special place to you that holds so much magic. Going back feels familiar. You never feel like an outsider here. Walt Disney World really is your home and it welcomes you right back every time you return.

17. People who know you before your College Program say you've changed.

You're more outspoken, you are confident in yourself and you carry on with pride. Not to mention your work ethic and customer service skills are outstanding. You believe in things and the people around you. You believe in magic and that's all thanks to the Disney College Program.

18. It was the best 4 months - 1 year of your life and you would do anything to relive just one more day of being a CP.

"While no one knows for sure what we'll see or do. I do know it will be quite an adventure, an adventure that we'll take and make together. See you in the future"- Spaceship Earth.

If you were given the opportunity to put on those extreme high-waisted polyester grandpa pants and that florescent shirt that was probably eight sizes too big for you— you’d do it in a heartbeat. Despite the long hours and blazing sun, sometimes your life felt like a dream. Your time spent working for the mouse will forever be your most magical days, as the Disney College Program was the best opportunity of your entire life.

Cover Image Credit: Dana Saccoccio

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4 Things To Do When You Don't Win The UVA Basketball Lottery

Better luck next time.

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Now that it is officially winter, it is time to cheer on Tony Bennett and the 'Hoos in one of UVA's favorite sports: basketball. While die-hard fans have attended nearly every UVA sports game leading up to basketball season to rake in Saber points, other people (like myself) have only gone to some games and have very few of these points. I was able to go to the first, less intense games with my minuscule amount of points, but now that the team has begun to play major ACC opponents, I am out of luck when it comes to scoring tickets. I am sure that I am not the only one who has had this issue as well. So, instead of being upset and watching the game through the Sanpchat stories of the friends who did get tickets, here is a list of activities that you can do while the game is going on.

1. Stream the game

The Streamable

This is definitely the most basic solution to not getting tickets. Apps like ESPN can sometimes let you stream the game. However, if you do not have a TV provider, you are probably unable to do this. If you can't stream the game but still really want to see it, see if someone you know is watching it and watch the game together. You could also go out with friends to a restaurant or sports bar around C'Ville since they probably have the game on one of their TV's.

2. Spend time with friends

Casey Clarke

If you aren't able to watch the game on a device, you can spend some time hanging out with friends who could also not get tickets. When my roommate and I did not get tickets to the last basketball game, we played card games with some friends and watched the latest episode of The Bachelor and made it a night that was even better than if we had gone to the game.

3. Catch up on work

Lukasz Popardowski

Personally, I always have something that I need to do for a class or extracurricular. While I typically push the work off until later if it isn't very important, I could be finishing that work during the time that I would have spent at the game. Although this may not be the most fun way to spend your time, it is very productive and helps you in the long run.

4. Relax

Giphy

When you don't want to work or go anywhere, just stay home and have a relaxing night. Get in some comfy clothes, make some popcorn, and binge watch some TV or movies. School can cause you to build up stress, so having a relaxing night in would help to alleviate some of the stress and make you happier.

Although you may be bummed that you did not win tickets to the game, hopefully doing one of these things will help to take your mind off of it. Then, go to more games to get more Saber Points and try again for the next game. Hopefully, you will eventually get tickets and have an amazing time!

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