Friday, November 15, 2013

The Night I Almost Met Morrissey

The Sparks at The Fonda, Hollywood

NOTE: I know I haven't written this blog for months. Explanations will follow at a later date.

Monday, November 12, I went to see The Sparks play at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood. And there in the balcony, sitting at a special table was the back of Morrissey's head. Now, you may be disappointed but I did not take any pictures of the back of his head to prove anything. Simply because it would make a terrible photograph and furthermore it wouldn't prove anything.

I had a few moments of joyfully starring at the back of his head. It seemed like a happy head as it chatted and laughed with Jesse Tobias' head and another bald head. I wondered why no one else was attempting to say hello or get a picture or autograph. I decided to try to meet him.

I happened to bring a copy of Morrissey's Autobiography so I tentatively approached the bald gentleman sitting to Morrissey's right. He looked at me sternly as I smiled nervously and asked, "Would Morrissey autograph my book?" 

He said quite simply and sternly, "No."

Dejected, I climbed the stairs and pondered the situation as I watched other people just walk over to Morrissey and start talking. I realized, while I did not get my book signed, I might have been able to say hello. But it just didn't feel right.

I didn't feel clever enough as I clutched my Long Island Iced Tea and my unsigned copy of Morrissey's Autobiography.

I guess I should have been jealous of the more "known" people who so confidently shook his hand or approached him. But why? I'm happy for them and if they are known by Morrissey then they deserve the greeting or the handshakes. 

Let's face it, most of us flotsam just don't do anything that is particularly extraordinary. Furthermore, lets not overlook the advantages of being unknown.

We can make complete asses of ourselves and no one will notice. Even if Morrissey had seen me approach him and his bald friend, he would never recognize me in the future. If I had been more well known and said something lame, he'd have noticed and you can't repeat something like a bad or boring impression.

So, my last attempt at meeting Morrissey was more lame than the first: I followed him and Jesse and the other guy out the door to where their car was parked when they left the show and the same guy just said, "No."

It was kind of funny to me that I was making Morrissey walk faster as I followed his small entourage-I mean, I'm actually kind to animals and the "partially blind." I wouldn't hurt a fly, let alone Morrissey.

Then they peeled out of the parking lot. Perhaps to prove to me once and for all that there will be no messing with Morrissey.

I'm glad for my missed opportunity, in all honesty. I have no idea what I could have said if he'd have spoken to me after I followed him. Its just so undignified. And you HAVE to have something extraordinary to say to Morrissey if you meet him. It can't simply be a wave and a smile. I would have rather tripped on my size eleven feet going down the stairs to meet him than just say "Hi" or "Nice to meet you." Being boring is the kiss of death.

I CAN say that I ALMOST met Morrissey. And the word, "almost" implies that there will be another chance.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Difference it Made Was Great

It may be hard to fathom that a woman approaching fifty would undertake something like a half marathon. But believe it!!

I HAVE been swimming for over a year just to get in some exercise and then I contemplated how awesome it would be if I could actually run further than a few miles without running out of breath and nearly passing out.

In June, I received an email asking if I wanted to join the PETA team for a half marathan. I carefully considered the challenge and decided to go through with it.

I began training for the Long Beach International on July 13 and have been consistently running and swimming (cross training) on a schedule as part of the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) Team. The name PETA should raise a red flag for any Morrissey fan as he is a staunch supporter of this organization.

Okay, so its possible that I run slower than your grandmother walks but the point is that I'm undertaking a challenge and helping our furry (and not so furry) friends in the process.

So obviously, I am soliciting for financial support in my endeavor. This is where you come in!
Just click on the link to my personal page and make a donation. No amount is too small-although slightly awkward if its under a dollar!

If you can't donate now, do it later. If you can't donate, that's okay too. But you will feel better about yourself if you help animals (and I think I can safely say, Morrissey would approve).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


The Idea
I suppose there is something you should know about me: my oldest son, Jovanny, is an aspiring drag queen.

Now, Jovanny really does have talent. He is eager to share that talent. In fact,  he's been asking for some time if he could do my make up like a drag queen and kind of be a stylist and send me out dressed "to kill."

Since there was a David Bowie Night coming up, we thought it might be a good time to actually do this. Why? We just thought that it might be okay to be a little more daring with clothing and make up since David Bowie is rather experimental himself. 

When kids are in preschool, parents often wear their children's artistic creations-I know I often wore Oliver's macaroni jewelry to work or out to the supermarket, with pride. Well, dressing up like a drag queen was kind of like that for me regarding Jovanny. 

The Preparations
Luckily we had good opprotunity to do any shopping and other necessary preparations since Roland took Oliver and Miguel camping for the week. We also needed time to spend together. Relationships with teens can be tumultuous at times and this was a great way to bridge some understanding.

We first needed to find an outfit that would be daring enough. I told Jovanny that I was willing to look "slutty"- I mean, what the hell, if you are going to do it, why not do it all the way? Well, Jovanny did not disappoint.

However, shopping for revealing clothing requires a different mind set. Instead of looking for cute and comfortable and items that go together, you are forced to look for clothing that simply shows the most skin or is tight enough. Or you might choose a fabric that says "wild" like cheetah print-which is what we chose.

Next, you must have high heels. Now, I am already 5'10" so an extra 4-5 inches makes me a "towering" woman. I NEVER wear high heels so balance (ha ha) is important. I, therefore, needed to practice walking around in these heels. I did so, but I think I needed a bit more practice time.
The finished "product"

Bowie Night
The evening of Bowie night, we spent an hour or so getting the entire outfit together. I was in the bathroom putting on the final touches. When I emerged from the restroom wearing a very tight, lacy cheetah print dress, Roland burst out laughing. No, don't worry. My pride was not damaged. He said he could NOT think of anything less me than cheetah print. He said, "Its very sexy, but wow."

I understand why he said this. In one's mind, one is perpetually between 20-30 years old. Then you look in the mirror and there before you stands the desperate middle- aged woman you would see hanging out at the bar, reeking of desperation.

I was that woman!

Yet, the show must go on so once in the car I tried to input the address into the car's navigational system. Now, you have to understand that we just recently bought a new Prius. I used the system once before and it was a little confusing but I still managed it. This time, I was impatient and just thought I'd use my phone. Yes, a little risky but at least using it is a lot easier.

It took maybe 30-40 minutes to get from the Orange Curtain to Echo Park. Now, I was at the Echoplex months ago for the Smiths/Morrissey Night and I thought it was the same place so I parked my car near where I thought it was. I slipped on my heels and walked down to where I thought it was.

Okay, let me just say that although being a drag queen was my model, I looked like a street hooker-straight out! So, when a man driving a truck pulled up as I was walking and revved his engine while starring at me, I was thinking, "Thank God the club is right here. Get me in!"

Something seemed quite strange though. There was no Bowie music blaring, no lines, no kids hanging about. I found the club door and opened it not hearing a sound-like the ghost of a former popular club. Not seeing anyone at the moment, I thought I might find someone who could tell me where I was supposed to be. The door closed behind me.

Seeing how absolutely emtpy it was and knowing that there was a dumpster right next door, I thought it might be a better idea to just get out. So I opened the door after a bit of a struggle-otherwise I thought I might be trapped in there dressed like a street hooker.

I decided that it would probably wise to get back to the car and reassess the situation. So when I got to the street, my "John" was back again revving his engine. My heels got stuck when I was walking and part of the heel folded into the shoe making it rather difficult to walk. My potential customer seemed to be getting angry as he revved the engine again and peeled away.

I got so scared I took my heels off, tucked them under my arm like a running back clutching the winning Super bowl football and ran in my short dress to the car. I'm sure I was a humorous sight to behold.

I wasn't laughing.

Once safely in my car, I drove around a bit and saw a club with the correct street address and feeling like a complete lunatic idiot I made it to the Echo. I was still shaking as I emerged from the car and laughed to myself when a group of people chatting in the street stopped talking when I walked by. Obviously thinking they'd just seen a real Los Angeles street walker.

It made me want to yell from the rooftops, "I'm a teacher. I'm a respectable citizen , I swear! Don't hate me or be disgusted with me!"

Once I was safely in the club, the rest of the evening was fantastic! Not much to tell except that I danced a lot and made a complete ass of myself. The shot of tequila was a bad idea. But I had a really great time. And you know what? I don't regret it.

Now, if only Morrissey had been there . . .

Monday, July 29, 2013


Moz at Posers in Hollywood

"I am informed today that the projected tour of South America is snuffed out, thus euthanized - due, I'm reliably advised, to lack of funding. It's quite easy to sell tickets, yet impossible to transport band and crew from F to G.
In a year when far too many disappointments have been buried this really is the last of many final straws, and I am not alone in feeling this. The future is suddenly absent, and my apologies are now so frequent as to be somewhat ridiculous, and it is I who apologize because no one else would bother. It is agonizing to be responsible for imparting such news - especially when it springs upon me unexpectedly and inexplicably. But the collapse of South America rings the curtain down with a colossal thud, and the major problems remain as insoluble now as they were in 2009. The obvious conclusion stares back at me from the mirror, and the wheels are finally off the covered wagon. Cancellations and illness have sucked the life out of all of us, and the only sensible solution seems to be the art of doing nothing.
As always I ask your pardon, and I offer pangs of overwhelming love and gratitude to the band and the crew, whose loyalty stretched above and beyond.

I shall see you in my dreams,"
19 July 2013, Los Angeles


Sometimes being a Morrissey fan is like checking your email and only finding adverts for penis enlargements. A bit disappointing.

Of course, the constant cancellations have much to do with health issues and I can say with complete conviction that any Morrissey fan wants our hero to feel better and to approach any upcoming tour in optimal health.

Its just the tone of his latest letter is rather somber and almost hopeless. Which frightens the hell out of your average adoring Morrissey fan.

What do we do with these feeling of despair and lost desire? Well, if you live in Los Angeles, you seek him out at his favorite LA haunts such as Amoeba music and The Cat and Fiddle Pub as well as a place called Posers (pictured above).

You might attend a Sweet and Tender Hooligans show or a Moz Disco night. You listen to Breakfast with the Smiths and send in a weekly request.

You give yourself things to look forward to such as the movie of the Hollywood High show Moz 25, which will be shown in various theaters around the country in August.

You might even get a Smiths fix and plan to see Johnny Marr on his US tour.

It isn't easy. I liken it to being a hard core fan of any athletic club when its going through a losing streak. You just hold out hope.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

I Wouldn't Say No

Shamefully multi-talented, Jose Maldonado not only sings but spins your  favorite Morrissey tunes
I continue to keep myself occupied with Morrissey pursuits. Not only do I attend tribute band shows, but I also listen to the radio. In case you hadn't heard, there is an awesome weekly radio show dedicated to Morrissey and The Smiths. Not too shockingly, it is called Breakfast with the Smiths/The World of Morrissey and it airs on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

I know you probably think that its kind of unnecessary to listen to radio when you can simply download what you want to listen to on applications such as MOG or Pandora or any other number of resources. 

The difference here is like the difference between going through the self-check-out versus the regular check-out at a supermarket. Do you want to listen to a live, human being or else just hear the cold, metallic programmed playlist of your tunes? 

I am rather old-school so you might guess what I prefer.

Jose Maldonado meticulously arranges the playlist that is generally made up of listener's (otherwise known as Breakfast Champions) requests. He also has personal anecdotes of meeting not only Morrissey, but also former collaborators such as Mikey Farrell and Alain Whyte. In addition, Jose knows quite a lot about the music/recording production and the different versions of particular songs and he will play them as a nice surprise.

One of the things that I find so cool about the show is that I have either "discovered" or "rediscovered" songs that Jose has played on the show. Two songs that have rather grown on me in this manner is the song "Lost" from the Maladusted album and, more recently "The Edges Are No Longer Parallel." I'm sure we all know what its like to dig a song we heard before but had never REALLY listened to. I think on this radio show, the format allows you to finally hear what you may have missed before.

When you listen to the show every week, you get to know the regular listeners. Johnny Lima makes the best requests always and Daisy and Flor (both named for flowers and best friends) often make requests for each other. Jimi James, Clover Dean and Abby are other favorite regulars. We all come together for our favorite program.

There is an app that I use called TuneInPro and it allows you to not only listen to the broadcast on your smartphone or ipad but also record weekly shows right on to your devices. I actually enjoy listening to older shows that I have saved so that I have a nice kind of 'mixed tape" of a playlist created by friends that I listen to in the car while driving kids all over Orange County in my very cool mini van.

Breakfast with the Smiths/The World of Morrissey airs on at 9 AM Pacific time on Wednesdays and Sundays; 5 PM in the UK and Ireland, and 12 AM Fridays Pacific, 8 PM UK and Ireland. 

Jose Maldonado is also the lead singer of the Smiths/Morrissey tribute band The Sweet and Tender Hooligans. I'd put him at the top five of the nicest people I've ever met.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Headmaster Ritual

Summerfest in Brea

I've come to the conclusion that performing for a live audience and teaching to young adults (semi-alive) are not as different as it may seem.

In my teaching experience, there are two kinds of classes: Honors classes, in which the more eager and knowledgeable students attend and then you have the regular classes in which the students range from eager to nearly comatose in regards to their education. Both require the same end result which is that all kids are learning whatever standards are required for that grade level and hopefully having some fun along the way.
I think the same can be said of audiences. Of course, they aren't expected to learn any standards but their enthusiasm and desire to get "into it" varies. How the audience might be is slightly determined by the location and the atmosphere of the show.


In my quest to attend Morrissey-related events, I took my family to see The Sweet and Tender Hooligans (again) at a free concert at Saint Angela Merici Church in Brea for their annual church carnival. Brea is in the OC, so of course I did not want to pass up the opportunity to attend. 
This show was much different than the one I went to at the Fonda Theater. When you teach the non honors kids, you have to get in the kid's faces and try to woo them into learning. In much the same way, The Hooligans had to woo this audience.

At a free show, you don't know how much the audience knows about Morrissey or The Smiths. Just like my regular classes, you have the kids that are eager on one end of the spectrum, and then you have the kids that barely know the basics-in this case, audience members who may never have heard of The Smiths or Morrissey.

 I had my two older boys, Jovanny and Miguel with me and both of them thought the performance was fantastic, although neither one is a big Moz fan. The Hooligans pretty much wooed, courted and married the audience. I know that that is putting it simply when I am not sure how easy a task it was. 

I think its a toss of the die as a cover band when you throw a sweaty shirt to the audience. Perhaps, they will part like Moses did the Red Sea to avoid it. However, two people actually almost fought over Jose's shirt. I think that is a pretty big indicator as to how successful the show was.

Jose climbing the stage


I also attended another Sunday show the following week. This time it was NOT the Hooligans but a Morrissey cover band called Maladjusted. I've seen them twice at the Moz Convention but was so busy being a social butterfly, I did not see them long enough to write a proper blog about them.

In terms of audience, it was more of the Honors class. Less was required or expected of the band in terms of reaching out and wooing the audience. On a Sunday afternoon at 4 PM at a small bar, people don't necessarily want a singer in their face.

The band was also limited by the stage at the Slidebar (in Fullerton) because it has an iron railing around it. However, it did not stop the audience from singing along and dancing and fully enjoying themselves and the sunny atmosphere.

It was just the right tone. It was kind of family oriented. I was unable to drag my family to the show, but I still enjoyed seeing others sharing their love for Morrissey,

The singer did speak with a Northern accent (one of my pet peeves), but it was tongue-in-cheek rather than in a way that made you think, "Oh dear. He takes himself rather seriously as Moz." He also has a pleasing Morrissey voice. The band also looked like they were enjoying themselves which is important for the enjoyment of the audience.
Maladjusted at the Slidebar in Fullerton

Now, this show was also free. I think it's a great way to see a band you have never seen before. I, personally, did not have any reservations, but there are people out there who probably would be cautious about paying to see a band they had never seen before. 
Moz Family

Although both shows had vastly different atmospheres and audiences, they were entertaining and on a Sunday, perfect for the whole family.

Note: Although Morrissey is not touring in North America, it was just announced yesterday that the Hollywood High show will be released in IMAX 3D in 47 theaters across the US in August!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Bees Knees (In Defense of Tribute Bands)

Not Morrissey (It's Jose)

Morrissey is a drug.
I think you probably know what I mean. Its just that once you see him perform live, you have to go again. It becomes an addiction. And during this Morrissey drought of not playing for a few months, you have to get your fix.

This is where tribute bands come in.
May 22nd is Morrissey's birthday. For a Morrissey fan his birthday is what Christmas is for a child. I can't explain why. Its not like you get presents. But you just feel giddy and happy and perhaps try to get up to something related to Morrissey to celebrate.

Every year, The Smiths/Morrissey cover band, The Sweet and Tender Hooligans, plays somewhere on Moz's birthday. This year they played at The Fonda Theater in Hollywood. Unfortunately, it was a school night so I wisely bought tickets without consulting Roland and I think he was quite happy to go even though he knew we'd be tired the next day.( I say "wisely" since if I'd given him the chance, he'd have said no). 

Okay, I know it's not REALLY Morrissey, but its still fun. If you are somewhat snobbish about your music, you might think that the band will suck and it will be lame-to generalize. You might think of them as a cheap polyester suit. But it isn't so! And the only thing worse than being snobby about a tribute band, is BEING SNOBBY ABOUT A TRIBUTE BAND!
At the Fonda Theater May 22, 2013
While I have only merely dabbled in playing guitar, I can say that Johnny Marr's tunes are rather complicated and to reproduce his and other Morrissey collaborators' authentic sound must take a lot of tireless skill. I can also say that Jose can perform Morrissey's vocal gymnastics flawlessly.  
When you really think about it, tribute bands sacrifice a lot for the music. They are accomplished musicians and singers but because they are performing someone else's material, they sacrifice much of their own egos just for the love of the artist. I mean, why else would you be in a band? Don't people join bands because they want the women to love them and the men to want to be them? Don't they want to hear the crowd chant their names? You don't necessarily get that being in a cover band. With such a sacrifice in mind, you know that they are truly dedicated to the music.

Another important aspect is artistic representation. The first time I saw this band, I was frightened that they would try to emulate Morrissey and/or The Smiths complete with Northern accent-very scary! But not so. They are themselves. In contrast, Jose has a lot more boundless energy than Morrissey does. (Although I still love Moz and his more stoic performances). His excitement is undeniable in his performance. You sense he's truly enjoying the songs he's singing and its infectious.  

It was great to hear songs that Moz has not played live for many years such as "Sing Your Life," one of my favorites.

The band covered the wide range of Morrissey's career:

The First of the Gang to Die
Still Ill
You're Gonna Need Someone on Your Side
Irish Blood, English Heart
Jack the Ripper
What Difference Does It Make?
I've Changed My Plea to Guilty
Everyday is Like Sunday
The Boy With the Thorn in His Side
Jose with Mikey on keyboards (not my photo)
A Rush and a Push and the Land is Ours
Action is My Middle Name
How Soon is Now?
The Loop
King Leer
Sing Your Life
Hairdresser on Fire
Let Me Kiss You
Pretty Girls Make Graves
Bigmouth Strikes Again
Encore-There is a Light That Never Goes Out

A special moment was when Mikey Farrell (former Morrissey collaborator) came on stage and played keyboards with the band on a couple of the songs he wrote with Morrissey. Mikey played along with the band to, "I've Changed My Plea to Guilty," "Sweetie-Pie," "Everyday is Like Sunday," and the encore, "There is a Light That Never Goes Out."

I think the only complaint about The Sweet and Tender Hooligans came from the band themselves because the ticket prices were pretty high-it was $30 per ticket and they didn't set the higher price themselves or benefit from it. Although, it was nice knowing that part of the proceeds went to a local animal charity in honor of Morrissey. Because the price was steep, the band thought it might drive some people away, but for people like Roland and I, who just want a good night out guaranteed, it was worth it.

Seeing a tribute band can temporarily satisfy your musical fix. You just have to put aside the need to be a musical snob and sing along!

Another great shot I can't take credit for!

By the way, Morrissey recently announced confirmed dates for several shows in South America this summer. While I may still need my "fix" at least there is some hope he will be here, in North America, in the future.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I Hoarsely Cry

Roland and I at the Moz Convention

The Smiths/Morrissey event at the Avalon was another great time. Okay, it was awhile ago, I know. But I have been trying to catch up on all the events that I have attended up to this point. I was glad that Roland came along. I've noted before how he likes The Smiths and Morrissey but he would be happy usually to simply just stay home and I don't think if you told him how awesome it was he'd really mind too much that he was at home grading papers. He's much more optimistic than I. He would probably just be content on how many school papers he'd graded or what a great movie he'd watched.
I, on the other hand, would be anxiety-ridden. Like a child who doesn't want to go to bed no matter how tired he is just so he doesn't miss anything.
I appreciate the fact that he came along. I even convinced him to sign up for the Moz Karaoke contest. He did a great job on "Interesting Drug." I am attaching a short segment of his song. Excuse the poor video quality, please.
We did not go alone. As you may know, I am an English teacher and Roland is also a teacher at high school. One of our students, who is an avid Morrissey fan, wanted to go to the convention so we offered to take him along with us.
A funny moment occurred when Elias said, "Mrs. Willoughby-Jones," to get my attention and I had to stop him and say, "We are at a club together. Please call me Andrea." I did not like the mixture of my work life with my Morrissey "life."
Another highlight was running into Ricardo who I met at the convention last year. I really wanted to chat with him more but I was kind of back and forth a lot. While I love Roland's company, I feel guilty leaving him somewhere in order to talk to the people I know when he'd rather do something else rather than tag along with me. So I had to leave Ricardo to check on Roland and when I came back to speak to Ricardo, he was gone.
Before he disappeared he told me he has read my blog but does not like the name-My Life Without Morrissey-because he thinks it sounds like I don't like Morrissey. Personally, I think its too late to change the name even if I wanted to. But I like it.

The convention is just overall a fun time to mix and mingle with other fans who are just as crazy or even more crazy than you. Its good to be among them.
I am letting my photos speak for themselves although if you know me you will recognize these shots from my Facebook page a few months ago. Hope you enjoy them.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Paint a (not so) Vulgar Picture at Moz Art

Moz Art April 16, 2013

It seems like a hundred years ago since attending this Moz-related event. It's just that it was an all-around great night. It was in East LA and I took my oldest son, Jovanny, with me since it was all ages.
Looking back on March and April and the state of things, I think its kind of sad that Morrissey seemed to be riding this wave of renewed success with the Staples Center show and then the Hollywood High show, but it just crashed down when his health betrayed him.
And where does that leave us, his fans, who were also riding that awesome wave? We are getting by. We do this by attending events such as Moz Art and seeing each other. We talk about how unreal Morrissey's last two shows in LA were and consider ourselves lucky.
They say "a picture's worth a thousand words," so today I won't say much. Just let the photos speak mostly for themselves.


I have discovered that I enjoy taking pictures of tattoos. Perhaps it stems from the fact that I don't have any myself. Sure, I could go out and get a tattoo, but it just isn't my thing. It doesn't stop me from admiring tattoos on others or else going for the old pen tattoos in their impermanence.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Please Keep Me in Mind

Moz Art

I realize it has been several weeks since I last wrote. If I had the opportunity to take pictures of what I do all day everyday, every week in my real life, I think you would be exceedingly bored but at the same time, astounded. In that realization, you would forgive me for not having the time to write more frequently.
I promised to write about the Johnny Marr gig at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas last time, and I shall. Just remember it has been over a month since the show. Bear in mind, that it was also a New Order headlining concert and remember that I had met Johnny Marr just hours before the performance. I was as high as a kite in a purely joyous sense.
Roland and I are not really big New Order fans. If this seems sacrilegious to you, then you need not read any further. Being a teen music fan of the 80s and 90s, I listened to New Order and I truly enjoyed it. But it just played. I couldn't really tell you the names of any particular songs. I would know them if I heard them. but it just played in the background when I wasn't listening to The Smiths or Morrissey. It may seem unbelievable but its true.

So, we enjoyed Johnny Marr of course. Roland, being a sound man, felt that the sound wasn't so great but stated that it was most likely due to the fact that Johnny was the support act.

I nearly punched a man when Johnny came on and the man said loudly, "What the hell is THIS?" referring to Johnny. Wow. I was speechless. I was.

I took as many pictures as I could having snuck in my digital SLR again. Most of the photos were from far away. I tried to get closer to the stage but a security guy saw me and was ready to leap over people to destroy me and my camera, at least that's what his body language and eyes said to me.

In any event, the photo I took from so far away was one of the ten winners in the Johnny Marr tour photo contest on Facebook. I won a vinyl LP and a rockin' poster of his new album The Messenger.

He played twelve songs:

1. The Right Thing Right
2. Stop Me if You've Heard This One Before
3. Upstarts
4. Sun & Moon
5. There is a Light That Never Goes Out
6. The Messenger
7. Lockdown
8. Generate! Generate!
9. New Town Velocity
10. I Fought the Law
11. Getting Away With It
12. How Soon Is Now?

My favorite Smiths cover was How Soon Is Now?. My favorite new song is New Town Velocity. It was a great set. The excitement was real. It wasn't like seeing Morrissey, but I didn't expect it to be like that anyway.

Another highlight was meeting Jose Maldonado of The Sweet and Tender Hooligans-a tribute band. He hosts the radio show Breakfast with the Smiths on Indie Its just because I have conversed with him via social media and it was special to meet him briefly at the show.

I don't like how I look in the picture-the four mile ride shows in my hair-but what the hell? It got Jose in it!

Tonight is Morrissey's birthday and Roland and I are off to see Sweet and Tender Hooligans in Hollywood tonight.

I still have to write about Moz Art but I think that can be done in pictures. Also, I want to write about the Smiths/Morrissey Convention. Again, these will mostly be pictures-and many of my friends have already seen them, but ah well.

One of my students wrote Morrissey's name on my arm with a fountain pen, but I can't get the pic to go the right way round.




Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before

Me and Johnny at the Cosmopolitan, Las Vegas

The Trip

Roland and I decided that we would see Johnny Marr play in Las Vegas when the opportunity arose. He was opening for New Order and playing outdoors in the pool area at the hotel. It took a bit of maneuvering to arrange babysitters on a weeknight-Thursday-but we pulled it off thanks to good friends.

As we were packing, I quickly grabbed my Louder Than Bombs album and a sharpie so that if I were to meet Johnny Marr, he could sign this item of my youth. I was kind of joking because I knew it was unlikely and Roland thought it was funny. Of course, I left the actual vinyl in a nice, cool place at home since the heat would warp it. 

We stayed at a fairly new hotel called the Vdara, which is right next door to the Cosmopolitan,  where the gig took place. The Cosmopolitan was just way too expensive to book a room and the feature we liked best about the Vdara is that it has a little kitchen so you can prepare your own food. Its not that we don't like eating out but its nice and romantic to share and prepare a meal without the kids around. It can also be expensive to eat out. 

The Vdara also does not have a casino in it, which makes it nice if you like the quiet, and aren't bothered about not gambling.

The ride from Orange County is about four hours. Roland and I just played music and sang along the whole time. Its not really cool that we were blaring music in a mini van but if you have to be undignified, why not do it in style, eh? We listened to the likes of Johnny's new album, The Messenger, as well as Morrissey (of course), The Smiths, Buddy Holly and New Order among others. 

Once we arrived and had a quick nap, I realized that although I had remembered to bring Louder Than Bombs, I had forgotten to bring my make up. Now, if you are a guy, you might think this is a minor thing, but if you are a fairly vain woman (approaching fifty), in all likelihood you know how important it is to look as good as you can if you are going to a concert to see your favorite guitar hero.

So we went make up shopping on the strip and then for a drink. (And to look for Johnny Marr).

Roland did not want to have a drink at The Cosmopolitan because the last time we were there, it was kind of crowded but I insisted since it was my belief and hope that Johnny would be there. Somewhere. I was kind of joking because I did not think it was really possible but I had my LP in my bag anyway.

I had a Bloody Mary, Roland had a beer and we enjoyed watching the bartender make tourists amazing drinks. I kept looking around for Johnny and joked with Roland that he might just come in the bar to order a drink, see my album in my large bag and ask, "Miss, is that a Louder Than Bombs album you are carrying in your bag? May I sign it?"

I realized I needed to head back to the make up store for an eye shadow brush so we left the bar and headed back outside the hotel. I said to Roland, "Keep an eye out for him. Remember what he looks like. He kind of looks like that guy over there." As I said so, I realized it WAS him. 

The Meeting
I picked up my pace leaving Roland in a cloud of dust and approached him. "Johnny? Johnny Marr?" and he kind of looked at me as if he were unsure. I said, "Are you Johnny Marr?" and he said yes but he was looking towards the direction he was heading so I was afraid I was interrupting whatever he was doing. Perhaps he was looking for an escape route.

It made me think that I don't know what is going on in his life. Maybe he was having a bad day, maybe he was anxious about something. I wanted to make sure he had a way out if he did not really want to engage.

I said, "I just happened to have my album here. Would it be okay to ask you to sign it?" (Although I thought it was odd that I was carrying an album cover, he did not indicate that it was at all strange.)

He said, "Yes. I'll sign it."

I said, "I really like your new album."

He looked me dead in the eyes and said, "Thank you." But it made me think it was nice for him to get positive feedback on something he has been working on more recently. 

He dropped the pen and picked it up and began to sign my album. "What's your name?" he asked.


My heart was going so fast, I began to feel kind of shakey. I just could not believe he was signing it and I was here with him. He was holding just an album cover which probably did not mean so much to him at the moment but to me, it was the very album I would run home to and sometimes literally hug for comfort during some of the toughest days of my life. The sound of Johnny's guitar signaled the songs I would sing that brought me joy in knowing that someone else in this world understood me. Many tears were shed on that album. That album that Johnny was signing at that moment for me. It was almost like a recognition of what we shared but I don't think Johnny really had any idea. Strange to meet the person who seems to have written the soundtrack to part of your life, but you don't know each other. 

He asked, "Are you coming to the gig tonight?"

Roland said yes.

I said, "If my legs don't give out." My legs really began to feel weak and rubbery. I felt like the scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz.

I think he smiled at that.

Then he asked Roland where he was from. Roland told him and they had a conversation about the production of the album. He told Roland that the only band he never sang with was The Smiths. 

A woman approached and I said, "Hi. I'm Andrea," and we shook hands. She also asked if we were going to the gig. I said yes, and I told her that I was really overcome. I think she thought it was sweet because she said, "Aww." I assumed this was Johnny's wife. The last thing I wanted to do was ask her. 

I reached in my bag for my camera and she offered to take my picture with Johnny. She took two shots, which came out very well. In my vanity, I wish I had worn shades but you can see I had no time to think about being cool. I was too happy.

There were a couple of guys that had seen us and wanted to meet Johnny so I knew that our time was up. We said good-bye and thank you very much.

As we rounded the corner, a man asked, "Who is that?"

We said, "Johnny Marr." But Roland had to explain who exactly he is.

How do you express in words all that such a talent has given you? How do you express the amazement and the love you have for the songs? Its not possible. You can only grin like a fool.

When we got back to our hotel, I realized I hadn't even read what he wrote:

"To Andrea. Good luck. Johnny Marr"

They seem like such simple words but how true. I already had my good luck, Johnny. Thank you!

Coming Soon: The show at The Cosmopolitan

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Seasick Yet Still Docked

Bonnie posing for MozStickerProject assignment (she IS alive)
I've been struggling for the past few days trying to think what the hell to write about. Here is the situation:
1. Morrissey was too sick to continue his tour-all US dates were cancelled as well as his performance in Mexico City.
2. Morrissey appeared in an interview on a Mexican radio show in which he explained how very disappointed he was and how he was "cautioned" not to perform anymore.
3. He was photographed at an Irish football game with his cousin Robbie Keane.
4. It was announced on True-To-You that Morrissey will be performing in seven Mexican cities in June and in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Chile in July.
5. The Hollywood High show is going to be released on DVD.

So, that's Morrissey news for the past few weeks or so. Of course, it was heart-breaking when he had to cancel the rest of the tour. We were so set for Las Vegas, but I think most fans were understanding of the health problem. We would not want Morrissey to do something that would make him feel worse down the road or cause a more serious issue. 

And to tell you the truth, I think he felt horribly about it. On his website, he left the following message:

"It takes a lifetime to find the right words, and at the moment I haven't got them. I've been a colossal pain where this continuously unpredictable illness is concerned, and now the physical limits have been reached.The tour had, in fact, been fantastic for all of us-a new slice of life full of concentrated power. The audiences everywhere have given so much, although I know that neither of us will ever receive our due. I hope this isn't the end and I hope there will be other chances minus the heavy burden of illness.Knots of grief today, but full of resolve for tomorrow." Morrissey, March 16, Mexico

Something to look forward to
At this moment, I am happy he is planning to tour again yet sad that its not as likely that I will be able to see him unless one of the cities he plays is Tijuana.

I have lots of things going on in my home life at the moment. Raising two teenagers and a nine year old is a challenge, teaching is a challenge, and I don't have time for any more challenges. Part of my fascination with Morrissey probably is a means of mental escape. But not all of it. And now that I am not planning to see him currently, it forces me to look at these things more closely. And I don't want to, to be truthful.

I suppose a positive to come out of this is that, to me at least, it seems like the Twitterdilly friendships are strengthening through Twitter (duh) and MorrisseysWorldChat. Its a wierd time trying to transition from the news over the month and adjust our minds.

Like many other fans, I find myself keeping occupied by attending Smiths/Morrissey-related events. This I shall do, and write about as it seems fit. (Truely my life IS without Morrissey at the moment!)

On a side note, probably the best thing that I heard at school all week was a student who said, "Ms. Willoughby, I bought my first Smiths album. Its the one with 'There is a Light That Never Goes Out'."

Ah, to fall in love again!