Morrissey: Knows How Joan of Arc felt.
Steven Patrick Morrissey divides opinion: it’s a love him or hate him thing. Born a Gemini on the 22nd May, a full moon, with a clearly Mercurial signature that is both controversial and contradictory. He stands alone in pop as a commentator on all the hypocrisy in that industry. He was probably the most vocal vegetarian on the Smiths second album ‘Meat is Murder’ (1985) which prompted a lot of Smiths fans to become vegetarian. Now he extols being a vegan. He calls the Royal family ‘despicable people’. Asked if he likes football, he replied “yes, if only it were politicians heads I could kick around, especially Tony Blair’s.” He has been reviled by pop journalists, especially the New Musical Express who love to hate him. Yet he is lionised by fans who turn concerts into a Dionysian revelry storming the stage, chanting his name and attempting to touch the living flesh of Moz as he is known. He has carved himself into a legend through a long solo career. He is worshipped in Mexico and among Latinos in Baja California who tend to know how it feels to be among the downtrodden.
In 1996, British judge John Weeks had a Judge Judy moment in the trial against Morrissey for ownership of the royalties of Smiths songs.This was possibly the only time that Morrissey himself was outspoken by verbal dexterity more stinging than his own. The judge summarized Morrissey thus: ‘devious, truculent and unreliable’ and those three words were widely reported as they had and still have a ring of truth. Andy Rourke and Mike Smith felt cheated out of their money. The words also happen to resonate with the trickster side of Mercury- strongly positioned at 17 degrees of Gemini, its home sign, giving plenty of originality to his mental capacities. Morrissey responded in his autobiography that the judge was ‘the pride of pipsqueakery’. So he got his own back.
Morrissey made being cantankerous second nature and most would not wish to be the recipient of his acid tongue. He out critiques the critics. Morrissey was born within the first minute of Gemini. He never holds back or suffers fools gladly and can easily tear people to shreds with his words. Journalists feared to interview him as he challenged every question. He used the artistry of song lyrics to spear his enemies who in memorable lines that may live a lot longer than he does. He is now on his solar return at the grand old age of 60 and has survived all the controversy, which has only made him stronger, more of the curmudgeon he was born to be.
There is no exact birth time so any precision about his Ascendant or house placements is not possible. But the aspects are there. He has Venus and Mars all steamed up to boiling point in Cancer, and the Mars is trine to Jupiter conjunct that explosive moon expanding on those sardonic and sarcastic elements in Scorpio. Perhaps there is even a touch of grandiosity and a messiah complex here? He knew how Joan of Arc felt after all. The chart is heavily watery so the barbs he projects may be a systematic defense to protect that very private sensitive inner self. The Jupiter/Moon is also square to Pluto in Virgo, emphasising his picky, prickly side. Pluto is opposite Chiron in Aquarius and while that is generational, it could mark out some intense wounding from early upbringing- the school St Mary’s in Stretford, he went to was notorious for beatings of school children.
He was the ‘wordsmith’ of the Smiths, the perfect foil to Johhny Marr’s elegant guitar riffs. But Morrissey modeled his wit on Oscar Wilde and crafted his lyrics for maximum impact. This command of words is very much the province of Mercury, even the curled upper lip suggests a sneering sarcasm. Even writer and non-astrologer Will Self described Morrissey as ‘Mercurial’ and Morrissey himself said he has a ‘chattering’ mind that talks non-stop. But emotionally Morrissey may be also very Plutonic with that edgy Moon in Scorpio at 29 degrees, making him secretive, and enigmatic and perhaps a bit of what Judge Weeks said ‘truculent’, hiding inner turmoil. He has kept his sexuality out of the public eye and claims he has no idea what the word ‘homoerotic’ means in spite of all the male imagery on record covers. Perhaps this is also why his hobby is character assassination and he dissects people like a surgeon trying to find where feelings might reside in the bones and sinews. He doesn’t do relationships; to him, singularity an angle to everyone else’s universe is a kind of romance of the self.
He is probably one of the most quoted rock stars as his statements tend to stick in the mind like this one “Sweetness. I was only joking when I said by rights you should be bludgeoned in your bed.” Most think he is the ultimate miserabilist, but typically, he says the contrary that he is just ordinary, but this impression that he is a misery could come from an understanding of his own depression and of what motivates suicides. Morrissey is in fact mordantly funny. His autobiography (2015) trumpeted as a Penguin Classic before it even came out, has many laugh-out-loud moments. If he were throwing darts, he would have hit bulls eye on his character assassination of journalist Julie Burchill. His Mercury is square to Uranus both in fixed signs so he’s not about to change his mind or retract. He has been compared to Germaine Greer who lets rip with her opinions in a similar way and the Guardian created a fun quiz to spot the difference in statements made by Morrissey compared to hers. The miscreant Mercurial energy in Morrissey also shows up in behaviours: he never answered the telephone preferring to use hand written pages via fax; when Andy Rourke was dismissed from the Smiths, Morrissey left a Post-it note on Rourke’s car windscreen ‘You have now left the Smiths. Goodbye and Good Luck. Morrissey.’
When I heard the lyrics ‘What do I get for my trouble and pain, a rented room in Whalley Range,’ it spoke directly to my personal experience. After I completed my degree, I lived just two streets away from Morrissey as the Smiths began to be famous in 1982. I was also in a rented room in Whalley Range, Manchester. I saw the Smiths perform at the Hacienda among a shower of gladioli and the height of Smithsmania. When he reflects on death he does it with a wry, twisted humour, typical of Morrissey. He said “When they bury me in a church and chuck earth , on my grave, I’d like the words ‘well at least he tried’ on my tombstone”. Words, always words – Morrissey-style. The song ‘Big Mouth Strikes Again’ is one that expresses pretty much his signature style as the thorn in the side of the rock business, and now without a record contract, not that they won’t have him, but that he won’t have them. That is some achievement. It would have taken a great artist to have invented the character of Morrissey in fiction, if he didn’t exist in real life. Perhaps Dostoevsky’s liverish, bitter man in ‘Notes from Underground’ (1864) comes close? He’s the hero who is the anti-hero. Perhaps he doesn’t mean to vilify all the people close to him, or to turn against all the members of his own group the Smiths. But the bilious, prickly side of him gets the upper hand.
Personally, I’m not sure where I stand re Mozza- I oscillate wildly in my appreciation- but he has reached heights of creative presence in pop culture; he is definitely boring, though he sings out of tune sometimes, yet he definitely chimed in to the zeitgeist of disaffected working class youth in the early 80s. That makes him difficult to ignore and fully worthy of celebration in this sun-sign quote series.
© Proteus Astrology, May 2019
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