there is a light that never goes out


I got caught doing the Morrissey voice today.

Talking like Morrissey, the celibate, vegetarian former lead singer of The Smiths, is something I have done since my freshman year at Cal, back in 1984. My good friend and associate Khurram told about a game that he and his friends would play involving sneaking up on an unaware friend, and then making the trademark warbling Morrissey vocalizing sound very close to their ears. (When I refer to the "Morrissey sound," think of the post-"I'm so sorry" wailing on "Suedehead" or the "ooh-ooh-ooh-oo-oo" at the end of the chorus of "Girlfriend in a Coma") Reactions to the Morrissey voice are mixed, but always entertaining. The Morrissey voice surprises, but the Morrissey voice also soothes.

Recently I was watching, with my peg-legged mother, an old Saturday Night Live rerun that had him as the musical guest, and proceeded to converse only in melancholy Morrissey-speak for the next hour or so (see "running the joke into the ground"). Since then, I will periodically slip into the Morrissey zone, usually while driving, singing tuneless songs about my day: "It's cold and my car is too slow/ So I merge to the right and I stall and I cry and I want to die."

So today, I was working at the museum on a slow, nearly-visitor-free day. I ended up in the empty employee restroom around 2:00 and unconsciously began exploiting the restroom acoustics to Morrisseize the day. When Dan from Exhibits walked in, I was looking in the mirror and warbling a variation of the Lawrence Hall of Science closing announcement: "If you'd like to make a purchase in the Discovery Corner gift and book store, you should do so now-ow." It's hard to make excuses for talking to yourself even when you're not using a high faux-British singing voice and vaguely approximating the melody of "The Boy With a Thorn In His Side."

Luckily, the general no-eye-contact, no-conversation, don't-look-sideways-at-the-urinal conventions of male restroom etiquette let me escape with no more than an awkward head nod and a face full of shame. And, secretly, a heart full of song.


Thank god someone else immortalizes everyday activities with song. I've never used the Morrisey voice, but when I'm alone in my car I often catch myself operatically announcing things like how my windshield is very much composed of safety glass, and certainly not plastic, because a plastic windshield could never do the Safety Dance and thus become the 80s one-hit wonder that my windshield was.

My best friend in high school had a huge Morrisey poster that covered his entire bedroom wall. His name was Lance and he was one of those shy, sensitive gay boys. He was only friends with girls. My father gave him the appropriately facetious , but affectionate nickname "Lance Romance."

Last summer I worked at a school where this dude with long Sammy Hagar-type hair and 5 o'clock shadow (all the time) was the kindergarten teacher. Whenever he walked out onto the playground, I'd sing to myself in a powerhouse falsetto,

The Rock n' Roll Educator!
He'll teach you the golden rule...of cool.

Morrisey is impressive, I don't think I could do that.

I got caught singing "Jenny from the block" complete with dance moves in my office one day. VERY embarrassing.

I've never gotten caught, just caught up.

Whenever I want to drive my wife crazy, I like to do my impression of Morrisey's "Tomorrow". Her reaction makes me laugh my ass off!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on March 5, 2003 4:32 PM.

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