Johnny Marr hates David Cameron. Morrissey hates David Cameron. I hope even David Cameron hates David Cameron.
But does that mean that he shouldn’t be allowed to listen to The Smiths? The Prime Minister’s supposed love of the band attracted scorn again from Marr in a recent BBC interview, where the guitarist once more forbade the former-Etonian from liking the musical pioneers.
Cameron, who also – apparently unironically – ranks ‘The Eton Rifles’ as one of his favourite songs, is undoubtedly a social pariah at any musical feast. Unless you’re in the child-catching or home wrecking business you’re unlikely to welcome the po-faced politician’s ringing endorsement.
But who are bands to choose who is allowed to like their music? As soon as they sign on the dotted line and take the Queen’s shilling the thoughts, emotions and experiences they pour into their songs are no longer their own. Prostitute your dreams and you can’t choose who your customers are.
Who do bands want to listen to their music? People exactly the same as them? The world would be a much more boring place if that was the case. The Strokes would never have wriggled out of the leather-clad straight-jacket of New York, David Bowie would have been dead for centuries before another of his species was born and Axl Rose fans would…well they’d be the exact same tossers that the egomaniacal eejit attracts anyway.
Look at the gold that has been mined from the mire of the unexpected. If Miles Davis hadn’t been forced to listen to rock ‘n’ roll you wouldn’t have gotten Bitches Brew. He wouldn’t have played the Isle of Wight Festival, where he taught a whole generation of British musicians the meaning of panache. If Hooky and Bernard hadn’t had their mind, body and souls further blown apart at the Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall then the landscape of indie, which The Smiths built their brilliance upon, wouldn’t have been so thoroughly steamrolled. I’m not even going to go into Sgt Pepper…
I guess this whole affair proves that God really is fallible. Johnny Marr might be able to make a Rickenbacker roar with angelic ecstasy and have the best haircut any 49 year old has ever had but he’s wrong here. As much as it gnaws my bones to think of Cameron headbanging away to ‘How Soon Is Now’ or – heaven forbid – that ‘This Charming Man’ might be his Bullingdon Club karaoke go-to, you’ve just got to take the rough with the smooth on this one.