On Nov. 10 and 11, the British pop singer and cultural icon Morrissey played two sold-out shows at the Hollywood Bowl. I attended both shows, admittedly with reservation: Morrissey, my longtime favorite singer, lyricist and hair icon, is making headlines again for his questionable comments, this time about Muslims, migrants, multiculturalism and men behaving badly.
I write very openly in my book, “Mozlandia: Morrissey Fans in the Borderlands,” that I have been a Morrissey fan for decades and have no plans to stop. But my fandom ebbs and flows. These days, it ebbs. So, when Nov. 10 came around — Morrissey Day, no less, as declared by the Los Angeles City Council — I needed something to remind me of why this man, deep down, still mattered to me and the thousands of fans who packed the Hollywood Bowl that day and the next.
How to get in the mood? I play some vintage Morrissey, circa 1992, the year I most associate with my own fandom, when his songs from “Bona Drag,” “Kill Uncle” and “Your Arsenal” were the only ones I wanted to hear. “Every Day Is Like Sunday” still stirs my emotions. And “Glamorous Glue,” bratty and brassy, struts along. The music I know and love from 1990s Moz plays on, and my excitement grows. I sing along to “Our Frank” and “The Last of the Famous International Playboys” and start to dress for the concert.
I put on my “Moz Angeles High School” T-shirt, Levi’s and black Doc Martens. I slide some pomade into my freshly faded hair and comb it up into a little pompadour. A black and red scarf from Manchester’s indie-league football club atop a black Dickies jacket with its sole Moz button that declares “I AM NOT A MAN,” the title of one of my favorite songs from Morrissey’s 2014 album, “World Peace Is None of Your Business,” completes my outfit.
I look like a Morrissey fan.