Saturday, February 15, 2014

Morrissey, Cliff and Tom Bloody Jones: The Men Of A Certain Age tour

The news that Morrissey has announced dates with Tom Jones and Cliff Richard isn't really as surprising as people seem to think.

First, if we've learned anything from the last couple of years, it's that Morrissey's great strength is announcing gigs; he's less good at turning up to play them. On that basis, why not book extraordinary names? It's frankly more surprising that he's not publishing bills with Princess Grace, that main dude from The Lego Movie and Nostradamus.

Secondly, we all know how stung Morrissey is when people suggest he's a little bit racist. How better to prove your credentials as embracing everyone than by sharing the stage with Cliff Richard (born in India) and Tom Jones (who has orange skin)?

More generously, Mozzer has never hidden his affection for British culture of the early 60s and, if you put a piece of paper over both Jones' and Richard's cvs to cover off anything post-punk, you've got two titans. On that basis, the plan is no more unlikely than Morrissey's work with Sandie Shaw or his eulogy for Kenneth Williams.

Perhaps slightly less generously, if you then take the piece of paper off the cvs, you have careers which start out astonishingly edgy - Tom doing first-person songs about murder and incarcerated criminals; Cliff being inspected by authorities to see if that nasty Elvis had somehow infected England - which somehow mutated into a conservative, mundane slop of game shows, Christmas songs and shirtless calendars and tours to a fanbase slowly moving from 'pickled in aspic' to 'preserved with embalming fluid'. Morrissey might recognise something there.

More interesting is whats in it for the two older singers. Jones, clearly, is eyeing up the next series of The Voice, given that this year it's proving an opportunity for him to have a quiet nap in a comfy seat; a date with Morrissey will top-up his list of names to drop.

Cliff, for his part, cheerfully announced that he was doing it because it's a larger audience than he could usually manage in the US:

Richard also said the chances of him playing to 15,000 people in New York were “pretty well nil” without the support of Morrissey, but stated he was determined to make his one-hour set the best he possibly could: “I’m just going to make it really difficult for Morrissey to follow me.”
The dates take place in June, which means we're expecting Morrissey to contract lassa fever sometime around the end of May.