Morrissey Vinyl, CD & tapes by Morrissey at Norman Records
Ah. Now then. Let's see...Mr Steven Patrick Morrissey.
Unless they're unusually consistent most artists have a downswing in the quality of their work as they get older. We can forgive that. But it's harder to take when an artist also becomes as unlikeable as Morrissey has of late. His recent views on immigration and support for nationalist political parties have tarnished his work for many. Yet he still has a rabid (if dwindling in number) group of supporters for whom he can do no wrong, and it's worth remembering why.
It all started out so well. The Smiths were the quintessential 80s alternative rock band. They blended brilliant tunes with a Northern English, highly-literate, kitchen-sink melancholy that made them not just stand out amongst their peers but tower above most of them. Morrissey, their leader and mouthpiece, was always outspoken and back then his outsider stances on subjects ranging across sexuality, animal rights, monarchy, celebrity and more struck exactly the right chord with disaffected youth of the era.
By the time of their inevitably acrimonious divorce in 1987, The Smiths were on the verge of becoming hugely successful worldwide. And even the disappointment of that break-up was tempered by the brilliant brace of solo singles Morrissey released that same year. Both 'Suedehead' and 'Everyday is Like Sunday' were pop perfection - mysterious and unique, yet completely radio-friendly.
So started a long and storied solo career which led to some great albums ('Viva Hate', 'Vauxhall and I', 'Your Arsenal') and, shall we say, some less good ones ('Kill Uncle', 'Maladjusted). And no matter the quality of his musical output he always remained an interesting figure - a pop outsider with a knack for attention-grabbing headlines and catchy tunes in equal measure.
But rumours of something approaching racism had dogged him throughout his career, and whilst his flag-waving, close-to-the-knuckles take on English identity may at first have seemed like misinterpretations of themes a boundary-pushing artist like Morrissey might explore, his recent pronouncements have become more unsavoury and much, much harder to defend. This, coupled with increasingly moribund and irrelevant music, has led to a demise in both his popularity and his standing as an icon.