Monday, March 06, 2017

Johnny Marr, kissed by a boy

As a teen, future Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr had a good gay mate named Tony. “Tony was a beautiful creature, another Bowie fan, with a blonde Ziggy haircut, high cheekbones, and green eyes like a Siamese cat. He wore red Oxford bags [trousers] with white platforms and a black Harrington jacket.” This accounting of clothing choices is not unusual in Johnny Marr’s memoir. The man is into clothes. “Tony was three years older than me and was the first guy I knew who was openly gay. The trends and times [1975] meant that boys who looked like girls, and girls who looked like boys, were commonplace, especially if you were into David Bowie, and plenty of straight men were fashionably camp and effeminate.” Tony came from a tough family, with two older brothers. “Tony wasn’t camp but he was cutting and had a sense of self-possession that gave him a feline poise and inscrutability. … We were together a lot, and it got some people talking, which didn’t bother me …”

So here’s the story of Johnny Marr getting his first male kiss:

The two of us were in PIccadilly Gardens one Saturday afternoon just after I’d had my hair cut. We were waiting at the bus stop when two big uglies with north Manchester accents came over and started making cooing noises and blowing kisses. I looked at Tony’s face as he continued talking to me, and I could see he was aware of the situation. ‘Eh,’ said one of the lads, ‘are you queers?’ They were obviously up for a fight. I readied myself for the inevitable as Tony continued to talk to me with his back to the goons and appeared to be ignoring their remarks until one pushed him in the back and said, ‘Eh, y’fuckin’ queer.’ With that, Tony grabbed my head and kissed me on the lips for what seemed like a very long time, then spun around and attacked the biggest of the two with two really hard punches to the face until the lad went on to his knees. He then grabbed the other guy, who was backing off, punched him very hard in the face and threw him down into the road full of traffic. … [A]s we ran off towards the train station Tony turned to me and said, ‘That was nice’ …

Tony also assured his young friend that no more kisses were to come.

Johnny never describes another same sex kiss so we’re left to assume that this was his one and only. It wasn’t really a consensual kiss, but Johnny seems not have been offended.

In his memoir Johnny Marr never speculates about the sexuality of songwriting partner and Smiths lead singer Morrissey, nor does he offer much in the way of lyric readings, other than that Johnny was proud of the songs they wrote together, Morrissey’s words, as well as his own music.

At one of the Smiths’ first gigs they played one song they hadn’t written themselves: “a song by the girl group The Cookies, called ‘I Want a Boy for My Birthday,’ which I realised would send out a message that not only didn’t bother me but which I was fairly amused by and quite excited about.”

source: Set the Boy Free: the autobiography by Johnny Marr

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