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The Smiths. It was thirty years ago this week.


It was like they were saying, ‘You ARE on your own, but there’s a lot of you out there.’

The 30th anniversary of the release of ‘Hand In Glove’ provided the BBC with an opportunity to come out with yet one more mini-Smiths documentary this past weekend. The Culture Show special – The Smiths: Not Like Any Other Love – wisely avoids tracing the band’s biography and focuses on their impact, with your familiar talking heads like Noel Gallagher and Stuart Maconie – but also art director Jo Slee and expat Yank Amy Lamé (whose one-woman show Unhappy Birthday returns to the London stage this week) . There’s a reasonable attempt to unravel the mathematical magic of the group’s music by prominent conductor/Smiths fan Charles Hazlewood, and poet Simon Armitage delivers the quote up above. Americans might enjoy it for the clip of Labour MP Kerry McCarthy ribbing Prime Minister David Cameron as referenced in the intro to my book. All of us should surely notice the lack of respect for a certain rhythm section.

In further Smiths “news,” writer Julie Hamill has posted her interview with the inimitable Grant Showbiz. Don’t forget that I will be at the Bell House in Brooklyn on Wednesday May 22 reading from A Light That Never Goes Out for At Last I Am Born:A  Morrissey Birthday Celebration. And to close out, Proof Spirit have (has?) commemorated the 30th Anniversary of the Smiths’ recording career by putting together this splendid Metrolink map of The Smiths’ Manchester. Click on image for larger file. And visit Proof Spirit and thank them for putting it together.

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