To read and add your name to the Cambridge version of this letter, look here...
An Open Letter to Morrissey
I am a music fan of a similar age to you; I now indulge my lifelong passion for music through running my underground website, fanzine, gigs and record label.
A visit to my childhood home town of Swansea this weekend made me realise that I needed reply to what you seem to be saying in this week's NME. Like many making this return journey before me, I found my onetime playground much altered. But not all for the bad. Not at all.
There is a now a thriving immigrant community in the outskirts of the City; people of Asian and African origin now mix with Welsh and English and others, and this can only bring diversity, creativity and new things to discover. They bring with them more variety of music, food, beliefs, traditions, opinions and accents that massively brighten the outlook of what was once a rather dull monocultural town. There's only one group of people who snarl at (and worse - some Asian buildings in Swansea have apparently been subject to racially inspired attack) this new ethnic enrichment - the Nazis, such as the British National Party.
This is not to say that everything was rosey on my return. Gone are the small venues, the alternative bookstores and the independent record shops that I was hoping to revisit to track down once again some obscure vinyl or an underground pamphlet, along with perhaps some of my own label's releases. In fact, the town centre has become much like any other one, chain stores, theme pubs and burger bars replacing anything truly different and distinctive. This globalisation is the true erosion of identity that you talk about, the true blurring of distinctions. One that immigrants are certainly not to blame for. Unless you were including the owners of Star Bucks, Burger King, HMV and Borders in your list of villains 'flooding' the country. Which I very much doubt you were.
So come on Morrissey. You've had a very good living from a culture which, from the very first time some piece of white trash adapted those 3 chords honed to perfection by black plantation gangs, has thrived on diversity, fusion and crossover. Many people I grew up with hung on your every word; many of the young bands I work with now cite you as a major inspiration. To all of these people, you owe an explanation.
I was relieved to see your recent comments on the Love Music Hate Racism website, and your desire to work with the campaign in the future. However in these very sensitive times we need you to distance yourself from the comments attributed to you in NME, claim you were misquoted if it makes things easier for you, but you've got to make a stand, do something to prove that you really do Love Music and Hate Racism.
Otherwise people are bound to be asking
Who played at the National Front Disco Morrissey? We need to know that it sure as hell wasn't you
Rosey, R*E*P*E*A*T Records, Cambridge