'Irish blood, English heart'
Ambivalence, unease and The Smiths
in Why pamper life's complexities?
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This chapter explores The Smiths as a form of second-generation Irish music-making, viewing their work as an 'Irish-English' musical 'route'. Accounts of the second-generation Irish in England detail the ambivalence that this generation has felt towards both the host culture and the ethnic 'home'. Certain Irish critics have set out to detect, in The Smiths' work, quintessentially Irish qualities. Moreover, at key points in The Smiths' career, Morrissey made it clear that his lyrical ideas had been shaped by the marginality he had experienced as a second-generation Irish youth. The opening lines of 'Never Had No One Ever' are striking in this regard. The singer's most noted homage to Wilde, in The Smiths' song 'Cemetry Gates' provides a clue to his position on Irish/English affairs. In this respect, The Smiths' address to 'outsiderness' went beyond the tropes of ambivalence and unease, pointing to a more enabling conception of marginality.

Why pamper life's complexities?

Essays on The Smiths


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