Dickie Felton

I write about music and football

The year 1992: Union Jacks, gold lame shirts, double denim, coins hurled at Finsbury Park and me getting thrown out of his homecoming gig.

Amid this chaos, you're gonna need someone on your side. And here it was: Morrissey's majestically Mick Ronson-produced Your Arsenal.
This glorious third studio album entered my world in mate's Dan Gallagher's bedroom. Us 19-year-olds sprinted down to Quirks Records and ran breathlessly back clutching precious vinyl. Huge blond quiffs flopping in the Formby breeze.
Cans of lager-than-life Great Dane beer cracked open as we gaveYour Arsenal our undivided attention.

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At the time, 22-years-and-several-lifetimes-ago, Morrissey heralded this LP as his "most physical". And with its initial grungy guitars, thumping baselines and an image of London gangster Charles Richardson on the inlay sleeve, this album was as hard as nails.
Christ, it was the first time he'd even sung about football. Turnstiles making us hostile, hooligans descending on anyone unable to defend. The Arsenal! Yells a north-London Gooner in the beautiful but hardened We'll Let You Know.

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The wind blew and a nice young boy is lost to the thunder of the National Front Disco. As the NME tries to end careers, far right elements hurl criticism and coinage towards our innocent hero in a Finsbury field. London was dead indeed.

Away from the madness of that Madness day, we watch Morrissey at Sheffield City Hall. A sensational evening with Moz on amazing form gets reviewed negatively in the media. The knives were out. We go to Birmingham and some 7,000 supporters amass in a sea of quiffs and flowers. Morrissey aghast at the heady scene of his legions asks: "Where are you all from? Southport?"
But the music media of the time were on a Moz downer. Whatever the singer put out the critical response was often ridicule. Moz was "out-of-touch" - he was so last decade. The first two singles off the album, We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful and You're The One For Me Fatty receive mixed reviews.

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At Manchester Apollo, his first hometown gig for an eternity, I fault rows of seats just to touch him. During Suedehead hands meet and I'm promptly bundled into the freezing Apollo night by bouncers. Moments later, Moz, furious at the heavy handed security takes one of the burly brutes to task. 

This is 1992 and Your Arsenal has just signalled a magnificent chapter in the early solo career of Steven Patrick.

Away from the rush and push of the first two tracks comes the homage to Marc Bolan with Certain People I Know, with its glorious line: "They look at danger and laugh their heads off."
Seasick, Yet Still Docked and I Know It's Going To Happen Someday are two of the finest Morrissey tracks ever written. Tomorrow an absolute gem.

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A definitive remaster of Your Arsenal is released this week on Parlophone. The cd contains a bonus DVD of Morrissey's 1991 Shoreline Amphitheatre show in California.

 

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