chapter  8
22 Pages

Hoping against Hope: Morrissey and the Light that Never Goes Out

If ‘Morrisseyesque’ ever makes it into the OED, it will certainly not be as a synonym of hopeful. Indeed, we frequently find in the lyrics of the contemporary British singer-songwriter Morrissey – author of such pessimistic epiphanies as ‘Black Cloud’, ‘Life Is A Pigsty’ and ‘Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now’ – what we might refer to as a second order hopelessness; that is, a hopeless resignation with respect to his state of hopelessness. In ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me’, for example, he reflects on the experience of the song’s title:

– and then reflects upon this reflection:

In these lines, he seems to speak from a space at a distance from his own hopelessness, which is itself without any horizon of hope (the ad-libbed outro ‘on and on and on and on …’ is the pessimist’s equivalent of the fairytale ending – the projected life of its protagonist continuing unhappily ever after). What, then, is the point of discussing his work in this context?