STEVEN PATRICK MORRISSEY almost died. Not of any known affliction or debilitating disease—instead, as one would expect Morrissey to go, he merely crumpled to a nearly lifeless pile while onstage in Swindon. "Good evening... probably," were his near-final words before ending up on his back, and later, a hospital bed. To die onstage (not by your side under the wheels of a 10-ton truck) is the only exit that would properly befit such a man. If, and when, Morrissey finds himself splayed on his deathbed, arms theatrically draped over his forehead, odds are he'll go out like Oscar Wilde, dramatically bemoaning the wallpaper before passing into darkness.
But while he has managed to stay upright as of late, make no mistake, Morrissey is most definitely not well. With the exception of the post-Maladjusted lull of the late '90s—a period of quiet that was the predecessor to his grand second, or third, or fourth act with You Are the Quarry—we are currently immersed in the worst era of Morrissey's career. In the days following the collapse, a Liverpudlian hit him with a launched beer cup (bouquets of roses or perhaps even panties are appropriate to throw at Morrissey, but beer simply is not thrown at this man, it's absolutely inexcusable). And last week, he unleashed a less-than-poetic string of profanities at a German who dared heckle him mid-show. I want my Morrissey healthy, covered in hugs (not beer), and oblivious to heckles. This is not good.
Primarily notable for its striking cover of the Moz holding a squirmy infant like a running back cradles a football—which either acts as a blunt symbol of the man's untapped fertility, or a reminder that a child prop is as close as he will ever come to becoming a sire—his newest album, Years of Refusal, is simply adequate, a recording that merely kept our appetites satiated until something better came about. Then came the just-released B-side compilation Swords, although the album mined material already available to most hardcore Moz fans.
While the mere act of the Moz setting his sweet and tender feet within our city limits brings us all that much closer to that Smiths reunion that we all know will never happen—Johnny Marr lives here, remember?—he hasn't treated our fair city too warmly in the past. Seven years have passed between Morrissey dates in Portland, thus making the I-5 corridor the saddest stretch of freeway for us fans that must drive to Seattle yearly to see the man in person. Even the Sweet and Tender Hooligans ("The ultimate tribute to Morrissey and the Smiths") choose to pay honor to Morrissey's booking agent by skipping our town entirely.
It would seem that Morrissey primarily exists as a live entity these days. His onstage hysterics—the man is just as likely to brazenly peel off his shirt as he is to end up in the fetal position—come as little surprise, as if this was all a primed exercise for his future destination of choice: Las Vegas. With two shows nightly and a vegan buffet, a Vegas Moz will combine the unrestrained flair of Liberace with the idol sheen of a young furry-chested Tom Jones. There, under the glitz of some strip casino, Morrissey will attract a devoted following (yes, even Julia Riley can come) that will wince at the mere thought of the Nevada sun, but warm at the prospects of wrapping its arms around the man in an onstage hug. It will be a perfect home for him. I'll see you there.