Sunday, 29 November 2009

Morrissey In BBC Suicide Row

MORRISSEY SUICIDE ROW

MOODY chart star Morrissey came under fire last night for glamorising ­suicide when he appeared on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs and spoke about killing himself.

Morrissey, who has courted controversy with his gloomy lyrics and depressing song titles, caused outrage by saying “self-destruction is honourable”.

He even admitted contemplating ­suicide himself, when he told presenter Kirsty Young he might even take sleeping pills to the “island” as his “luxury item” for a quick death.

His remarks caused immediate uproar among friends of people who have taken their own life and mental health campaigners.

Stuart Goldsmith, 43, the best friend of child-ren’s TV presenter Mark Speight, who killed himself in 2008, called on him to withdraw his comments unreservedly.

A spokeswoman for mental health charity Sane said: “Anything which glorifies something as terrible as self- harm is of great concern. We are facing an increase in this kind of behaviour among young people.

“It’s a great pity that someone as famous as Morrissey should make self-harm and suicide seem heroic.

“Those of us who hear from young people contemplating suicide know there is nothing romantic about the idea and realise they are in real distress.”

Over a pop career that has spanned three decades, Morrissey, 50, has never been far from controversy. Songs about the Moors Murders, one called Girlfriend In A Coma, and an album titled the Queen Is Dead saw his band publicly castigated.

During Desert Island Discs, broadcast today, he says: “Yes I have [thought about ending it all] and I think self-destruction is honourable. I always thought it was an act of great control and I understand people who do it.”

He later says: “I think the world is quite dark and quite mad and to be a human being is quite a task.

“Life is a series of fences I find, unfortunately. Everybody dies screaming, they don’t die laughing their heads off, as far as I know.”

But Mr Goldsmith, whose best friend hanged himself while grieving over the death of his girlfriend, said: “For someone with as much influence as Morrissey to make these remarks is very worrying.

“I’ve seen the despair suicide can cause and it absolutely devastates families. That’s what it did to Mark’s family.

“If Morrissey has those feelings then he should keep them to himself. If he thinks ‘self destruction’ is ‘honour-able’ that’s his decision as a person. What he is doing, though, is feeding these opinions to millions via the BBC.

“There is every possibility that among those listeners is someone who is feeling depressed, suicidal, who may be encouraged to take their own life by these sort of remarks.”

Morrissey’s choices as his Desert Island Discs include the New York Dolls’ Showdown, The Velvet Underground’s The Black Angel’s Death Song and the Iggy and the Stooges track Your Pretty Face Is Going To Hell.

His luxury item, a bed, only just won out ahead of sleeping pills.

Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 at 11.15am today.

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