Johnny Fuckin’ Marr

Heaven Knows I’m Fucking Pleased Now: The Day I Met Johnny Marr

They say never meet your heroes. Well here’s a nice heartwarming story for a cold winter’s day.

At the age of 15 I discovered what I still regard to this day as the finest band on the planet, The Smiths. I can’t think of a better band to soundtrack my days of teenage angst and tea drinking as I whiled away the hours in my bedroom, gradually filling the walls with pictures of my beloved Morrissey, “the Pope of Mope”. I took refuge in his words and, unlike most people, fell in love with the miserable and pretentious cunt that he is. Three years later and I am still one in a minority of people who actually like and respect Morrissey for his personality, in addition to his undeniable lyrical talent.

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Morrissey’s poetry provided shelter, but he was the last man on earth I would have wanted to be. Johnny Marr on the other hand, was exactly who I wanted to be. His one-of-a-kind jangly guitar riffs, played so effortlessly, and that inexplicable cool that only he possessed had me in awe from day one. Nobody can replicate that style; many have tried, all have failed. It took me a year of my life to realise that despite my best efforts, I could never be Johnny Marr, and I slowly came to terms with this sad truth and in time was content being little Ailsa McEwan again. I think that a true hero is that one person in the world you actually want to be and for me, I didn’t even need to think about it – Johnny Fuckin’ Marr was that guy.

And so I decided to meet my hero. Sixteen year old Ailsa had learnt the hard way that this was a potentially dangerous endeavour – I foolishly tried to stalk another of my idols (who will remain unnamed because I’m embarrassed) and got thrown out of his soundcheck; I then succeeded in following his car on foot for a short time before I almost got hit by another car, and then I really was hit – by the realisation that I had just wasted a day of my life chasing somebody who really didn’t give a shit about one strange girl among thousands of dazed fans who attempted to pursue him every day.

This is where Johnny Marr triumphs above many worshipped musicians. I can now say with certainty that Johnny has time for every single one of his fans, wants to talk to them, somehow remembers each one and gets just as much pleasure from meeting them as they do.

I met Johnny on the 8th October 2013. I woke up with a stonking hangover but there was no time for chundering or lying in bed half the day, hangover or no hangover, I had to meet my hero. Accompanied by my good friend, Robbie (Rab T.), together we made our way to the HMV Picture House where the gig would take place later that day. Outside, we met two lucky fans who had already met Johnny and were still hanging around. They were raving about him and their stories only confirmed my beliefs that meeting my hero would be no disappointment. It was only a matter of time, I had missed him going into the venue, but sooner or later he would have to walk out that door and come to me or else face being ambushed by a jittering, hysterical teenager.

What happened was far greater than anything we could have imaged. Robbie left because he’s a moron and missed out big time. It was me, a red haired girl called Caroline and the two fans who had already had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Marr that day, Connor and Michael. For Caroline, this was just another day – she had met Johnny on a few occasions already and had made his acquaintance, I was the only one of the four still to do so.

As the afternoon dragged on, the sounds of the soundcheck drifted to us fans outside and we could hear the faint but unmistakable ‘How Soon is Now?’. After a time, I got tired of the wait and took a stroll down the road, only a few metres, but when I turned Connor and Michael had vanished. I watched as the door closed, them inside, Caroline and I confused and envious on the pavement outside. I was worried that I had just made the worst decision of my life by walking mere metres down the road. I was pretty pissed off at the guy who had opened the door, let the guys in, saw Caroline and I pleading to join them and just left us there to think about what wonders we were missing.

Minutes passed and then the man who I hated but was now one of my favourite human beings, opened the door to let Caroline in. I probably wasn’t welcome but I fucking walked through that door while I could, I meant business, and besides, that would be extremely cruel of him to leave one despairing fan to sit and wonder what might have been whilst the other three had their wildest dreams become a reality.

He led us up the stairs and to the soundcheck where we took a seat next to the very content Michael and Connor and watched as our hero played our favourite tunes in what felt like our own personal concert. What happened next was just downright ridiculous and too good to be true.

After he completed the soundcheck, Johnny sauntered down from the stage, took a seat next to me and said, “Hiya, what’s your name?” and gave Caroline a cheeky wink and said “Oh hey, Caroline, how’s it goin’?”
We then had a five minute chat with topics ranging from Hunter S. Thompson to nail polish. As well as signing the setlist that I had got my hands on at his previous gig, he gave me the pick he was using at the soundcheck.

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Next he said, “Wanna come see my guitars?” Yes. Yes I would. He took us to the stage and on the way showed us his wardrobe which was full of lovely velvet jackets of varying colours which he revealed to us were actually women’s jackets from charity shops. We met the man who took the photo for Johnny’s album cover and, being a creep, I even spotted his wife and son.

Johnny Fuckin’ Marr then gave each of us a shot on his guitar and I can now brag of having played ‘This Charming Man’ on Johnny Marr’s own guitar. He is truly a wonderful man, and if your hero is as wonderful as he is then I urge you, stalk them – great things will happen. It’s refreshing to know that not all idols seize their place in the spotlight and give nothing back to the ones they rely on more than anything. It was a happy day for us all and I left with a pick, a signed setlist and the knowledge that my hero is a fucking dude.

Heaven knows I’m fucking pleased now.

Just chillin' with Johnny Marr

Just chillin’ with Johnny Marr