I want a boy for my birthday, that’s what I’ve been dreaming of
I won’t have a happy birthday, without a boy to love
The words and music of this awesome, but fairly unknown classic by The Cookies is swirling around the room at The Ritz, one silent and grey (and most likely rainy) October night in Manchester.
The year is 1982, but it is not The Cookies gracing the stage tonight, something new and different is cooking, and the voice that sings – and with this song in particular, interestingly sung from a male’s perspective – belongs to no other than one Steven Patrick Morrissey, a mystical young man, who’s recently escaped what seemed to be a future as a bedsit recluse, and daily visits to the local job centre, in search of fame and fortune.
This new group, freshly named after their heroine Patti Smith, stands (out) before an audience for the first in this new constellation, consisting of among others, uber-cool, local guitar hero Johnny Marr, Morrissey, and – adding a bit extra fun to the visuals – friend James Maker, who is banging away on tambourine wearing high heels – which can only have added a big fat line under why this group would later gain such a great following among the gay people around the world.
Hooked on the best of fifties/sixties pop music, The New York Dolls and of course girl groups in general, The Smiths were soon about to conquer the world in all their delightful glory.
So why are we telling you this? Well, simply because yesterday, marked the 57th birthday of one of England’s true enigmas, a masterful pop poet in every true sense of the word.
Morrissey and Marr would later release their very own anti-birthday song, on what was unfortunately their swan song album, Strangeways, Here We Come, in 1987, and then again in 2009 with Morrissey’s, Years Of Refusal album we got, ‘It’s Not Your Birthday Anymore’.
In 2004, at Manchester Arena (formerly the MEN Arena), Morrissey greeted the crowd – on what was his 45th birthday and after a stunning performance of ‘I Know It’s Gonna Happen Someday’ – by saying, “I feel fine. Can’t believe that I’m 29. Where did the years go? WHY did the years go?” All his sharp wit and Oscar Wilde-ness intact.
Morrissey has now gracefully moved into his 57th year, and continues to release albums and play to sold-out venues around the world, but who wouldn’t have died to have been a fly on the wall, that night back in 1982…
Where the hell did those 34 years go?
Words: Anders Knudsen