A meaty issue for Morrissey

Morrissey on stage at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, in 2013. Picture: Tony Marsh
Morrissey on stage at the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, in 2013. Picture: Tony Marsh

Tonight sees sometime singer and full time controversialist Morrissey return to Scotland for a date at the Glasgow Hydro.

To mark the occasion, the venue will go ‘meat free’ for the evening and won’t sell overpriced burgers, hot dogs or other mass-produced rubbish that looks as if it has been scraped from the floor of an abattoir.

I have sometimes wondered if I could make the switch to a vegetarian diet. Not, I stress, because of The Smiths’ second LP ‘Meat Is Murder’

In case you are unaware of the Mancunian and his work, I should explain that Morrissey is one of the world’s better known vegetarians and an extremely vocal campaigner for animal rights.

He also remains a hugely popular live draw, which is of course the real reason that promoters agree to his demands that any hall in which he performs must not sell bacon, veal or any other fleshy foodstuff you care to mention.

His critics argue that he serves up enough tripe on stage - but that’s besides the point.

To give you an idea of how seriously Morrissey views this issue, last year he cancelled a scheduled gig in Iceland due to the venue’s apparent refusal to go meat free.

“I love Iceland and I have waited a long time to return, but I shall leave the Harpa concert hall to their cannibalistic flesh-eating bloodlust,” he reportedly said.

While performing at the Coachella festival in California in 2009, he allegedly told the crowd: “I can smell burning flesh... and I hope to God it’s human.”

And those are some of his milder comments on the issue.

I love the man’s music. By my reckoning, his solo work long ago surpassed The Smiths (‘Vauxhall and I’ is peerless). And I believe the world would be a much duller place without his often provocative wit.

But I suspect the majority of Mozza’s fans, like me, are not vegetarian. We’ll happily respect any burger ban as long he continues touring.

I have sometimes wondered if I could make the switch to a vegetarian diet. Not, I stress, because of The Smiths’ second LP ‘Meat Is Murder’ (fantastic album, diabolical title track).

Yet it is hard to justify some of the more barbaric industrial farming practices that inflict unnecessary suffering on livestock.

It’s easy to pontificate on such issues when you live in a country where genuine hunger is not a daily threat to the vast majority of society, and there are no easy answers when it comes to how you feed the world’s growing population while balancing a finite number of resources.

But it’s Morrissey’s right to raise such issues, and make us question where the grub on our plate has come from.

For now, let’s just hope he plays ‘Speedway’ ahead of ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ at the Hydro.