A Morrissey fan from Exeter has said he spent £1,000 on Morrissey tour t-shirts and “doesn’t regret a penny”.
Fanatic music geek Louie Stevens has scoured the web for rare shirts which were sold at the famously miserable singer’s gigs.
Each shirt cost him up to £100 each and his expensive collection focuses on Morrissey’s rockabilly phase in the early nineties.
Mr Stevens told the CBJ Star he put a massive amount of effort into locating them.
The 27-year-old added: “I’ve really dug deep for these t-shirts. I’ve really sourced them out.
“I check eBay Mexico, eBay Spain, eBay France, eBay Australia. I check every country where I think they would have a lot of stuff going to do with Morrissey.
Mr Stevens said his obsession with the former Smiths frontman began when he was 17 and his friend will played him a song.
He said: “I remember hearing The Loop. My friend Will was obsessed with that song. And it was unlike anything I had ever heard before.
“Morrissey meant everything to me. I listened to him every day. Now I’ve spent God knows how much money on merchandise and rare t-shirts. My life would be pretty different if I hadn’t heard that first song.”
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He added: “When I first liked him I lived in a very small town and I was just hanging out with a couple of friends. We were pretty far from major cities and there wasn’t much going on.
“Then you’ve got this guy who means so much to you. And he’s been through the same. It meant that it didn’t matter where you’re from – you’re not trapped.”
Fandom expert Dr Jennifer Otter Bickerdike – whose latest book is called Joy Devotion: The Importance of Ian Curtis and Fan Culture – said obsessive fanaticism can replace religion for people like Mr Stevens.
She said: ““If you look at traditional religion, attendance at church is going down, but the amount of content available on the internet is going up.
“You’ve got this swapping over of the humanistic need for someone to guide, someone to look up to, someone to find some answers from. You have a swap from more traditional, theological worship, into the kind of fandom we see today.”
Morrissey will play his only UK tour date next month in Manchester but some fans have said they feel the £75 tickets are too expensive.
Dr Bickerdike told the CBJ Star she didn’t totally agree with the idea that artists exploit fans to make money.
She said: “Is it exploitative of the fan? Well, maybe, but then if the product wasn’t going to sell, would the record label and the merchandising companies make the products?
“And ticket prices depend on what you compare it to. It’s all subjective. An artist is going to charge what an artist can charge and what the marketplace can handle. Even at that price I’m sure the Morrissey gig will sell out.”
- Morrissey rose to fame in 1983 as frontman of eighties group The Smiths – a band which lasted for only four years.
- The Smiths had two number one albums and 18 top 40 singles in the short time they were together.
- After the band mysteriously split in 1987 Morrissey was still contractually obliged by his record label to provide one more album.
- Since then Morrissey has put out three number one albums and 33 top 40 singles.
- The singer is currently on a world tour which will see him play exotic locations like Turkey, Israel, the US, Japan and China.