This Charming Man: Meet ‘Ronnissey,’ Brooklyn’s Fake Morrissey

This Charming Man: Meet 'Ronnissey,' Brooklyn's Fake Morrissey

We’ve all paid $30 for the pleasure and privilege of socializing, drinking, and being morose with our fellow Moz fanatics, and being cheered up with a live set from the Sons and Heirs, a Smiths tribute act celebrated on its own website for possessing a “stunning authenticity and attention to detail.” (A moments googling reveals the Smiths cover band industry to be a surprisingly crowded field.)

In his pompous and wildly overwritten memoir, Morrissey devotes considerable space to tabulating how many concert tickets and records he has sold throughout his career, his various chart positions, and the sinister corporate radio stations who have refused to promote him despite his psychopathically devoted fanbase. With typical humility, Morrissey considers his popularity: “Jesus, I am loved. Having never found love from one, I instead find it from thousands—at the same time, in the same room.”

Pompous, but true enough. His is a fanbase so fanatical that even those pretending to be him are mobbed and celebrated.

“That’s him. That’s fake Morrissey!” The profile was familiar—jutting chin, close cropped hair, shirt open, understated quiff—but not exact. This wasn’t quite Beatlemania or Mini Kiss. The transformation would only be complete later, on stage, as he yelped and howled through the Smiths catalog, rolling on the ground and flinging gladioli into the audience. I wanted to talk to “Ronnissey” but we were separated by a swirling eddy of fans, all obsessed with the man he was pretending to be.

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