Jon Paul Fiorentino

“Je Suis Morrissey”

Pandaboo, “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” (2009)

Fran is a 51 year old woman from Germantown, Maryland. I accidentally stumbled upon her Morrissey covers when I was looking for guitar tabs. On her YouTube profile, you will find 9 or so acoustic covers of Smiths and Morrissey songs, as well as various fan clips of Morrissey, and a few clips of her cat playing with a toy mouse. I had assumed that her versions of “Suedehead” and “Please, Please, Please…” would be excruciatingly bad. And they are excruciating, but in a completely different sense. These are very emotive, heart-wrenching clips. They exhibit the acute intensity of fandom coupled with genuine musical talent. Her voice is strong and her guitar playing is fairly good. 

Pandaboo, “Suedehead“, (2009)

Still, I find these clips hard to watch, perhaps in a similar way that people often find a Morrissey performance hard to watch. In Morrissey’s case, there is often too much zealotry, dedication to camp “Britishness,” and emotional cliché; in Fran’s case there is just too much sadness or earnestness. She mostly performs in black Morrissey tour shirts and in the background, on the dresser, you can see two tickets to Morrissey live at the Warner Theatre. Of course, this all makes perfect sense. As a young man, Morrissey was the president of the New York Dolls fan club and he made zines. He was, first and foremost, a fanboy; therefore his fans have all received expert training in the art of fandom.

All I know is that I want Fran to succeed.

- Jon Paul Fiorentino

  • Hamster

    Give me Fran over Morrissey anytime.

  • Cathy McCartan

    Fran has a lovely voice and her Morrissey covers are poignant and well done. As for finding a Morrissey performance hard to watch…anyone who “gets” Morrissey would find him anything but that!

    • Jon Paul Fiorentino

      I think people find Morrissey hard to watch/listen to in the same way one might find it difficult to sit through “Curb Your Enthusiasm: or “The Office” — I think Morrissey makes us blush. He is a master at hitting a nerve. I also think that’s a good thing.

    • Steve Patrick

      I agree with Cathy. I also think the above essay might have it backward. Thus: in Fran’s case, there is too much camp and emotional cliche; in Morrissey’s case, there might be too much earnestness. Earnest he is. That’s what his fans respond to. Camp and zealotry alone would not hold the attention of a fan base as large as Morrissey’s, for as long as the Moz has.

  • Melody Redhead

    I’ve known Fran for few years now as friends on Myspace and Facebook. She is a lovely lady, devoted Morrissey fan, travelling to UK to see him from USA. I think she has a beautiful emotional voice and plays very well on her guitar. I wish I could follow in her footsteps. Well done Fran.

    • Lora Glazer

      Fran is A Amazing Talent, And I met Her in Manchester, Devoted Morrissey Fan, Lovely Lady, And I Always Love Watching her Sing On Youtube! Viva Fran!!!

  • Cristina Sacco

    This is lovely. I just flew to see Morrissey for his 50th birthday gig, from Australia and it is always good to see someone covering Morrissey, well, at that. Thanks for the heart-felt rendition Fran.

  • Charlie Jefferson

    Just the right side of Joan Baez for me. I’m slightly aghast and mildly intrigued by the notion of Morrissey being hard to watch. Interesting. “Emotional cliches”? How dare you,Sir. The very sinews of heart and intellect are visible when he “performs”. I prefer the idea that he doesn’t “perform”, more that he just is.

  • Diane

    This is such a lovely piece of praise. Fran is a wonderful singer and a lovely person.

  • beast

    Fran’s boss.

  • Anne Marie Broderick

    I’m so glad I found this, Fran can hold her own in singing, she comes across as real. It’s not hard to watch at all, no more than Morrissey is. Fair play to ya Fran!!! You highlight the polished greed and ugliness of the music industry with your humility, without pretention. a.m. x Dublin

Ryeberg Curator Bio

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Jon Paul Fiorentino is a writer and editor. He is author of a 2009 novel called "Stripmalling" (ECW). His books of poetry include "The Theory of the Loser Class," "Indexical Elegies," "Needs Improvement," and "Hello Serotonin" (Coach House Books). The humour book "Asthmatica" was published in 2005 (Insomniac Press). Editorial projects include the anthologies "Career Suicide! Contemporary Literary Humour" (DC Books, 2003) and "Post-Prairie" - a collaborative effort with Robert Kroetsch (Talonbooks, 2005). He lives in Montreal where he teaches writing at Concordia University and is the Editor of Matrix magazine.