Never in my weirdest, creepiest lucid dreams did I ever manufacture a scenario where I would be telling Johnny Marr just how many Smiths songs made up my various playlists dedicated to Frankenstein/the Shelleys/Romanticism. But I did. And I did because Johnny Marr personally voiced a legitimate interest in my person.
For a brief moment, the roles were switched. Johnny Marr, guitarist of the Smiths, approached me after his jam-packed Orlando show.
Johnny Marr, greatest British export of musicianship and songwriting, pulled me out of a group to do display adoration.
Johnny fucking Marr, accomplished celebrity, asked me “What do you do?”
When I meekly stammered that “I’m a grad student! Two Masters!” I hardly expected him to actual inquire what those degree tracks were in–I never anticipated him to care or to become so personally invested in what one fan was doing with their life track, to ask so many detailed questions.
But he did.
And the experience was honestly just-as-if-not-more nerve-wracking and soul-amplifying than viewing the Frankenstein manuscript.
The Smiths as an entity have been integral to my personal identity and, by immediate proxy, to my academic identity. Marr’s jingle-jangle has been my top cheerleader through my most intensive readings, my toughest assignments and my most arduous papers—as well as the soundtrack to numerous hypothetical Community College AUs (though I was tactful enough not to disclose that much detail). Johnny Marr has been an unwitting assistant to my research–until now, in which he is now a conscious contributor. Johnny Marr is a conscious contributor to my academic success.
Those seemingly-eternal four minutes of standing in downtown Orlando enclosed in the very same arms that just played “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out” (track #2 of YOUR PRETTY FACE AND ELECTRIC SOUL) as they interrogated me with legitimate interest about the historical couple I was crying over during the chorus was a total fantasy in open, uninhibited discourse: the very manifestation of the anarcho-socialist extremist jargon I push in the name of total freedom to the sharing of information across the broadest audience possible.