Southpaw/I'm Not Sorry

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Mandingo

Guest
I've never heard the word Southpaw is slang for gay, I know it's a widely used term in boxing, is the gay slant a thing known within the gay community but not much outwith? Morrissey throughout his career has left everything open to interpretation so bit surprised to hear that an album according to some folk is called 'Gay' Grammer and that the boxing connection is a smokescreen. I need convincing as I've never heard the term outwith the boxing commentaries.
 

Radis Noir

Well-Known Member
I've never heard the word Southpaw is slang for gay, I know it's a widely used term in boxing, is the gay slant a thing known within the gay community but not much outwith? Morrissey throughout his career has left everything open to interpretation so bit surprised to hear that an album according to some folk is called 'Gay' Grammer and that the boxing connection is a smokescreen. I need convincing as I've never heard the term outwith the boxing commentaries.
I've never heard it either but it does reference the notion that 'left' and 'left-handedness' has often been used as a metaphor for things that were malign, deviant or 'other.' The Latin for 'left' is 'sinistra' from which we get 'sinister.' See also 'gauche.'
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
I've never heard the word Southpaw is slang for gay, I know it's a widely used term in boxing, is the gay slant a thing known within the gay community but not much outwith? Morrissey throughout his career has left everything open to interpretation so bit surprised to hear that an album according to some folk is called 'Gay' Grammer and that the boxing connection is a smokescreen. I need convincing as I've never heard the term outwith the boxing commentaries.
Bhops didn't say Southpaw was slang for "gay" but that it's a word used to describe left-handedness in boxing and left-handedness is commonly (and falsely) associated with being gay.

And it's not a smokescreen, it's double entendre.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
I've never heard the word Southpaw is slang for gay, I know it's a widely used term in boxing, is the gay slant a thing known within the gay community but not much outwith? Morrissey throughout his career has left everything open to interpretation so bit surprised to hear that an album according to some folk is called 'Gay' Grammer and that the boxing connection is a smokescreen. I need convincing as I've never heard the term outwith the boxing commentaries.
I think in a world where being right-handed is considered the majority, or 'normal' (it's often called a right-handed world), there are negative (colloquial) connotations to being left-handed/left-footed. In the past I've heard mention of it, by some, in making gay inferences. "He's a left-hander, or left-footer", usually accompanied with a wink/nod, note of caution/warning, whatever, i.e. he's not normal, deviant, etc.
With regards boxing, a southpaw boxer would be a left-handed person, leading with his right, as opposed to the 'normal' left hand.
That's not to say this was what Morrissey was making reference to though; only he knows what he actually meant.
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
I've never heard it either but it does reference the notion that 'left' and 'left-handedness' has often been used as a metaphor for things that were malign, deviant or 'other.' The Latin for 'left' is 'sinistra' from which we get 'sinister.' See also 'gauche.'
Of course, gauche meaning 'left', or indicating something is 'wrong'.
 
M

Mandingo

Guest
Bhops didn't say Southpaw was slang for "gay" but that it's a word used to describe left-handedness in boxing and left-handedness is commonly (and falsely) associated with being gay.

And it's not a smokescreen, it's double entendre.
Well the idea that being left handed is 'commonly' associated with being gay is a new one on me, I have never heard that anywhere. Some of this sounds like that ridiculous book by David Bret where he ended up convinced that there was no room for interpretation and everything Morrissey represented was gay and nothing else...bizarre! Plus, is it really a double entendre or just a good old reference to boxing of which Morrissey had taken great interest in at the time with references in song, video, interviews and magazine photo shoots etc?
 
M

Mandingo

Guest
I think in a world where being right-handed is considered the majority, or 'normal' (it's often called a right-handed world), there are negative (colloquial) connotations to being left-handed/left-footed. In the past I've heard mention of it, by some, in making gay inferences. "He's a left-hander, or left-footer", usually accompanied with a wink/nod, note of caution/warning, whatever, i.e. he's not normal, deviant, etc.
With regards boxing, a southpaw boxer would be a left-handed person, leading with his right, as opposed to the 'normal' left hand.
That's not to say this was what Morrissey was making reference to though; only he knows what he actually meant.
Never been aware of any of this 'prejudice' to left handers or footers and the idea that anyone would hold that against anyone even in a jokey way just seems odd.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
Or that it wasn't really a friendship to begin with. Both felt a friendship but it was based on both of them having a false image of the other.
Well, either that or they just changed. You can be best friends as children but grow up into being opposites.
 

Ben Budd

Well-Known Member
I really like Southpaw, it's an interesting lyric and a great piece of music. Shame it's stuck on a rather mediocre, plain album that is roundly ignored.

I do remember reading someone saying it's "you ran back to Marr", not 'ma'. Clutching, slightly.
 

Radis Noir

Well-Known Member
I really like Southpaw, it's an interesting lyric and a great piece of music. Shame it's stuck on a rather mediocre, plain album that is roundly ignored.

I do remember reading someone saying it's "you ran back to Marr", not 'ma'. Clutching, slightly.
I'd like to think that there's a four-minute edit of 'Southpaw' somewhere in the vaults.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
I really like Southpaw, it's an interesting lyric and a great piece of music. Shame it's stuck on a rather mediocre, plain album that is roundly ignored.

I do remember reading someone saying it's "you ran back to Marr", not 'ma'. Clutching, slightly.
The full lyrics aren't transcribed on any official release, there's just this excerpt in the booklet of the 2009 Southpaw Grammar re-release (interestingly, it has a line from Honey You Know Where To Find Me attached at the end.)
20201113_111135.jpg


You can't make out if he's actually singing "Marr" instead of "Ma" because he'd pronounce both words exactly the same way.

Personally I don't think it's "Marr". It doesn't really make sense to me in the context of the song, but it is interesting that he chose "Ma" instead of any other monosyllabic word for mother.
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
I'd like to think that there's a four-minute edit of 'Southpaw' somewhere in the vaults.
I like to imagine where it would have went if the tape hadn't run out just after 10 minutes...
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
Never been aware of any of this 'prejudice' to left handers or footers and the idea that anyone would hold that against anyone even in a jokey way just seems odd.
It might just be something regional. I was just trying to answer your query.
I always took exception to it, as I'm a left-footer...in relation to my football playing days. 🦶⚽
 
M

Mandingo

Guest
It might just be something regional. I was just trying to answer your query.
I always took exception to it, as I'm a left-footer...in relation to my football playing days. 🦶⚽
Yeah appreciate what you're saying. I played in and ran an amateur football team for over 20 years and left footers were a precious commodity as decent left backs and left midfielders were always hard to find....aaah those were the days!
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
Well the idea that being left handed is 'commonly' associated with being gay is a new one on me, I have never heard that anywhere. Some of this sounds like that ridiculous book by David Bret where he ended up convinced that there was no room for interpretation and everything Morrissey represented was gay and nothing else...bizarre! Plus, is it really a double entendre or just a good old reference to boxing of which Morrissey had taken great interest in at the time with references in song, video, interviews and magazine photo shoots etc?
There were at least four people on this thread who were familiar with left-handedness being associated with being gay.

It's not unreasonable to assume that there's a higher probability for a queer person to be aware of this double entendre than for a straight person, as they're more likely to have been confronted with that sort of stereotype at some point in their life. Therefore I assume that Morrissey (queer himself and well-versed in themes of queer culture) was familiar with it.

You say it's all up for interpretation yet you don't seem to be content with interpretations that deviate from your own.

I don't think it's a stretch to apply a queer reading to the work of a queer artist. Especially if that artist was in a homosexual relationship when he wrote this song.

The Bret book was bollocks. It was full of factual errors, badly researched and many of his assertions were unfounded.
I don't think that's the case with anything I or any of the other contributors have said on this thread.

It's my interpretation, I've given plenty of context and it's totally fine if you disagree.
 

Nikita

Senior Member
Well, I'm probably going to regret posting this. This interpretation is exclusively based on my associations and nothing else, but I can't read it in any other way.

To me the lyrics are basically him speaking either to himself or a man close to him, or both, it doesn't matter who exactly the addressee is.
The childhood imagery evokes memories of a happier, simpler time but what really stuck out to me is the "a sick boy must be treated" line. Boyhood for him was also a time when homosexuality was still often seen as a sickness. Could also refer to something else, he certainly felt "sick" for just being "different" in general, but since homosexuality is often an underlying theme in his work, it was the first thing that came to my mind regarding that line.
So his pals abandon him eventually because of that "sickness"/being different and the only safe harbour is at home with Ma, which leads to a life of isolation.

I think the girl of his dreams is more a figure of speech. A metaphor for an ideal that every man is supposed to strive for but that girl could be anything or anyone. He just has to realise that. "There is something that you should know"... that "thing" you've been looking for is here right before you but you can't see it.
I think considering the timeframe and the context of other songs on Southpaw Grammar and, of course the title, it also works as a kind of pre-/mid-break up song. Very fitting that he described it as a song
that belonged "only to that moment in 1995, and none other".

It's one of my favourite songs (of Morrissey or any other band or artist). It just contains so much weight and emotion and the lyrics manage to convey this with very little effort. The picture it paints in my head is so vivid and clear, but it's sort of hard to describe.
That's one of Morrissey's biggest strengths in my opinion - to tell a whole life with just a bare minimum of words.

What really kills it for me is the "Help me" towards the end
Interesting, thank you.
 
M

Mandingo

Guest
There were at least four people on this thread who were familiar with left-handedness being associated with being gay.

It's not unreasonable to assume that there's a higher probability for a queer person to be aware of this double entendre than for a straight person, as they're more likely to have been confronted with that sort of stereotype at some point in their life. Therefore I assume that Morrissey (queer himself and well-versed in themes of queer culture) was familiar with it.

You say it's all up for interpretation yet you don't seem to be content with interpretations that deviate from your own.

I don't think it's a stretch to apply a queer reading to the work of a queer artist. Especially if that artist was in a homosexual relationship when he wrote this song.

The Bret book was bollocks. It was full of factual errors, badly researched and many of his assertions were unfounded.
I don't think that's the case with anything I or any of the other contributors have said on this thread.

It's my interpretation, I've given plenty of context and it's totally fine if you disagree.
Well you're wrong saying I don't accept an interpretation different to mine, if you go back on the thread I said everything is open to interpretation either way and that's the way Morrissey's songs have been from the start.
You're also ramming home this 'queer' theme when Morrissey has never opened up on his sexuality and is on camera for posterity refusing to acknowledge any tag whatsoever.
Talking about bollocks the assertion that if you're left handed means you're more likely to be gay, well that is nonsense and any reasonable thinking person would accept that. Plus, surely if it was a commonly known thing, it would be something everyone would be aware of no matter you're sexual orientation and not inside knowledge for gay folk?
 

GirlAfraidWillNeverLearn

The Courage to Get on People's Tits
Well you're wrong saying I don't accept an interpretation different to mine, if you go back on the thread I said everything is open to interpretation either way and that's the way Morrissey's songs have been from the start.
You're also ramming home this 'queer' theme when Morrissey has never opened up on his sexuality and is on camera for posterity refusing to acknowledge any tag whatsoever.
Talking about bollocks the assertion that if you're left handed means you're more likely to be gay, well that is nonsense and any reasonable thinking person would accept that. Plus, surely if it was a commonly known thing, it would be something everyone would be aware of no matter you're sexual orientation and not inside knowledge for gay folk?
I don't know if you're not reading my posts attentively or if you don't care or if you just like twisting my words or whatever but

a) I'm not "ramming home" anything. It's my interpretation.
It is correct that he refuses any label attached to him, except his own, but it's also a fact that he has acknowledged past relationships with men and women. Let me know if you need quotes for that.

b) I never said being left-handed means you're more likely to be gay. (In fact, I said exactly the opposite in my first reply.) I said it was a stereotype and the fact that other people on this thread knew about it, shows that it's not uncommon. Others have provided more explanations as to why this term may be used in that way.

c) It's not "inside knowledge" either but if you're part of a certain group of people you're more likely to have heard every joke, stereotype or insult there is about this particular group. Nobody knows more redhead jokes than a redhead...

A quick Google search also led me to this Wikipedia entry on "Handedness and sexual orientation", which seems to assert that there might indeed be a connection, which I didn't know about and actually surprises me.



You say that you are willing to accept interpretations different from your own, yet here I am justifying my interpretation to you, while you have contributed absolutely nothing to this discussion except repeatedly pointing out that you've never heard anyone use the term "left-handed" for a gay person.
 
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Ryan

Moderator
Moderator
Subscriber
I’ve always interpreted the I’m Not Sorry lyric as an admission of homosexuality; there never was a woman of his dreams, because his interest is only in men. Then the “there’s a wild man in my head part” can artfully be written as: “there’s a Wilde man in my head,” denoting the male aspect as a kindred homosexual man he admires, Oscar Wilde.

Probably far off from correct, but I like to think it’s accurate!
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
I’ve always interpreted the I’m Not Sorry lyric as an admission of homosexuality; there never was a woman of his dreams, because his interest is only in men. Then the “there’s a wild man in my head part” can artfully be written as: “there’s a Wilde man in my head,” denoting the male aspect as a kindred homosexual man he admires, Oscar Wilde.

Probably far off from correct, but I like to think it’s accurate!

I think that too - sort of wistful about it, but that's the way it is.
 
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