Dear Mr Johnny Marr, or should I just chant Johnny Johnny Johnny Fuckin Marr?

I start this letter sat in my bedroom in North West Manchester whilst I gaze out the window of the industrial town that I live in. It appears to be a rather cold, gloomy day, making your early work a rather fitting soundtrack.

I then get up and go to the train station, Manchester Piccadilly in fact where of course, delays delays delays. But after half an hour, I catch the train to Sheffield. The Queen Is Dead is the album to this journey, the 1986 album that came out 11 years before I was born. But, like a fine wine, age is beauty and this album, remains to be my all time favourite album. Why? The title for starters: The Queen is Dead. It was the title to my anti establishment, anti everything teenage years. I mean just look at the track listing. The iconic switch from the upbeat (as upbeat as The Smiths can get) Frankly, Mr. Shankly to the melancholy I Know It’s Over. And of course, it endorses that anti-establishment feel throughout the tracks and the dejected yet delightful tunes about being killed by a bus or never having someone to love, the statement Smiths ideology. So thank you Mr Marr for co-writing the soundtrack to my teenager years.

But obviously The Smiths couldn’t last forever but unlike other band members who drop off the music scene, leaving The Smiths brought along several music projects that I am certainly a big fan of. The The, Electronic and a personal favourite of mine, The Cribs, all absorbed your excellence and through that made the indie music sound over the past three decades a smashing thing indeed. Who will you co-work with next? Maybe good old Alex Turner, eh?

Co-working with others gave me the chance to listen to two of my all time favourite artists, perform together but deduct one of my all time favourite artists and you are left with just one all time favourite artists, the solo artist that is you, Johnny. ‘The Messenger’ and ‘Playland’ carry the jangle indie sound of The Smiths but with a clearly more upbeat and joyful tone. ‘Generate! Generate!’ is a special track for me, so catchy and you can easily bop your head along to it. No wonder Noel Gallagher labelled you as a “fucking wizard”, those two albums clearly define you as a solo artist and the length you go to to create class music.

Speaking about Noely G, that guitar playing on ‘Ballard of the Mighty I’ is bloody beautiful and hearing you and Noel together on one song is a real treat for the Manc music obsessed person I am. Watching you support Noel at Castlefield Bowl was strange, considering you clearly inspired Noel’s work and sound. Nevertheless, Castlefield Bowl is a rather cracking venue and seeing you perform there, if only for less than an hour, was almost a religious experience. Maybe a headline gig there next year?

If it isn’t Noel you are joining on stage then it’s your son’s band, Man Made, or The Last Shadow Puppets when they performed in Manchester last year, what a treat that was. Every gig I attend in Manchester I always keep an eye out to see if you are doing a surprise performance. But that’s why you’re the godlike genius that everybody knows you are, showing a surpassing effort to the treat fans unlike other musicians.

Away from the music, your active role on social media is rather outstanding for someone who appears to always be in the studio. Although your Twitter account may not be as expressive as Liam Gallagher’s, you use Twitter for the greater good, acknowledging fans, supporting other musicians and speaking on political issues that can help inform others who aren’t as politically informed. I have to talk about the David Cameron tweet otherwise I’d be missing out on talking about one of my all time favourite tweets. “David Cameron, stop saying that you like The Smiths, no you don’t. I forbid you to like it.” What a way to shut down the man in charge of the country. I often wonder if he really did stop liking The Smiths, are you that powerful? I also want to take time out to thank you for tweeting me many years ago when I asked “should I go out with friends or revise for my Spanish speaking exam?” You responded saying that I’m only young once and that I can revise for my Spanish exam anytime. I failed my Spanish exam but I suppose that’s a good thing, who needs to pass GCSE exams when you can have a reply from your favourite guitarist of all time?

The English Literature degree student inside me is dying to discuss your autobiography, so I would like to thank you on writing it because without that I would be stuck reading the old classics, Shakespeare and all his mates. I have to admit, I did try to tackle M*rris*eys autobiography but after 15 pages, the language choice overcame me and I had to put the book down. As a musician, being able to connect with fans via an autobiography is a great way to tell the important stories in your life, as a musician and a human. What music fans don’t want is an essay, conjured with language that even an English degree student struggles to read, so thank you for that Johnny, the book was a pleasure to read.

So thanks for everything Johnny, being the soundtrack to my alternative teenage years, writing an autobiography that I could understand and connect to and for turning up to gigs as a surprise guest every now and then! Maybe see you at The Cribs ‘Cribsmas’ gig?

Brigid Harrison-Draper – Smiths fan, Marr over Morrissey always.