Keeping up with the by the book Smiths

As demonstrated by my previous posting, the Witch of the Wine Department, I am not a big fan of by the book people.

We are all familiar with the mentality. I’m sure there have been times when I have almost killed myself on the highway to file a story on deadline, only have some weasel squirm up to my desk the next day to tell me: “That was a good story.”

Then there’s a silence while I wait for an arsenic bomb to drop.

“But you forgot to include the Great and Little Snoring tag,” With the career limiting effect that three rather inter-related people and a three legged swine from Great and Little Snoring, didn’t get to see the story on their village’s category on the website.

Fortunately all the world isn’t by the book. If it was we would never have seen the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and most significantly of all the Angel of the North.

Conversely if there had been a few more by the book people on the Titanic somebody might have pointed out icebergs can be dangerous and “can we fit a couple more lifeboats on there – just in case.”

A rather annoying British consumer TV show called That’s Life that was on when I was a child hosted by someone family members referred to as Esther Rancid used to hand out a “Jobsworth” award. This would go to people such as parking attendants who would see a woman giving birth in a car and make sure to slap a ticket on the windscreen. That kind of thing.

Surely one of the most deserving recipients of the award I have come across is the committee that runs the Salford Lads Club in Manchester.

In 1986 the iconic band the Smiths decided to pose outside the building for the album The Queen is Dead – without permission.

I mean, how cool is that? The Smiths come along and make your beaten up building famous. What a great piece of free advertising.

According to Wikipedia, members of the committee that ran the club weren’t all rushing out to buy the album. Actually they were furious.

Lawyers acting for the club sent out a letter stating: “Inclusion of the photograph may generally cause any person reading the [album] or listening to the record to attribute the material to the club, its committee or its members ... we would cite for example the reference in the song Vicar in a Tutu to the singer being engaged in stealing lead from a church roof, or indeed the very title to the album itself and the tenor of the title song."

It took a few years for these members to see the Smiths’ legacy might not be such a bad thing after all.

“Over the last few years the club has begun to embrace this more recent legacy and welcome the fans to the club,” Wikipedia states.

Unfortunately examples of by the book mentality remain as stubborn as Middle Eastern despots. Stop me if think you’ve heard this one before.


  1. The only Smiths song that I liked was "How Soon Is Now". It almost always makes me tear up every time I hear it.

  2. that's a good song. Personally I'm hard put to think of one I don't like, well you have to be in a certain mood for Girlfiend in a Coma, probably.

  3. It is a highly annoying mentality, especially since it's hard or impossible to argue with. I now have great respect for the Smiths, so, thank you.

  4. The thing I remember the most about 'that's life' was the talking dog that said sausages...or did I dream that. The by the book people are alive and kicking today and show no signs of going anytime soon unfortunately.

  5. I just did not get the Smiths till I met my other half and he slowly introduced me to them. I really like them now. Don't like jobsworths though, never have never will.

  6. I'm with you David, can't think of a single Smiths song I don't like.

  7. Sometimes following the rules is a very easy route to take, however there are times when breaking a rule is just common sense. Great post. I learned something new regarding the Smiths.

  8. Moz trivia. I adore it. Thank you SO MUCH for this post. I had no idea about the story behind that photo! :)

  9. Glad I got you onto the Smith Robyn; OMG Ryan, like a bad dream I had forgotten about that dog, but now you mention it...absolutely Frog; I wasn't totally into the Smiths when they were first on the scene. 4sure Tim. Thanks Marnie - and here's to breaking the rules; any time Jennifer, glad it helped, you can't got wrong with Mox trivia...



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