The Smiths are a serious band these days. Whether you’re falling for Morrissey’s ‘wild and crazy’ political antics, consuming his poetic lyrics about unavoidable existential dread, or listening to the musical integrity of Marr’s songwriting and marvelling at his skill. It can all feel a bit straight, maybe even a little bland? But we’ve found a gem of a video which shows the pair at the peak of their powers being interviewed by a classroom of children on kids TV show Data Run from 1984.
The show was part of the early morning TV schedule known as TV AM and apart from having Lulu’s sister Edwina Lawrie as a host, also had a quite fantastic theme tune that is every ’80s kids show dream. Like any kids TV programme the show largely rested on a magazine format often using pop stars, film actors and other personalities as star attractions to gain popularity. Often, the show would ask schoolchildren to ask the aforementioned stars a series of brilliant, if not utterly awkward, questions.
In 1984 The Smiths were becoming a nationally recognised pop band, in fact, they were one of the biggest bands on the planet. Having already been crowned the kings of the indie scene the pair of Morrissey and Marr were still set on conquering the world with The Smiths. In the ’80s, if you’re looking for world domination, you better start on kids TV. So, The Smiths with all their flower-waving, poetry-reading, and cemetery-visiting charm took to TVAM’s Data Run.
They were asked a series of question from the schoolchildren of Morrissey and Marr’s own primary school, a touching tribute. However innocent the source of the questions may have been, the answers still reveal a fair amount about the state of the band at the time.
The seemingly innocuous question “Why’d you call yourself The Smiths?” is answered first by Marr: “We’re called The Smiths because you [pointing at Moz] decided we were called The Smiths.” It perhaps hints at the creative director of the group.
Morrissey then adds his own flourish “And I decided because it was the most ordinary name, and I thought it’s time that the ordinary folk of the world showed their faces”. It’s a stark reminder of the turbulent relationships that embroiled the band at the end of their run.
During the slot they were also asked why Morrissey held flowers while he sang “I think flowers are very beautiful things, very nice and innocent things, they don’t harm anybody, they don’t burp, and they don’t do anything ugly. So why not?”. It makes up a very interesting video for any fan or non-fan. Alongside the questions, which are all revealed as the speaker looks up from a newspaper the video also includes Morrissey’s name being incorrectly shown as Paul, which has made us laugh longer than it should’ve.
Watch The Smiths answering questions from school children on a 1984 episode of Data Run below.