Johnny Marr's Manchester

Legendary musician in Big Issue North interview

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Johnny Marr has paid tribute to the way his home city has responded to the Manchester Arena attack in an interview with Big Issue North. And he said he was “humbled” that a woman attending a vigil in Albert Square for the 22 victims of the attack sang lyrics to The Smiths song There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.

“Obviously we’re all feeling a mix of emotions, from a numbness and distress to sadness and confusion and anger,” said the legendary Manchester musician. “It has been amazing for all of us to see the way the city is handling it and has come to help each other out.

“I’m thinking of the emergency services and those amazing stories about the taxi drivers and the hotels and ordinary people getting involved and helping out, and the homeless who are on the streets, coming to the aid of injured children.

“It is at times like this when things are beyond bad and unimaginable that incredible things also come into place. One thing I see is this protective pride, not only over our safety but from the people of the city for our heritage, our character, our legacy, our spirit – what makes Manchester what it is.”

The interview with Marr is in the 5 June edition of Big Issue North, published the day after Ariana Grande returned to Manchester for a defiant gig following her performance at Manchester Arena when Salman Abedi’s bomb wreaked havoc.

Marr, whose paperback edition of his autobiography Set The Boy Free is now published, also talks about the importance of musical collaborations in his career, the pressure the education system puts on kids, and why – despite his own interest in politics – artists have no other responsibility other than to “make good work”.

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