England is Mine: The Art of Not Giving Up

I recently watched ‘England is Mine’, a movie that seemed very relevant to my current life experience.

‘England is Mine’, directed by Mark Gill, is a biographical movie about the lead singer of the famous 80s British indie band The Smiths. The movie tells the story of Steven Patrick Morrissey before he formed the Smiths and became renowned as a musician. What made the film especially enjoyable to me was the unique perspective it offers on the commonplace themes of failure and determination.

In the movie ‘England is Mine’, Morrissey is depicted as a somewhat depressed and hopeless young man with an undiscovered talent for music and songwriting. Throughout the movie, we see Morrissey get encouraged by different characters to form a band, but he never has the courage to take the initiative. Even when the opportunity presents itself, he is passive and reluctant. When he finally starts collaborating with a guitar player, Billy Duffy, and gets to sing with a band, it seems as though he has whined more than he has put effort into making his dream come true. Nevertheless, his small victory does not last long as Duffy receives an invitation to tour England with a band without Morrissey. This first and only rejection completely destroys the young musician, he goes into deep depression and stops chasing after his dream career. After several months of despair, Morrissey starts making music with Duffy’s friend Johnny Marr. Needless to say, he gets it right on his second try, his collaboration with Marr leads to a successful career in music.

Beyond the success of the plot, the acting, and the cinematography of the movie, what spoke to me was the story itself. As an outside prospector, it seems completely absurd how little effort Morrissey put into trying to find musicians to work with. The way he keeps to himself, his hesitance and desperation in response to the smallest hindrance seem almost comedic when considering how though the music industry is. Hence, the movie made me reconsider my own life and occurrences that I view as devastating failures. If as an objective viewer, Morrisey’s agony after a single trivial failure could seem so ridiculous, perhaps my own defeats are not as substantial as I view them to be.

As an architecture student on a gap year, it can be hard to find activities or hobbies to occupy my time. While travelling is always a viable option, it is not always possible, so filling up my time that used to be completely taken over by school and homework, is quite a challenge. Sometimes, it seems as though I am wasting my time or not using it efficiently enough, but am I really doing all I can to make the most of this year, or am I ‘pulling a Morrissey’?

As I am no ‘undiscovered genius’ like Morrissey, I don’t spend my time jotting down brilliant lyrics or ideas in my notebook, so I need to find tasks to accomplish throughout the day to avoid the feeling of failure when I go to bed at night. Therefore, for the remaining months of my (sometimes agonizing) holiday, I have set up several goals for myself. Since it is the first month of the new year, my goals are a sort of new years resolutions for the person I want to be within the next 345 days.

Publishing regularly on this blog is one I would like to share here. By writing this down and putting it online, I am hoping to hold myself accountable. I know that I want to keep writing to improve my skills, yet just like Morrisey in his earlier life, I am not even trying hard to achieve my dream. The experience of trying something and failing can be very discouraging, especially when you believe you put forth your best effort. Yet, it is important to note that the failure can seem exponentially more significant to the person experiencing it whereas, in reality, it is only a small obstacle, a broken cobblestone that makes you trip, but not fall. So it important to adopt a more distant, unfamiliar perspective sometimes and view shortcomings through a more objective lens. By the end of this year, I hope to acknowledge the kinked cobblestones on the pavement and step on them with fierce confidence.

Featured Image Source: http://cleopatra-entertainment.com/england-is-mine/

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