RIP Simon Morris (Smell & Quim, Ceramic Hobs) aka HongKongGoolagong

Started by Cementimental, December 16, 2019, 08:07:44 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


Very very sad news, was always a pleasure to meet him at gigs, see him perform and read his writings.


I was never in very deep personal contact, but besides discussions here, occasional private messages. When Consumer Guide book came, I recall he contacted me if I want to buy a copy and could like it. Bought it and it remained probably only book of his I have. Book is often amusing, but also eerie glimpse to world that surrounded him.
E-mail: fanimal +a+ cfprod,com


Quote from: FreakAnimalFinland on December 22, 2019, 10:21:29 AM
Book is often amusing, but also eerie glimpse to world that surrounded him.

Well-said. His other works are very much worth looking into for this reason, among others.


Close friend of Simon and tireless promoter of the Blackpool music scene, Phil Smith, has been retweeting and posting quite a number of tributes from UK associates, as well as some great photos and formal updates: For reviews of Simon's body of work, look through the blog archives of Idwal Fisher and Radio Free Midwich.

My first online interactions with Simon was well over a decade ago through the Susan Lawly forum where he posted as Joe Chip, although I also remember him posting through various Yahoo! Groups (all of which have recently had their data completely erased from history like countless other historically important digital resources; truly an appalling move). Like most, I got talking to Simon more through this forum and at one point I traded him some dubious true crime documentaries for a Ceramic Hobs CD. Not too long after, I got formally introduced to him in person by Pete Cann at a local noise gig organised around 2012/2013 - Simon looked at me, turned to his female companion and enthusiastically told her out loud "oh, this is the guy who sent me those documentaries on paedophiles!". Fucking hell, haha.

I would bump into Simon again and again over the following years at various UK shows he attended or played at, and was always charmed by his knowledge, good humour, wisdom and him endlessly spilling the beans on beloved members of the music underground (Whitehouse and especially Sotos gossip being his bread and butter). Spoke to him online when I could mostly through email, and bought/swapped/traded/sold various goodies with him on and off. I've seen and spoken to him at his highs and low, but he was always incredibly generous and willing to give friends the time of day whenever possible. His support for those he saw potential in was especially immeasurable.

I've little to no idea what happened recently as all seemed to be going very well for him this year from the outside. First saw tweets on December the 10th from Phil Smith saying he was missing and then saw on Instagram his absence from the Hospital Productions festival. I also noticed his personal blog had been disabled from public viewing and similarly his Facebook profiles and the Ceramic Hobs bandcamp were removed (thankfully, he didn't do like me and meiticulously delete all his SI forum posts). Not sure what else he decided to wipe clean, either digitally or physically before saying goodbye to the world. Apparently, Simon told the last person he chance met (on the Saturday afternoon that he went missing) that he was about to go through "a transformative process". His last blog post on December 3rd that was briefly available through Google cache made reference to his late friend Calum Terras. So many unanswered questions, so many questionable answers.

Would love to read other people's stories of Simon. He will be greatly missed.


Not to drag it all out here in detail but from what I gathered reading one or two comments within the social media stuff surrounding his disappearance it seemed he had entered another spell of low mental health.  It's very sad that this time it wasn't something he would overcome.

I hadn't known Simon as closely or for as long as many of our mutual friends but he was an influential and valued source of advice, support and information to me in as much as we did communicate over the years.  I don't know how aware of this he will have been but he really did help me out in a few dark times through his gift of being able to empathise with and articulate some of the more complex experiences and feelings life and culture can throw at a person. I didn't agree with some of the turns his personality (or perhaps persona) could take, nor with many of the real life results his loose tongue and typing hand could often produce, but these things never once stopped me from respecting him enormously and delighting in his company.  Like all the best people it was a pleasure to take him for the wholeness of who he was.

This blog post in tribute to Simon appeared a couple of days ago

I think it fantastically encapsulates the way many of us will have felt about him; referencing his huge generosity, intelligence, wit and talent as well as his equally formidable ability to be a difficult bastard. 

The semi regular email contact we kept was something I really treasured.  Similarly, the handful of times we spent together in person (always a lovely surprise to see him given our living at opposite ends of the country) will always stick in my head as especially fond memories garnered from years spent knocking about in the UK's seedy little noise world.  I'll miss him a lot and am so sad I'll never get to speak to him again.


Likewise, I never met him (as far as I remember) but we used to exchange letters in the late 90s...., also traded for some low run lathe cuts like the Ceramic hobs, greasy Walter 7", A4 photo copies of strange conspiracy stuff and of course the original print of the bang out of order zine. This is my enduring memory, 20 or so years ago, but well worth a read and a chuckle:


Like Duncan, John and Lawrence, I also experienced "the wholeness" that was Simon. He could be difficult at times, although understandably so, at most turns. His advice and ability to relate was uncanny. His semi-regular correspondence helped me through some extremely rough patches and I'll cherish the ways in which we related, for better as well as worse. He was one of the ones to give me a major push into coming into my own as a writer, and helped me relearn that nothing without challenge is worthwhile. My own views on the last few months are probably best kept private, although I feel I have a limited insight. We never actually met, although I would consider him the very definition of a long-distance friend. I'm not much for regrets, but I'll admit I now deeply regret not making it to Los Angeles to meet him in November of this year.

One thing I will miss in particular was his tendency to describe his surroundings and what he was consuming along with whatever work I'd sent him. Food, booze, brands of cigarettes, music, weather and so on. His personality made mundane details seem just that much more special. He was observant and insightful as well as empathic to the extent it's possible for someone to be. I recently told a friend that he wasn't too far from a prism, through whom was channeled the full spectrum of human experience, radiating the beauty and creativity (along with tragedy) that characterizes it. The words "passion," "struggle," "triumph" and "bliss" somehow fall desperately short when trying to communicate just who Simon was and what he was capable of.

Needless to say, I am left very bereaved by his premature departure. Nevertheless, I can't hold it against him and feel his presence still in the immeasurable legacy he's left behind. He wouldn't want me moping around, so I've been "working like a Protestant motherfucker," to quote our publisher. Lots of gratitude to pay forward.

Edit: I'll add a highlighted memory, because only someone like Simon could force edits on an upcoming work posthumously. As certain health complications of his had been mentioned, I'll share that he once believed (in earnest) that one of my best friends was an undercover FBI agent. After the two of them met, his opinion changed, somewhat radically. I'll miss that crazy motherfucker.


Gutted about ald Simon, felt this one right in the pit of my stomach. He was someone I thought would probably always be around, and live forever, despite his problems.

Shared funny emails and even more bizarre, awkward and irritating in person conversations with him over the course of the past 15-ish (?) years. He was incredibly knowledgeable about underground music but also probably one of the most "gossipy" fully grown men I've ever met... often to hilarious and insightful ends. It was always good to chat with him because I always felt like he was one of those few folk in life that you could truly say *anything* to without it being misconstrued or used to cause some division and he was always keen to return the favour in that regard. He always seemed very genuinely interested in any and all topics and was very open and honest, sometimes too open for my taste esp regarding some of the darker/sexier things he has since wrote about in his books. Despite him being a Lancastrian, he still had peak Northern sensibility which was probably very much lost on a lot of the noise crowd and I've always found that very funny and endearing. He was not only one of the only people to praise my lackluster performance as one-time drummer of Skullflower and call out certain "scene veterans" for being shit-stirring cunts but also had my back when I couldn't be arsed releasing that S+Q DVD anymore...

As well as his well known contributions to various great bands and projects over the years but also as, seemingly, one of the only non-"cancelled" UK noise lads to *not* throw Skullflower under the bus (over something that 99.99% of folk willfully don't understand) makes his departure from the music world even more of a travesty. Despite his "mad-pride", he proved himself to have his head screwed on much more than a lot of folk and he will definitely be missed by the Northern noise scene and beyond.

Noise Label:
Black Metal Label:
Email: George.Proctor AT Gmail DOT com