Now My Heart Is Full (of chlorine)

The singer Morrissey has just been discharged from hospital after collapsing in a leisure centre with breathing difficulties, it has emerged today.

The 50-year-old former Smiths singer was performing a gig in the reception area of the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon on Saturday and appeared to collapse to his knees with his hand over his mouth.

Eyewitness Peter Ian reveals: “He was initially uncomfortable with the door to the swimming pool being left open and he kept asking if they could close it because the air ‘hung heavy like a dulling wine’, plus the splashing and shouting from that area would be a constant distraction. He was also unhappy with the squeaking of trainers and thudding noises coming from the adjacent squash courts. The other problem was that we all had to keep to one side of the reception area, because the leisure centre was still open to the public throughout the gig. When he passed out there were more than a few murmurs that he had feigned illness to get out of doing the show – I wouldn’t blame him if he had.”

A spokesman for the singer insisted that the booking had been made in good faith and that Oasis Leisure Centre had originally cleared a 2-hour slot for the singer on the 5-a-side court: “We phoned them up and made the booking at least two weeks in advance. I don’t know what happened at their end, but there must have been some kind of mix-up, because when we arrived to do the soundcheck it hadn’t been written in the book at all. Instead, it appeared that a local software company were booked in to use the court for the timeslot we had booked, and that the best they could offer us was half of the reception area. It was disappointing for all of us, and although Morrissey initially tried to make the best of the situation, it became less and less tolerable as the gig went on.”

Another fan, Tony Mick, said: “It was really cramped and hot in there and Morrissey barely had any room to perform his trademark ‘microphone whip’. Most of us were constantly getting jostled around by passing members of the public and at one point I saw another fan take a blow to the side of the face from a tennis bag as someone rushed towards the exit. Morrissey even broke off halfway through ‘The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get’ to remonstrate with a centre user who he believed hadn’t paid for a ticket. He pointed straight at the man and thundered ‘You! Go now! You are not welcome here!’. This prompted several staff to quickly assemble a freestanding partition down the middle of the area in order to stop uninvited parties watching the show for free. Morrissey kept going for a while, but I think in the end he was overcome with the smell of chlorine emanating from the swimming pool. I saw him drop to his knees during ‘The Edges Are No Longer Parallel’ and the next thing I knew the receptionist was calling an ambulance and the show had to be called off just three songs in.”

A spokeswoman for the Great Western Ambulance Service said: “Just after 9pm we got a call to a 50-year-old man who was reported to be suffering from respiratory problems and was unconscious. We sent a paramedic in a doubled-crewed ambulance. When they arrived they found a conscious patient who was feeling ‘quite fed up, actually’. They made an initial assessment and took him to the Great Western Hospital for further assessment, whereupon he was later discharged with a clean bill of health.”

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