Girlfriend In A Coma is another happy song from The Smiths.
The song is straight forward. It is literally about a girlfriend in a coma. The only question is whether her boyfriend is being sincere when he sings that he hopes that everything will be okay or is he instead telling the truth when he says that he doesn’t want to see her.
Some clue as to how the singer feels about his girl comatose girlfriend might be found in video’s use of clips from The Leather Boys, a British film from 1964. An example of British kitchen sink realism, The Leather Boys is about a biker named Reggie (Colin Campbell) who marries his girlfriend, Dot (Rita Tushingham), but would still rather spend most of his time with his fellow biker, Pete (Dudley Sutton). At the time of its release, the film was considered to be shocking because it openly dealt with gay themes at a time when homosexual activity was still illegal in the UK. Just as the film ends with Reggie still unsure about his sexuality, Girlfriend In A Coma ends with Morrissey still sounding unsure about whether or not he wants his girlfriend to wake up.
Girlfriend In A Coma was the first single to be released from The Smiths’s final studio album, Strangeways, Here We Come. The album was named after Strangeways, an infamous prison in Manchester. Before the UK absolished the death penalty, Strangeways was famous for its gallows. A total of 100 prisoners were hanged at Strangeways between 1869 and 1964.