I HAVE friends whose opinions I find distasteful. I still see them. I have colleagues I don’t like. I still work with them. I have books at home that contain sexist, racist, and homophobic views. I still read them. I do this because I cannot edit the world to make it the way I want it to be. If only other people felt the same way.

By other people, I mean record stores that are announcing, to the soundtrack of self-righteousness, that they will not be selling the new album by Morrissey. It happened with his last album and it’s happening again now with the new one. Monorail, a record store in Glasgow, said in a tweet this week: “Just so you know, like many of our colleagues, we won't be stocking the new Morrissey album.”

To be fair to the shop, I got in touch with them and asked them what they meant by their decision and they told me the tweet was maybe a bit spicier than they’d first intended. Morrissey’s records don’t sell well in the shop, they said, and for that reason they felt the new one wasn’t worth stocking.

They also said this: “We weren’t trying to make a big stand or anything, it was mostly from a sales perspective. If you compare his sales to something like Cloth, a local band, there’s no comparison. So we’d rather give airtime to things that our customers (and we) are passionate about.” It’s no big deal, they said.

In some ways, I get what they’re saying. Why would a shop stock something that isn’t going to sell? We also shouldn’t worry about Morrissey’s songs, or his views, being suppressed – his albums will be sold in other places. And even Moz has to realise that if you have the freedom to express opinions, other people must have the freedom not to listen to them.

But what I don’t get is the need to make an announcement about it all. Record stores don’t regularly make announcements about artists who don’t sell well so why do with it with Morrissey? Could it be there are trendy points to be earned by doing so? If so, my reaction to that would be: trying to look cool by rejecting someone else is not cool.

And could I make another appeal about Morrissey’s music, aimed at the people heading to the supermarkets today to do more stockpiling? Do not buy pasta and toilet roll, buy the new Morrissey album instead. The Italians get it. The other day, a street full of quarantined residents came out on their balconies and sang How Soon Is Now? and all you could hear were those words we know: “I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does.”

The fact they chose How Soon Is Now? is not a surprise. It’s the greatest anthem of loneliness ever written, so what better song to bring us consolation when many of us are shut up on our own? On his new album, Morrissey also has a warning that could apply to the band of morons buying enough paper to wipe a billion bums. “I am not a dog on a chain,” he sings. “I can turn the conversation off.”

It is this that makes Morrissey great – the words of anger and loneliness, the songs about sensitive men with sensitive secrets, and the sound of hidden and suppressed devotion – and if you think you hate him, relax because he hated first. He hated self-obsessed friends (“guess how much pasta I’ve got in my garage” I hear them say) and he hated the meat industry (guess where the coronavirus started).

And another thing: if you’re trapped in a house in a grey coastal town full of people stockpiling food and bog roll, listen to Every Day is Like Sunday and take comfort in the image of a bomb blowing it all to smithereens. “Come, Armageddon, Come!” Morrissey belts out a beautiful kind of hate and it might just help you get through this.

I appreciate, obviously, that not everyone agrees. For years, I sat opposite my colleague Teddy Jamieson. “Morrissey is dead,” he would say. “Morrissey lives,” I would reply. And nothing is going to make Monorail put Morrissey’s new album on their shelves.

But maybe in these days of exclusion and isolation, we can still look for comfort from the man who made sense of them. Maybe we can hear his appeal for the lion and the lamb and the lonely man. And maybe we can learn to love again the ones we used to love. As my colleague Teddy once said: “I know it’s over. And yet….”