When You Say Nothing at All

Some of the best conversations I’ve ever had were over before they began.

Jeremy Helligar
5 min readSep 5, 2023
Photo: Raffael Herrmann/cc0.photo

“Most people have nothing to say — NOTHING to say. And most people give you the same conversation every single day. It’s just the same old pattern, and you’re none the wiser for knowing someone for five years. That’s why I do this music-business thing. Because it’s communication with people without having the extreme inconvenience of actually phoning anybody up.”

— Morrissey, The Importance of Being Morrissey

I have a confession to make that probably won’t surprise anyone who has ever caught up with me on the telephone.

Back in the days when phone calls were the only way to have real-time conversations with someone who wasn’t in the same room, I used to say a little prayer almost every time I had to initiate one: “Dear God. Please let them not pick up. I’d like to delay actually having to talk to them for as long as possible. Amen.”

As long as I’m being brutally honest, I might as well confess that I still have that little prayer on speed dial in my head.

I can relate to what Morrisey was saying about conversations and phoning people up in the 2002 biographical documentary The Importance of Being Morrissey as much as I used to relate to his loner…



Jeremy Helligar

Brother Son Husband Friend Loner Minimalist World Traveler. Author of “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?” and “Storms in Africa” https://rb.gy/3mthoj