Friday, 8 November 2013


Release Date: 17/10/13
Publisher:  Penguin Classics


Steven Patrick Morrissey was born in Manchester on May 22nd 1959. Singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Smiths (1982-1987), Morrissey has been a solo artist for twenty-six years, during which time he has had three number 1 albums in England in three different decades. Achieving eleven Top 10 albums (plus nine with the Smiths), his songs have been recorded by David Bowie, Nancy Sinatra, Marianne Faithfull, Chrissie Hynde, Thelma Houston, My Chemical Romance and Christy Moore, amongst others. An animal protectionist, in 2006 Morrissey was voted the second greatest living British icon by viewers of the BBC, losing out to Sir David Attenborough. In 2007 Morrissey was voted the greatest northern male, past or present, in a nationwide newspaper poll. In 2012, Morrissey was awarded the Keys to the City of Tel-Aviv. It has been said 'Most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status that Morrissey has reached in his lifetime.' Autobiography covers Morrissey's life from his birth until the present day.


Having discovered Morrissey at the age of 13 due to sharing a passion for James Dean, I found, after working my way though a fair amount of his catalogue, that I liked his music, I loved the way with which he delivered his “message”, the descriptive contempt behind the words spoke volumes and over the years, with each impassioned speech he gave about events, I found myself liking him more The fact that he was a Manchester Lad come good, from working class roots, like myself also said a hell of a lot to me, so much so that when I heard about his autobiography I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

What unfurls within is a book that starts out almost as if it were one of the author’s songs. It was lyrical, it had deeper emotional context behind the word count but as it started to get going, I noticed a lot of cracks within the Morrissey plasterwork. Pieces that he didn’t want to reveal to the reader, hiding a lot of events that occurred during childhood that helped form him and tended to jump about without any real direction or timeline to follow along. This not only jarred the writing style but also left me feeling a little jaded about the star, especially when the majority of the book was about the various musical lawsuits to which he was embroiled.

Add to this that a fair number of other things didn’t come up, for example his passion of James Dean limited to a few pages alongside an almost passive mention about his vegetarianism (which for a guy who has venues selling veggie only food for the audience as well as being known for the song “Meat is Murder) seemed to not delve into the authors life as I expected.

All round this book fell short of what I was wanting. It missed out huge parts such as his venomous rants against the establishment, barely mentioned the Moors Murders which he was a campaigner against Hindley and Brady, as well as carefully picking its way through some of his early life and the book left me feeling that it was the fans that exploited him, not the ones who had supported his career or purchased his records but people who just grabbed what they wanted without giving him anything in return. A great shame.

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