Heaven knows I’m autobiographical now

25 01 2014

Autobiography by Morrissey 

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The most ridiculous blurb for this one:

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.’

Oh dear.

Autobiography covers Morrissey’s life from his birth until the present day.

I must admit I approached this with real trepidation, almost as fearful as if I actually had to meet the great man. Most of my anxieties were indeed well-founded.

So, four chunks to this book really. An extended reminiscence of an absurdly Dickensian-sounding childhood – well-crafted but surely over-egged. Sadly dull descriptions of the early days of the Smiths followed by ranting at Rough Trade ineptitude. Then there is the barrack-room lawyering and the railing against the system. And finally we have the just rewards – the recent years of solo adoration which turns into just a bit of a tour list.

But basically everything is everyone else’s fault. It’s all a bit reminiscent of what could be regarded as a companion piece – Mark E Smith’s contribution to the autobiography genre.

In the acknowledgements for the book (unsurprisingly there are only a few) he adds: “whatever is sung is the case”. On balance I suspect it would have been better if he had let the songs speak for themselves. Whilst not exactly miserable, I’m not much happier now.

2 star

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