In true keeping with his ‘Outsider’s outsider’ image, Morrissey has written an autobiography that is, to paraphrase Hand in Glove, not like any other book, this one is different – because it’s Morrissey.
The autobiography is written, at times, like a great fiction novel, with Morrissey often referring to himself in the third person. The novel is also very different from most autobiographies; firstly as just like Morrissey’s lyrics, it’s extremely well written and secondly, Morrissey has a lot to say and many grudges to talk about.
He really does “bear more grudges than lonely High Court Judges.” He goes on a Blitzkrieg-style writing offensive against all sorts of people. Politicians, record labels, other musicians, the legal system, the press, meat-eating, his schools and America to name just a few.
However, it’s Mike Joyce, the former drummer of The Smiths, who receives more indignation than any other person. Morrissey turns into John Mortimer as he describes Joyce’s “constant inaccuracies and assumptions vomited out with leaden fatigue” in the courtroom. Being a die-hard Smiths fan, left me stuck in two minds. Sure, Joyce is a man who is trying to make as much money out of Morrissey as possible, but then again, the original deal as to the share of royalties between The Smiths makes Morrissey seem a trifle unfair to Joyce.
Still, Morrissey fans will discover many great revelations about the musical icon. Included are details about his first proper relationship, rejecting a cameo appearance in Friends, and how he considered having a child with a woman. For a man who has never been open about his sexuality, this was particularly surprising.
Music nerds and Morrissey fans alike will love this book. Penguin calling it a ‘classic’ is a bit much, but 20 years from now, the book will probably earn that status. Just like Morrissey himself, it’s witty, original and full of love, anger and melancholy.
Photo: Property of independent.co.uk