It is probably the understatement of the century to say that this is the book Smiths fans have been waiting for decades. The autobiography of the intensely private lead singer Morrissey is finally out, and not one to hold back, the former Smiths singer has used the book as a platform to right, what he feels are some wrongs.
Amongst those for whom are the subject of Morrissey’s ire are the musical paper NME, the UK legal system and even the Thompson Twins, who stopped the Smiths reaching Number One in the charts with their debut album.
The singer also delves into his love life, which, for many years, has been a topic of great speculation, as he has kept quiet about any dalliances, whether they be male or female.
But now he has decided to tell all, and recalls a relationship with one Jake Walters, back in 1994, where he described: “For the first time in my life the eternal ‘I’ becomes ‘we’, as, finally, I can get on with someone.”
He was less complimentary about the judges that oversaw his legal battle with former bandmate Mike Joyce, who was suing in the 1990’s for a share of The Smiths profits. Morrissey states in the book that one of the judges was: “The pride of the pipsqueakery, John Weeks begins his judgment by falling flat on his face: He brilliantly announces to the world how The Smiths formed in 1992 – his judicial accuracy not to be questioned!” Joyce, who took Morrissey to court in 1996, was seeking a 25% of The Smiths’ earnings, but Morrissey accused the drummer of “constant inaccuracies and assumptions vomited out with leaden fatigue” in court.
But for those who think that the book in entirely made up of vitriol against Morrissey’s numerous enemies, you are forgetting the man’s unique, dry wit and sense of humour, and the book is littered with laugh out loud moments.
Who else could describe a teacher “who will never marry and will die smelling of attics”, or talk about REM lead singer Michael Stipe’s failure for brushing his teeth before a gig? We also get an amazing glimpse into the person, with such extra titbits about the notoriously private singer as the fact that he loves A-Ha, was offered a part in Friends, and that he was interrogated by the Special Branch for over an hour, after releasing a single called Margaret On The Guillotine.
There are also beautifully written passages of prose, that describe Manchester in the late ’60’s as “an old fire, wheezing its last, where we all worry ourselves soulless, forbidden to be romantic”.
Morrissey talks about the split between himself and guitarist Johnny Marr, and even includes a letter from the latter, apologising and explaining that he would prefer to meet with Morrissey, to discuss the matter further.
As for his love-life, he reveals that he was thinking about having a baby, or as he describes it, a “mewling miniature monster” – with Tina Dehgani, with whom he has an “uncluttered commitment”.
In Autobiography, Morrissey never actually comes right out and states exactly what his sexuality is, instead he describes his lack of interest in girls as he was growing up: “Girls remained mysteriously attracted to me,” he adds, “and I had no idea why, since although each fumbling foray hit the target, nothing electrifying took place, and I turned a thousand corners without caring … Far more exciting were the array of stylish racing bikes that my father would bring home.”
Despite this lack of clarification regrading his sexual leanings, we think that for Smiths and Morrissey fans, this is the book that will answer the questions followers of the band and singer have been asking for years.
Morrissey – The Autobiography is available now for £8.99 from most bookshops.