Image, Penguin Classics.
These days, it seems that ‘celebrities’ are releasing books left, right and centre. Whilst some are brilliant, many are churned out by egotistical (and often quite boring) people who are shamelessly eager to further cash in on their short time in the spotlight. However, these were not my thoughts upon hearing that, after being cancelled in September due to “a last-minute content disagreement“, Morrissey’s book, simply titled ‘Autobiography’, will be released on October 17th.
This is extremely exciting news for me, and any other Smiths/ Morrissey fan who is forever intrigued by this mysterious and eternally controversial icon. The hugely saturated selection of Morrissey books currently available, particularly the fawning ‘Meetings with Morrissey‘, have sparked more questions than answers; lacking a genuine first-person account of his life. The opportunity to read this in ‘Autobiography’ is thrilling beyond words.
For many, (myself included), Morrissey is so much more than just the former frontman of their favourite band, or their favourite solo artist. He is a character, an enigma. The Smiths, inspired by Morrissey and Marr, offered welcome respite from a tirade of monotonous ’80s synthpop, and spoke honestly and humorously (“I said Charles, don’t you ever crave. To appear on the front of the Daily Mail. Dressed in your Mother’s bridal veil?”).
According to the publisher, Penguin, “Autobiography covers Morrissey’s life from his birth until the present day”. This frustratingly vague, concise description doesn’t reveal a great deal of information. However, it suggests that Morrissey may discuss his life chronologically. Therefore, he could make reference to his youth in Manchester. It would be fascinating to read about the events which inspired the lyrics for songs such as ‘The Headmaster Ritual‘, which describes his unhappy school life. In a 1985 video feature, Morrissey describes his secondary school as “sadistic” and “barbaric”.
The Smiths dramatically split up in 1987 after Marr left the band. Stories about the real reason for this are murky and contradictory, so I look forward to reading Morrissey’s take on this matter, and the rise and the fall of this unique and brilliant band. However, I expect the inevitable section on the royalties dispute, which concluded in the judge calling Morrissey “devious, truculent, and unreliable” to make for uncomfortable reading. You only have to look as far as the lyrics to 1994 single ‘The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get‘ for confirmation of this (Beware. I bear more grudges. Than lonely high court judges. When you sleep. I will creep. Into your thoughts…).
As I was born in 1993, 6 years after their split, I never actually got to see the Smiths live. Despite this, Morrissey’s lyrics, Marr’s guitar, and Rourke’s powerful (and often sadly overlooked) bass have captivated me in a way that no other band probably ever will. Love him or hate him (he doesn’t care), Morrissey is without a doubt one of our great artists and lyricists. He is a musical icon, and I can’t wait to (hopefully) find out who he really is. ‘Autobiography’ is published on October 17th, and is available to pre-order now on Amazon.