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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Meetings with Wilde, Brown and Morrissey.
on 7 June 2010
Len Brown's book, 'Meetings with Morrissey' is a fantastic read for those with litle knowledge of the artist who are seeking to gain an insight into the influences and history of Morrissey. Len Brown obviously has a great insight into how Morrissey works given his numerous meetings with the former Smith. In 'Meetings' Brown nails down, almost completely, almost everything one would desire to know about Morrissey's greatest influences; Oscar Wilde, sixties 'sirens', James Dean, glamorous punks and the rest. Brown leaves no stone unturned when recollecting how, when and why the artist became so enthralled in subjects that have provided him with inspiration for some of his most famous songs. The stars humble beginnings with The Smiths and their untimely downfall is also retold in gorey detail, only leaving some mystery into the deeper reasons behind the bands split. Brown also manages to cover, satisfyingly enough Morrissey's solo career from leaving the Smiths right up until 2006's 'Ringleader of the Tormentors'. There can be no complaints that the author has not done his homework, sadly, however, this is where the problems arise.
As a result of Brown's deep, deep knowledge of the star through his meetings he falls into two unfortunate pitfalls that demerit the book. Firstly, Brown devotes too much time to the study of Oscar Wilde's influence on Morrissey. Anyone who knows even a small bit of trivia about the singer will know how immensely influential the Irish literary figure has been on his song-writing and career. Brown begins to repeat specific facts about Wilde over and over, certain dates, places and even an entire chapter that concern Wilde make for frustrating reading as Brown veers too far away from the books main subject. Secondly, Brown places too much of his own life into the book, while some readers may find this helpful and endearing of the writer I personally felt that it became as though Brown was almost willing Morrissey's life and his own to be intertwined to a much greater degree than they really are. One can appreciate that since the book is based on Brown's meetings with Morrissey that the author understandably makes himself present within the pages of the book, however, facts about his life- such as his brothers death, his employment, etc- seem superfluous. As a slight aside, his undying support, approval and joy at almost everything the singer does can be nauseating at times.
As I stated initally, this book is recommended reading to any fledgling fans of Morrissey who wish to learn more about the star, also, hardcore fans may find something new about their hero that they didn't already know. My advice would be to purchase this book if you are a Morrissey fan at any level, because if you aren't completely satisfied with Brown's interviews with Morrissey you can always stand to learn more about Oscar Wilde or Len Brown himself.