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on 12 February 2014
Book was rubbish as he seemed to want to impress with how many words he had used. How did he gets this published?
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on 14 February 2014
I have been a fan of Morrissey for 20+ years, my first act of rebellion was to get a Morrissey tattoo at the age of 15, and it feels like I have been waiting my whole life for this book.
Sadly I think I prefer him shrouded in mystery. Its interesting to think on all the bits of his life he left out. Does he really think pages and pages of detailed descriptions on the T.V he watched as a boy are needed? I want to hear how he started writing, on friendships formed and relationships that were meaningful to him. You get the odd page here and there but he devotes far much more time going on about chart positions and how much everybody loves him or how everybody is always betraying him.
He comes across as totally vain and self absorbed, no wonder he is single, there is no room for anybody except Morrissey in Morrisseys life. Makes me feel a bit grubby thinking of all the times I have stood outside venues waiting for him and how much time I have spent pushing to the front at gigs, one of the screaming masses that have fed his unbelievably huge ego all these years.
I agree also that the section devoted to the court case was far, far too long and that the way he describes women and their bodies is gross and crass. I was quite disappointed by some of descriptions to be honest.
I still found the book fascinating and more revealing than he probably intended
Even though he doesn't come across as very likeable and possessing zero self awareness (I can put away the day dream of us getting on if we ever met) its got to be 5 stars, it iS Morrissey after all.
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on 29 January 2014
Having wasted money on this. Poorly written and self indulgent. reading this was a real chore. I continued hoping it was going to improve but it didn't.
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on 22 February 2015
I've been a fan of The Smiths and Morrissey for a very, very long time. Somehow that's easier to say than decades. In any case, I'm quite familiar with Moz: his lyrical sensibilities, his flair for the dramatic, what he's passionate about, his public persona [since, sadly, I don't know him personally. Though I did get on stage once and danced with him after which he kissed me. Twice :)]. Blah, blah, blah. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, I was concerned that this autobiography was going to be a lot of pretty words and no peek behind the curtain. I was wrong. He doesn't hide behind beautiful prose (though that is there; I actually learned things about him. About his childhood, his adolescence, his experiences! How exciting and titillating to finally know more about this man I've loved for so long. BEWARE: the US version has been censored. Apparently we're too prude on this side of the pond.
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on 18 November 2013
Pompous houmorless and so dull. It wasn't help by the affected writting style, that seemed like the work of a 6 form odd bod with pretensciouns! Maybe that is the revealing factor of Morrissey, he never developed beyound the 6 form maturity wise. Add that with a decade of two of believing his own hype, and you get the chist of this book. I think we will see a lot of these in the charity shops and car boot sales very soon.
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on 20 October 2013
Typical Morrissey and all the better for it. No Christmas stocking filler, no gaudy hardback sitting alongside Garry Redknapp, but a quality paperback lovingly crafted. So arrogant, no wonder lots of people criticise it...not it though, him. People struggle with his confidence which is a shame as it's like no other recent biography bar possibly Dylan's. Yes there is bitterness and a sense of putting the world straight but isn't that the point of a biography. Yep at times I think he has read too much James Joyce and it shows. But I love the ambition. A penguin classic us a statement of intent, of ambition and to my mind it definitely meets it's ambition.
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on 28 October 2013
Enjoyed this book from the start as I found Morrisseys story very interesting.He is eccentric,talented,funny and true to himself so it was a good read.
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on 19 November 2013
A comparison of this with Keith Richards' warts-and-all autobiography I find irresistible. In both cases the narrator's total dedication to music leaps from the pages, but there the resemblance pretty much ends. Personal CV's of rock stars frequently have to do with a life abandoned to excess and teetering on the edge of ruin until, hopefully, the survival instinct kicks in. This is well illustrated by Richards' excellent 'Life', but whereas the extent of his contribution to the actual writing of it is not known - it appears to have been at best semi-ghosted - Morrissey's lengthy confession is self-penned and his language throughout less fruity than the Stone's. Funny and caustic, it is a tale of eccentricity carried to extremes. His abstinence from drugs and pestilential ever-present groupies seems positively strange to some, and nor do erudite dissertations on poetry usually form part of a rock star's narrative.

In fact ever since the Keats/Yeats name-drop of 'Cemetery Gates' I have been intrigued as to Morrissey's literary interests . His Wildean obsession is well known, of course. Perhaps like Bowie he could provide a list of his top one hundred books. The handful of poets briefly discussed here include A.E. Houseman and John Betjeman, the former's deep pessimism contrasting with Betjeman's delight in cosy English parochialism. The rich phrase-turning of Morrissey's prose style does seem to take its cue from an immersion in poetry and there is the occasional patch of word cluster where sound rather beclouds meaning. However, this is a minor criticism and certain sections of his narrative have a genuine novelistic edge. I particularly enjoyed his gripping and disturbing account of a night drive into the heart of Saddleworth Moor and the ensuing close encounter with some unrecogniseable horror. As for his relationship with photographer Jake Walters, we get to observe it subtly through a fog of ambiguity and understatement and it remains something of a mystery.

His long opening paragraph gives an impressionistic evocation of squalid post-Victorian Manchester, a mephitic slough from which the road to fame will one day be his escape route. We catch affectionate fleeting glimpses of family and friends in a distant pre-internet age of just two TV channels when the consumption of trite pop ditties on the radio meant everything until there was a major breach in the cultural wall. Morrissey's incisive critique of the New York Dolls celebrates this sense of awakening, as does his appreciation of Patti Smith's seminal 'Horses' album. The youthful urge to play a part in it all would soon result in his initially amicable association with Johnny Marr. An honest picture is presented of two naive young freshers on the music scene in danger of signing away their careers in a world where rampant greed and dishonesty mean that security of entitlement is not guaranteed. For various reasons it was a partnership not built to last and it is ruefully noted that, far from being on the point of fading away, The Smiths broke up at the height of their powers.

Aspects of Morrissey's upbringing would find their context in song. His Irish family connections explain the Catholic curse for which, one day, he will find it in his heart of hearts to forgive Jesus. Schooldays are not fondly remembered when authority figures with an ingrained attitude of gratuitous contempt left their mark, sometimes physically. In this loveless ambiance was the contrarian nurtured, we understand. Maybe his mistrust of lonely high court judges bearing grudges dates from early days when he first learned how Oscar Wilde met his nemesis at the hands of one such be-wigged nonentity. Fast forward a century to the legal dispute with fellow band members over royalties and the resentment has a direct focus. We are, of course, not privy to any counter-argument but his persuasive delineation over 40 pages of the ins and outs of it all leads one to think he may have a point. What rings in the mind's ear is Judge John Week's oft-quoted insult beloved of a hostile media. It is the poisonous effusion of an obvious know-nothing - in his rewrite of history The Smiths never existed as a band until 1992! - and does not bear further repetition.

We are reminded of Morrissey the provocateur. His animal rights stance is too puritanical for some and he seems to regard the high-profile gangland figure as some kind of existentialist outsider. I am largely with him on the first of these but have always found the Krays with their phoney romantic aura entirely resistible. There is indeed 'so much destruction all over the world' in comparison with which their lives of crime seem petty, but it is a poor excuse. More palatable are his forthright views of Margaret Thatcher and George Bush fils; likewise his playful putdown of 'royal' Sarah Ferguson as an example of talentless pseudo-celebrity. Once his solo career got under way, though, really contentious issues arose. He was, in the exalted opinion of the New Musical Express, insufficiently PC to the point of criminality. Some years ago when on the cusp of middle age I gave up reading the rock press but well remember the NME's faux-lefty attitudinizing on the subject of Morrissey's alleged racism. While being pictured alongside the Union Jack was enough to provoke that august organ's accusations of 'flirting with fascism' no such sinister implication was ever read into the young Brit Pop faces' use of the flag in their photo-shoots. In 2007 the campaign would be tediously resumed with the publication of a doctored interview and the paper's subsequent forced apology.

The Smiths' signing to Rough Trade is the occasion of an extended gripe about that label's chief, one of the few targets of his untempered dislike. There is also a cast of characters with walk-on parts whose company he considers diverting, whether on the written page or in the life. He finds veteran actress Elaine Stritch endearingly abrasive and compares lifestyles with David Bowie. Somehow his fractious meeting with Siouxsie leads to the recording of their 'Interlude' duet and, on a more sombre note, tears are not held back for the too-soon-departed Kirsty McColl. Also there is Nancy Sinatra ('desperately generous and humble'), Elton John ('shockingly down to earth'), Julie Burchill ('not loveable') and the list goes on. There is much scope for tasty vignettes and quoteable quotes and one's attention is held throughout although the quality of the writing does flag occasionally.

His concluding pages offer snapshots of gigs in different countries where the presence of ever-younger fans is poignantly observed, and this seems to hint at the seductive facade of a business in which, as the years advance, he feels increasingly less at home. Exiled in L.A., indeed, he shows scant taste for nostalgia. With the publication of 'Autobiography' we now know a little better this morose, opinionated, cantankerous but eminently decent (and, yes, charming) man. Rumour has it that he has latterly found stability and contentment in his personal life, so who knows if his muse of melancholy will have more to say in the recording studio now that this is complete. He may be courting ridicule by insisting that his book be issued as a Penguin Classic but it would be a pity if that blinded anyone to its merits. It is a riveting read, packed with anecdote and calculated to delight and infuriate in equal measure. If there is more to come this is certainly an auspicious debut.
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on 1 March 2014
Any Morrissey fan should read this!
Any non Morrissery fan should read this!
It brings to life the man we only hear and not know, I never believe what the British press print about him, and it was nice to hear his life in his words.

Loved him before the book

Love him even more now
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on 18 October 2013
More frank and honest than you could imagine... Morrissey's autobiography is a one-off. Unlike anything out there and probably never to be fully appreciated despite its controversial status as an automated 'classic'.

SPOILERS

There are big revelations in here (re- his sexuality, first relationships, inner-most thoughts) for morrissey obsessives, but the potrayal is universal... an intimate look into a fiercely private man's inner-working. a life that's far from black-and-white.
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