TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 1 November 2013
Train, heave on to Euston. Awaiting the launch of my Autobiography, Penguin Books have incarcerated me in a tawdry penthouse flat at 6 Grosvenor Square. The harsh London light through the floor-to-ceiling windows peels my eyeballs, my feet wince at the coarse touch of the cashmere and angora carpet, and as I numb the pain with a third Grey Goose, my mind drifts back to Nan's tenement at 69 Saddleworth Cuttings, Strangeways. Here, behind the rainy Salford Road, I would watch the damp grey wallpaper peeling slowly off the walls, licking my wounds after yet another day of casual brutality from the callous, sadistic teachers of Rusholme Secondary Modern, where the education was never modern, and my needs and feelings were always secondary.
The doorbell rings. Is it Jobraith? Is it The New York Dolls, on bended knee, begging me to become their lead singer? No, alas, it is the frightful and blancmange-like Debbie, my PA from Penguin, clutching an advance copy of my book. My heart sinks from wounds already inflicted and wounds still to come. Already the Penguin philistines have rejected my glamorous cover art (a black and white Alain Delon posing naked over Oscar Wilde's grave, drinking a glass of milk). Typical. I tear disinterestedly at the brown paper, fearing the worst. The cover is predictably a travesty. Although it mentions my name (in an insultingly small typeface) and features a dismissively small photograph of me, over 50% of the surface area is utterly wasted and makes no reference to me at all. Not one. It is yet another nail hammered through my palm by the uncaring powers that be. I disdainfully hand the feeble effort back to the vile Debbie, who understands nothing, and who still reeks of the sizzling flesh which she has oh-so-obviously been cramming into her flabby chops at - shudder- MacDonalds. The yawning grave opens its maws, awaiting me. Then I snatch the book back, and inspect the flyleaf, magnifying glass in hand. And there it is - THERE IT IS. 'The moral right of the author has been asserted'. Yet will Judge John Weeks deign to listen? Inevitably, Mick Joyce will 'assume' he is due 25% of the revenue, and justice will once again crush my limp white body beneath its cruel, remorseless wheels. And where is Johnny Marr? Nowhere to be seen, as usual, but smirking as he exits yet again through the rear door.
David Bowie says my Autobiography is 'wonderful', and for me this is the apotheosis of a journey that began amidst the slums and loafing oafs of sixties Stretford. Penguin assure me it will be Number 1 on the Amazon bestsellers chart, and yet they have made no effort to promote it, and my name is to all intents invisible in the uncaring and hostile national press. I check my computer, and then I recoil aghast. My Autobiography is Number 2, behind Sir Alex Ferguson's. Oh Manchester, Manchester, so much to answer for! At last my corpse is ready for the abattoir. Heaven knows, I'm miserable now.