don’t meet your heroes/moz-life

I got Morrissey’s ‘Autobiography’ for Christmas. I started reading it right away on Christmas afternoon but here’s the thing….it was too intense for me, so I stopped. It was so very Morrissey. Intensely his voice and his essence. I couldn’t quite cope. The phrase ‘don’t meet your heroes’ circled my head – did I want to steep this deeply in Morrissey’s brain innards, when my ‘relationship’ with him in recent years is not without difficulties?

I have adored Morrissey since I was 14. I even went through a phase of trying to look like Morrissey. Here is evidence. I am fifteen here and I had a goth boyfriend who use to like to pretend to be a vampire by leaping out at me from behind corners, wrestling me to the ground and biting my neck. Ah, teenagers:


& I went to see him perform when he came to NZ recently and it was sublime. He did not disappoint. However, it isn’t without challenges maintaining the life-long love of Moz. He is difficult, curmudgeonly, veers a bit towards racism at times (actually, he is just plain old racist towards Asian people), has some interesting ideas about violence and romanticizes gangs, he is bitter and bitchy and prickly and solipsistic.

Yet, I do still love the old hag. He informed my teenage years. He taught me so much! Through The Smiths I learned about the Moors Murders, Candy Darling, Keats, Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Machester geography, Skinhead culture, James Dean….so much more I can’t recall right now. He gave me strength and courage as a vulnerable freaky teen to embrace weirdness and he made literary-geekiness COOL.

Anway, I have returned to reading the book. & I am making notes of the most excellent bits, which I will share with you on here. He is a great writer. His book is unruly and hairy and meandering and needed tougher editing, but who would want to argue with Morrissey? so I can see why no editor was ballsy enough to tell him….but the good bits are GREAT. His wit, his way with words, his dark patina.

He’s like family to me, which is why even when he is inciting race-hate, being naive about the ‘glamour’ of violence and remaining static of outlook in a world which is romping on….I can’t reject him.

He describes one of his harridan teachers saying ‘she will die smelling of attics.’

SHE WILL DIE SMELLING OF ATTICS. This, on page 10. Oh, so many pages to go….

Have you read Moz’s book? What did you think? The consensus seems to be that there isn’t enough about his romantic life and far, far, far too much about The Smiths courtcase….



5 thoughts on “don’t meet your heroes/moz-life

  1. The consensus is half right (sic), he does waffle about the court case ad nauseam, though his acerbic depictions of the opposition are Wildean in their grandeur (as you’d expect). His Love Life however, is as not as circumspect as I feared. I think he has given away a great deal in very few sentences. He confesses to being inexperienced and ill fated so his vulnerability is very touching, and for me, quite reassuring. What most strikes me about the book is Moz’ intractable masculine energy, centred not in the body or sex drive, but in his principles, faith or demeanour. He comes across as quintessentially English, even when fleeing the hypocrisy of his native land, bruised by cowering detractors. I guess this is the big get-even, though I doubt that Joyce or Marr et al, will even bother to read that far into such a tome. What I have most enjoyed with the book are the frequent song lyric references, embedded in the text, for us fans to find like a treasure hunt. It puts a new perspective on old phrases and makes it all feel like a secret love letter, to those who ever cared to stay listening through the years. Like us. I feel enriched having this book, if only for a month or two, but it will go on my favourite-book shelf beside Jarman and Crisp and the other outer voices.


  2. You are SO right, H. The good bits are exceptionally great. And I’ve copied down a bunch of my favs too – re the debut: “The album ought to have been a dangerous blow from the buckle-end of a belt, but instead it is a peck on the cheek…”


  3. I should add that his description of his Aunts demise is as touching a eulogy as any I have read. His verbal defence of his female relatives is courteous and heartwarming


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