Classic Morrissey


Morrissey book plans back on track

A lot has been said in the press about this book, mainly by the most boring of Morrissey naysayers. Lazy headlines and ignorant opinions filled papers and websites by nobody journalists who flicked through the 457 pages trying to find the “revelations,” This book is not about revelations, we know most of this stuff, it’s about the world through Moz’s eyes which often feels like the world through our own eyes which is why we remain true to him. Viva Moz!

Here are my personal highlights from the book published, very deservedly, as a Penguin Classic:

1. Birds abstain from song in post-war industrial Manchester, where the 1960s will not swing, and where the locals are the opposite of worldly (page 4)

2. Miss Redmond is ageing, and will never marry, and will die smelling of attics (page 10)

3. Every house has a face, and the eyes of 10 Trafalgar Square were already closed (page 34)

moz young

4. Nannie is gone to the world with a satisfied Embassy wheeze whistling in rhythm to the bedside clock, her night-light pointing the way to cough sweets, Holy water, milk of magnesia and Germolene – the vital accoutrements for anticipated midnight peril (page 34)

5. She is led by music and make up and the itch of life beyond (page 35)

6. There is only ever a sense of change and of slipping away, but never a sense of security or stability. Tomorrow is already a jigsaw (page 38)

7. Nothing, I have decided, could waste precious life more than trigonometry and logarithms (page 81)

8. “Yes,” snaps Miss Power, “YOU’RE another one not content with the hair colour given to you by Christ.” Baffled, I immediately imagined Christ setting my hair beneath a blow dryer (page 83)

moz bike

9. I, a spot on the horizon, cycling in search of the Hollywood Bowl – a punctured bicycle on a hillside desolate. Even if you don’t blink at all you will miss me (page 104)

10. Change! Change! Change! It doesn’t happen by being the same as everybody else (page 112)

11. Now I could accept all the suffering that came my way as long as the Ramones were in the world. Singer Joey looked as if he had been murdered in a hospital bed. I’d found my twin (page 112)

12. All of the body is thrown into the vocal delivery; bare chested in tight silver pants, Iggy defined the new manhood that the world so badly needed, lest we die beneath the wheels of Emerson, Lake and Palmer (page 113)

13. Several war-torn months are spent kowtowing to the rigors of gabbling clerical ciphers in a fate worse than life (page 120)

14. …and the morgue yawns my name (page 121)

15. I sing out to the youth of the slums, and Hand in Glove and Still Ill anchor four lives together (page 148)

16. Had Keith [Johnson, missing Moors Murder victim] been a child of privilege or moneyed background the search would never have been called off. But he was a poor, gawky boy from Manchester’s forgotten side streets and minus the blonde fantasy-fetish of a cutesy Madeleine McCann (page 167)

17. Well, yes, of course, I am a bit much – if I weren’t, I would not be lit up by so many lights (page 201)

18. At the Forum in Los Angeles a royal David Bowie walks onstage to join me for the encore; he is stately against my last-gasp exhaustion. The 12 year old within me – unable to leave for school unless I’d soothed my sickness with at least one spin of Starman – bathes in the moment with disbelief. But there it is (page 249)

19. Tearaways in brothel creepers punch their way through in order to touch the tips of my fingers and yelp with joy. I’m tearful, it’s dreadful, it’s beautiful, it’s dangerous, and all the young and vital reach to me – as I had never reached to anyone (page 250)

moz hand

20. Their nightly intent is to mount the stage and then to rip my shirt off…on the first tour alone I go through 300 shirts (page 252)

21. An old Manchester rear gunner, Paul Morley, reviews the album’s opening single (We Hate it When Our Friends Become Successful), which he explains is a title taken from Oscar Wilde, which of course it isn’t (page 161)

22. The music she (Siouxsie Sioux) makes is a strict ice bath of nightmare and caution…a black-eyed shop girl hidden somewhere in the whistling cathedral towers of Notre Dame, refusing to be dragged back to Boots the Chemist, where both her shift and her insurance stamps remain (page 270)

23. But the lonely season must return, for that is what it does. No matter how your new circumstances pad themselves out, the roots of your behaviour patterns have already marked you out for slaughter (page 279)

24. There is a light that now goes out and Joyce bows his head as the agent of disaster (page 339)

moz blue jacket

25. So much life in Rita (his aunt), her daily visits to the gym, her cycling, her salads, her garden, and now all to be sucked away – and, for what? Yet she is still the girl of Piccadilly, in a fixed image of vigorous fun, the Supremes at full voltage, her room teeming with hair products  (page 363)

26. Diet shows, Oprah, business ventures, commercial ventures, Sarah Ferguson chases the limelight until it will kill her – or you! It is the unfortunate drive of the overly untalented (page 371)

27. The hotel breakfast is such that I disguise myself for 3 separate sittings. A dead mule might make up someone else’s idea of a hearty Full English but strawberries in muesli is all I have eyes for (page 387)

28. The streets flood with Morrissey. I do not know what to do with all this happiness (page 413)

29. Snazzy and spiffy boys point to me, sticky hands squeeze any part of me, and my bluff is called. Dare I take one on? (page 414)

SOUTHSEA BOOKWORM RATING: 10/10 (well, what else?)


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