MorrisseyNot sure what i expected… Morrissey, a modern Wilde, is obviously going to be eloquent, difficult, guarded, and oblique.

All the way from childhood to his forties(?), the strongest impression is one of victimhood. There doesn’t seem to be a single situation / disagreement in which our narrator feels the need to accept any influence or responsibility for the torrent of slings and arrows flung around him. Which isn’t to say that he doesn’t accept that he is a difficult person, so presumably the expectation would be that acceptance can only happen on his terms. Given all the success, especially later in his career, it’s hard to take the lack of self-awareness.

That said, the episode with Joyce (retrospectively) claiming 25% of the Smiths earnings would probably be enough to install a sense of paranoia in even the most stoic. Unless there is more to the story than is told here, and i doubt there is, it really was a travesty of a trial, a case where it’s hard not to see an agenda behind the scenes.

The writing in the early sections is really beautiful, feeling born out of deeply felt emotions and memories. Towards the end, where life become more of a catalog of orgiastic (the only context in which it seems possible to talk in such of terms with Morrissey) tour dates, and travel experience, the shine is gone… but so too is the tortured aspect of the narration. It’s a period in which he’s succeeding on his own terms and what were major torments become minor quibbles, that can simply be accepted.

I don’t know if it’s an enjoyable read, but it’s obviously necessary if the music has any kind of impact on you over the years.