“He’s got an interesting face, he looks to have a story to tell” – Alan Bennett. 31 years after the formation of The Smiths, of ambiguity and utter mystery, the outspoken outsider of music is finally releasing his book: Autobiography published by Penguin Classics.
When Morrissey announced his plans to release an autobiography a few years ago, back bedroom basket case’s united and yelped in delight and awe. Morrissey is a question that most fans felt would never be answered as a man who spent a life so controversial yet in solitary, believing that his business was nobody’s but his own.
Often hailed as ‘The Pope of Mope’, Morrissey was born in 1959 in working class Manchester. These dour, grey surroundings worked as great lyrical inspiration for a huge catalogue of songs with The Smiths including ‘William It Was Really Nothing’, ‘Panic’ and ‘How Soon is Now?’ His way with words about his surroundings whilst singing about loneliness, unrequited love and disappointment with the human race made him one of the most unique and relatable songsmen to the disaffected and heavy hearted.
What we all hope the autobiography will bring is some clarity on issues he has shy’d away from in the past. After the painful and unceremonious split from collaborator and friend, Johnny Marr (which broke up The Smiths in 1987), no solid details were given as to why it happened. Perhaps one of the greatest mysteries is about Morrissey’s sexuality. He was the first popstar to openly come out as celibate and has chosen a life alone, even speaking of his “disgust” of conventional relationships. Also, whilst open about his intentions to go down in the annals of music history as an icon and poet, what is it that made this unique, working class Mancunian man stand on this platform to the rest of the world? Dare I say, I think even his autobiography will only enhance his mystery.
What many others are wondering is why the book is a Penguin classic. A publisher usually reserved for the long gone greats such as Orwell, Dickens, Gogol, Austen and Dostoyevsky. Why would they publish a contemporary musicians autobiography? Where if Bowie or Jager approached them, I assume they would only decline. Morrissey understands like Penguin, a ‘classic’ yields acclaim. Morrissey said himself that, “When you consider what really hits print these days, and when you look at the autobiographies and how they are sold, most of it is appalling. They were publishing events, this will be a literary event.” I believe a Penguin classic is fit for Morrissey’s love of contrariness and pretension. And if he’s right, it will be “a classic in the making”.
My teen years will always be remembered with Morrissey in the background and I have eagerly anticipated this autobiography for years. Whilst I’m sure our ‘tell all’ hopes and expectations will be blighted, I’m excited to dig into the ‘page after page of sniping rage’ his autobiography is sure not to lack.
Morrissey’s Autobiography published by Penguin Classics will be released in bookstores nationwide tomorrow.