Professional sad man Morrissey had a memoir in the works, but then he didn't, but then he did, and today the British contrarian's self-portrayal was finally released in Europe. Weighing more than a pound, the 480-pager is an instant classic—that is, according to Penguin Classics, an imprint historically reserved for educational materials like Little Women and cornerstones of civilizations like the Iliad, which added Morrissey's Autobiography to its illustrious ranks by publishing this thick doorstop. Naturally, arbiters of literary standards are miffed. As if it matters.
Supposedly, there were no review copies of Autobiography printed, but a number of international publications have already scavenged through the text, trying to suss out the most deliciously gossipy bits of the British malcontent's remembrances. Thus far, these excerpts amount to sanctioned disclosures that Moz is a gay, selfish, depressed misogynist, WHICH ARE NOT REVELATIONS FOR A MORRISSEY MEMOIR. That said, the passages circulating are grandiose reaffirmations that Steven Patrick Morrissey is a hilariously dickish and monumentally indulgent character who also happens to be a gay, selfish, depressed misogynist. Let's review.
Affirmation 1: Morrissey is gay. Come on, the asexuality bit was a squib. Here, Moz remembers his first real relationship, a two-year love affair with a man named Jake Owen Walters. From the Daily Beast:
“For the first time in my life the eternal ‘I’ becomes ‘we,’” he writes. “Every minute has the high drama of first love, only far more exhilarating. . . His leap towards me is as uncharted as mine to him,” he said. “There will be no secrets of flesh or fantasy; he is me and I am him."
Affirmation 2: No, really, Morrissey is gay. "Morrissey is also known to have had several Jake-type relationships with women over the years, so to say that he must be gay purely because he lived with Jake is wide of the mark to say the least," insists one fan. Autobiography helps clarify Morrissey's concept of "woman." From the Guardian:
"Jerry Nolan on the cover of the [New York] Dolls' debut album is the first woman I ever fell in love with; the hussy-slut positioning of the legs is playmate call-girl, and the pink drum kit might be a rock'n'roll first."
Again, from the Daily Beast:
In a section of the book charting Morrissey’s teenage exploration of poetry, mostly the verse of gay trailblazers such as A.E. Housman and Oscar Wilde, he professes admiration for the subtle way gay artists from bygone eras acknowledged their relationships. “Partial disclosures of male closeness fascinate me,” he says.
He goes on to make some partial disclosures of his own. He describes regular sleepovers where he would lie at the other end of his closest friend Edward Messenger’s bed: “The fetish of secrecy begins, for isn’t it touch alone that changes you?”
Morrissey remains aloof and oblique when describing his relationships with other boys, although he was clear on the girls who pursued him at school: “Plainly I was not interested, being chosen but not chooser.”
Affirmation 3: Morrissey is a misogynist. Here's how Morrissey describes a female journalist once at NME, a publication he openly despises:
“Julie Burchill is, of course, not loveable, and has pitifully late middle-aged legs,” he writes. “Her naked body probably kills off marine plankton in the North Sea…Unchained from the cellar Burchill will make sure that you remember her…I shall be honored to attend her funeral, and I might even jump into the grave.”
Her naked body probably kills off marine plankton in the North Sea. Brutal burn. Pitifully late middle-aged legs. Wow. Not loveable. Jesus, Moz.
One exception seems to be Chrissie Hynde, who he calls "the funniest person I have ever met," but even in recalling an anecdote about a rude fan who once bothered Pretenders' front-woman, he just remembers the interruption as an affront to flesh: "A screech-owl female frump." The man hates women.
Affirmation 4: Morrissey is a miser. The man is so stingy he won't even permit a band mate to have a guest list.
More recently, he refuses to sign off on a band mate’s guest list for a show at the Hollywood Bowl: “I reject it since the eye-crossing cost of it is ultimately subtracted from my pension fund.”
Affirmation 5: Morrissey is a depressive's depressive.
Morrissey traces his famous misery back to a “Dickensian” childhood in Manchester, where “inner-city slum kids” knew they were not needed by society.
As he grew older, a sadness was overtaken by clinical depression, and he makes a number of references to wishing himself dead. “Yet there comes a point when where the suicidalist must shut it down if only in order to save face,” he writes. “I could only tolerate an afternoon if I took a triple amount of the stated dose of valium prescribed by my GP (who would soon take his own life).”
The professional who medicated Morrissey against suicidal thoughts committed suicide. That's plenty.
[Image via Getty Entertainment]
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