One of the things I am going to miss about Britain (more on that later) is the fact that Morrissey releasing an autobiography warrants not just mentions on the news but also hardcore, “man-on-the-street” journalism. Truly, the public needed to know what the average Mancunian thought of Morrissey. We needed to know, I tell you!
I knew the autobiography existed beforehand, but never gave it that much thought. I like The Smiths, but I’m rather agnostic when it comes to Morrissey himself. It’s not that I don’t know whether he’s a genius or a douchebag, but I accept the fact that it is impossible for meagre human beings to actually know whether he’s a genius or a douchebag. (And most of what one considers post-punk proves the two are not mutually exclusive.)
However, watching the frontman for a Smiths cover band read excerpts, interspersed with what could have been the cast of Coronation Street singing the praises of praise-worthy singing, made me think I might actually want to pick up this tome. But on the other hand…. do I?
Pro: Exciting revelations like he was targeted by the Special Branch and he never had a serious relationship until he was thirty-five.
Con: Give it a week and these revelations will be on his Wikipedia page.
Pro: He uses phrases like “Kafka-esque.”
Con: See above.
Pros: It’s been heralded in some reviews with such laudits as “the best written musical autobiography since Bob Dylan’s Chronicles.” (The Telegraph)
Cons: But The Independent called it “droning narcissism and the whine of self-pity.”
Pro: I really like The Smiths because I am a cliche apparently.
Con: It looked really long when they showed it on TV.
Pro: I really like the Penguin Classics cover.
Con: And the fact that it’s just called Autobiography.
Wait, but I said I liked that. But it is rather pretentious without much substance other than the pretension itself, which is really kind of the point… but… medium… message… art… music… brain… knot….
Oh crap. I will just have to wait until we get to the Manchester airport, where it will inevitably be on every wire rack in every W.H. Smith’s across that aerial sprawl, and decide then.