Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Traveling Informant Reviews a Book: Autobiography by Morrissey

I am not a fan of Morrissey. I don't consider myself a fan of Morrissey nor do I consider myself one now. I only simply acknowledged his existence but never listened to anything he produced. I am not familiar with any of his solo work or any of his rants. To me, Morrissey was a douche bag who thought to highly of himself and a giant depressed ranter. Always complaining about the world and injustice. But I like The Smiths and because I like The Smiths I knew who Morrissey was. But I never looked into who the other band members were and what their names are. Until now.
Morrissey's Autobiography

Are you still with me? Good because I have something to say. I loved Autobiography. Morrissey knows how to write. So why did I even read this book if I am not a fan of Morrissey? Good question. Here's my answer, simple and true. I read it because I wanted to know why so many of my friends had an unnatural obsession with Morrissey. I wanted to know why so many people loved Morrissey and why this special girl I know loves Morrissey. The book was recommended to me by this special girl and so I read it hoping to know who Morrissey is from his own words. And so I have read it and I have enjoyed the words that this man has written. So here is my first ever book review for all you droogies. Here's how I'll do it. My grading scale will be at the bottom of the review and I shall rate the books (and any future things I review) out of ten. For example if a book is a 10 for me then I shall say "10 koopa shells out of 10" (Koopa Shells are those turtles from Super Mario and I'll use koopa shells instead of stars) There are three things I want to talk about this book. I want to talk about it's publishing under the Penguin Classics print, the two editions of the book but we'll start off with the content of the book. We all good now? Okay on to the review droogies!!!
The front page of Morrissey's Autobiography; displaying a baby Morrissey chilling

BOOK REVIEW: So before I start I want to mention that for the sake and purposes of this review I shall be reviewing the U.K. edition of Morrissey's Autobiography. There is a U.S. edition of the book and rumor has it that that there are some differences between the U.K. edition and the U.S. edition of the book. I'll be reviewing the U.K. edition of Autobiography (even though I have both editions in my possession but I have only read the U.K. edition). More on that later on. The book is written as an autobiography, meaning that Morrissey himself is behind the pen. The book length is roughly 457 pages with photographs from Morrissey's childhood era, family photographs and photographs of other artists and friends including album covers from his time with The Smiths and his solo career.
Morrissey starts off with whatever my friend told me "a very cheesy Morrissey way" of starting a book by using the sentence "My childhood is streets upon streets upon streets upon streets." It was in this sentence that I knew what type of Morrissey was (overly dramatic) and that I was definitely going to enjoy this book to it's fullest. The saddest parts of the autobiography are the details of his childhood and how poor life was during such time. The cool part about this is that Morrissey doesn't make it necessarily sad and makes it so dramatic that it's sort of funny the way he makes things sound. Another thing is that Morrissey don't make you feel (or at least I didn't) sad about himself but he feels sorrow for those around him. I laughed out loud when Morrissey says that thankfully his giant head didn't kill his mother during birth. But it is apparent that Morrissey would suffer from the Autobiography isn't your typical autobiography. Morrissey's Autobiography is a statement. A statement about what his believes are (as he bashes those who eat meat hence the title Meat is Murder) and what his struggles as an artist are.
Two of a Kind yet different
beginning of his life. His talk about his childhood school days are also heart breaking yet still have that black humor to them. I'm not sure if Morrissey does this intently (I would imagine he would though) or if it just comes off like that. Another favorite scene is when a girl punched him out simply because she liked Morrissey but he didn't respond the way she wanted him to. Such childhood stuff! That happened to me. The rest of the story continues on with Morrissey talking about major music influences he had during his teenage years like the David Bowie, Lou Reed (both my all time favorite music artists) and of course the New York Dolls. These guys are Morrissey's favorite band (although he never actually states it on paper. Morrissey goes on to talk about The Smiths, and the troubles that followed with the band members like Johnny Marr, Mike Joyce, and Andy Rourke. His solo career and the injustices his faced with record labels like Rough Trade and the judicial injustice Morrissey suffered with Mike Joyce and a judge named John Weeks. It is that this part that really sucked me in as I felt the anger that Morrissey felt against Weeks and Joyce, hell I even came to dislike Johnny Marr. If a writer can do that, to make you feel what he or she feels then they have understood what writing is. Morrissey's writing is unique.

The way Autobiography is written comes off as a humorous rant that reflects who Morrissey is. Yes I believe Morrissey is overly dramatic in his views of life. He describes himself as being attracted to humans not just one sexual preference and his comments make him sound depressed yet he says he is a very happy man. I was glad to see his take on his struggles with his music, censorship, and fights with record labels (which I always thought were evil). The last part of his book deals with his tour in Mexico and how he falls in love with the audience every time. And I loved the story of how Morrissey almost got kidnapped. Crazy things happen to Morrissey. Who the hell refers to themselves in third person? Morrissey does. He talks about relationships with people, which to my understanding he has never talked about. He has never talked about him being gay or straight. Like he says, he is attracted to humans. But in Autobiography, Morrissey talks about a relationship with a man named Jake Walters. While Morrissey never states he had a homosexual relationship with the guy, it is clear that there was a relationship and a strong attraction for one another. Not that it matters but fans would like to read that story since it's interesting.Often times I have heard Morrissey being compared to Oscar Wilde and I thought that was ridiculous. Not I agree with that statement.  Morrissey is our Oscar Wilde.

Morrissey's Autobiography demands to be read not twice but thrice. It a book that is wonderfully written filled with emotion and passion. Passion for music. Anyone can enjoy it; both fans of Morrissey and non fans of Morrissey like me. I'm not saying I don't like Morrissey that's not the case, I simply wasn't interested in him. But this autobiography was wonderful.  Here is what I rate it Morrissey's Autobiography:
10 koopa shells out of 10
Its is uniquely written, with passion and dark humor. It is sad yet happy.

Now one problem I have with this book is that it is written under the Penguin Classics print. It is my understanding that Penguins Classics are reserved for highly esteemed authors whose works have Autobiography was automatically printed under the Classics print and that shouldn't be the case. Yes the book was very well written but I don't think it deserves to be written under the Penguin Classics print. IF anything, I think it's a marketing scheme by either Morrissey or the publisher to make money off of it. Which is why I also think that there are two editions of the book. The U.K. edition was the first to come out in Europe. However for the U.S. edition, there are some changes to the book as some claim. I myself got both editions after I had originally bought the U.S. edition. After I read online that the U.S. edition was heavily edited especially to his story about his relationship with Jake Walters I decided to get the U.K. edition. I was lucky to find a U.K. edition at Amoeba Records in Hollywood. But after comparing briefly the two texts I have found no real differences between the two books. The U.K. is 457 pages long and the U.S. edition is 457 pages long. But the odd part is that the U.K. edition is thicker than the U.S. edition despite that both books have the same page length. So I ask Are both books really that different? I don't think so. But like I said before I believe Autobiography should be read three times. I don't think it deserves to be printed under the Penguin Classics book, but being a Morrissey book I am not surprised that it even is published under the Penguin Classic banner. So folks if you guys can get both copies of the book go for it. The U.K. is a little hard to find if you live in the U.S. but if I were to buy a copy it would be the U.K. edition just in case the U.S. edition really is censored.
The U.S. edition on top of the U.K. edition of Morrissey's Autobiography
stood the test of time and whose texts continue being important till this time. Why Morrissey's

I'll try to reread Morrissey's Autobiography along with the U.S. edition of it and see if there really is a difference between the two or not. For now good read this book it's fun and a great read.

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travelinginformant@gmail.com

Thanks droogies!!!