“I didn’t want to live unseen, camouflaged within the crowd. I knew then that life could only ever be changed for the better because somebody somewhere had taken a risk – often with their own life.”
Just read it: These are initially the only words I want to tell you about Morrissey’s Autobiography. It is more than enough to recommend a book that will leave you feel richer. After all, isn’t this the best part about good books? But then I’m thinking I want to add a few more things to that, before I leave you with a few quotes from its pages. It is a superb book, not just the best musical autobiography I have read so far.
Even before starting to read it, Morrissey’s autobiography stole a big smile off my face: it was published as a Penguin Classic – so pretentious, so characteristic of Morrissey, so right to be so. From the opening pages I knew I was in good hands. With audacious skill and understated humour, it delves deep into his life and soul, evoking a sense of what it must be like to dwell within an out-of-the-ordinary mind. Because it does feel like you have a privileged access to a very rich inner world; it feels rewarding. Sincere to the core, devastatingly articulate and completely authentic, just like the music of Morrissey and The Smiths, a music that always felt personal to their millions of fans – they found out they were not alone in their insecurities, worries and anxieties. But I also believe that the unique creativity of Morrissey also stemmed from the fact that he was so passionate about one thing and one thing only – music – and once he found it, he hasn’t let it go. And if you have that, something to live for, you can change the world.
“History has trapped me for a long time, and now it must let me go,”
said Morrissey when he started to sing.
The book The Smiths, by Nalinee Darmrong, released last year, documenting The Smiths on tour in the USA during the 1980s, is on my list now.
“Change! Change! Change!
It doesn’t happen by being the same as everybody else.
Now I could accept all the suffering that came my way
as long as the Ramones were in the world.”
“Life’s biggest prize is to have the day before you as yours alone to do with as you wish.”
“Although a passable human creature on the outside,
the swirling soul within seemed to speak up
for the most awkward people on the planet.”
“It is quite true that I have never had anything
in my life that I did not make for myself.”
“I had originally decided to use only my surname because I couldn’t think of anyone else in music that had done so – although, of course, many had been known by just one name, but it hadn’t been their surname. Only classical composers we known by just their surnames, and this sites my mudlark temperament quite nicely.”
photos: 1-by me /2-Nalinee Darmrong, from the book The Smiths / 3-The Smiths book cover, Nalinee Darmrong