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I came to this audiobook not knowing very much about Morrissey except what I had interpreted from his music.
The first section of the book was fascinating, his childhood, schooldays and I particularly enjoyed the story of how Morrissey began to fall in love with music and the music that inspired him to become a singer. The writing is heartfelt, warm and leads you into a possibly premature fondness for the guy.
The Story of the Smiths formation and career though is terribly underdone. You would imagine The Smiths period of his life would take quite some time to detail but it is almost casually slapped down - a collection of random anecdotes which make no linear sense and give improper credit to the legacy of the band and its place as a stepping stone into his solo work. At this point in the book, Morrissey does goes to some effort to almost fondly credit the other members of the Smiths for their various contributions to the music, despite the acrimonious issues that were to follow after the breakup of the band.
What follows after the "story of the Smiths" is confusing though. The book continues as a random collection of anecdotes and characters weaving in and out of and between his long lines of solo albums. That's not to say there is nothing of value in the content, but again there does not seem to be any linear sense to things - he will start talking about people who weren't introduced to the reader properly and random events take on an importance which they shouldn't have. e.g a long and completely unnecessary ghost story!
After this there is a long, long section detailing Morrissey's side of the famous court case brought about by the Smith's drummer. This was actually quite fascinating (as is Morrissey's view from inside the insidious world of the business of music) and as a musician myself, I can certainly sympathise with his despair at how horrible the people in the music business can be.
While the book up to this point had certainly had its faults, it was nevertheless an entertaining and sometimes fascinating listen. Despite Morrissey's notoriety, I discovered nothing that had made me think less of him.
It is the final part of the book however that will have Morrissey haters licking their lips, and I have to say he gives them plenty of ammunition! The final section of this book seems to be written by someone either blissfully unaware or uncaring of how he comes across. Written almost as a travelogue, the book becomes quite literally a long and boring list of cities he performs in and how he, the apparently magnificent and heroic artist journeys the world in a rapturous travelling communion with his fans. It goes on for so long and just becomes so absurd in its world weary grandioseness that you find the words "what a twat" unconsciously leave your mouth several times through the telling.
Its an odd feeling to end the book with as it is really hard to erase the bad taste in your mouth from the final section of the book. Of course, it wouldn't be Morrissey without the melodrama, but for this reviewer, I'll settle for the melodrama in his songs - its more palatable.
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Beautifully written and beautifully narrated - a detailed insight in both to Morrissey and Manchester life.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
He is acutely perceptive, draws his characters well and it's a good, often fascinating read.
Narrator matches the story/place perfectly.
Entire self-indulgent rambling chapters in the latter part railing at great length against various solicitors/session musicians etc who wronged him. WAY too much detail for even the most avid fan! Why was all this left in?? It makes him seem petulant and unprofessional and I really didn't enjoy this sudden airing of his dirty laundry, it's beneath him and beneath his readers.
The narrator, David Morrissey, is brilliant but scarcely pauses between chapters.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Blimey, Moz has a fair few gripes to get of his chest, to the point where he just comes across as quite bitter and petty and you can't help but think that maybe the problem is him rather than the never ending list of people who have supposedly wronged him. That said, he was an integral part of the best Manc band of all time so I'll forgive him most things. His penchant for drama and sharp turn of phrase provide plenty of interesting points. Plus I loved the way he described his childhood especially as I'm from the same bit of Manchester so was very familiar with the street names and landmarks he peeled off. Say what you like about Morrissey, but you can't call hm dull. On the narration front, David Moz does a pretty good job.