“Life’s biggest prize is to have the day before you as yours alone to do with as you wish.” – Autobiography
As something of a die-hard Smiths fan, I was looking forward to perusing Morrissey’s Autobiography at my leisure. However, I became so engrossed in his story that I only put the hefty tome down with great difficulty and read its 457 pages in a matter of days.
Morrissey is considered egotistical and irritating by many. Having first found out about him through an NME interview in my fifteenth year, I was sceptical of his moral worth. His Autobiography changed my views. Aside from that, though, anyone who has heard a Smiths song cannot deny that he is a man of exceptional insight into the human condition.
Autobiography begins with Morrissey’s memories of being of Irish blood and English heart in 1970s Manchester. His descriptions are often hilarious, yet innately tragic, as they explain the difficulties experienced by a young lad of a creative turn of mind trapped in a poverty-stricken city where few people understood the artist’s need for self-expression.
He goes on to narrate the formation of the Smiths, subsequent court cases and his solo career. Sometimes the tirades singing the merits of vegetarianism verge on the melodramatic, but Morrissey’s humour (especially in the use of his song lyrics to describe his emotions, a jibe at his persecution by the British press?) triumphs in the end and his legacy will endure as a light that never goes out.
I particularly appreciated devouring Morrissey’s Autobiography with the assistance of the silky milkiness of a White Russian cocktail served in a delightfully angular Ikea glass at Monkey Suit in Exeter. Nothing beats milk, Kahlua and vodka as Jeff Bridges likes to reminds us.