Not a charming man.

I'm a Smiths fan, which at some level makes me a Morrissey fan ipso facto. And some of the poetic writing in this book is sublime, full of insight and inspiration. But the person looking out of the pages is the most ungracious, self-indulgent version of himself it's possible to imagine. From the mean streets of Manchester, through the roller-coaster ride of the Smiths, and then to court and a solo career, few people emerge unscathed, thanked, or even broadly acknowledged as helpers or influences.

I grew up not far away from Morrissey, in space and time, and I recognise a lot of his criticisms of Northern England in the 70's and 80's: he and I actually met once on the streets of Gorton in the mid 80's. But there's something compellingly surreal about his self-image as a tortured and mis-understood artist whose project is repeatedly sabotaged. None of the Smiths' records seem to be mixed to his tastes, although he was there and exercised at least a measure of control; no interviews went well, although they were more co-ordinated than spontaneous. He seems to see his solo career as a zenith, although I suspect most of his fans are waiting more or less impatiently for Smiths riffs and flashes of past insights. And I think he may know that at some level: there are lines from Smiths lyrics thrown in at strategic points of the story, as jewels for those in the know.

Finished on Fri, 22 May 2015 00:00:00 -0700.   Rating 2*/5*.