Contemporary art curator. Student. Book addict. Art lover. Geek. Dreamer. Curious about everything. Check out my website http://thecuriouscurator.com/
It's not often that I have the opportunity to read such an eloquent first-person account into the life and mind of an artist as Morrissey's Autobiography. If you’re interested in truly understanding art, you have to try to understand the people who make it, and what it entails, the total commitment that we as a society demand of creative souls.
I saw Morrissey live only once, during the sumer of 2006, at the Paredes de Coura festival in rural Portugal. It was a night of epic summer rain, and all of us were soaked to the bone, covered with water and mud. Morrissey stepped onstage and thanked us for being there despite the rain, and said that since we were so kind as to get soaked in order to see him, it was only fair that he would get soaked with us, which he did. He was kind, courteous and working to put on a good show - which it was, smashingly so - and far more humble than many of the other bands and singers in that festival, some of whom acted like they were too good for that stage. After reading his autobiography, it's easy to see some degree of self-centeredness, although that's hardly unusual for any artist (or even most human beings). But I fail to see the much-talked about arrogance, unless you confuse disillusioned honesty with arrogance, which people often do in this age of PR-controlled pop stars.
The beginning of the book, covering his childhood and early teenage years, reads a bit like stream-of-consciousness (the first paragraph alone runs for several pages), but it works because of his sensitivity and aching nostalgia. The book truly comes alive once Morrissey begins talking about music. I listened to the soundtrack while I was reading: The New York Dolls and other early inspirations, The Smiths’ entire discography, Morrissey’s solo work. With his writing I found nuances and depths in the songs that I hadn’t heard before. His exposition of the music industry, the media circus that comes with fame, are chilling in showing the cynical chewing of art and artists in order to make a profit at all costs. Money changes everything, and the world can be an ugly place.
An extended, confusing, and touching glimpse into the mind of an artist.
Note: I got this book for review purposes through NetGalley.