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Kidnapping, Soap Operas & Johnny Marr: the Juicy Bits from Morrissey’s ‘Autobiography’

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(Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

(Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Having survived the threat of cancellation due to a “content dispute” with its publisher Penguin Classics three days before its original release, Morrissey’s Autobiography finally surfaced today (October 17) in Europe and his native UK.

Penguin Book’s decision to honor Morrissey’s request and publish the memoir through its Classics branch has caused trouble for the publishing house, as the label is usually reserved for, well, the classics. Penguin, however, defends the decision by stating, “It has been said ‘Most pop stars have to be dead before they reach the iconic status that Morrissey has reached in his lifetime.”

While the book has no set release date for the U.S., reviews and reports of Autobiography have begun to surface online, giving all of us readers across the pond a sneak peak of what to expect from the mind of the Smiths’ former frontman:

-Morrissey addresses his romantic life’s much speculated question of whether, and if so when, did he have his first relationship with a man. It turns out that it was in the mid-90s at the age of 35, according to Stereogum. Moz also addresses other sexual demons in Autobiography, including his teacher inappropriately touching him when he was a teen and considering to have a child with a woman.

-In addition to music, Morrisey had a gift for British TV, in particular the soaps. Although he was denied the position as a writer for Coronation Street, Morrissey was offered roles on Emmerdale and on Eastenders as Dot Cotton’s “so far unmentioned” son, reports the Guardian. However, Moz’s TV offers reached the American shores, as he was also offered a cameo role on sitcom Friends when he was visiting the set.

-Morrissey proves that sometimes people read too deep into songs. After the release of “Margaret on the Guillotine” (on Viva Hate), the Special Branch brought Morrissey in for questioning to determine whether or not he was actually a threat to Margaret Thatcher. After about an hour of questions, he signed an autograph and left.

-The fall of the Smiths is usually associated with the clash between Moz and Johnny Marr, and the perceived antagonistic relationship between the two that followed (the lawsuits might explain why we all believe this to be so). He reveals in Autobiography that Marr in fact sent him a letter (which he includes a reproduced copy of in the book) stating that their downfall was an unfortunate accident due to the circumstances of the time spent working together as The Smiths. “I’ve only recently come to realize that you genuinely don’t know all the reasons for my leaving. To get into it would be horrible, but I will say that I honestly hated the sort of people we had become.” (also via the Guardian)

-Morrissey was also the victim of an attempted kidnapping in September 2007. He claims that he was targeted after a show while on a highway in Tijuana to the U.S. border, when his driver veered off the highway down a dark road. Fortunately, he and his security guard managed to leave the car safely. Unfortunately, they were in the middle of nowhere.

-The bitter tones behind many of Morrissey’s songs are far from being facades, as the singer claims to have wanted himself dead many times (and seems to have tried to do accomplish this). As Consequence of Sound notes, Morrissey writes, “Yet there comes a point when where the suicidalist must shut it down if only in order to save face,” and “I could only tolerate an afternoon if I took a triple amount of the stated dose of Valium prescribed by my GP (who would soon take his own life).”

Also, please enjoy an overzealous fan singing page one of Autobiography in the style of The Smiths’ “William, It Was Really Nothing.”

- Matthew Levine, Radio.com

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