“ALL OF THE RUMOURS keeping me grounded,” sang Morrissey on the Vauxhall And I track Speedway. “I never said that they were completely unfounded.”
And now, as we stand on the verge (or so it would appear) of cracking the spine on his long-awaited Autobiography, it could be time for him to put some of them to rest. For such a loquacious character, Morrissey has carefully guarded many aspects of his private life, and is apparently able to secure the loyalty and silence of those he’s worked with* long after they have parted company, even after he has seen some of them in court (hello Mike Joyce). So if the time’s finally right to tell it like it is, let’s hope he goes into these areas, currently requiring illumination…
1) His never-before-conceded complicity in the demise of The Smiths. And did he really think they could replace Johnny Marr with another guitarist?
2) Mozzer’s take on The Smiths’ brief early flirtation with, so the story goes, a specifically gay image (see, especially, Tony Fletcher’s There Is A Light That Never Goes Out).
3) Please let’s have some photos of him in The Nosebleeds and Slaughter And The Dogs.
4) His singing style: had he already heard The Revolutionary Spirit by The Wild Swans?
5) Why did he insist The Smiths recorded a cover of Cilla Black’s Work Is A Four Letter Word (the final straw for Marr)?
6) The love life. It’s time to lift the veil. A bit.
8) Waving the Union Jack at Madness’ Madstock reunion in 1992. Can he not bring himself to concede that – at the very least – this was tremendously unwise?
9) The preoccupation with persecution and the instances of apparent self-sabotage. Is he aware of these things? Has he ever sought psychiatric help?
10) What happened to long-term, solo years co-writer and guitarist Alain Whyte?
Or would it be a better memoir if it ignored such unresolved questions and gave us something more like Dylan’s Chronicles, which ignores the tours, setlists and who-said-whats to reveal the life of the mind? For a flavour of what that could be like, revisit his Under The Influence sleevenotes, or the supposed extract of the Autobiography, issued in 2009, that concerns a spooky pilgrimage to murder-haunted Saddleworth Moor.