Russ's Reviews > Meetings with Morrissey

Meetings with Morrissey by Len Brown
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Nov 12, 2010

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Read from November 12 to 26, 2010

Len Brown doesn't mind flying his fanboy flag. He will remind you several times that he defended Morrissey even when most of the NME staff had turned on him. This doesn't really taint the book; in fact, it means that he had access to Morrissey even at times when Morrissey was quite unfriendly to most of the media. What did bother me, however, was the author's sometimes desperate attempts at digging up literary and film connections to Morrissey's song titles and lyrics. At times, it is noteworthy, such as when he finds that some Morrissey lyrics may have been lifted from a letter from Lord Alfred Douglas. At other times, it's really a stretch explained only by the author's need to fill space in the absence of Mozz's word on the subject (which, of course, he won't give) or, perhaps, the author's desire to impress us with his exhaustive research (which made me wonder how many times he simply ran a search of certain Morrissey phrases through electronic texts).

At any rate, if you're debating whether or not to read this book, consider this: Regardless of what period of his career is the focus, the book keeps coming back to Morrissey's primary influences, mostly Oscar Wilde, James Dean, Coronation Street, various classic film stars, the New York Dolls, and 60s British girl pop. They are even cataloged in the back of the book. I found this fascinating, especially in light of Morrissey's fondness for the quip "talent borrows, genius steals." This only got distracting when, as I mentioned previously, the author was getting in the way. If you find this fascinating too, pick up this book. If you're hungry for more details about Mozz's personal life and childhood, keep looking ... and, good luck!
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