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LONDON — More than 25 years after the split of iconic British indie rockers The Smiths, Morrissey still commands headlines, attention, and a massive following — so it comes as no surprise that the publication of his Autobiography Thursday should be at the center of a U.K. media frenzy.
Media outlets from the BBC news website to The Independent, The Telegraph‘s website, Channel 4 news, and British tabloid The Mirror all posted items on the revelations contained in the 400-plus-page book.
Morrissey, who is normally protective of his private life, reveals that his first relationship was with a man, Jake Walters, beginning in 1994, when the Smiths front man was in his 30s.
He wrote about how Walters followed him back to his house after meeting him at a restaurant and “steps inside and stays for two years.”
“For the first time in my life the eternal ‘I’ becomes ‘we,’ as, finally, I can get on with someone,” he wrote.
He also revealed how he later discussed having a baby — or, as he put it, a “mewling miniature monster” — with friend Tina Dehghani, with whom he described having an “uncluttered commitment.”
Other revelations in the book, which was initially due for release in September but delayed by what Morrissey described as “a last-minute content disagreement,” include a swipe at The Smiths’ record label, Rough Trade, which he describes as being “brutally drab” before his band’s arrival.
And Morrissey pulls no punches in talking about the judges in his ’90s court battle with former bandmate Mike Joyce, describing one legal eagle as the “pride of the pipsqueakery.”
In writing his version of the legal dispute with Joyce, who was seeking 25 percent of The Smiths’ earnings, Morrissey accused the drummer of “constant inaccuracies and assumptions vomited out with leaden fatigue” in court.
The presiding judge John Weeks is portrayed in the book as an “unsmiling Lord of the Hunt, with an immutable understanding of the world of The Smiths,” noting that the judge opened his judgment “by falling flat on his face” after telling the world how The Smiths formed in 1992, “his judicial accuracy not to be questioned.”
Morrissey describes himself and guitarist Johnny Marr as being “as thick as two short planks” when they signed their U.S. record deal with Sire. “We have no idea what we’re signing, in an act of legendary mental deficiency.”
He also reveals shady goings-on during his school days in Northern England, being asked to submit a script for legendary British soap opera Coronation Street (whichwas never made), and meeting Marr after a Patti Smith gig at the Manchester Apollo.
The singer revealed that he did not originally like The Smiths’ song “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,” and suggested to Marr that it be left off the album The Queen Is Dead.
“The humiliation I live with, because this suggestion is everlasting since the song became — and continues to be — greatly loved as one of the most powerful components of The Smiths canon,” he writes. “It is often a relief to be wrong.”
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