Paper Monitor: Don't call him charming

  • 14 October 2013

For readers of a certain vintage - classic, you might say? - this is a big week. Morrissey's autobiography (titled, as if it were an album, Autobiography) is being published. For a man never short of self-respect it is being published as a Penguin Classic, alongside the greats of literature like Homer, Hemingway and Tommy Walsh from Ground Force.

Image caption Singer who has written book called Autobiography

According to the Guardian today, Morrissey himself wants the book to be the cause of a "literary event" rather than a "publishing event", which is what most autobiographies become, he says.

The quality of literature is yet to be seen, but there's no doubt it will be a publishing event too, whatever Morrissey himself wants. The Sunday Times yesterday set the ball rolling with a profile. And in a sign of great restraint, it had just six Smiths lyrics incorporated into it.

"Bigmouth strikes again - with the pen" was the headline. And an early paragraph felt more than a little shoe-horned: "The last of the famous international playboys, who at 54 has never stopped being a boy and never did much playing around..."

But the profile author hits his or her stride when describing the long-awaited nature of the publication date thus: "These things take time. How soon is now?... Panic! You might have excused his publisher for asking, 'Little man, what now?' But all of a sudden he has done an equally unexplained volte-face and told the company: 'You've got everything now.'"

This is a lyric-dropping game which journalists up and down the country will be playing all week. Maybe Paper Monitor should keep a tally - in fact if you spot any Smiths lyrics injected into news stories like hormones into beef then let us know using the form on this page.

The more pedantic side of Paper Monitor must take issue with one line in the profile. "The only time [Morrissey] has referred to his first name since entering show business was in 1999-2000 when he did a tour under the title Oye Esteban! (Rough translation: Oi Steven!)"

Paper Monitor must take issue. Does no one remember Ouija Board Ouija Board? Paper Monitor knows it is not mistaken (and has actually gone to the trouble of checking) that the song includes the lines: "The table is rumbling, The glass is moving, No, I was not pushing that time. It spells 'S' 'T' 'E' 'V' 'E' 'N'... 'P' 'U' 'S' 'H' 'O' 'double F'."

Now that's what I call classic.

Note: it turns out that although Tommy Walsh has written a number of DIY and gardening books, he has yet to write his autobiography.

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