Morrissey’s autobiography is being published as part of Penguin’s “classics” — an aberrant move for the publishing house, which usually reserves the prestigious category for, well, prestigious books. Authors who have been honoured as having written classics include Mark Twain, Homer and Jane Austen.
What’s inside the book is causing just as much controversy as how it’s being styled. The enigmatic animal activist/anti-monarchist and former Smiths frontman remains mysterious about his sexuality but does give a glimpse into his same-sex love affairs. “Partial disclosures of male closeness fascinate me,” he writes, referencing his teenaged love of Oscar Wilde’s poetry.
Morrissey describes regular sleepovers during his youth where he would lie on his best friend Edward Messenger’s bed. “The fetish of secrecy begins,” he says, “for isn’t it touch alone that changes you?”
Writing about a two-year “whirlwind” love affair with a man named Jake Owen Walters, Morrissey discloses, “For the first time in my life the eternal ‘I’ becomes ‘we.’ Every minute has the high drama of first love, only far more exhilarating. His leap towards me is as uncharted as mine to him . . . There will be no secrets of flesh or fantasy; he is me and I am him."
Despite remaining relatively ambiguous about his interest in men, the memoirist does confess to having absolutely no interest in women. “Plainly I was not interested,” he writes, “being chosen but not chooser.”
Androgynous “Jerry Nolan on the front of the [New York] Dolls debut album is the first woman I ever fell in love with,” he reveals.
Check out The Daily Beast’s “13 juiciest bits from Morrissey’s autobiography” for more.