Saturday 21 October 2017

Rock: There is a fight that never goes out

Meat is murder: Morrissey is a militant vegetarian
Meat is murder: Morrissey is a militant vegetarian

Nick Kelly

So Morrissey is writing a novel. Having reached the top of the bestsellers list last year for his widely praised memoir, simply titled Autobiography, the former Smiths singer announced on online fanzine True To You that he is halfway through his first work of fiction.

The idea of rock stars diversifying to the world of letters would normally be greeted with unrestrained scepticism (think Bob Dylan's critically panned novel Tarantula) but we know from Morrissey's memoir that his long-form prose style is every bit as compelling as his pithy song lyrics. Once a word-Smith, always a word-Smith.

"My autobiography has been more successful than any record I have ever released, so, yes, I am midway through my novel," he wrote.

"I have my hopes. The actuality is that radio stations will not play my music, and the majority of people have lost faith in the music industry.

"There really is no passion left in pop or rock music, and I don't think people believe for an instant that the faces we constantly see on television and in magazines are remotely popular. It's all, now, solely a question of marketing."

One person who won't be reading Morrissey's book is former Smiths drummer Mike Joyce, who famously sued the singer over royalties and won his case -- prompting Morrissey to write a song about him ('Sorrow Will Come In The End') and to lambast Joyce in the book.

This week, Joyce said in an interview: "I've not read the book and I never will. I've got a pretty good idea what's in there. I don't want to go down that route of putting out a statement saying that this or that is wrong."

The bitterness over the court case is one reason why a Smiths reunion will almost certainly never happen, no matter how much money is on the table.

Morrissey's lack of faith in the music biz is not surprising given that he has been without a record label since 2009, even though he has reportedly got two albums' worth of material ready to go, and sells out venues across the world, from Israel to Indonesia.

It was also reported last week that the sole signed copy of Autobiography was auctioned for €8,300, and the proceeds given to the militant animal welfare charity PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

Recent Morrissey tours have included a punishing, melodramatic version of the Smiths classic 'Meat Is Murder', with a graphic video of cattle being led to the slaughterhouse.

And in his Autobiography, he recalls how he fell out of love with one of his favourite bands Roxy Music. "Roxy Music will drop soon from the emotional radar as singer Bryan Ferry reveals that his favourite food is veal -- second only to foie gras in savage cruelty."

But any suggestion that Moz has softened his stance on animal rights were banished when asked on True To You what laws he'd like to see enacted to protect our four-legged friends.

He answered: "I would like a complete zoo and circus ban. I would like every television commercial that promotes 'flesh-food' to be followed by a commercial showing how the living pig and the living cow become the supermarket commodity, step by step.

"I would like the queen of England to be asked why she wears an electrocuted bear-cub on her head. I would like to ask all so-called celebrity chefs why they believe that animals should have no right to live. If Jamie 'Orrible' is so certain that flesh-food is tasty then why doesn't he stick one of his children in a microwave?" Ouch. As of yet, neither Jamie Oliver nor the queen has responded. The lifelong vegetarian then went on to equate abattoirs with Nazi death camps.

"If you believe in the abattoir, then you would support Auschwitz. There's no difference. People who would disagree with this statement have probably never been inside an abattoir," he said.

Cue heated debate on internet forums across the web. As the pros and cons of carnivorous diets versus vegetarianism is discussed worldwide, And so Morrissey's work here is done: he is the quote machine that keeps on giving.

Heaven knows what kind of mischief Morrissey the novelist is currently dreaming up on his typewriter.

NKELLY@INDEPENDENT.IE @NICKKELLYINDO

Irish Independent

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