Friday, 18 September 2009

Saturday Review - Mozipedia, the ultimate Encyclopaedia of Morrissey and The Smiths

My Saturday review is coming a tad late this week but excuse me if you will. It has been a fun packed few days.

I got back from the Cologne nursery trade show last night to be informed that the interview that I had done for My Child had just been published. Little old me.. My Child's Favourite Mummy Blog.

Before I had a chance to completely unpack it was back in to the swing of things with the kids. Saturday is always pretty full on for me. FunnyGirl has her first dance class at 10am, but this morning she had an extra practice class thrown in at 9am for tomorrows disco comp.
I was merrily faffing around when it dawned on me that it was 8.20am, and I hadn't even been in the shower.
What ensued was a whirl of shampoo, toothpaste, hair brushes, leotards, toast and packed lunches. And I have no idea how I managed to wangle us all into the car just a short 25mins later!

I would usually sit and write a leisurely Saturday Review whilst the girls were tucked away in their classes but I had forgotten to charge my laptop - and I didn't have the power cord!

After growling at myself I realised that it was probably for the best and I set about enjoying sitting and talking to the other mums. Not so much as a single tweet passed my phone! And it left me feeling a total sense of relief and empowerment tied up with a nagging realisation that I never 'switch off' these days.

So, for this weeks Saturday Review I decided to talk about something that I love. Yes me, not my children but something that makes me happy. A selfish bit of self indulgence if you like but hey, we all need that every now and again.

Everyone who knows me knows that I have been a huge, massive Smiths fan since I was twelve years old. A little too young perhaps but I have big brothers who influenced my musical taste massively (apart from their Iron Maiden and Hawkwind phases that is!)

I cried myself to sleep every night throughout my teenage years listening to Morrissey's prose and queued for hours wearing my Smiths T shirt in the harsh midlands wind and rain with my big bro in the hope of getting into Mozza's infamous Wolverhampton free gig for him to abort a couple of tunes in due to the mobbing of his fans.

That may have been back in 1988 but as some musical tastes came and went I have never stopped listening to Morrissey and The Smiths and I have to admit that it does make me smile when I hear FunnyGirl and ModelGirl singing along to This Charming Man - or their current fav 'I Have Forgiven you Jesus'!

I have soaked up every written word on Morrissey and Marr through the last 25 years or so years and I know that their music had a huge effect on who I am as a person. That intrigues me.

Who would I be today without that huge influence?

Whilst knowing with adult clarity that my hero was not who he seemed at the time. Outwardly dressing in 'charity shop' clothes whilst blowing thousands of pounds in Richard Creme's Manchester fashion forward boutique.

The Smiths were full of contradictions that as a teenager I didn't have the ability to see. Yet this has in no way clouded how I feel about them or their music.

Morrissey it seems is not a nice man. Prone to firing people through his PA, only to re hire and fire them once again. His fellow Smiths (bar Marr) have all at one time or another been wrangled up with the courts vying for a fair and due settlement of monies made during their hey day.
Alas Morrissey and Marr had failed to put their verbal agreement with their fellow Smiths past a single lawyer and quite rightfully the courts saw their 'agreement' for the true act of bullying that it was.

For once Morrissey's charm failed him and the judge stated that he (Morrissey) was "Devious, truculent and unreliable when his own interests were at stake."

But unable to accept the courts (fair) ruling, Morrissey did what he does best - and turned the whole sorry affair into the controversial track 'Sorrow will come in the end' and took the case to the appeal courts. An action made all the more ridiculous for the fact that Marr didn't contest the courts original ruling.

The case was rejected and Morrissey complained to then Prime Minister Tony Blair (who was not interested) and even more oddly to the Queen! (yes she of all the earlier lets bring down the monarchy 'The Queen is Dead' et al).
Unable to stir an interest with those that he had striven to fall he decided to move to America rather than paying the cash that was quite rightfully owed.

The Smiths - their new legacy, tainted by the money that had seemed so carefree back in the halcyon days of NHS glasses and Gladioli spilling from pockets.

All this aside. Morrissey remains as one of the biggest influences on my life. I have teenage friendships formed through our shared Smiths love that time and distance cannot sever.

I chanced upon one of those stupid Facebook apps recently 'Which Smith's song are you?'
Unable to resist I duly typed in my answers to rewarded with "Reel Around The Fountain" (at least in my personal top five Smiths songs, along with if you are interested - Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me, Never Had No One Ever, I know It's Over and There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.)

My eighteen year old son loves them and my next door neighbour (the only one I have in our little village) is as big a fan as me! My children moaned beyond their days when I announced that I had tickets to this years tour (only for it to be cancelled... a sore throat apparently though he had seemed fine when given that rather uncomfortable grilling on Jonathan Ross's show). They wanted to see Morrissey sing too - and more than Girls Aloud(?!)

I have passed on my love of The Smiths to all of my children without uttering a single word about what they mean to me. Which I guess is proof (not that I ever disputed it) that their music shaped me.
For 5 and 7 year old girls whose regular music tastes go no further than the obvious Hannah Montanna, The Jonas Brothers, High School Musical, Girls Aloud (and the odd bit of Take That). I do find it odd that they know all of the words to (at least) ten Smith songs...

I have been (like a true fan) taken completely away from what I sat down to write tonight - and that is a review of the newest and most comprehensive insight Morrissey and The Smiths.

Mozipedia, is a total must for any fan but be prepared to have your inner beliefs to the trueness of 'the great Morrissey's' gift for putting your inmost turmoil into song rocked to the core as Simon Goddard painstakingly lists all of the movies and plays that some of your top all time lyrics were blatantly lifted from!

Yet still, my love cannot be tainted! Mozipedia is quite simply one of my favourite books of all time. The only downside is that my enjoyment of it has been restricted to home - as it's just too big and heavy to stick in your bag to read on the train (perhaps his enigma is fading for me, there was a time when that wouldn't have bothered me at all!)

I can only marvel at Goddard's thorough and unrelenting shredding of everything that I believed in during my teenage years but I really struggle to put the (huge) book down.

If you love The Smiths - or someone you love, loves The Smiths - there is no better declaration of your love for them than buying this book.

Thank you to the fab Louise at Ebury Press for sending me the book - along with my apologies for taking so long to write my review, but hell - there's a lot to read!
Available from Amazon for a range of prices - you know how it works! Though heaven only knows why you would want to sell this book. It is one that I will never part with (even though I have promised to lend it to my neighbour! I may have to buy him his own copy!)


  1. I received this book for my birthday recently...I am also a huge fan of "The Smiths", although I must admit to Marr always being my favorite...the memories of all that teenage angst are some of my fondest.

  2. I've never really gotten into the smiths, but your enthusiasm is quite infectious so i will have a little download session i think xx

  3. I love The Smiths. I remember the first time I heard 'This Charming Man' (on Kid Jensen's Radio 1 evening show) and I have bought just about everything released by Morrissey ever since. This book is now at the top of my Xmas list. Great review.

  4. Sandy, Jensen's was their second radio one session I recall. Glad to have a fellow fan on the role!
    The postponed Birmingham gig is coming up on October 23rd. So excited!


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Appreciated as always. xx


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