Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Morrissey opens up on personal life

Morrissey has revealed details of his personal life in a new memoir.

Famously private chart star Morrissey has disclosed details of how his first relationship with a man came in his 30s and told how he later discussed becoming a father with a close female companion.

The ex-Smiths star has revealed aspects of his personal life in a memoir published today in which he talks about being touched by a male teacher in his early teens.

And he grumbles at length about the injustices of a court case about the band's royalties in the 457-page book, as well as discussing his bitterness about record deals and his brushes with many famous names he has encountered.

He reveals he was in his mid-30s when he met Jake Walters at a dinner he attended in Notting Hill. Morrissey wrote: " Jake and I fell together in deep collusion whereby the thorough and personal could be the only possible way and we ate up each minute of the day.

"There will be no secrets of flesh or fantasy; he is me and I am he."

He went on: "We managed to parrot on non-stop for two years in a jocular fourth-form stew of genius and silliness."

Morrissey recalls how his neighbour, the writer Alan Bennett, had noticed the relationship had reached its end when his visited and pointed out to them: "You haven't spoken a word to one another since I arrived."

The musician, whose much-anticipated book Autobiography has been published by Penguin Classics, discusses an incident with a male teacher as he covers his early years.

He points out the member of staff took an interest in him, massaging his hurt wrist with "slow and sensual strokes" and claims the same man was eyeing him up as he dried himself after a shower following a games lesson.

Morrissey, 54, also talks about his strong attachment to Iranian-born friend Tina Dehghani, whom he met while living in Los Angeles, saying of her: " Tina is my first experience of uncluttered commitment."

"We take our place together almost without noticing," he wrote. And of their discussion about children, he said: "Tina and I discuss the unthinkable act of producing a mewling miniature monster."

As readers might expect from one of rock's great lyricists, Morrissey paints a vivid picture of his early years, with discussions of the merits of the TV shows he remembered as a child. A nd his writing is as scabrous as the interviews he has given over the past three decades.

He calls his colleague Mike Joyce a "pounder drummer" when he discusses what he thought were the injustices of a lengthy court case in which Joyce and bass player Andy Rourke sought a 25% share of the band's earnings.

And he calls guitarist Johnny Marr "a virtuoso of to-ing and gro-ing, you might swear that you are in the company of identical triplets as Johnny stands before you".

Morrissey provides a forensic analysis of the court case - which he and fellow songwriter Marr lost - over many pages as he takes apart the witnesses, the lawyers and the judge. And he rails against the decision to increase the share of profits afforded to bandmates Joyce and Rourke, which was upheld on appeal.

He is particularly venomous about Joyce's extensive legal claims on his royalties claiming he "grabs all he can", taking "£3 million - or thereabouts" of Morrissey's royalties under a later Smiths deal with Warner Records, which the singer called "a farce of unimaginable proportions".

The star also talks of his unhappiness with Geoff Travis, the man who signed them to his record label Rough Trade, even though he not been interested in hearing their demo until Marr insisted.

H e claims they were poorly treated by Travis, despite the label's success being built on The Smiths, and points out at one stage of the book: "There will never be one instance in the Smiths' history with Rough Trade when Geoff would treat the band to a lavish none-too-cheap dinner or salutary clink of earthenware."

He talks about the group's naivety when signing early contracts and is scathing about the sound of the band's first self-titled album recording.

Morrissey also talks about refusing to answer the door to singer Sandie Shaw - whom he speaks about with bitterness despite often being considered a friend - which resulted in her sidling along a ledge outside his flat to talk to him through the window.

And he revealed that guitarist Johnny Marr told him at one stage he was ready to reform The Smiths.

But dismissing such a move, Morrissey said: "Surviving The Smiths is not something that should be attempted twice."

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