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Sunday, October 05, 2008

Sunday Salon: Morrissey, Dictator Chic and it ain't Anne Rice

This week I danced with Morrissey, nearly read Meetings with Morrissey by Len Brown in one sitting - a tribute to the subject and the writer. Music biographies are a hairy beast, sometimes leading you to a renewed/fresh infatuation with the muso in question (reading about Kate Bush this year has made me buy some more of her CDs) or just coming across as a glorified discography/cut & paste of newspaper articles.

Len Brown has got into the nuts&bolts of Morrissey and his numerous cultural signifiers - especially his deep reverence and connection to Oscar Wilde. Most of us probably knew about his interest in James Dean (as demonstrated in the "Suedehead" video) and various Smiths cover stars like Warhol star Joe Dallesandro. But I had no idea of the extent of his Wilde-olatry. He has an extensive collection of Wilde first editions, but his admiration is not merely that of a collector but of an soul connected acolyte.

There's lots to revel in here, and the quote of the week comes from another Morrissey icon Kenneth Williams of "Carry on" fame - the last words in his diary are "Oh what's the bloody point".

I usually try to avoid the book sale at the library - too much temptation, and trying not to acquire books (except internally) but I wandered past an purchased "The Proposition" soundtrack, The New Zealand historical atlas, an illustrated book of Roman myths, a book of William Morris's poery and Dictator Style by Peter York. A satisfying haul. Dictator style is a thing of righteous horror, surely the garish interior design of despots like Idi Amin and Nicolae Ceausescu is an indicator of their grotesquerie. A nasty funny piece of work.

Ditched:
The Host by Stephenie Meyer - it ain't Anne Rice. Obviously. It just didn't grab me like I needed, I wanted lurid fun.
Who are you : the life of Pete Townshend : a biography by Mark Ian Wilkerson. Now this looks like it's worth a read, very dense and intelligent but at over 600 pages requring close reading now isn't the time.

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