Morrissey's childhood

I am almost certain it has been discussed before, but I still have a lot of questions.

A few pages into Morrissey's autobiography, I discover that his father wasn't that horrible after all (they were apparently quite close when he was younger), and that his overall childhood was quite happy, too (a strong bond with Jackie, a close-knit extended family etc.).
Still, most of his interviews provide a completely different insight (him saying that he has abandoned the name 'Steven' because he was 'not a very happy little boy'), which is even further reinforced by his earlier lyrics (themes of abuse and violence, including Handsome Devil, The Headmaster Ritual etc. etc.). On the other hand, there's Morrissey again saying that he was never abused (?) himself or something of this nature.

I find a lot of contradictions when it comes to this, and would like to hear your thoughts (if you have any).

Cheers.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Because he is a man of contradictions and his giving extreme statements is a way of never letting anyone truly know him - he wants to remain 'a complete mystery even to those who know him'. Personally, I think most of the things he says in interviews (especially regarding his personal life) are not the truth, but his public image - "5% human being and 95 image". The only time when he reveals himself is through his writing - 'the truth is in the songs', as Morrissey himself put it. The violence themes are as blatant as they could get in his lyricism and Autobiography, many biographers also confirmed what was happening to pupils at St Mary's.
There was this thing his mother once said, I can't quote it precisely right now but paraphrasing, she believed that most of his unhappiness was coming from inside of him and not from his surroundings.
As for his father, I don't recall Morrissey saying that his father was nothing but horrible - he wanted a different life for his son so naturally they drifted apart, but it's not like he was totally unsupportive. I don't think Morrissey ever got a chance to experience an uncomplicated relationship in his life.

Also, it's never easy to admit that you've experienced abuse - especially if you're a man.
 

Ketamine Sun

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‘Born old, sadly wise’ a sensitive type, with a feeling of being, outside looking in, a need to express. Where observation and imagination is enough to know.



 
Because he is a man of contradictions and his giving extreme statements is a way of never letting anyone truly know him - he wants to remain 'a complete mystery even to those who know him'. Personally, I think most of the things he says in interviews (especially regarding his personal life) are not the truth, but his public image - "5% human being and 95 image". The only time when he reveals himself is through his writing - 'the truth is in the songs', as Morrissey himself put it. The violence themes are as blatant as they could get in his lyricism and Autobiography, many biographers also confirmed what was happening to pupils at St Mary's.
There was this thing his mother once said, I can't quote it precisely right now but paraphrasing, she believed that most of his unhappiness was coming from inside of him and not from his surroundings.
As for his father, I don't recall Morrissey saying that his father was nothing but horrible - he wanted a different life for his son so naturally they drifted apart, but it's not like he was totally unsupportive. I don't think Morrissey ever got a chance to experience an uncomplicated relationship in his life.

Also, it's never easy to admit that you've experienced abuse - especially if you're a man.
Thanks, that’s an interesting way to look at it.

I definitely agree that his lyrics are the best way to get to know him, but not so sure about the image thing - I’ve never felt that it is contrived, or ‘untrue’ in any way. Slightly exaggerated - sure (that’s why people remember him after all) - but the main reason I found him relatable is how ‘raw’ and authentically himself he is - unafraid to say what he thinks and be what he is.

But he’s a poet after all - so a few contradictions here and there are perhaps excusable.
 
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Amy

from the Ice Age to the dole age
People can be introverted, quiet, melancholy etc for lots of reasons, it's not necessarily caused by anything that happened to them.

The impression I get is that Moz had a very normal, loving family background but always felt like a square peg in a round hole - in that his parents and sister were confident, outgoing, sociable types and he just wasn't. I remember a quote from his Dad, something like -"Jackie had a terrific personality but Steven was an oddball" - I think comments like that stuck with him. That quip about Shirley Bassey springs to mind as well, and the fact that he remembered it enough to write it down. Moz just wasn't the same kind of man as his Dad, he didn't care about girls or football, he had obsessive interests that they found odd - it's easy to see why he felt a bit lonely. I can also remember Moz saying that he grew up without ever seeing his parents hug or kiss, so he was uncomfortable with intimacy and relationships for a long time.

I think "I Keep Mine Hidden" describes that feeling really well - especially when you consider that Johnny M had an almost-identical background but he was the "Jackie" of his own family, that same ease with people. Society exalts extroverts so when you don't have that kind of charm, you realise it.
 
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A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks, that’s an interesting way to look at it.

I definitely agree that his lyrics are the best way to get to know him, but not so sure about the image thing - I’ve never felt that it is contrived, or ‘untrue’ in any way. Slightly exaggerated - sure (that’s why people remember him after all) - but the main reason I found him relatable is how ‘raw’ and authentically himself he is - unafraid to say what he thinks and be what he is.

But he’s a poet after all - so a few contradictions here and there are perhaps excusable.

That is actually an interesting issue, because despite many of Morrissey's contradicting statements, I've never gotten the impression that he's inauthentic to his audience (if that makes any sense). Maybe it's because I've always focused more on his writings, ever since he has admitted that he says a lot of things he doesn't mean and accentuates he's only truly himself in his lyrics.
What I mean is rather that he is in a specific position in his life as a public person and it requires a specific adaptation to such conditions.
There is this thing I've recently heard from someone who is also a public figure (kind of) that really stuck with me as I somehow wasn't aware of it before. She explained how important it is for her to decide how much of her privacy she reveals to people on the internet (in her case, but it applies to everyone who puts themselves out for other people's judgment) and how crucial it is to draw the boundaries and never say everything about her personal life. Therefore it's her way of protecting herself and her self-esteem, because even if people criticize her, she doesn't take it personally, because she knows they are not criticizing the person she really is, but only their own ideas of who she is.
 
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