Penguin Classics imprint justified or part of ongoing, unjustified mythologizing of Morrissey?

King Leer

Leering since '97
First of all, I'm loving the controversy swirling around Morrissey's Autobiography, much of it propelled by the "Penguin Classics" imprint. It's particularly pleasurable watching journalists who've tried to make a name out of sniping Morrissey lose sleep. They even throw Morrissey's own song titles back at him because they cannot come up with something better themselves -- and never will.

He's just a pop star. He's a good lyricist but not a writer. His words are not poetry. His lyrics are bad poetry. Sixth form. Penguin Classics? How? WTF? Ad infinitum.

It's Morrissey!
 

Peterb

Well-Known Member
First of all, I'm loving the controversy swirling around Morrissey's Autobiography, much of it propelled by the "Penguin Classics" imprint. It's particularly pleasurable watching journalists who've tried to make a name out of sniping Morrissey lose sleep. They even throw Morrissey's own song titles back at him because they cannot come up with something better themselves -- and never will.

He's just a pop star. He's a good lyricist but not a writer. His words are not poetry. His lyrics are bad poetry. Sixth form. Penguin Classics? How? WTF? Ad infinitum.

It's Morrissey!
It was a strange decision. I can see no justification for it.
Is there any precedent?
Will other Pop stars also have their books published as Penguin Classics?
How about Paul Weller? He is just as significant as Moz. Maybe more so.
To fans, it makes no difference who the publisher is.
So was it Moz who pushed for it or Penguin?
Questions, questions.
The only important question is, will it be any good?
I hope so.
 

Rowntree

New Member
I think Morrissey's main strength is being able to emotionally convey what he's saying through song better than pretty much anyone else. Reading his songs has little of the impact of hearing them but a book's a different medium altogether. I usually associate Penguin Classics with Novels that have been around a while rather than biographical work but hey ho, it's just a book and like KL I'm pleased that it's pissing off his detractors.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
I think there's a bit of this that Moz revels in.
I think someone who used to insist on the exact image/shade of colour or font size on a record sleeve would probably want a bit of involvement in how a book is presented to buyers.
Look how HMV were used to market him or bringing back Attack records / Sanctuary or Decca - same kind of ploy.
The Penguin thing, though, just appears to be pseudo-highbrow types being uber conservative (with a small 'c').
Quite a British logic.
The 'things have always been this way' mentality seems to go in to apoplexy if anything challenges it.
To be honest, their job is to sell books. How they choose to market his autobiography is just a ploy to sell more.
Aligning this idea with someone like Moz is just a doubly clever move by Penguin.
I don't think book shops or libraries will spontaneously combust at the thought of an age old rule being bent by Penguin.
We shall see Thursday....
Regards,
FWD

I should add: it would be interesting to know if any other artists have even thought to request the same 'classics' marketing. Personally, I don't think there was a queue of famous people and Moz jumped it. I just think he was the first one bright enough to utilise it!
 
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Peterb

Well-Known Member
I think there's a bit of this that Moz revels in.
I think someone who used to insist on the exact image/shade of colour or font size on a record sleeve would probably want a bit of involvement in how a book is presented to buyers.
Look how HMV were used to market him or bringing back Attack records / Sanctuary or Decca - same kind of ploy.
The Penguin thing, though, just appears to be pseudo-highbrow types being uber conservative (with a small 'c').
Quite a British logic.
The 'things have always been this way' mentality seems to go in to apoplxexy if anything challenges it.
To be honest, their job is to sell books. How they choose to market his autobiography is just a ploy to sell more.
Aligning this idea with someone like Moz is just a doubly clever move by Penguin.
I don't think book shops or libraries will spontaneously combust at the thought that an age old rule is being bent by Penguin.
We shall see Thursday....
Regards,
FWD
Do you really think the objections are founded in fusty old conservatism?
I think not.
What is a 'Classic'?
I'm not smart enough to run off a decent definition but other Penguin Classic titles seem like good examples of what a 'Classic' should be.
How can an unread pop stars memoirs qualify?
This has to cheapen the brand.
 

King Leer

Leering since '97
The more I think about it the more the imprint says to me "Morrissey and his life are 'a classic'."

I would be amazed if they ever did it again.
A one-off like this will do no damage to Penguin's good name. It's Penguin's foray into pop -- pop that will stand the test of time. As I've said before, 100 or 200 years from now people will read in amazement about this man whom people around the world fought to hug on stage because of the words he sang. Penguin's book will be what they pick up first.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
I take your point.
But what's done is done.
Penguin will not go bust as a result.
The non-redtop press reaction to autobiography IS an example of small c conservatism.
Almost anything that challenges norms gets that kind of 'stuff and nonsense' reaction.
Yet, in a hundred years...will it really matter.
Some of the books on the following list can have their 'classic' tag argued.
They caused controversy at the time or the author was provocative et al...
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Penguin_Classics
(Apologies - can't appear to link directly to the titles list - so just click by title and you will see Moz in the listing).
I truly do not think that anything other than a storm in a teacup will occur as a result of Moz sitting amongst these writers.
Regards,
FWD
 
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Playcat2000

New Member
Everyone accuses Morrissey of being so full of himself that he deserves to be “classic”. Actually it was Penguin who pursued Morrissey. They told him that he belong with them. He had to decide between them and another publishing company and chose to go with Penguin which I think was a good decision. People have such a problem with Morrissey and this has caused such uproar but he is smiling all the way to the bank. I love it.
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
Everyone accuses Morrissey of being so full of himself that he deserves to be “classic”. Actually it was Penguin who pursued Morrissey. They told him that he belong with them. He had to decide between them and another publishing company and chose to go with Penguin which I think was a good decision. People have such a problem with Morrissey and this has caused such uproar but he is smiling all the way to the bank. I love it.
Totally agree, I do think he's had an input in negotiations, but the true extent will probably never be disclosed.
The time/space continuum will not implode on Thursday.
I like the notion that Penguin do it as a one off venture into 'pop' as well put by King Leer.
The thought that Moz is having a belly laugh at all the chagrin caused is excellent.
Kind regards,
FWD
 

realitybites

making lemonade
Subscriber
Everyone accuses Morrissey of being so full of himself that he deserves to be “classic”. Actually it was Penguin who pursued Morrissey. They told him that he belong with them. He had to decide between them and another publishing company and chose to go with Penguin which I think was a good decision. People have such a problem with Morrissey and this has caused such uproar but he is smiling all the way to the bank. I love it.
They did? I don't recall reading that anywhere.

This classic imprinting thing is a gimmick. A sales tactic. A label. It's all about marketing. It has nothing to do with quality or taste. Both of those things are subjective. Who gets to decide what is a classic? One publishing house? Go through the long list of books published as Penguin Classics. Have you read them all? Do you want to? Do you think they are all masterpieces? I could care less what his book is imprinted with. I just care about the content inside. The only people who care about this classic imprint are publishers, book shop owners, librarians, and pedantic twits. Oh, and Morrissey, apparently. Though it is so uncool, unhip, and yes conservative to care about such a fussy detail, imo. It's a manufactured label made by a huge corporation. Yes, Penguin Books is a corporation owned by stockholders, not arsty hipsters sitting around drinking chai tea lattes.

This drama surrounding the classic imprint saved Penguin over $6,000 in promotional costs. Free advertising for the book and the Penguin brand. Gotta love capitalism.
 

Playcat2000

New Member
They did? I don't recall reading that anywhere.

This classic imprinting thing is a gimmick. A sales tactic. A label. It's all about marketing. It has nothing to do with quality or taste. Both of those things are subjective. Who gets to decide what is a classic? One publishing house? Go through the long list of books published as Penguin Classics. Have you read them all? Do you want to? Do you think they are all masterpieces? I could care less what his book is imprinted with. I just care about the content inside. The only people who care about this classic imprint are publishers, book shop owners, librarians, and pedantic twits. Oh, and Morrissey, apparently. Though it is so uncool, unhip, and yes conservative to care about such a fussy detail, imo. It's a manufactured label made by a huge corporation. Yes, Penguin Books is a corporation owned by stockholders, not arsty hipsters sitting around drinking chai tea lattes.

This drama surrounding the classic imprint saved Penguin over $6,000 in promotional costs. Free advertising for the book and the Penguin brand. Gotta love capitalism.

Yes, I read somewhere that Penguin told Morrissey that he belonged with them. Just because you "don't recall" doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I really don’t give a crap who published it; I just want to have it in my possession already. You people and The Guardian are getting way too worked up about it.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
and yes conservative.
I agree. Perhaps behind all the provocation there's just a bloke who never went to Uni and can't spell graveyard but still wants to make his school librarian mother proud.

-What? Yes it was that obvious! Oh, sue me.- (rolls eyes).
 

Famous when dead

Vulgarian
Moderator
Yes, I read somewhere that Penguin told Morrissey that he belonged with them. Just because you "don't recall" doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I really don’t give a crap who published it; I just want to have it in my possession already. You people and The Guardian are getting way too worked up about it.
I recall similar.
It's a storm in a teacup.
This is from 2011..
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-e...ing-war-hinges-on-classic-status-2272620.html
I can not wait for it myself despite any hoo haw about labels and categories etc...
Roll on Thursday...
Regards, FWD
 

realitybites

making lemonade
Subscriber
Yes, I read somewhere that Penguin told Morrissey that he belonged with them. Just because you "don't recall" doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
Why so hostile... all the fucking time with everyone? Cool those jets sister. Everything doesn't have to turn into a shooting match.


I really don’t give a crap who published it; I just want to have it in my possession already. You people and The Guardian are getting way too worked up about it.
Oh the irony of that statement, Miss Calm Cool Collect. :rolleyes:
 

realitybites

making lemonade
Subscriber
I agree. Perhaps behind all the provocation there's just a bloke who never went to Uni and can't spell graveyard but still wants to make his school librarian mother proud.

-What? Yes it was that obvious! Oh, sue me.- (rolls eyes).
Interesting observation.
 
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