Morrissey‘s much-anticipated autobiography was released in the UK last night at midnight and shortly thereafter, the first reviews of the book started to appear online. I have been anxiously awaiting the release of Moz‘s autobiography for years and am STILL waiting to get my hands on a copy (because the book is only released in the UK, I am unable to download an electronic version here in the US and my hardcopy of the book won’t be delivered to my home until tomorrow — while I am STILL away from California in Michigan! Ugh). Still, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to read what others were saying about the just-published book. Ever since I first learned that Morrissey was planning to publish his autobiography, I hoped that he would use the opportunity to talk more openly about his personal life. I know, I know … it’s really no one’s business to snoop around in anyone else’s personal relationship life but so many people (me included) have been so affected by Morrissey‘s lyrics over the many years of his career that, for me, it is important for the man to come out and admit what he has been hinting at for so many years. Despite his proclamations of “asexuality”, Morrissey has finally come out and admitted — in his own way — that he has had same-sex relationships in his life. One in particular, with his former assistant/photographer Jake Walters, is discussed in some detail in the just-published Autobiography.
Morrissey did not enter into a serious relationship until the 1990s, when he was in his mid-30s, he writes in Autobiography. When he met Jake Owen Walters, he writes, “for the first time in my life the eternal ‘I’ becomes ‘we’, as, finally, I can get on with someone”.Morrissey writes movingly about the two-year relationship. “Jake and I neither sought not needed company other than our own for the whirlwind stretch to come,” he writes. “Indulgently Jake and I test how far each of us can go before ‘being dwelt in’ causes cries of intolerable struggle, but our closeness transcends such visitations.” Morrissey never specifies whether they were lovers, but talks of sharing hotel suites, of being photographed with his head “resting on Jake’s exposed belly”, and of Jake bringing him tea in the bath. He also recounts an exchange at an airport. “‘Well,’ says the woman in the British Airways lounge, ‘you’re either very close brothers or lovers.’ ‘Can’t brothers be lovers?’ I imprudently reply – always ready with the pointlessly pert, whether sensible or not.” The ending of the relationship is described in a way that could hardly be more Morrissey – with a visit to his home by Alan Bennett, who observes the pair and says: “Now, now. What’s going on? Something’s happened, hasn’t it? … You haven’t spoken a word to each other since I arrived.” Although Autobiography never specifically addresses Morrissey’s sexuality, he talks about his lack of interest in girls as a teenager. “Girls remained mysteriously attracted to me,” he writes, “and I had no idea why, since although each fumbling foray hit the target, nothing electrifying took place, and I turned a thousand corners without caring … Far more exciting were the array of stylish racing bikes that my father would bring home.”
Altho Morrissey doesn’t explicitly say that he and Jake were lovers, it’s fairly obvious that that is what he is saying here. Morrissey has never been explicit so I don’t expect him to start spelling out details now … this is pretty much what I expected from him all along. My fear was that he would make no mention whatsoever of any relationships with anyone (male or female) and that, I think, would’ve been a huge disappointment for me. For whatever his reasons, Morrissey has chosen until now to keep this part of his life completely private. I applaud him for deciding to be open, at last, about this part of his life. The Guardian has published 10 Things Learned from Morrissey’s Autobiography HERE, which is a great summary read of his tome for those interested. The Smiths biographer Tony Fletcher has published an extensive review of the book HERE as well. I’m choosing to stay away from any more reviews until I can read the book for myself. I’m just happy that Morrissey shared with the world some details about his relationship with Jake. It’s a relationship that longtime fans have known about but was never ever confirmed by Moz. I know he has made a career out of sadness, rejection and the maudlin … but it does make me happy to know that Morrissey has enjoyed the romantic love of another person and was truly happy once.