“A cacophony of jangling, misheard and misused words … a sea of Stygian self-justification and stilted self-conscious prose … ” AA Gill’s caustic review of Morrissey’s Autobiography has been named the Hatchet Job of the Year.
Now, I actually enjoyed Morrissey’s autobiography and while I found the writing style rather affected at first, I soon got into the book and enjoyed it not just for the content – (one-sided) insights into Morrissey’s time in The Smiths being the most interesting for me – but for the words Morrissey used to express himself. I’m not one to consider myself a Morrissey fanatic but his autobiography did break down a lot of the prejudices I had about him.
That doesn’t stop me enjoying reading AA Gill’s takedown, though. Not because I like seeing people’s work savaged – I was reluctant to publish bad reviews during my time at Londonist, preferring instead not to write about stuff I didn’t like (Oasis being a notable exception but I’m sure they didn’t care) – but because it’s expertly written. It’s just so much more enjoyable seeing something taken apart like that, compared to a glowing review.
Another purple passage:
All of this takes quite a lot of time due to the amount of curlicues, falderals and bibelots he insists on dragging along as authorial decoration. Instead of adding colour or depth, they simply result in a cacophony of jangling, misheard and misused words. After 100 pages, he’s still at the school gate kicking dead teachers.