1:11 pm Jan. 17, 2013
The cult that surrounds Morrissey, the legendary former lead singer of '80s British band The Smiths, has had to satisfy itself these past few years with the 53-year-old heartthrob's continued touring and other bits of Morrisseyana.
Without a record deal in sight, the clamor for more "Moz," as the singer is known to fans, has therefore begun to focus on his long-awaited autobiography, which publishers have reportedly been jostling to sign.
Morrissey revealed almost two years ago that he had completed the 660-page book. How attractive it is to publishers is probably, in part, a question of whether he deals with his enigmatic sexual identity or with the acrimonious split of the internationally beloved Smiths; inside a tighter circle of ardent fans, who follow the singer on tour with the dedication of old Dead Heads, 660 pages of his signature Wildean wit and pithy apothegms is, probably, plenty.
Morrissey has said that he'd like to sign with Penguin if the book were released under the Penguin Classics imprint; various reports emanating from the U.K. press (some of them written in the great British journalistic tradition of thin sourcing) have indicated that Penguin would be on board with that.
But despite a suggestive comment that a Penguin spokesperson gave to The Independent some 20 months ago, ("There is a natural fit between Morrissey's sensibility, his artistic achievements and Penguin Classics"), there's been no definitive confirmation that the Penguin deal is a fait accompli.
Meanwhile, the venerable house of Faber and Faber is also making a strong public case.
In an open letter to the singer, publishing director Lee Brackstone wrote: "We feel very strongly that you belong in this company. You deserve Faber and the love we can give you. History demands it; destiny commands it."
During a Tuesday tour stop at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, N.J., an audience member took her curiosity straight to the horse's mouth, asking Morrissey during an interlude whether Penguin Classics would indeed be bringing his memoir to shelves.
He replied with what looked like a playful nod.
But two spokespeople in Penguin's New York headquarters said they had no knowledge of any plans for publication.
A spokeswoman for Penguin's U.K. arm was a little more revealing when reached via email about Morrissey's latest signal to fans about the book.
"How nice that he seemed to say yes," said the spokeswoman, Rosie Glaisher. "Here's hoping."
But she added: "Nothing on the schedule at this time."
Here's a video of Tuesday night's encore performance of "Still Ill" to hold you over, courtesy of YouTube user SDHigbie:
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