Saint Morrissey


“All Saints should be pre­sumed guilty until proved inno­cent.“
- George Orwell

“I was born in Manchester’s Central Library. In the Crime sec­tion.“
- Morrissey


 Mark Simpson’s acclaimed ‘psycho-bio’ of England’s most charm­ing — and alarm­ing — pop star

 Translated into Italian, Finnish, Bulgarian, Greek — and even American!



LIKE A VILLAIN who wants to be caught, or a hero that wants to be feted, Morrissey has provided count­less clues to his per­son­al­ity in his peer­less, start­lingly can­did song lyr­ics and in innu­mer­able hil­ari­ous and pro­voc­at­ive interviews.

At once Devil’s Advocate and Counsel for Canonization, Simpson offers the finest psy­cho­lo­gical pro­file of England’s most intel­li­gent, most mis­un­der­stood, most loved, most hated, most charm­ing and most alarm­ing pop star.


Peter Watts, Time Out London:

Before fame embraced him, Morrissey wrote a pair of fan­boy pamph­lets for his lost her­oes New York Dolls and James Dean. One ima­gines they would have read rather like this: duti­ful bio­graphy giv­ing way to wide-eyed ador­a­tion, heart­felt pleas and catty, with­er­ing asides, all couched in arch, witty prose. However, by call­ing this glor­i­ously shame­less biog ‘Saint Morrissey’, author Simpson pre-empts cri­ti­cism of hagi­o­graphy while sim­ul­tan­eously giv­ing the last English pop star the ven­er­a­tion he’s deman­ded dur­ing 20 years of self-inflicted martyrdom.

Indeed, it’s an oddity that, des­pite the many fas­cin­at­ing faces he presents to press and pub­lic, the former Smiths front­man has so far only been prop­erly bio­graph­ied by Johnny Rogan. Simpson’s ‘psycho-bio’ offers a hand­some coun­ter­point to that sober door­step, choos­ing not to exam­ine the life to explain the art, but instead study­ing the lyr­ics to cel­eb­rate the man. The res­ult is a deli­ciously devi­ant deification.

Simpson’s love-letter takes in love, lit­er­acy, class, viol­ence, sex and all the other staples with which Morrissey, and England, is obsessed, and in the pro­cess casts a caustic eye over the coun­try and pop vacuum Morrissey’s defec­tion to Los Angeles has cre­ated. It’s a pro­voc­at­ive and pre­co­cious read, and, as he really starts to let rip, one senses that Simpson thor­oughly enjoyed him­self in the writ­ing of it. Smiths fans will love it, and even Morrissey him­self might arch an eye­brow in appre­ci­ation.”


Praise for Saint Morrissey

Simpson is funny, clever, hon­est, irrev­er­ent and egot­ist­ical: quite the match for Morrissey. More bio­graph­ies should be writ­ten this way.‘
– Laurence Phelan, Independent on Sunday Books of the Year

The eru­dite Simpson gives a com­pel­ling account his youth­ful — and adult — fas­cin­a­tion with the bard of Whalley Range/Beverly Hills… A nimble essay which gives fan­dom a good name.“
– Ian Gittings, Guardian Books of the Year

Absorbing… illu­min­at­ing… touch­ingly fer­vent… With the arrival of this book Morrissey’s beati­fic­a­tion is surely com­plete.“
- Fiona Sturges, Independent

Saint Morrissey is a crack­ing read, almost an instruc­tional hand­book on how to develop, deal with, and finally escape an obses­sion.“
– Peter Parker, The Boston Phoenix

Entertaining and per­cept­ive… writ­ten with real flair.‘
– Steve Jelbert, The Times

Simpson writes with enough pan­ache to make most of his peers toss their laptops into the waste dis­posal and weep.‘
- Simon Price, Independent on Sunday

No one has writ­ten this sens­it­ively or intel­li­gently about Morrissey, the hold he has main­tained on a notori­ously slip­pery seg­ment of the pop­u­la­tion has some­times seemed to the unini­ti­ated, over­blown. No less than the ruf­fi­ans he and Genet ele­gized, Morrissey has often been mis­un­der­stood, if not excor­i­ated — as has Simpson.‘
– Brian Pera, Saint else­where’, San Francisco Bay Area Guardian

A fit­ting, dazzling, hand­some trib­ute.… I have never read a book before like this: every page or two, I wanted to stop and talk about what Simpson had writ­ten with someone else – I wanted to dis­cuss, argue, com­plain, gasp, share the exper­i­ence. Mostly, I wanted to laugh. Considering that this is a book about a man whose isol­a­tion, mor­bid­ity and ali­en­a­tion is legendary, this book made me want to be soci­able… Read this book.‘
– Dermod Moore, Hot Press

An amus­ingly par­tisan work, glisten­ing with hyper­bole and extra­vag­ant phrases, but always acute.’ — Sukhdev Sandhu, Daily Telegraph

A superb rock­u­ment­ary of Morrissey. Witty, ador­ing, styl­ish, intel­lec­tu­ally water­tight.’ — Paul Flynn, Attitude

A pro­voc­at­ive and pre­co­cious read.… Smiths fans will love it, and even Morrissey him­self might arch an eye­brow in appre­ci­ation.’- Peter Watts, Time Out

There is a corner of Blighty that is forever Morrissey, and for its lugubri­ous inhab­it­ants, this book is a dream come true — a lov­ingly craf­ted and thor­oughly insight­ful tour de Moz.An abso­lute must for those whose lives were ruined my His Miserableness, yet who laugh in the face of bliss­ful unful­fill­ment.’ - Michael Williams, X Ray

Like his sub­ject, incur­able super-fan Simpson is con­stantly amus­ing and pro­voc­at­ive; he also excels at inter­pret­ing. Even the most com­mit­ted Morrissey-bore will find some­thing new in the ana­lysis of lyr­ics, and the sur­round­ing eph­em­era, from early sleeve art to the dodgem greas­ers he has in his band nowadays, is illu­min­ated with learned intu­ition.… A book Morrissey will claim to hate, but secretly love.’ - Ian Harrisson, Mojo

Saint Morrissey is the first book-length, ser­i­ous, insight­ful and intel­lec­tu­ally valid ana­lysis of this pop curi­os­ity who has proved to be dif­fi­cult to place within any cat­egory in the pop insti­tu­tion.‘
– Antti Nylen ,

Saint Morrissey says more… than a thou­sand inter­views with cous­ins and primary teach­ers ever could.’ - London Review of Books

The book’s best achieve­ment is it mir­rors its sub­ject in being pre­ten­tious without being pom­pous, and tak­ing things very very ser­i­ously while at the same time rel­ish­ing its own absurdity with a con­stant self-lacerating wit. It is under no illu­sions its sub­ject is a spite­ful, dis­hon­est, dif­fi­cult sod but loves him more, not less for it. As the man finally returns with a new album after seven long years, all those nervous fan­at­ics pray­ing for a new Vauxhall and I (rather than a Kill Uncle) would be well advised to have a copy of this book by your bed­side to remind you of the child­ish stu­pid­ity and effort­less bril­liance of your obses­sion. It will prove you’re not mad after all; or if you are at least you’re in enter­tain­ing com­pany.‘
– Ben Granger, magazine


  ‘Celibate Cries’ - excerpt from Saint Morrissey. inter­views Simpson about St Moz


Simpson’s bus-pass c. ‘Strangeways Here We Come’