Archive | Nov, 2015

Festival Of Lights

11 Nov

Please do take care to remember every creed, colour, sexuality, religion, sect, etc., etc., and sundry.

In this case, today happens to be Hinduism’s Christmas day… so:

Goodwill, peace to all…. and hey…

… let’s not fuck up the planet.

James xxxxx

“List of the Lost” Review/Comments

1 Nov



It’s no secret to anyone who knows me on a personal level, or anybody who comes to this site on a semi-frequent basis, or, …,  that I just might be a little bit interested in a certain Manchurian.


For reasons like this:

…and this:

And of course this:


My own list goes on and back as far as the ear can hear…

…so when Autobiography was hinted at some years ago, I initially thought it was a just pipe dream, and like many others I put this imaginary Morrissey work into a mythical bookcase with (read-y) haste. But no, it quite suddenly materialized, a huge tasty satisfying textual chunk of prose-poetry-memoir-diary-history-gothic fiction, that critics and fans alike melted and raved over, myself included. God knows how many versions of it I have myself, and thanks Moz for the signed one *grin* (me, below, with just two of my copies) :

moz110413 001smaller

So the long of it is –  I managed to knock it out in two days – every word and phrase (sometime literally quadruply) of 457 odd pages. One of the fastest reads times for me with any book – just wanted to consume it.

It was a resounding success on pretty much every level publically. Critically as well.

Sir Steven was not only encouraged, but positively buoyed to then get his first novel out into the public, that first fictional work he has alluded to for more than a few lifetimes by now.

Again, didn’t really believe it, but suddenly, here it was/is. A slim volume indeed. 118 pages, and when I received it a few weeks ago from UK I thought “I’ll get through this in a day.”

I was quite wrong.

Well, I just dropped the baton and crossed the “finished” line (yes, lots on the own plate as well recently, and it just happens to be a tougher read than the flowing waterfall of words that is Autobiography, stylistically complex to be sure.)

I’d like to also point out that aside from various website headlines (which have made it abundantly clear to me List of the Lost has been critically and universally panned),  I have yet to even speed-read a single review (but cannot wait to).

First – I didn’t want any plot points ruined.

Second – I wanted to make up my own mind with as little influence as possible.

Third – I wanted to give some opinion with as little influence as possible.

List of the Lost is for me done and dusted, and jeez this review intro is almost as long as the bloody book itself – I’m sorry about that!

So, without further, here are a few thoughts of mine regarding said book:

#1 – My only negative at all – the dialogue of every individual who dwell within the confines of Morrissey’s beautifully designed 1970’s Boston-set piece just simply don’t ring true (intentionally or not) and for the reader is as distracting as physically yanking the book out of their hands at times. Words, conversational patterns, tone, pace – which is a great shame considering so much else absolutely does in this text.

To quote the author (not from LotL) – “No One I ever knew, or have spoken to resembles you. This is good or bad all depending on my general mood.” (“I Like You, You Are The Quarry)

Well in this less fortunate case not a soul on either side on the Atlantic or beyond have I ever heard speak this way, that way, or remotely close…

Intentionally or not, verbal realism makes a semi-appearance close to the end of the book, but it’s just impossible (for me, on first read) to harvest intent here. The “Lost” bit for me.

If it was meant this way then I missed something.

But more than enough of the negative.

#2. This work is unique, different, and quite clearly influenced/celebrating older writings –  Huysman’s A Rebours specifically comes to mind upon reading. I highly doubt Morrissey has not read (and he possibly had in mind this other slim volume himself, when conceiving of this text). Look it up, read it, and re-evaluate this book you might just have been panning. Theme, style, length, tone, progression. Compare and contrast.

#3 It is packed to the brim with social and political commentary, opinion, art and wordsmithery. Knowing, understanding, and gaining meaning from his published vocals/music/lyrics of his now takes some time due to the sheer body of work, but here is a text that brings a certain bundle courtesy of a wholly new media. Highly important and socially hot (nobody is saying you have to agree with Eliza, Ezra and their peers). Of its time.

#4 Damned before it began. Let’s favour the underdog. Before my copy was ever shipped I was already intrigued that it was a work of fiction, and “supernatural gothic” at that. Potential set-ups had infiltrated my head, and I was tempted to read/frame the tales in a genre-ized fashion. Remove those temptations and you just might get a different read of the final paragraph (or entire text) and re-evaluate the genre altogether. (*Spoiler – Ezra hallucinates a good deal towards the end of the story, and the last chapter just may not be what it is at all.*) On top of that a book well loved (if bio) has a great story if followed by a book that fails miserably. Sad but true.

#5 Who is the narrator? Whose picture are we viewing? Why is the first line of the rear blurb “beware the novelist….intimate and indiscreet”? – take note of this, and delve deeper.

#6 Aye it’s a tough read, even for this Lit Major some chunks demanded re-reads before moving on. It IS complicated. It IS verbose. But it is also thought provoking, beautiful, poetic, deep, obtuse, pointed, difficult, confounding. Did critics miss all this as they skim-read their review copies?

I don’t know, but I missed none of it.

Biased? Only as far as you can throw me. If it was shit I would have called it out as such. Truly.

And how could it be? Same writer of truth I’ve been following for decades, just a new way of giving his slant on his/our/their reality.

Truly – give it a go. As for me – I’m off to finally read what everyone else had to say about it.

Not nearly as bad as you might think, and by the way – for an established artist to dive into unchartered territory on a global scale has to be terrifying. Thick skinned I know he isn’t, but word for word (t)his volume and the reaction to it remains burned into 2015, and I can only hope people are kinder as they find deeper meanings.

Much love and peace to all,

James xxxxxxxxxx