A true twentieth century icon and man of inestimable cultural value, Morrissey’s influence and appeal have long since been the source of ill-conceived cash-ins promising insight and authority but only to offer theory and speculation as to what transpires inside that cynical, celebrated mind. Outside of a self-penned biography, there will be no definitive answer. Until that time (which apparently is steadily approaching) the only thing required is what Simon Goddard has provided.
Having plumbed the depths of Smiths-dom in Songs That Saved Your Life and its later “re-issue, re-package, re-evaluate the songs” (snicker) revised edition comes the final piece in the apparent trilogy, this…. Mozipedia. With over 500 pages and 600 plus entries, Goddard’s dedication to the cause is well without question, rounding up references from the oblique to the obvious, appealing not only to those with a passion for tracing Morrissey’s literary and lyrical borrowings, but also those keen for insider knowledge to a songs origin — The Smith‘s not-so-subtle lifting of T-Rex’s “Metal Guru” rhythm section on “Panic” for instance.
It also lifts the veil on unreleased recordings, information about collaborators, influences, places of importance, his preference for mashed food and his habit of crediting his hairdresser on record sleeves. With the addition of new interviews with Johnny Marr, Chrissie Hynde, Siouxsie Sioux and Nancy Sinatra, and a thorough dissection of all Morrissey recordings post-The Smiths, including Years of Refusal, it’s much more than an updated edition of Songs That Saved Your Life. The in-depth multi-page entries to the crucial poets, artists, actors of cinema and television, and the point in which their trajectory meets with Morrissey’s define its encyclopedia status.
On the bookshelf it’s an intimidating and well designed beast. It goes against the grain of most Morrissey tomes but not using a picture of his lordship in favour of a 60’s style pop-art illustration. Mozipedia – The Encyclopedia of Morrissey and The Smiths (to give its full title) does what the title implies. For the Morrissey apostle its as indispensable as it is engaging, perhaps one of the few encyclopedias that you feel obliged to start at A and go right through to the end. For a man now in his fiftieth year, you can’t but help think Morrissey would find some amusement in being deemed ‘encyclopedia-worthy’. Simon Goddard, for all his efforts, has surprisingly made it so.