Brought to you by The Omnivore, The Hatchet Job of the Year Award is for the writer of the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past twelve months. It aims to raise the profile of professional critics and to promote integrity and wit in literary journalism. The prize is a year’s supply of potted shrimp, courtesy of The Fish Society. The prize-giving will take place at the Coach and Horses in Soho.
A A Gill on Autobiography by Morrissey
His most pooterishly embarrassing piece of intellectual social climbing is having this autobiography published by Penguin Classics. Not Modern Classics, you understand, where the authors can still do book signings, but the classic Classics, where they’re dead and some of them only have one name. Molière, Machiavelli, Morrissey.
He has made up for being alive by having a photograph of himself pretending to be dead on the cover. The book’s publication was late and trade gossip has it that Steve insisted on each and every bookshop taking a minimum order of two dozen, misunderstanding how modern publishing works. But this is not unsurprising when you read the book. He is constantly moaning about record producers not pressing enough discs to get him to No 1. What is surprising is that any publisher would want to publish the book, not because it is any worse than a lot of other pop memoirs, but because Morrissey is plainly the most ornery, cantankerous, entitled, whingeing, self-martyred human being who ever drew breath. And those are just his good qualities.