Moving house for the second time in six months. Putting books away unearths memories again. Well loved old favourites get dusted down and packed off, destination another bookshelf. Some catch your eye and demand a leaf-through.
Chief among them is Morrissey Shot, Linder Sterling‘s spectacular photobook from Morrissey’s solo golden years, 1991-92. In this period Mozzer shed the seclusion of his early solo years, released a succession of wonderful singles and albums and formed an unlikely songwriting and touring partnership with a pack of rakish Kentish Town quiffed-up Rockabilly boys. The concerts, including the marathon Kill Uncle tours, were the first chance a generation of post-Smiths fans had to come together. The level of fervour and celebration has never been matched since.
Sterling’s photos capture the fun and curiosity of this time.
Morrissey looks fabulous throughout, mysterious and imposing on stage, at turns playful and melancholy off it. Boz Boorer and the rest of ‘The Lads’ as clueless critics dubbed them lark around in the background. Through it all fans provide constant inspiration for Sterling. Several shots capture fleeting, tender moments between fan and singer, a snatched moment indelible to the fan, one of thousands for Morrissey. The faces of the crowd, from Dundee to Tokyo, are potraits of wide-eyed excitement. There are a few examples here.
Morrissey went on to record two of the best albums of the 90s – Your Arsenal and Vauxhall and I – then end the decade in exile. Fans continued to believe and fight the good fight against lazy critics of a genius. His concerts are still wonderful, celebratory affairs – you’ll see quiffs, hearing aids and flowers harking back to the mid-eighties – and it would be a disaster to miss Morrissey when he passes through your town. But to see him at his most handsome, his most creative and most alive, seek out a second-hand copy of Morrissey Shot.