Mozipedia is the work of a true Morrissey fan
Mozipedia: The Encyclopedia of Morrissey and the Smiths
By Simon Goddard. Ebury Press, 532 pp, softcover
Having already penned what is inarguably the definitive work on the music of the Smiths (Songs That Saved Your Life), who better than Simon Goddard to write an alphabetical reference book on the band and its mercurial singer, Steven Patrick Morrissey?
Mozipedia: The Encyclopedia of Morrissey and the Smiths was first published in the U.K. in 2009, with an American edition appearing in 2010. The release of the present updated softcover version seems timely, given recent rumours that the Smiths will be reuniting at Coachella next year (they won't) and that Morrissey's current tour is a series of farewell concerts (it isn't).
You have to be something of a Moz obsessive to read a book like this cover to cover, but even casual fans will get something out of flipping through it randomly, stopping on entries that cover everything from the brief tenure of second Smiths guitarist Craig Gannon to Morrissey's belief in ghosts and his friendship with Michael Stipe.
Goddard writes with the fervour of a true fan. He's no slavish devotee, mind you, and he's not shy about sharing his dislike of, for example, Moz's 1997 album Maladjusted. He calls the disc "sickly", citing its "homogeneous mediocrity" and even its "horrendous" sleeve design.
Goddard isn't exactly stingy with his praise, however. In a section detailing the partnership between Morrissey and Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, he posits that "no group before or since have nailed so many shocking colours to so tall a mast. None have had the courage to call an album anything so divisive as Meat Is Murder or The Queen Is Dead, or a single 'Shoplifters of the World Unite', or write a chorus as inciting as 'hang the DJ!' and record it, literally, out of the mouths of babes."
If skimming through Mozipedia makes you want to put the book down and dig out your copy of Louder Than Bombs, Goddard would probably approve.