** update – The BBC edit of the Morrissey interview removed his quote comparing killing a stag to killing a child and some comments reprinted below about his autobiography. This piece was based on an advance version of the interview.
David Cameron is no better than a child killer because of his participation in stag-hunting, Morrissey has claimed, in a BBC interview which renews his feud with the Prime Minister.
Giving an extensive interview to Radio 4’s Front Row programme, Morrissey confirmed that he has joined Johnny Marr, his former Smiths partner, in “banning” Cameron from liking their band. The Queen Is Dead was said to be the PM’s favourite album at Oxford.
“He’s (Cameron) been to many, many Morrissey concerts,” said the singer, who denied that he has banned the PM from going backstage.
“I’ve never met him and he’s never knocked on my dressing room door. When you make music, you hope that anyone listens whoever they may be. But when someone with such an extreme lifestyle as David Cameron – killing a stag as a hobby, a sport – then you’re mystified.”
Would he open the dressing room door to Cameron? “I don’t think I would because it’s a moral issue. Killing a stag is like killing a child, what’s the difference?”
Morrissey has reunited with Marr on one issue – “banning” Cameron from liking The Smiths. “Yes, because David Cameron is a hunter and he kills stag and that is everything the Smiths were against.”
The ban may not be strictly enforceable though. “When you release something into the world…you can’t really insist that people listen or don’t listen so it’s very difficult.
“But sometimes you see people who you would least expect to be interested and have a lifestyle which you oppose and yet they are very influenced by something you’ve done.”
Revealing the first concrete news of the tome to Front Row, the Smiths icon said he has completed 600 pages and is now editing the volume.
He wants the book to be published as a Penguin Classic but claims to have received no offers. In fact publishers are desperate for the book, which Morrissey, clearly aware of its value, promises will be a “literary event”.
The Moz, who said he would have become a novelist if the solo career faltered, can expect to match the £3.5 million Keith Richards pocketed for his autobiography last year, which proved to be readable but sorely lacking in the lurid revelations readers might have hoped for.
Morrissey said: “I’ve reached the redrafting and trimming stage. I’ve been through my whole life, in many ways.
“I just wonder if 660 pages is too much for people to bear. And then I sit down and think are six pages too much for people to bear. I really don’t know, so I’m trimming.”
He must have written a couple of hundred thousand words? “Yes, which is baffling because I’m really not that interesting. So I don’t know why I’ve written so much. And now I’m thinking of other people and I’m trying to trim, seriously.”
Did he offer it to Penguin Classics? “That was right. I can’t see why not, a contemporary Penguin Classic. When you consider what really hits print these days and when you look at the autobiographies and how they are sold, most of it is appalling.
“It’s a publishing event, not a literary event. I don’t understand that. It’s a strange world to enter into.” Has he accepted an offer? No. “I’d like it to go to Penguin but only if they published it as a classic.”
Morrissey says he’s “very happy” with The Smiths’ legacy but feels no need to add to it with a reunion: “It won’t happen, there’s no reunion point at all.”
But has Morrissey been roused into penmanship by the news that Marr is now to write his own version of events? Marr tweeted: “I have been offered a book deal, a serious one. It will be an autobiography of course, that or about my collection of fascinating public bus tickets.” Sadly, Moz says he doesn’t follow Marr on Twitter.
Front Row is available on the Radio 4 website for 7 days after broadcast
Morrissey plays Glastonbury on Friday June 24 and releases a new compilation, The Very Best Of Morrissey on 25 April.