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Why pamper life’s complexities?

Rachel Winterbottom on an educated tale of one of Manchester's most celebrated bands

Written by . Published on November 18th 2010.

Why pamper life’s complexities?

The Smiths: a Manchester band that respected muso Matthew Kelly once said made ‘miserable fashionable’, have now been immortalised in a book that brings together the worlds of academia and pop culture.

The band were named NME’s most influential recording artists of the last 50 years; Morrissey made runner-up in BBC’s Living Icons, and even David Cameron, with no trace of irony, declared the melancholy quartet were his faves.

From chaotic management to court cases and the band’s untimely demise: Why pamper life’s complexities? charts it all, from numerous angles, with an academic’s know-how and a fan’s fervour.

Following 90s ambivalence (only one fan turned up to the royalties court case), and proving popular culture can still be unpredictable, the band is now firmly back in the public sphere. The Smiths might have been in and out of fashion, but they have also been political, radical and controversial. The book brings their notorious history back into focus.

Manchester University Press will be hosting a rare launch event in the city centre, on a night not like any other. If there really is ‘more to life than books’, in this case the ‘more’ is the opportunity to discuss the topic with people who know what they’re talking about, and the qualifications to prove it. Be prepared for passionate debate and talk about precious things; Manchester has much to answer for.

The launch event for Why pamper life’s complexities? Essays on the Smiths is taking place on 26th November at 6.30pm, Waterstone’s Deansgate, Manchester. The evening will start with a panel discussion and finish with a drinks reception and book signing in 2nd View, Waterstone’s’ swanky new cocktail lounge-cum-eatery.

The event will also provide fans with a unique opportunity to take part in a panel discussion with authors and editors, chaired by Dave Haslam, Manchester DJ of Haçienda fame and author of Manchester, England (Sunday Times’ Pop Music Book of the Year).

Haslam, who knows so much about these things (nice – ed), describes the book as ‘full of insights; the collection rightly and passionately takes The Smiths as seriously even as Morrissey takes himself, but there’s room for fanciful analysis too. There’s more than enough here to convince even a sceptical reader of the band’s unique cultural contribution.’

With intelligence, unique insight and wit, the book discusses a whole host of topics, from and Catholicism to sexuality and suicide; the city of Manchester, cultural iconography and - of course - the cult of Morrissey.

Even if the tickets are all gone, and you ‘haven’t got a stitch to wear’ (sorry), you can always join the press, authors, editors and revellers for a spot of book-buying in 2nd View, and finish the evening with everyone in the bar and, later, a club if you’d like to go (that’s enough – ed).

Tickets for the launch cost £3, and can be purchased online at www.wegottickets.com. More details can be found on the Manchester University Press homepage - here - or by contacting Bethan Hirst on 0161 275 2310.

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Kevin TilleyNovember 21st 2010.

How is this a launch event? According to Amazon this was published September/October.
Also, how come the hardback is £65 & the paperback £13....

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