Morrissey fans have a reputation as being a slightly obsessive bunch; they’re the ones who stuck by their hero despite the lawsuits and fallout of The Smiths and they have the record collection (and quite often it seems) tattoos to prove it. It would be easy to dismiss any new books on the singer as the products of such fans capitalising on their encounters with the singer, yet Len Brown’s biography is quite different. He is the journalist who has interviewed the Mancunian legend the most, often being privileged with interviews ahead of any other writers.

‘Meetings with Morrissey’ contains plenty of interviews straight from the horses’ mouth, but while question and answer style interrogations often seem bland on paper, Brown’s story telling and Morrissey’s honest answers bring the whole thing to life. Len Brown sets the scene in the first chapter by drawing comparisons between Morrissey and his hero Oscar Wilde; it’s not a new parallel but it’s explored in an engaging way, with Brown’s first interview with the singer set in the Cadogan Hotel in London where Wilde was famously arrested. Biographical details of the singer’s career and background are interspersed with the story of Brown’s own career, as relative to Morrisseys’ rise, and he gives his own theories on many of the singer’s works. On occasion, this seems to go a little far, for example when he voices the possibility that Morrissey might wear a hearing aid on stage because Oscar Wilde’s father was an ear surgeon. It’s an interesting theory but a little far-fetched for most, although many of his other musings on the great singer’s works do cast and interesting light on his lyrics. It’s fair to say that if you’re a Smiths fan and know very little about Oscar Wilde before reading this book, you’ll inevitably be intrigued to learn more.

It’s great to read a piece of musical journalism that balance’s the author’s own enthusiasm for the artist, and an interesting analysis of what makes the artist so great. The book describes the rise and fall of The Smiths and Morrissey's solo career in depth, with relevant interviews throughout. There’s even a section at the end of the book with a catalogue of Morrissey’s influences, ranging from Coronation Street stars to literary heroes, which is fascinating given that so many of his lyrics may remain incomprehensible until you understand the people who inspired him. ‘Meetings with Morrissey’ functions as an educational experience and a jolly good read at the same time and feels as though it brings you closer to the real legend that is Steven Patrick Morrissey.