AA Gill rewarded for Morrissey hatchet job

Feb 12, 2014

Withering review of The Smiths frontman's autobiography is hailed as an 'expert caning'

SUNDAY TIMES columnist AA Gill has won the Hatchet Job of the Year award, presented by The Omnivore website for his scathing review of Morrissey's autobiography.

"It is a heavy tome, utterly devoid of insight, warmth, wisdom or likeability," Gill wrote in his 1,200 word demolition of Morrissey's work, published in October last year. "It is a potential firelighter of vanity, self-pity and logorrhoeic dullness."

Gill was also scathing about Morrissey's insistence that the book be released as a Penguin Classic. "Putting it in Penguin Classics doesn't diminish Aristotle or Homer or Tolstoy; it just roundly mocks Morrissey, and this is a humiliation constructed by the self-regard of its victim."

The review was hailed as an "expert caning" by a panel of judges including Rosie Boycott, Brian Sewell and John Sutherland.

"The 30 reviewers on the long list were easily reduced to eight, and then, as we knocked them off the list from bottom to the top, the winner emerged without argument," said Sewell.

The review, which can be read in full on The Omnivore, declared Morrissey's summation of his early life to be "laughably overwrought and overwritten, a litany of retrospective hurt and score-settling that reads like a cross between Madonna and Catherine Cookson".

Gill is the second Sunday Times journalist to receive the award, the Guardian reports. Last year Camilla Long took first place for her review of Rachel Cusk's memoir, Aftermath, which she declared to be the work of "a brittle little dominatrix and peerless narcissist who exploits her husband and her marriage with relish".

The award was established to "raise the profile of professional critics and to promote integrity and wit in literary journalism". AA Gill's reward was the coveted "Golden Hatchet" gong and a year's supply of potted shrimp, presented last night at a ceremony in the Coach and Horses pub in Soho, London.

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Oh dear me is Gill looking for a bit of the old establishments conformist tin "award"?

While Morrissey laughs all the way to the bank.

good for him, fact still stands that morrissey can't write a book and should probably just go away now

Logorrhoeic, a word I don't know in a review of a book written by a man who captured the vanity and self-pity of the teen years in a way that was authentic and vital and fresh. I am comforted that Morrissey uses the book to settle scores with his teachers - a man-child still after all these years and quite right too. One of his songs came on the radio and it gave me goosebumps. Morrissey and I know a word that the permanently self-satisfied Mr Gill may not care for but describes him and his trite and not particularly well-written review to a tee.
That word is cock.