Book review

The Smiths And Beyond
Kevin Cummins
Vision On

The Smiths And BeyondHmm. I despised The Smiths then and my rancour hasn't dimmed at all. It's amazing how long you can keep a dislike for something going. Their biggest contribution to my little universe has been How Soon Is Now?, and that's only because it's the theme tune to Charmed. Shallow? You bet your damn life I am.
    You see when The Smiths hit the streets in . . . what was it . . . '82/'83, I was only interested in supergroups; Kiss, Van Halen . . . you know the drill. Any band that could fit another bang, flash or chord in a small space had it all in my book. What on earth did Morrissey and Marr have for me?! Mötley Crüe or The Smiths? Some choice. I had enough teenage angst myself thanks without anybody else shoveling on the misery.
    Twenty years on and I can still stand by that ruling. My musical taste has gotten better but now I have more than enough adult angst to deal with and can seriously live without a trip down a lane I chose to avoid in the first place. I am not a Smiths fan.

To the book: The Smiths And Beyond is an excellent log of all they ever stood for; elitist anti-establishment trash for students. A plethora of pictures of Morrissey acting like a pompous twat and Marr looking moodily on isn't my idea of a good time. Plenty of folk did like the band though and for those that aren't still stalking Morrisey and don't have obsessive-compulsive disorders, this is probably a great buy.
    There is nothing bad about Cummins photography; the shots are well composed, the scenes well thought out - those that are captured on the fly are particularly excellent - but it still doesn't detract from the fact that he might as well have been taking pictures of guys who live in the same street as any of us, which renders the book a little pointless. Go and look out of your window and save yourself some cash.

In conclusion, some finer points: If they had come out of Liverpool they would have lasted five minutes. I could have shot them a lot better than Cummins. Where are the flash-bombs? What were the other two guys in the band called? No, me neither.
    My vitriol has grown even more now for forcing me use the word 'twat' in a review. How unprofessional. I'm sorry, I couldn't think of anything more descriptive. The Healers are actually a great band. Check them out.

:: Sion Smith

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