Let’s face it: England Is Mine, the unauthorised Morrissey biopic that focusses on the singer’s pre-Smiths life, was always going to be shrouded in controversy. And so it has come to pass with James Maker, a close childhood friend of Morrissey’s, slamming the film as “disingenuous”, “insulting” and “historical fiction”.
The film premiered yesterday at the Edinburgh Film Festival but Maker, who later fronted the bands Raymonde and RPLA, took to Facebook to pour scorn on the film.
A statement from him reads: “According to the trailer of 'England Is Mine', Morrissey was an autistic, retiring creature with both curly hair and a natural crimp, who had to be physically pushed into becoming a singer by a well-meaning friend (one who did not actually communicate with Morrissey throughout The Smiths' success). Worse, they have put him in a green duffle coat and given him not one line of the Morrissyean wit we have all come to know. It is not a biopic, but historical fiction. A strange move, considering that those formative years have been so abundantly well-documented.
“I knew him then, and I knew the house at 384 Kings Road. Morrissey’s mother should sue the filmmakers on their misrepresentation of her curtaining, alone. But the fact is, this is not Morrissey. The premise that if Morrissey could be a singer, then anybody could, is disingenuous, and rather insulting to his original talent as an artist.
“At the time, and previous to the formation of The Smiths, Morrissey had very few close friends. This is documented in Morrissey’s memoir, ‘Autobiography’, and my memoir, AutoFellatio. I do not appear in the film, and characters who did not exist in real life are invented by the film-makers.
“I am relieved not to be included, because if they can portray the protagonist as a person with crimped hair who relies upon guiding hands on shoulders, to thrust him through life’s revolving doors, then I am merely someone who, miraculously, managed to venture further than the 'NO BALL GAMES' sign posted adjacent to my bedroom window.”
You’ll have to go see the film yourself to find out if it paints a vulgar picture or tells a miserable lie.