Critic's Notebook: Morrissey, Cheez-Its, and Chastain


It's been a busy spring and summer, so we were glad to finally have the chance to sit down a few weeks ago with Morrissey's Autobiography which was published in the U.S. last winter. It's every bit as good as you might imagine, and it's especially fascinating to learn some surprising tidbits about Moz. For instance, As a teenager, he applied for a job at Target in Denver, Colo., but was turned down. An even more shocking revelation: in high school, he excelled at sports.

The most shareable moment for Atlanta fans comes towards the end when Moz offers a blistering description of his experience giving a concert at Chastain Park in 2007. Atlantans have known Chastain as the outdoor amphitheater where you can bring in a picnic basket for so long now that most of us think nothing of it, but apparently the fact that people eat dinner there came as a terrible shock to Moz:

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I walk onstage at Chastain Park in Atlanta and I am confused by the audience. In fact, I do not know who or what or where I am. The audience appears to be all families sitting at tables, ploughing into their homemade hampers of Jesus knows what. Evidently this is what happens at Chastain Park — everyone brings their lunch of skyscraper wedges with a sprinkle of rabbit neck and eagle shit. What a very strange sight it all is. I can't help wondering how much sow belly gets crunched each time I launch into another crowd-killer. Why am I here? "Well," manager Merck Moz's manager tells me, "It's the salt pork American underbelly, and if you can crack it here then ... you've cracked it."

Cracked what? The chili-dog fraternity? The po-boy submarine grinders' club? Get me out! I launch a box of Cheez-Its into the audience shouting, "You've brought your lunch—here's mine," which, as ever, just isn't funny.

I was at that concert in 2007, and I have to disagree somewhat with Morrissey's take on the evening. He said "dinner," not "lunch," and it was kind of funny. Creative Loafing contributor Andisheh Nouraee, who was also there, confirms with his report from 2007.

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