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About this site

This site came about because Morrissey famously didn't include an index in his fabulous 470-page 2013 memoir Autobiography.

I am a web developer, musician, sometime writer and (fairly recent) Morrissey/Smiths fan. I built the site and indexed the book single-handedly on a voluntary basis. There are over 4,200 separate entries in the index. I am not a professional indexer. This website is not authorised by Morrissey, his management or by the publisher Penguin. The site was launched on 22 May 2014, which by a peculiar coincidence was Morrissey's 55th birthday. Simon Goddard, author of definitive Smiths/Morrissey guide Mozipedia, commented (before he deleted his Twitter account!) "The index is a good idea and I'm sure people who've read the book appreciate it." Fab novelist and veteran Smiths fan Dan Rhodes also described the index as "glorious". (Thanks guys.)

The main index (home) page lists all topics uncovered from a close reading of the book. These include people (e.g. Marianne Faithfull, Johnny Marr, Morrissey's grandmother Nannie), places (Queen's Square, Old Trafford, 1498 North Sweetzer Avenue) and general subjects (football, Catholicism, Eurovision Song Contest). Anything significant or otherwise "indexable" has been given an entry in the database, including brands of cigarettes, TV programmes and streets of Manchester. Manchester also has its own page. Not indexed are things like descriptive passages with little specific reference - you'll just have to enjoy those bits yourself :)

You can either page through the main index, in which the terms are listed alphabetically, or use the search box to find topics of interest.

Because Morrissey makes so many passing references to bands, films, songs, places, books and so on, there is a separate Morrissey index which only lists biographical details (e.g. "gets pushed into swimming pool as a child", "early musical experiences") and entries about his solo career. There is also a Smiths index only listing entries about the band.

All page numbers relate to the Penguin Classics 2013 paperback (UK edition).

If you notice any errors or omissions, I would be delighted to fix these, so please send me the details via the contact form.

If you have found the site useful and would like to leave a token of your appreciation you may get me something from my Amazon wish list, buy my own semi-autobiographical book or hire me to build your website. Or you can just tweet at me :)

Update 15/11/14: the sidebar links to the book and the latest album World Peace is None of Your Business were changed to links to encourage visitors to support your local bookshop/record shop. You order through the Hive website and the order is fulfilled by an independent shop near to you with free UK p&p. This is nicer than buying through Amazon (er, my wishlist link above notwithstanding). The album link has since been removed as you can't buy it anymore because "a very clever record company immediately deleted it".

A note on names: Originally names were entered lastname, firstname in traditional index fashion, but this meant that searching for firstname lastname (which most people would do) didn't bring up any results. This has now been fixed, so that you can search on, say, Johnny Marr or Alan Bennett and see all results for that person, while their entries are still displayed in the conventional format of Marr, Johnny and Bennett, Alan respectively. This does mean though that searching in the format lastname, firstname no longer works.

Technical details for web developers and the very bored

This website was built on Drupal 7. A basic installation was created with additional modules including Views and Display Suite. Taxonomy vocabularies were created for general subjects, people, Manchester, Morrissey's biographical details, and The Smiths. A new content type of "entry" was created with a custom field for the page number and autocompleting term reference fields for the taxonomy vocabularies. The separate vocabularies added the inconvenience of skipping around between fields in the CMS but it was the only way to group entries for both admin and front-end convenience. This is what enables the "Morrissey index" and "Smiths index" as those sections show views of only terms in those vocabularies. (I made use of the Taxonomy Manager module for easy copying/moving of terms from one vocabulary to another, but this editing still needed doing at some point, so it may as well be at the node creation stage as the admin stage.) Each "entry" node is simply a record of a single page number or range of pages and the terms that appear on it added in free-tagging style. Originally the content type had "page" as the title field, but I decided to hide the title field using Auto Nodetitles and make the page number a separate field so that when editing I wouldn't have to bother locating the correct node to edit the terms on that page. Instead, when I wanted to add new terms to an existing page I could simply add a new node with the same page number and new terms. The actual nodes created are not shown to the user but are only accessible to me as an admin. I used the Range module to add a field allowing a range of pages for certain entries (e.g. pages 302-342 cover the Mike Joyce legal case) which saved having to add the same topic over and over again in separate nodes.

I then populated the site by simply going through the book (which I had already read through once in normal fashion) one page at a time, adding a node for each page and tagging that page to the items mentioned in it.

The amazing Views module was then used to create the index, showing the term fields and respective page numbers, grouped alphabetically by term name. The nodes themselves are not linked or visible to the user in the view. The view is supposed to display 50 "index entries" per page, but because of a technical oddity between the grouping and pager functions, the 50 count is actually 50 page numbers, so if that limit is reached in the middle of a term group, the group continues onto the next page. According to this Drupal ticket, there isn't currently a way round this. Some difficulty was also experienced in formatting the index in standard convention with the page numbers inline with the terms - if anyone can help with that, please get in touch. (The site has been kept purposefully simple on the front end as quite enough time has been put into the content/data entry!)

Further views were cloned from the main index and adjusted to show subsets of it e.g. only key biographical events detailed in the book (using the "Morrissey biographical details" vocabulary). A version of that view to group biographical entries by page instead of term (i.e. to show everything in page order) was released on 13 August 2014. Because so many references were made to Manchester streets, I considered using OpenLayers to show an actual map of Manchester with the places mentioned pinpointed on it, but there isn't enough specific data in the book (and I don't have sufficient Manchester knowledge) to fully populate the map. That would be a nice project to develop in the future when all's well, but in the meantime I created a Manchester index with a very crude "rewrite" of the street term field in the view to show a map icon linking to Google Maps with the term dynamically tacked onto a static URL, e.g. Trafalgar Square Manchester United Kingdom, which in most cases seems to basically work, although not being a native of Manchester and Manchester being a city with possibly different streets of the same name, some of the streets that show up may not be the correct ones.

An update to the site with a responsive theme was released on 9 September 2014 which makes the site more user-friendly for those viewing it on smartphones and tablets.

Disclaimer and copyright

No copyright in Morrissey's Autobiography is believed to be infringed by this site as it does not use quotations or content from the book but rather records references made in it to simply provide a useful way for readers to find the information they require quickly and dynamically. The website would not impinge on income from the book's sales as the site only really makes sense to users who already own a copy. In terms of "giving away juicy details", the site is no worse than the many freely-available reviews of the book published in "serious" newspapers which did little more than summarise the book's key revelations days after the original publication.

The book cover image is believed to be fair use as it is a publicly available book; the cover photograph is copyright to Paul Spencer. The royalty-free camera icon is from this page. The royalty-free map icon is from this page.

You may freely use, quote from, refer to or link to this site. You may not however reproduce it in full without my permission, and if you use it for professional purposes (for example whilst writing a book about Morrissey or undertaking some other kind of commercial project related to him or the book) a credit to "The Morrissey Autobiography Online Index" and/or to "Thoughtcat" would be appreciated.

Should you have any queries about the site please get in touch.

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