Written by Peter Metcalfe

As a Mancunian fan of the Smiths born 10 days after the author, the book had a resonance with me and I enjoyed it. It captures the early atmosphere of the working class city that was to spawn Joy Division, The Buzzcocks and The Fall amongst many others.

It’s very much an autobiography of a man living with depression and Asperger’s yet still living a full life. He has been a successful musician, studio producer, landscape gardener, IT systems administrator and cafe & nightclub owner. And he has struggled with relationships throughout his life going through four marriages.

The fact that he was the bassist in the world famous band seems secondary although I’m sure Smiths fans will be interested by his insights into Morrissey and Johnny Marr’s personalities. Dale didn’t get on with Morrissey and found him ‘aloof and extremely quiet’ – even when they shared a motorbike ride. Johnny Marr on the other hand is a typical outgoing Mancunian full of swagger and it was he who invited Dale to be the bassist with the fledgling Smiths until he was replaced by Andy Rourke 6 months later. It was Johnny Marr who broke the news to Dale in November 1982 after The Smiths had played their first ever gig. The author claims to this day he doesn’t know the reason for his departure but seems convinced that it was Steven’s (as Morrisey insisted on being called) decision.

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