"Reader Meet Author"
(Morrissey/Boz Boorer)


These words are transcribed without permission the way they appear in the "My Early Burglary Years" album. There are no variations between the printed lyrics and what Morrissey actually sings in the studio version.

You don't know a thing about their lives
they live where you wouldn't dare to drive
you shake as you think of how they sleep
but you write as if you all lie side by side
Reader - meet author, with the hope of
hearing sense
but you may be feeling let-down
by the words of defence
he says "no one ever sees me 1
when I cry"
You don't know a thing about their lives
books don't save them, books aren't
Stanley knives
and if a fight broke out here tonight
you'd be the first away because 2,3
you're that type
and the year 2000 won't change 4
anyone here
as each fabled promise flies so fast you'll
swear it was never there
have you ever escaped from a
shipwrecked life? 5
So safely with your software miles
from the front line
you hear the way the sad voice sings 6
and you start to imagine things
Oh any excuse to write more lies. 7


1 Now and then in live performances of this song in 1995 and 1997 Morrissey sang "no one ever hears me when I cry". In North America on the 2000 half of the Oye Esteban tour he introduced the change "you see no one really knows how hard I try". He dropped it by the time the tour hit Latin America.

2 Now and then on the 1997 Maladjusted tour and the 1999 Oye Esteban tour Morrissey sang "I'd be the first away because I'm that type". He particularly liked to do it on the second American leg of the Maladjusted tour.

3 In early acoustic versions of this song recorded during the Miraval sessions for the "Southpaw Grammar" album Morrissey sang "It doesn't help us to know how well you type".

4 After the turn of the century Morrissey changed this line to "The year 2000, it hasn't changed anyone here". It did take 5 performances of the song in 2000 before he started doing the change, and he did stop doing it in Latin America because he was more conservative with his lyric changes in that part of the world.

5 When performing this song on the "Southpaw Grammar" tour in 1995, Morrissey sometimes changed this line to "have you ever escaped from a Manchester life?". On the 1997 Maladjusted tour, he often sang "Say, have you ever escaped from a shipwrecked life?" or "I say, have you ever escaped from a shipwrecked life?". He also sometimes made similar changes to adapt the line to the cities being visited (for example "have you ever escaped from a Phoenix life?" in 1999 or "have you ever escaped from a Tulsa life?" in 2006).

6 On the Oye Esteban tour and the Tour Of The Tormentors MMVI, Morrissey often sang this line as "you hear the way this sad voice sings", which probably implied that the author in question listens to Morrissey.

7 On a few late 1999 dates of the Oye Esteban tour Morrissey ended the song with "thank God, thank God, more lies" or "...for lies" instead of the usual mumbling.



In an interview published in Q Magazine in September 1995, to the question "'Reader Meet Author' seems to be about people who 'slum it'." Morrissye answered "I've come across it many times. It's a fascinating phenomenon. Especially amongst music journalists who pretend to understand all aspects of life however degrading. It amuses me that these people are middle class and I know a few and their preoccupation is in meddling with the destitute and desperate as a hobby. Middle-class writers are fascinated by those who struggle. They find it righteous and amusing... On the song you mention, I sing, 'The year 2000 won't change anyone here' and that's true. It won't change their lives. They won't be catapulted into space age culture and mobile fax machines. The poor remain poor. Someone has to work in Woolworth's."

In an interview published in the RTE Guide in January 1996, Morrissey said "Reader Meets Author is about a lot of middle-class journalists I know who think they have an understanding of the working classes and their fascinations, which they patently do not."