Mozlandia: Book by UL scholar examines an icon

Mozlandia: Book by UL scholar examines an icon

Dr Melissa Hidalgo, UL

A NEW book by a visiting Fulbright Research Fellow at UL examining the impact of musician Morrissey was launched in Limerick this week.

Mozlandia: Morrissey Fans in the Borderlands examines the former Smiths' frontman's popularity along the US-Mexico border and was written by Dr Melissa Hidalgo - a Morrissey fan since her final year of high school in 1991.

The book - launched in the Kasbah Social Club this Wednesday night - is the first book to investigate in detail the fan sub-cultures associated with the artist in Los Angeles and beyond and is also the first to chronicle this community of fans of the singer in the region, often described as ‘Moz Angeles’.

While Melissa has never met the Manchester music icon, she believes that this actually helped to focus her book on the fans of Morrissey rather than the singer and his well-documented life, while she said it counters “many myths” about his legion of followers.

“They are often misrepresented as sad, depressed people, but most people have day jobs, they work in their communities and we find groups of multi-dimensional people who are brought together by Morrissey,” she said.

Born in Montebello, east of East Los Angeles, Dr Hidalgo’s previous publications include short fiction, scholarly essays and beer blogs.

Holding a PhD in Literature from the University of California, the visiting Fulbright Research Fellow with the Popular Music and Popular Culture Research Cluster in UL, said her love of the artist stemmed from “an enjoyment of his lyrics and appreciation of their literary value” and outlined how she felt “empowered” by Morrissey’s music.

“When you’re growing up Mexican in Los Angeles and you’re already told that you’re not smart, you don’t belong in school, it was a way to fight against that: the fact that his lyrics were always so witty and always made these references made us feel smarter,” she explained.

According to the Californian, she “fell in love” with the UL campus on her first visit here last year.

“I was really just taken by its beauty, the river that flows through the campus, the bridge and the connection to the world academy,” she said.