'Ere Long Done Do Does Did
Toronto, Canada: Self-published, 2018
128 pp., 5 x 7", hardcover in slipcase
The result of about five years worth of research, 'Ere Long Done Do Does Did is a 128-page bookwork comprised entirely of pages from literature, poetry, film criticism and true crime books which have been source material for song lyrics by Morrissey and the Smiths. The pages are presented facsimile, and arranged in sequential order, according to the original page number. The first sentence in the volume is a line paraphrased for Morrissey's "I Know Who I Love" and the final line is lifted for the Smiths' "Well I Wonder".
The title comes from "Cemetry Gates", a song on the Smiths 1986 LP The Queen is Dead:
You say : "'Ere long done do does did"
Words which could only be your own
And then produce the text
From whence was ripped
(Some dizzy whore, 1804)
The song cites Oscar Wilde as a kind of patron saint of plagiarism, and his famous quote on the subject ("Talent borrows, genius steals") was etched in the vinyl run-out grooves of the first single from the album, "Bigmouth Strikes Again".
Conversely, the lyrics warn against appropriation, and of a busybody "with a big nose who knows, you'll trip you up and laugh when you fall". However, elsewhere in the song this stanza:
All those people, all those lives
Where are they now?
With loves, and hates
And passions just like mine
They were born
And then they lived
And then they died
It seems so unfair
I want to cry
is borrowed, almost wholesale, from the play The Man Who Came To Dinner by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart:
All those people, all those lives. Where are they now? Here was a woman like myself, a woman who once lived and loved, full of the same passions, fears, jealousies, hates (...) I want to cry.
The cover graphic features Elizabeth Smart, the Ottawa writer whose 1945 classic novella By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept was used as the source of numerous early Smiths songs, and a few solo tracks. The verso features an image from the home of Joe Orton and his lover (and eventual murderer) Kenneth Halliwell. The walls are collaged with pages that the couple tore out of library books. The Smiths' song title "Death at One's Elbow" is taken verbatim from Orton's diaries, and the playwright was initially considered as a cover star for one of the band's LPs or singles.
The hardcover copy in a wooden slipcase pictured above is the exhibition copy. The work is sold as a softcover book, accompanied by one of six prints (see above), for $300 CDN. The prints are images of six of the source titles (of approximately 80), which have been annotated with colour coded tabs.
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