Morrissey, the prince of gloomy pop – whose songs of doomed romance and disappointment have touched generations of misfits – reveals today that, aged 50, he is finally at peace with himself.
Speaking on Desert Island Discs, the former lead singer of the Smiths and now a solo artist, says even now he regards suicide as an "honourable" way out: "I think the world is quite dark and quite mad and to be a human being is quite a task. Everybody dies screaming, they don't die laughing. I think self-destruction is honourable, it's an act of great control and I understand people who do it."
But he is not planning to join them yet, claiming to have found stability and self-assurance: "I think if you reach 50 and you're not at one with yourself, whatever that may be, then you're in serious trouble because you've had time to work things out," he tells interviewer Kirsty Young.
Born Steven Patrick Morrissey in 1959 in Manchester he knew from childhood he wanted to be a singer, gaining his education at Paul Marsh's record shop in Moss Side, which he visited from the age of five.
"I was fascinated by this little record shop with wooden floor boards. I was entranced by recorded song, and the emotion that came from people singing. I found it so beautiful, the most powerful, beautiful thing, and I still believe that."
Desert Island Discs is on Radio 4 today at 11.15am and is repeated on Friday at 9amReuse content