With the release of You Are The Quarry propelling Morrissey back into the public consciousness, it seems as good a time as any to reassess the man's back catalogue. Hulmerist was originally released on VHS video back in 1990 and has now been released on DVD for the first time.
The disc contains seven "promotional films" (nothing as vulgar as pop videos for our Moz) which are intercut with footage filmed at Morrissey's first solo gig at Wolverhampton Civic Hall in 1988. The footage mostly consists of interview snippets with various fans, although it does tend to veer off into the surreal at times - four earnest men in Smiths T-shirts stroking donkeys to the sound of classical music appears at one point.
This footage can be safely scanned through, unless you're desperate to see yet another group of worryingly enthusiastic fans chasing after a car that may have Morrissey in. It does show the depth of affection that his followers hold him in, but it's the videos (sorry, promotional films) that are the real draw here.
Hulmerist collects together seven early period solo Morrissey videos and all of them display the quirkiness and humour that has become his trademark. Suedehead for instance finds the man himself riding around on a tractor (and looking hilariously ill at ease at doing so) and visiting James Dean's home in Indiana. Everyday Is Like Sunday follows the story of a disaffected teenage girl in the "seaside town that they forgot to pull down" while the highlight of November Spawned A Monster features Morrissey dancing dramatically in the desert while sporting an impressive quiff, a plaster over one nipple and sniffing at a huge bar of chocolate.
The music too stands the test of time well. Everyday Is Like Sunday still sounds like the classic it was on the day of its release, and November Spawned A Monster is one of Morrissey's finest ever solo moments. The DVD also features a couple of his more underrated moments, such as Interesting Drug, although sadly room is found for the dire Ouija Board Ouija Board.
There's also a live version of Sister I'm A Poet which is taken from that Wolverhampton gig. Musically, it's unremarkable by Morrissey's high standards but as an historical document of his first solo performance it's pretty much vital for all fans. The endless procession of pasty faced young men running on stage in order to hug Morrissey becomes quite tiresome after a while though.
For any fans who need to replace their old VHS copy of Hulmerist this is essential, while anyone new to the Morrissey phenomenon is also bound to find something to attract their interest. A timely reminder that one of England's finest songwriters can also have a pretty good visual sense as well.