Shelagh Delaney

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Shelagh Delaney


Shelagh Delaney (25 November 1938 – 20 November 2011) was an English dramatist and screenwriter, best known for her debut work, A Taste Of Honey (1958).[1] She also wrote Charlie Bubbles.

  • Cover star: Girlfriend In A Coma, Louder Than Bombs.
  • A clip from Shelagh Delaney's Salford was used as one of the tour intermission videos in 2008 and 2009[2]. Following the news of Shelagh's death in Nov. 2011, Morrissey featured her image as a backdrop on tour.[3]
  • Shelagh Delaney is listed as a one of the "Heroes" in the Morrissey questionnaire culled from the 1985 Meat Is Murder Tour Programme.[4]
  • One of Morrissey's favourite books: "The Lion In Love" - via NME interview (1983):

[Morrissey - "Portrait Of The Artist As A Consumer"]

  • From an interview with Morrissey by Ian Pye in NME, June 7, 1986 - "Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em":[5]

What he objects to are those smug anal retentives who think they've found you out and denounce your entire canon of work as tainted by theft. "Obviously most people who write do borrow from other sources," he contends. "They steal from other's clothes lines. I mentioned the line 'I dreamt about you last night and I fell out of bed twice' in 'Reel Around The Fountain,' which comes directly from A Taste Of Honey, and to this day I'm whipped persistently for the use of that line.

"I've never made any secret of the fact that at least 50 percent of my reason for writing can be blamed on Shelagh Delaney who wrote A Taste Of Honey. And 'This Night Has Opened My Eyes' is a Taste Of Honey song - putting the entire play to words. But I have never in my life made any secrets of my reference points.

"Just because there's one line that's a direct lift people will now say to me that 'Reel Around The Fountain' is worthless, ignoring the rest of it which almost certainly comes from my brain. Oscar Wilde... I've found so many instances where he has directly lifted from others. To me that's fine. But because I'm so serious about writing, people are so serious about tripping me up."

  • From an interview with Morrissey by Mike Allen in Graffiti, Oct. 1986 - "Morrissey Makes Six Points":[6]

Are the Smiths literate?
I've read everything. I've read everything twice. There is one writer I don't think you over here have heard of -- Shelagh Delaney, who came from Manchester in the late '50s. The most famous thing she wrote -- at the age of 19 -- was A Taste Of Honey. It was made into a hugely successful motion picture. She has inspired me more than anybody. I also have a vast collection of Oscar Wilde. I find him endlessly fascinating. I found a first edition here, it cost me $35.

  • From an interview with Morrissey by Andrew Male in Mojo, Apr. 2006 - "Happy Now?":[7]

Given how much your early songs were influenced by such inspirational writers as Shelagh Delaney and Elizabeth Smart, what was the first unfettered song you wrote, where you thought, these people have helped me but now I can fly free?
It's a good question and it probably didn't happen until very late because a spark of me was always very, erm, unsure and that's when I think you rely on other people's ideas. I mean, I know I overdid it with Shelagh Delaney. It took me a long, long time to shed that particular one. [But] no one is ever quite as original as they think they are. I always considered the great mesh of all my influences had emerged in me as something that was (unique enough).

  • Statement by Morrissey on Shelagh Delaney's death in Nov. 2011 on[8][9]:


A genuine poet has passed through the world. Shelagh Delaney exercised a wide influence with the shock of plain language, and shafts of satiric wit, into a severe and donnish 1950s world where working-class people had thus far been assumed to be simplistic, flag-waving cannon-fodder. Her writing was a magnificent confession of life as it was commonly lived in her hometown of Salford, with all of its carefully preserved monotony. She was attacked for immorality, which, then as now, is proof that you have hit on something.

'A Taste of Honey' was a sentiment that had not been expressed before its time - far more real than life.

It was the Salford of sagging roofs, rag and bone men, walk-up flats, derelict sites, rear-entrance buses, and life in tight circumstances.

Shelagh Delaney did not become fat with success, or become a celebrity, because she was of richer intellect.

She has always been a part of my life as a perfect example of how to get up and get out and do it. If you worry about respect you don't get it. Shelagh Delaney had it and didn't seem to notice it.

Los Angeles, November 2011.

Image Gallery


  1. Shelagh Delaney Wikipedia page. Wikipedia. Retrieved from
  2. Kewpie. (2010-05-22). Morrissey Tour Videos. Morrissey-solo. Retrieved from
  3. FER. (2011-11-22). Escondido, CA - Center for the Arts (Nov. 22, 2011) post-show. Morrissey-solo. Retrieved from
  4. Questionnaire culled from Meat Is Murder Tour Programme. Meat Is Murder tour programme. Retrieved from
  5. Ian Pye. Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. NME. Retrieved from
  6. Mike Allen. Morrissey Makes Six Points. Grafitti. Retrieved from
  7. Andrew Male. Happy Now?. Mojo. Retrieved from
  8. Shelagh Delaney (2011-11-21). True To You. Retrieved from
  9. Uncleskinny. (2011-11-21). Shelagh Delaney has died. Morrissey-solo. Retrieved from

Mentioned In

Wikipedia Information


Shelagh Delaney FRSL (; 25 November 1938 – 20 November 2011) was an English dramatist and screenwriter. Her debut work, A Taste of Honey (1958), has been described by Michael Patterson as "probably the most performed play by a post-war British woman playwright".