Mark E. Smith : "A Tribute?"
Those of you who are sick of the recent barrage of Italian Post-Industrial Noise have been rescued,momentarily by the untimely death of the Bard of Prestwich, Mark Edward Smith.Yea,he of The Fall.
I once thought that 'The Fall' was a good name for a group,until I realised it was American for 'Autumn'!?.....very proto-gothic I thought.
This Band.....oh sorry.....'Group', as Mark E. always insisted they were, fitted very nicely into the exclusive ,canon of 'groups' such as Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, as 'groups' one could NOT get into on the first encounter. As with Beefheart, the first time I heard 'The Fall' I was immediately enamored and wanted more, like Oliver Twist approaching the Mr Bumble of accepted Rock'n'Roll myths for more Gruel. If there was a food equivalent for The Fall, it could only be a grubby bowl of tepid Gruel. Marks corresponding Dickensian character would have had to have been Fagin, and the endless supply of Group members would have been his gang of child pick-pockets,but with worse clothes.
I first heard The Fall (mark 1),aged 14, predictably on the John Peel show back in '78. "Stepping Out" from the 'Live at the Electric Circus' blue ten incher on ,incredibly, Virgin Records, was the track. I found this short discordant tune was to this date the weirdest thing i'd ever heard, even alongside the moment my record player needle hit the grooves of "Frownland", the opener to 'Trout Mask replica'.
That saturday I asked my Mother to pop into the record shop to get me a copy.
'Twas a thing of great beauty in its opaque electric blue vinyl, made even better as it introduced me to Joy Division as well. But it was the two tracks by The Fall that were by far the most intriguing.Both tracks ('Stepping Out, and Last Orders') would have been very relevant for Mark's funeral service in my opinion, predictably followed by 'Bill Is Dead' and ' New face In Hell' from the post-Bramah period.
Then i was privileged to hear the first Peel session from 1978, which included the best ever Fall song in my opinion, "Industrial estate".....I Know Mark will be spinning in his Urn, but its a fact.
Then I spotted "Bingo-Masters Breakout" stuck on the wall of Revolver Records in Leicester, opposite Gary Linekers' family vegatable stall in the market.
Wow!..."Psycho Mafia" , and "Repetition",which set out The Fall's musical manifesto in three letters, The three 'R's....Repetition, Repetition, Repetition!...Perfect.
All the tunes on the first singles and "Live at the Witch Trials" were indeed......Perfect in their imperfection........then, as happens with everything 'good', the human ego takes hold and ruins everything. Mark wanted the 'Group' to be his backing 'Band', and he was to be the poet in the spotlight. So Martin Bramah, the musicial brains behind the early Fall, left (returning for the last great ,despite the inclusion of a DJ(?) in the line-up?,Fall Album, "Extricate" in 1990).
I again sent my long suffering Mother downtown to Revolver to get "Dragnet", the second album, and the first Mark E. Smith and backing band record. The magic had gone for me, and it was only 1979! If it wasn't for the Vocals and lyrical content,it would have been not much different to any Spherical Objects album from the same town and era. It had the lo-fi clautrophobic atmosphere, and a greyness about it,but it just sounded like a 'Band' of also-rans, following orders to these ears. Some good singles followed and a few more decent albums, but it never again recreated the spark the early records achieved for me.
But......as a Poet and Word E. Smith , he was probably second to none. Of course he had to have a backing 'Band', or no-one would have had the pleasure of his written script. No matter how slurred his delivery became in the last twenty years of the 'Groups' existence, the lyrical content was always interesting and worthy of study in English Literature classes of the near-future.
Then during the eighties, in the period when Mark E. was seen dancing in video's, wearing eye-liner and Armani suits, a bizarre mental illness reared its ugly head....."The Fall Fan" became common place.
Mostly post-teenage male professionals with thinning male pattern baldness, they delighted in telling anyone who would listen who their Favourite Group was, with an 'Ain't I weird' smirk. Willing the person on the receiving end of this announcement to have an aptly confused expression on their face.
Bank managers were regularly seen replacing the Jazz cd's on their coffee table with a copy of "Hex Enduction Hour".As much as Mark hated being accidentally,but on purpose, 'Cool', his 'Group' were now inevitably accessories for the Yuppie classes and trainspotters everywhere to appear 'Cool'.
Yes, a Fall Gig was a depressing experience.
But we still have the records, and The Complete Peel Sessions is arguably the best one, even if it goes downhill musically from the third session onwards....."Australians In Europe" excepted.
The words however will live on in infamy ,....infamy,infamy they all had it infa-him!
He should be interred in Poets Corner in Westminster abbey, but the great man,contrary as always would have viewed that as a failure. So an unmarked grave in hallowed ground in Prestwich will have to suffice methinks? He was, remarkably, a Christian after-all!?
|Mark E. Smith as the man at C&A!?|
PS...Oh, and by the way, yes he sacked a lot of group members and was permanently Drunk for at least 20 years, but he was one of the grand dukes of DIY philosophy,so he' earned this mealy mouthed tribute well.Hopefully he won't just be remembered only for being the drunk megalomaniac he's so often portrayed as? RIP MES.
1-1 Futures And Pasts 2:35
1-2 Mother-Sister! 3:07
1-3 Rebellious Jukebox 2:59
1-4 Industrial Estate 1:44
1-5 Put Away 3:33
1-6 Mess Of My 3:13
1-7 No Xmas For John Quays 4:12
1-8 Like To Blow 1:46
1-9 Container Drivers 3:38
1-10 Jawbone And The Air-Rifle 3:22
1-11 New Puritan 7:13
1-12 New Face In Hell 5:02
1-13 Middlemass 3:53
1-14 Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul 2:41
1-15 Hip Priest 9:23
1-16 C'n'C / Hassle Schmuck 4:13
2-1 Deer Park 4:26
2-2 Look, Know 5:05
2-3 Winter 8:03
2-4 Who Makes The Nazis? 2:54
2-5 Smile 5:10
2-6 Garden 10:00
2-7 Hexen Definitive / Strife Knot 9:07
2-8 Eat Y'self Fitter 7:01
2-9 Pat Trip Dispenser 4:08
2-10 2x4 4:15
2-11 Words Of Expectation 9:14
2-12 C.R.E.E.P. 2:36
3-1 Cruiser's Creek 5:49
3-2 Couldn't Get Ahead 2:33
3-3 Spoilt Victorian Child 4:55
3-4 Gut Of The Quantifier 4:42
3-5 L.A. 4:34
3-6 The Man Whose Head Expanded 5:13
3-7 What You Need 5:52
3-8 Faust Banana 5:06
3-9 Hot Aftershave Bop 3:10
3-10 R.O.D. 4:26
3-11 Gross Chapel / GB Grenadiers 6:21
3-12 US 80's-90's 4:53
3-13 Athlete Cured 4:45
3-14 Australians In Europe 5:42
3-15 Twister 4:16
3-16 Guest Informant 4:09
4-1 Deadbeat Descendant 2:17
4-2 Cab It Up 4:40
4-3 Squid Lord 3:48
4-4 Kurious Oranj 5:57
4-5 Chicago Now 5:33
4-6 Black Monk Theme 4:05
4-7 Hilary 2:22
4-8 Whizz Bang 2:59
4-9 The War Against Intelligence 3:02
4-10 Idiot Joy Showland 3:46
4-11 A Lot Of Wind 5:25
4-12 The Mixer 4:32
4-13 Free Range 4:05
4-14 Kimble 3:53
4-15 Immortality 4:27
4-16 Return 4:11
5-1 Ladybird (Green Grass) 4:04
5-2 Strychnine 2:54
5-3 Service 3:35
5-4 Paranoia Man In Cheap Sh*t Room 4:17
5-5 M5 3:08
5-6 Behind The Counter 4:03
5-7 Reckoning 3:40
5-8 Hey! Student 4:09
5-9 Glam Racket / Star 3:20
5-10 Jingle Bell Rock 1:08
5-11 Hark The Herald Angels Sing 3:09
5-12 Numb At The Lodge 3:00
5-13 He Pep! 4:15
5-14 Oleano 3:08
5-15 Chilinist 5:20
5-16 The City Never Sleeps 2:55
5-17 D.I.Y. Meat 2:32
5-18 Spinetrak 2:39
5-19 Spencer 3:34
5-20 Beatle Bones 'N' Smokin' Stones 3:40
6-1 Calendar 3:00
6-2 Touch Sensitive 3:35
6-3 Masquerade 6:33
6-4 Jungle Rock6:21
6-5 Bound Soul One 3:50
6-6 Antidotes 4:57
6-7 Shake-Off 1:43
6-8 This Perfect Day 2:15
6-9 Theme From Sparta F.C. 3:53
6-10 Contraflow 4:05
6-11 Groovin' With Mr. Bloe 6:06
6-12 Mere Pseud Mag. Ed. 3:17
6-13 Clasp Hands 4:41
6-14 Blindness 6:28
6-15 What About Us? 5:52
6-16 Wrong Place, Right Time 7:00
6-17 Job Search 4:20
DOWNLOAD the downfall of MES RIP HERE!