9 thoughts on “Fallen

  1. A bit of a shock, but no surprise. I was a casual Fall fan, I have two or three albums out of their vast back catalogue, but I appreciate the spirit of the legend that was MES – a true one-off.

    Someone on the Guardian BTL asked where the new Falls for 2018 are, which is strange because just last week I was listening to this and thinking how they sound like the new Fall for 2018!

  2. I’ve grown to like the music over the years, but I still don’t care for Mark E. Smith. He’s always struck me as a bit of a reactionary and social conservative in many ways. I think he was a Trotskyite, politically-speaking, which probably explains his attitudes.

  3. The Fall wasn’t a band I’d willingly listen to but the fact that such a chaotic, aggressive, stubborn thing could exist for so long is soul-stirring. Mark E Smith was a small but significant character in the history of the world. And, being from Manchester, almost everyone around here knows someone who was in his band (like the caretaker at a local primary school), making him a true Manc/Salford legend.

  4. I just remembered that I read a quote from him from 1979 along the lines of “My thing in life is to keep The Fall going as long as I can”. No disputing now that he did that. There’s footage of them playing as recently as November with MES in a wheelchair looking as if he’s come straight from a hospital ward.

    My favourite MES quote is (possibly paraphrased) in Dave Simpson’s book The Fallen – something like “people from Hull think the lead singer of AC/DC is a fucking singing gnome”. It has everything – an off the wall insult; a swipe at an established and popular music act; swearing; a reference to creatures from folklore; and a giving his view credence by aligning it with the views of ordinary , plain-speaking northerners. The perfect MES quote.

    My other favourite was about The Clash after supporting them in 81 – he commented sneeringly on their use of a screen projecting images of war and riots and said it was like sitting at home eating your tea watching the news but with the Clash playing in front of your TV.

  5. I only saw them twice. It was in 1978. I’d heard Repetition on John Peel’s prog and had bought the EP when I first saw them at the Music Machine in Camden. I was very impressed and was thoroughly enjoying their set when one of my punky friends grabbed me by the arm and demanded “what are you clapping for? It’s shit!” Having no ready answer to this (apart from “no they’re not!”) I moved closer to the stage and further from my mates to avoid further discussion.

    The second time, just a few weeks later, I saw them at the Lyceum where, for some reason, they struck me as far less powerful and intense. Possibly I was just scared of going against the consensus of my circle of friends of the time. Or maybe they were already wildly inconsistent at that early-ish stage.

    • I was at that Lyceum gig Severin and I thought it was fucking great (although the sound was pretty naff), they played all their great early songs (Industrial Estate, Frightened, Mess of My, Bingo Masters, Music Scene, New Thing etcetc) and Smith was at his cantankerous best, treating the audience with disdain as he always did ! They were so unlike anything I’d ever seen/heard before that it was probably more of a shock than seeing the Clash, Damned etc ! Over the years I saw them maybe half a dozen times and they were always good value and always totally unique – a real punk band, if you like. RIP Mark Smith

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