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‘The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E. Smith’
03.09.2017
12:06 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Mark E. Smith
The Fall
John Peel


 
You might have seen the news item this past week reporting that, with the intention of congratulating Mark E. Smith on his 60th birthday (!—dude doesn’t look a day over 77), the BBC mistakenly tweeted an RIP notice instead. Which seems a thoroughly Mark E. Smith sort of occurrence.

Smith once explained the question of the Fall’s identity thus: “If it’s me an your granny on the bongos, it’s the Fall.” The cantankerous lead singer and songwriter has famously churned through literally dozens of bandmates, prompting the recent creation of a handy cross-stitch pattern documenting the lineup changes. And yet, most of you reading this probably think of Steve Hanley and Craig Scanlon as core Fall members—and yes, perhaps even Brix too.
 

John Peel clutching a beloved copy of ‘Hip Priest and Kamerads’
 
The Fall were famously the favorite band of legendary BBC DJ John Peel—the Fall recorded a whopping 24 Peel sessions, the most of any act, and the 2005 box set containing all of them is essential listening for any Fall devotee—the second disc in particular is fucking great.

The BBC documentary The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E. Smith obviously cribs its name from the Fall’s similarly titled album of 1984. The program documents the Fall’s origins, including their first recording session, which was financed by Buzzcocks manager Richard Boon, through their furtive (Brix-fueled) attempts at wider popularity in the 1980s, to their, or rather, his more or less current status as undeniably batshit punk elder.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘New face in Hell’: Cross-stitch chart featuring 40-plus members of the Fall
02.28.2017
11:37 am

Topics:
Art
Music

Tags:
Mark E. Smith
The Fall
cross-stitch


 
The lineup changes of the Fall are the stuff of rock and roll legend. It’s been more than ten years since Dave Simpson, working for the Guardian, tracked down and interviewed as many ex-members of the Fall as he could. One of them, a keyboardist named Ruth Daniels, lasted only a single day. Simpson put the number of ex-bandmates at north of 40 and that was over a decade ago, who knows what it might be today?

According to Simpson, Smith’s rapid bandmate churn is more design than accident: “It’s a bit like a football team. Every so often you have to get rid of the centre-forward,” Smith says. 

An Etsy user with the name 8bitnorthxstitch who describes herself as a “Mancunian crosstitute” has created a remarkable cross-stitch tableau depicting 41 past members of the Fall, starting with Mark E. Smith, of course. It includes Tony Friel, Marc Riley, Craig Scanlon, Paul Hanley, Brix Smith, and many more.
 

 
As any good chart should, it comes with a key—this one outlines the different colors that stand for bass, bongos, guitar, keyboards, drums, and vocals.

The pattern is available as an A4 print ($12.80) and as a greeting card ($3.84). However, 8bitnorthxstitch will only ship to the U.K. In addition to these paper products, 8bitnorthxstitch has also executed it as a cross-stitch, as you can see below. It’s not for sale in her Etsy shop, however.

If 8bitnorthxstitch is taking suggestions, I’d like to see a chart like this for Pulp, too.
 

 
Thanks Annie Zaleski!

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Watch The Fall break up into a million shards, live at Brownie’s in NYC, 1998

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
When a bunch of punks paid tribute to Johnny Cash at a low point in his career
02.21.2017
12:28 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Johnny Cash
The Fall
Pete Shelley
The Mekons


 
Last night I saw a concert by Billy Bragg, whose socialistic music and entire socialistic steez has taken on new ultra-relevance in an era in which Donald Trump is the President of the United States of America. Bragg was suitably fired up, and you can be sure he whipped the audience at Cleveland’s Music Box Supper Club into a righteous frenzy before the night was out.

Opening was the venerable Jon Langford of the Mekons, and he told an amusing story from the stage involving Johnny Cash. The starting point was the ‘Til Things Are Brighter project, which Langford and former Fall member and later BBC deejay Marc Riley spearheaded as a way to pay homage to Cash. This was the late 1980s—seven years after Cash was nearly killed by an ostrich in 1981—and Cash’s stock was at a relative nadir. As Langford explained, Cash was a bit dejected because it looked for all the world like his productive career was over and he had little to look forward to beyond a lengthy dotage and an inevitable slide to obscurity.

The roster of musicians is rather eye-popping. The album opens with Michelle Shocked, whose breakthrough album Short Sharp Shocked came out the same year, doing “One Piece At A Time.” Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks covered “Straight A’s In Love” while Cabaret Voltaire‘s Steven Mallinder took on “I Walk the Line.” The Triffids’ David McComb gave “Country Boy” his best while Langford’s Mekons and Riley played “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Wanted Man,” respectively.

All thirteen backing tracks were recorded by Langford and Riley and their house band in one day at RikRak Studio in Leeds, and the vocal tracks were picked up as various opportunities arose over the next several weeks. As the Guardian’s Graeme Thomson wrote in 2011,
 

Langford recalls that Marc Almond, the one “proper” pop star taking part, came in and “told me I’d cut “Man in Black” in the wrong key. He had a horrible fit in the studio. Sally [Timms, from the Mekons] talked him down and coaxed this fantastic performance out of him, but I think he was a bit nervous. It was maybe a bit odd for him to be doing Johnny Cash songs.”

 
Odd perhaps, but Timms did some good work there—Almond’s vocal track is arguably the best thing on the album.

One of Langford and Riley’s clever ideas was to have Mary Mary, the (male) singer of the Grebo band Gaye Bykers on Acid execute a cover of Cash’s classic song “A Boy Named Sue.” They were concerned that Cash might not be enthusiastic being covered by anybody associated with a band of that name, but not a bit of it, he was totally open to it and found the idea entirely amusing.

Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father’: Sonic Youth, the Wedding Present and the Fall’s tribute to the Beatles


 
In 1988, NME got in on the ground floor of the burgeoning turn-of-the-‘90s fad for tribute compilations when it released Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father, a song-for-song recreation of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by various artists with popular or cult followings in the UK, including several tracks that have held up quite well by the likes of the Fall, Courtney Pine, and Sonic Youth.

At the time, the original album had recently been the subject of much 20th-anniversary fawning by midlife-ing Baby Boomers, but in hipper circles its rep was in the shitter, as undergroundists vastly preferred a heavier psychedelia stripped of that acutely Barrett/McCartney/Davies’ penchant for Edwardian whimsy. In just a few years, the rise of Brtipop would slow much alt-handwaving of the Beatles’ legacy, but in 1988, the advance guard would have been happy to bury it. Accordingly, much of Sgt. Pepper Knew My Father drips with a viscous irony. The Scottish soul-pop band Hue and Cry attempted a pretty drastic transformation of “Fixing a Hole,” but it falls short of its ambitions. The Three Wize Men’s version of the title song is similarly transformative, and it certainly has moments, but it’s acutely ‘80s UK hip-hop, of which I’m really not a fan. YMMV, of course. Wet Wet Wet’s version of “With A Little Help From My Friends” is icky and fey, and only merits mentioning because that band was a big enough deal at the time that they alone probably accounted for at least half of the copies of the record sold. The Triffids’ version of “Good Morning Good Morning” is not only the worst thing on the album, it might be the worst thing period.

The comp shines more brightly when its artists aren’t afraid to get weird without trying to erase the source material. The Wedding Present’s contribution, an amped-up version of “Getting Better” with Talulah Gosh’s Amelia Fletcher, is exactly as you’d expect that band to perform the Beatles—poppy and bouncy, yet aggressive and clamorous as all hell. Sonic Youth, in the thick of their dense, twisty, and epic Daydream Nation era, are a beautiful match for George Harrison’s raga-rock freakout “Within You/Without You,” and in fact that cover eventually re-emerged on one of Daydream Nation‘s later reissues. The very very eccentric Frank Sidebottom—the spherically-headed masked singer who inspired the 2014 film Frank—does an absolutely wonderful remake of the very very eccentric John Lennon music hall paean “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” The Courtney Pine Quartet’s instrumental take on “When I’m Sixty Four” is a tremendously fun piece of lounge jazz. But the original album’s great set-piece—“A Day in the Life”—is also the tribute’s huge closer, and that song is handled with incredible reverence by the Fall. You’d figure of all bands the Fall would have been likely to go in for the piss-take, but no. It’s quite a stunner.
 
Listen after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘I find them very depressing’: 80s pop tart Samantha Fox reviews The Smiths and The Fall in 1986
07.19.2016
11:53 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Smiths
The Fall
Samantha Fox


Samantha Fox and Lemmy Kilmister.
 
Samantha Fox was technically still a very popular topless Page 3 girl in The Sun and not yet an 80s pop star when she was asked for her opinions on two new singles by The Smiths and The Fall for UK music magazine Smash Hits in July of 1986. Apparently she was not terribly impressed by either single and took them to task using insightful words like “crappy” to tear apart The Fall’s “Living Too Late.” When it came to Miss Fox’s thoughts on The Smiths the target of her disdain would of course be directed at moody vocalist Morrissey. Here’s Fox dissecting Moz as only a misguided 20-something could in 1986:

I’m sorry to say but I find them very depressing. The lead singer’s voice sounds like he’s in pain—is that Morrissey? He can’t sing and it gives me a headache. In all his interviews he’s “Mister Nasty” too and goes moan, moan, moan.

Well, at least Samantha got one thing right here because of COURSE Morrissey is in pain. Anyone who writes songs about how getting mowed over a ten-ton truck being a “heavenly way to die” or wishes you an “Unhappy Birthday” then proceeds to note that he’s going to “kill his dog” is clearly in pain. But I digress. If you’d like to read Samantha Fox’s thoughts in full on The Smiths, The Fall as well as Prince, Julian Lennon and Bryan Adams, I’ve posted a few of her amusing reviews for you below. You can also read all of Fox’s deep thoughts during her brief stint with Smash Hits as a record reviewer over at the fantasitc online archive for the magazine, Like Punk Never Happened run by the excellent Brian McCloskey.
 

Samantha Fox on The Smiths and The Fall from Smash Hits magazine, July, 1986.
 

 
Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Cherrybomb | Leave a comment
The new Blue Orchids LP, featuring founding Fall member Martin Bramah, streaming exclusively on DM
05.31.2016
12:19 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Fall
Martin Bramah
Blue Orchids


 
Dangerous Minds is proud to serve as host of the debut stream of the entire new Blue Orchids album, The Once And Future Thing. Blue Orchids was formed in 1979 by guitarist Martin Bramah and keyboardist Una Baines, who in addition to being founding members of The Fall, were, accordingly, among the first members OUT of that band’s infamous revolving door lineup. Though the band, initially, was of a piece with most of the era’s spiky, rough-at-the-seams post punk-music, Bramah set his new group apart from the Fall by replacing Mark E. Smith’s speed-and-ale-fueled ravings with a more melodic and starry eyed psychedelia. The band further distinguished itself by serving as the backing band for no less an outré rock goddess than Nico.

There’s a straight line to be drawn between the Orchids and much of that strain of unadorned pop that followed through the likes of the Vulgar Boatmen and the Feelies in the ‘80s, Pavement and Sebadoh in the ‘90s, and in the lower-fi expressions of the British indie explosion of the ‘oughts. Bramah has kept that band going intermittently since the release of its debut LP The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain), and the band’s output from 1980 to the early 1990s can be sampled on the collection A Darker Bloom
 

 

 
In between stints with the Orchids, whose lineups have shifted almost as much as The Fall’s, Bramah has returned to The Fall (for like a year at the end of the ‘80s); recorded the wonderfully folky solo album Battle of Twisted Heel, released on CD in 2008, and soon to feel the sweet kiss of vinyl in a 2016 reissue; and formed the more roguishly gritty Factory Star, which at times featured members of—surprise surprise—The Fall. It was Factory Star that morphed into the current incarnation of Blue Orchids, and Bramah was kind enough to talk to DM about the new Orchids work and his musical identity-shifts.

There’s an ongoing theme—what’s in a name, a rose by any other name—both Factory Star and Blue Orchids were mainly vehicles for my songwriting and for collaborating with the friends who were involved, but it was December of 2008 when I started Factory Star, I wanted a fresh start without the baggage of Blue Orchids, and it ran for five years, but then there was a demand to hear the old Blue Orchids songs. Blue Orchids is a name with history, so it was easy to resume. It’d be a bit bloody-minded to drop it—I struck out with a new name for a few years, now I’m back to being Blue Orchids. I’ve used a few names over the years, I had a band called “Thirst” in the late ‘80s, I kind of swap and choose as I feel like it, and sometimes it’s kind of nice to pick something back up again. It’s like putting a different coat on.

With the new Orchids, I wanted to get back to what I knew best. I kind of cast it off for awhile, then you get that space and reassess it, and you can come back to it with a fresh take on it. I wanted to get some of the classic ingredients in there, things that were musically original to Blue Orchids in the first place—the more psychedelic themes. I always liked ethereal kind of angelic backing vocals and heavy keyboards, a strong poetic element in the lyrics. I put that hat back on and I started thinking that way again.

After the jump, hear that new Blue Orchids album…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘The Legend of the Fall’: A slapdash cartoon love letter to Mark E. Smith
04.01.2016
12:09 pm

Topics:
Art
History
Music

Tags:
Mark E. Smith
The Fall
Jeffrey Lewis


Panel #12: “And Mark said the three R’s were ‘Repetition, Repetition, Repetition….”
 
I learned recently that antifolk musician and comix artist Jeffrey Lewis is a huge fan of the Fall, which, as it happens, I am as well. Lewis tends to celebrate his artistic heroes in his songs and artwork; some of his song titles are “Williamsburg Will Oldham Horror” and “The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song.”

One senses in Lewis’ love for Smith a respectful acknowledgment from one ultra-prolific artist to another. Lewis has fashioned a kind of “Where’s Waldo” poster involving many, many, many Fall tracks, under the title “100 Fall Songs,” which actually contains visual references to 112 Fall ditties. You can buy that at his website, and it even comes with a key so that you can test your Fall knowledge.

In 2007 and 2008 Lewis was given to a quickie “documentary” (his term) about the Fall that he would do in his live shows; maybe he’s done it since but he was definitely doing it at that time. The title of the piece is “The Legend of the Fall,” and if that puts you in the mind of a certain Jim Harrison novella that was turned into a Brad Pitt movie, you’re not alone.
 

Panel #16: “...who worked hard writing, touring, and recording….”
 
The “documentary” consists of twenty-odd panels drawn by Lewis himself, that were concocted to accompany amusing doggerel of rhyming couplets that Lewis had written describing the tumultuous history of the Manchester band.

Here’s an example of the couplets: 
 

Mark and his friends bounced ideas off the wall
He was gonna dress up & they were gonna call themselves “Flyman and the Fall”
Then they settled on “The Fall” after the Camus book
Though Mark couldn’t sing a note & didn’t care how square he looked

 
Panel #19 refers to a gig in 1998 when Smith punched a band member onstage and got arrested—DM published an in-depth chronicle of that memorable gig (complete with video!) last year.

More after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
The Fall’s Mark E. Smith was on the TV news again last night. It didn’t go very well.
02.16.2016
10:52 am

Topics:
Amusing
Punk
Television

Tags:
Mark E. Smith
The Fall
alcohol


C4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy and The Fall’s Mark E. Smith

Last night before I turned the computer off, I saw on Twitter that The Fall’s Mark E. Smith would be appearing on Channel 4 News. I made a note to myself to google this when I woke up as surely someone would have posted it by the time I rose. I was not disappointed.

An appearance by Smith on the nightly news or a sports show can often be pretty insane as everyone knows. And while the rocker is being condemned on social media this morning for some somewhat insensitive remarks he made about how all the Syrian refugees seem to be young males, it’s not that aspect of Smith’s appearance that I want to call your attention to, but rather to point out how utterly indecipherable what he’s saying—or trying to say—truly is. I normally have no trouble understanding even a thick Mancunian accent, but when Smith is speaking, it’s the matter of not merely a particularly heavy Manc accent but lots and lots (and lots) of lager. Is he slurring his words? Hell, I’m not really sure that he’s even speaking actual words. Or trying to.

And neither are the close captions that Channel 4 kindly provided convinced of this. I highly recommend turning them on. The funny thing is even when the translation is WIDELY OFF TARGET—as it is throughout the entire thing when Smith is talking—the words still come through as vintage Mark E. Smith-style angsty Cubist poetry.
 

 
For instance, “so the Fall were formed” reads “farmer farmer” on screen. “I wanted some discordant stuff—and repetition” is translated as “proud to discard and stuff and a replica weapons system.” A deaf viewer would be perplexed, but then again so would anyone else be perplexed. That dada quality is what makes it so much fun to watch MES in action. It’s just a pity this wasn’t a live interview.

But, wow, I mean, holy shit is this dude disheveled. Talk about the mileage on that body! He’s only 58, but looks like he’s 94.

The whole way he presents himself is very much like a drunk, semi-brain damaged Stephen Hawking, isn’t it?

Er… enjoy. Remember: DO turn on the captions. The new Fall EP Wise Ol’ Man will be released on February 19th by Cherry Red Records.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘No Place Like It’: Read a short story by The Fall’s Mark E. Smith
10.15.2015
09:02 am

Topics:
Literature
Music

Tags:
Mark E. Smith
The Fall


 
The City Life Book Of Manchester Short Stories, published by Penguin in 1999, included a contribution from the city’s public fountain of bile, Mark E. Smith. The book’s editor, Ra Page, then on the masthead of Manchester’s City Life magazine, subsequently published a “making-of” diary that suggested the Fall singer’s inclusion was more Penguin’s idea than his own.

Scans of the two-and-a-half-page story have long been up at thefall.org, but it was actually simpler to transcribe this brief tale than to post the images. As far as I can tell, “No Place Like It” concerns the space-wasting activities of some unhappy Mancunians. I suppose someone has to be on the business end of Smith’s withering scorn; better them than me.

PONDERING at half-step on the gross arrogance, blatant incompetence and thievery of the white trash in their late twenties, and their shaven-headed middle class imitators, FRANK circumnavigated what seemed like endless sand-holes, foxholes, spastic-convenient kerb stones punctuated by upright, kicked-over, reddy-orange and white fences on his way through the doing up of the Manchester Victoria post-bomb development.
  It had been a muggy, slowcoach taxi ride, due to the incompetent driver, who in his porn-stupefied brain had not turned left before the Cathedral, where FRANK had made an early exit.
  The only thing he remembered was the three healthy kids who’d thrown two rocks at the passing vehicles near the Rialto in Higher Broughton.
  He was getting the black illuminations again, i.e. All Is Substance – You Have Contact With None, or There’s Been Nothing on Granada For At Least Ten Minutes, Never Mind the Digital Testing.

DELIVERING leaflets 22 hours a week was just about manageable, thought JOE, if it wasn’t for those big over-powered cars making him jump every time he crossed the road – they made him remember the small metal splint in his upper right thigh from that time he’d ventured into Rusholme, pissed, and got half knocked over. He’d agreed with most of the shit on that political leaflet that other bloke he’d bumped into was giving out, apart from that repeated phrase – It All Makes Sense, Doesn’t It QUESTION MARK.
  The men in the yellow hats sniggered as he limped by, and it seemed that they’d deliberately sanded near him, sending vicious particles coupled with lime flowing through the muggy, close, damp Cheetham Hill mid-afternoon on to his forehead and into his eyes.

STEWART Mayerling sat down in the Low Rat Head pub near the bottom end of Oxford Road, trying to work out how his plans to distract and confuse his English Drama lecturer hadn’t quite worked out. Mother was a teacher, and the attention/distraction games had always worked on her. The pager going off, mid-lesson, the showbiz titbit asides in the middle of Hamlet, my vegetarianism – how the jumped-up prole sneered at that, of course not understanding my code of internal hygiene, well advanced beyond that of mere travellers and their ilk, or polytechnic balding lecturers. For that matter – I think I’ll head up to Victoria, skip the lecture.

THE MITRE Arms, adjacent to the Cathedral, and next to The Shambles was empty this afternoon. FRANK walks in, having well given up on getting past Marks & Spencer, and blanching at the apostrophe on the Finnegan’s Wake pub sign, towards the station. Picking a table was fairly hard even though – only one large eight-seater occupied by Joe.

In walks STEWART.

  ‘Is it OK to sit here?’ he asks the seated two.
  ‘Sure.’
  ‘It’s crap out there isn’t it?’ says JOE.
  ‘Damn right it is.’
  ‘Let’s form a Party,’ says FRANK . . .

                                        THE END

 
After the jump, MES reads the football results… as only he can!

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
Scramble your brains with the Fall’s 1983 home video ‘Perverted by Language Bis’
08.06.2015
11:08 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Fall


“And what’ll you do when the rental’s up? / And your bottom rack is full of vids / Of programs you will nay look at”

Factory Records’ video imprint, IKON, released miles (kilometers?) of quality VHS tape in the 1980s, back when videocassettes came packaged in those hard plastic cases with snap-shut lids and transparent sleeves for the cover art. IKON had it all: the posthumous Joy Division collection Here Are the Young Men; Taras Shevchenko, a tape of New Order live in the Ukraine; the Birthday Party captured in their prime on Pleasure Heads Must Burn; The Final Academy Documents, a double cassette of William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin collaborations concluding with their 1982 performance at Manchester’s Hacienda; and Claude Bessy’s hilarious, can’t-be-arsed “sales” vid Bessy Talks Turkey. And that’s skipping the videos by Survival Research Labs, the Durutti Column, Severed Heads, and Hunters & Collectors.
 

 
But the Fall took advantage of the full range of possibilities of the new home video format on 1983’s fabulous Perverted by Language Bis. “Scripted” by Mark E. Smith, the collection brings together the usual material—no-budget promo videos, live clips and interview footage—but spiced with visual non sequiturs and linked with snatches of insane prose. Thirty-two years later, it’s still weird.
 

Detail from the back cover of Perverted by Language Bis

Speaking as a devotee of the compilation Palace of Swords Reversed and the album Perverted by Language, the video also happens to catch (lucky me) my favorite period of the Fall’s now very long career, namely the years just before and after Brix joined. Along with “Hip Priest,” “Totally Wired,” “The Man Whose Head Expanded,” and several tracks from Perverted by Language, you get videos for three of the four songs from the supreme summit of the Fall’s discography, the gemlike “Kicker Conspiracy” double seven-inch. There’s the title tune, in which MES vents his spleen about something to do with English sport (beats me), the rockabilly truck-driver song “Container Drivers,” and the sci-fi time-travel story “Wings,” set to perhaps the mightiest Fall riff of all. And unlike sucker me, who paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 for this thing just to shudder under its crushing weight for the rest of my born days, you’ll be watching it for the internet’s “nice price” of zero dollars, free from physical encumbrance and joint pain.
 



 

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Hip Priest: The Fall’s Mark E. Smith used to do tarot card readings for drugs
Watch The Fall break up into a million shards, live at Brownie’s in NYC, 1998

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘TV Wipeout’: Cabaret Voltaire’s rigorously post-punk 1984 video compilation resurfaces


 
John Coulthart has unearthed an utterly marvelous find from the early days of mass-produced video music content—Cabaret Voltaire’s TV Wipeout, a “video magazine” that was released on VHS in 1984. Watching it today, TV Wipeout is an excellent approximation of late-night avant-garde music programming from the early 1980s like Night Flight, albeit less scattershot and more rigorously postpunk in perspective. Of course, Cabaret Voltaire were often featured on Night Flight themselves.
 

TV Wipeout, videotape cover
 
As Coulthart explains, “This was the fourth title on the Cab’s own Doublevision label which was easily the best of the UK’s independent video labels at the time.” The compilation has plenty of gems. TV Wipeout features an interview with David Bowie on his latest movie, Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, excerpts from two Andy Warhol movies (Heat and Flesh), concert and documentary footage from the Fall at their creative peak, a video by Residents discovery Renaldo and the Loaf, footage of Marc Almond covering a Lou Reed song, and excerpts from cult classics like Plan Nine from Outer Space and Eating Raoul.

The footage of the Fall was taped at the The Venue in London on March 21, 1983. Their rendition of “Words of Expectation” is interrupted by an astonishing clip of the Fall’s manager, Kay Carroll, tearing the Factory’s Tony Wilson a new asshole for using some Fall music on a video without their permission.
 

(Click for a larger version)
 
On the next-to-last video, Marc & The Mambas cover Lou Reed’s “Caroline Says II” off of Berlin. For the first half of the song, Marc Almond is holding Genesis P-Orridge’s infant daughter Caresse in his arms until she starts to cry.

Coulthart also found a pretty hilarious interview in which Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder had the following to say about TV Wipeout (source: Cabaret Voltaire: The Art of the Sixth Sense by M. Fish and D. Hallbery):
 

Q: The next Doublevision was the TV Wipeout video which was a sort of disposable magazine compilation. It contained a fairly wide variety of contributors, from people like The Fall and Test Dept to some more mainstream groups like Bill Nelson and Japan.

Mallinder: The point was that Virgin Films were quite happy to work with us; they even gave us money in the form of advertising revenue for using some film clips from the Virgin catalogue. We were then able to camouflage them into the whole set-up and make them look as if they were part of the whole nature of the video compilation.

Q: One of those clips was a particularly inane interview with David Bowie. Was its inclusion merely a selling point?

Mallinder: Yes, it was purely that. There are a lot of people who will buy anything with David Bowie on it. So we said “Fuck it, why not use that as a selling point!” Actually the interview is appalling, it’s terrible. Our including it was almost like a piss-take. We were saying “you really will buy anything with David Bowie on it if you buy this”.

 
Coulthart asserts that some clips of Cabaret Voltaire and Japan are missing from this playlist, but I think that’s not right, at least if the list posted above is right, it’s just the Japan track that is missing, and you can find that one here.
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Hip Priest: The Fall’s Mark E. Smith used to do tarot card readings for drugs
05.15.2015
03:59 pm

Topics:
Drugs
Games
Music
Occult

Tags:
Mark E. Smith
The Fall
tarot


 
The other day I was in the Rock Hall’s Library and Archives at the Tommy LiPuma Center for Creative Arts on Cuyahoga Community College’s Metropolitan Campus in Cleveland, Ohio, and I came across a book I’d been hunting for a while, that being a volume on lead singer of the Fall, Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith, which turns out to be an odd little tome, a kind of catch-all of writings by Smith himself. It was this last point I only understood when I held the book in my hand; I had thought it was a reported book but in fact it’s all written by Mark E. Smith. 

One of the chapters has the remarkable title of “The Fool, The Magician, The High Priestess, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant, The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune, Justice, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, The World and Eric the Ferret.” The title kind of gives away the fact that it’s about tarot, which it turns out Mark E. Smith has more than the usual interest in.

Here are a couple of key passages. I have to say I only half-believe Smith on this stuff—it’s a little hard to picture sports cars turning up at his flat all the time for readings—the whole thing is a fascinating brew of ego, half-baked erudition, superstition, and self-serving logic, a scammer’s mindset if you will:
 

I used to do tarot readings as well. I went through a phase of reading books on the occult. I was fascinated by it. I still believe that things leave vibrations. America, for instance; I’ve visited all these old Civil War sites and the atmosphere is incredible. You can almost reach out and feel it.

.…After a bit, when the drugs prevailed, it got ridiculous. I got more interested in the Philip K. Dick Time Out of Joint angle—the way certain pieces of writing have a power all to themselves, almost as if they can prophesize things. But I still did the readings. Kay had a lot of hippy mates, housewives with a bit of money, really, who were always seeking out people to read for them. And I had a natural talent for it. I’ve always been able to read people. My mam’s a bit like that. I never used to charge a lot, but now you can earn a fortune. When I was really skint in 2000, I thought to myself, I should be doing that again. You can earn £40 an hour.

When people did a tarot with me they’d walk away wth their life changed. But you can’t fuck around with those things too much. You’re dealing with a force. When it goes wrong you’re not being a vessel.

-snip-

I did the readings for a year or two. But people started coming back too much. I had to tell them to stop. You get to the point where people can’t function without it—once a week turns into twice a week. They were driving up in their sports cars outside the flat, asking if they should go with this nice man they’d just met. A lot of fellas used to take advantage of that. Telling them they need more tarot—and that the tarot says you need sex with me.

One of the rules of the tarot is that you shouldn’t really take a lot of money for it, like psychics. It’s not good. So I’d take presents, a nice leather jacket. You’d go round to dope dealers and they’d give you two ounces of dope per reading.

 
Can you imagine visiting, say, Antietam National Battlefield in Maryland and running into Mark E. Smith?

Most interesting, perhaps, is that as recently as 2000, after like 20 studio albums on his resume, Smith was “skint” enough to consider taking the practice up again.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘In my headphones it sounds like the f*cking Smurfs’: Mark E. Smith vs. Kevin the Sound Engineer
04.03.2015
12:26 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Fall
Mark E Smith


 
Honestly, would you expect anything less from Mark E. Smith after watching this hilarious short video? I mean, really? That’s how the magic is made, right?

If you turned this video into a drinking game and took a shot of whiskey every time Mr. Smith said “fucking”... you’d be on the floor, smashed to the gills, in 1 minute and 38 seconds.

Kevin and his assistant just go with the flow. When you sign on to work with Mark E. Smith, I think this is pretty much exactly what you expect it’s gonna be like. I’m sure if Smith turned out to be a nice guy it would be… disappointing.

 
via WFMU on Twitter

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
For H. P. Lovecraft’s birthday: Mark E. Smith reads ‘The Color Out of Space’
Mark E. Smith As A Mancunian Jesus
Mark E. Smith: A Guide to Writing
Mark E. Smith: A brief tour of Edinburgh
The Fall’s Mark E. Smith does his Courtney Love impersonation, 1994
‘Becoming a hermit solves nothing’: The Fall’s Mark E. Smith writes Tony Friel, 1977
Kicker Conspiracy: Mark E. Smith reads football scores in his inimitable Mancunian drawl
The Wit and Wisdom of Mark E. Smith
The Pint-sized Mark E. Smith: Coming to a bar near you

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Watch The Fall break up into a million shards, live at Brownie’s in NYC, 1998
03.26.2015
01:19 pm

Topics:
Crime
Music
Punk

Tags:
The Fall


 
This exchange happened after the Fall’s gig at Brownie’s on the Lower East Side of NYC on April 7, 1998:
 

Fan 1: “That was the scariest thing I ever saw. Now I know who I want to go as for Halloween.”
Fan 2: “You mean Mark E. Smith? You don’t understand…he’s not usually like this.”
Fan 1: “Oh, that’s too bad. I feel like I finally saw my first real punk band! That was the greatest show I ever saw in my life.”

 
That reaction merely scratched the surface of what happened that night. An actual fight broke out between longtime Fall drummer Karl Burns and frontman Mark E. Smith midway through the set. Before the sun would rise the next morning, Mark E. Smith would be arrested for assault. Even more momentously, it would emerge that the three members of the then-quintet who left the stage in the middle of the final song had played their last Fall gig ever, including Burns, who had been with the band since 1977, and Steve Hanley, the Fall’s utterly essential bassist who had been slogging it out with Mark E. Smith since 1979. The combination of Hanley and guitarist Craig Scanlon, who had left the band in 1995, was every bit as crucial to the Fall’s elusive brilliance during the early 1980s as MES himself, as can be witnessed on such phenomenal albums as Perverted by Language, This Nation’s Saving Grace, and Hex Enduction Hour. (Few pieces of music bring me as much joy as the lengthy “Garden” off of Perverted by Language.)

It couldn’t have been easy being such a close compadre of volatile genius/crabapple Mark E. Smith for two decades, but in April 1998 frustrations boiled over. Three days earlier, tempers had flared during a show in Philadelphia; Hanley and Smith got into a “fight,” according to WPRB DJs who attended the gig, and half the band quit the stage in disgust, leaving just Smith and keyboardist Julia Nagle on the stage (which would happen again a few days later at Brownie’s). After the show there was an extensive discussion of the fracas on WPRB (this clip is very entertaining). Julia’s rebuttal, written ten years after the fact, can be found here, along with that clip:
 

the UK tour prior to the US had also been a shambles, as the group had received a large VAT/TAX bill and were not happy chickens (threats of houses being lost etc. were the main topic of conversation or argument). Also, regarding to the incident at the beginning of the US tour, I defended myself with my fists during an argument about sharing a room with Mark and in the morning he had a black eye from that fracas. (there were many fracas’s during this time in The Falls history and they were nothing to be proud of).

 
Continues after the jump…

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Perverted by Language: John Peel introduces The Fall… over and over and over and over again
10.03.2014
12:49 pm

Topics:
Music

Tags:
The Fall
John Peel


 
“Apparently, there are some people out there who don’t love the Fall,” John Peel once said on his BBC Radio One program. “I spurn them with my toe.”

The Fall did 24 live sessions for legendary BBC Radio broadcaster John Peel, more than any other act. The group were his favorite band and he was a tireless champion of Mark E. Smith’s music, although apparently Smith was ambivalent about “Fuckin’ John Peel” in return, opining that he was “the fuckin’ worst, he’s worse than Tony Blackburn [Peel’s fellow BBC Radio 1 DJ] ever was. Bastard.”

Peel didn’t mind and brushed off the insult, noting that Smith was not perhaps “in perfect working order at the moment” (that was an understatement when Peel was still alive, and more true today) and adding that “the band have given me intense pleasure over the years, I still love ‘em madly.”

Here then, is an entire hour of John Peel introducing The Fall…

“The Fall, The Fall, Fall there, Mark E.Smith and The Fall, Fall, The Fall…”

It’s… hypnotic.
 

 
Via Holy Moly!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
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