It’s time Manchester did the decent thing and honored its most celebrated son. If their Merseyside rivals can honor John Lennon by renaming their international airport after the sarky mop top, then Manchester should do something similar and at least rename its bus station after Mark E. Smith.
But let’s not stop there. A local holiday should be adopted on his birthday, with street parties and free beer, with a statue erected in his birthplace of Broughton. Not much to ask for the man whose band The Fall have been essential listening over the past thirty-odd years.
Thirty odd years indeed, with Smith the only constant in The Fall’s ever-changing line-up through a long, difficult, but productive, and brilliant career. How the great Mancunian has survived the bitter fights, spiked drinks, broken bones and riots says it all about Smith’s ambition and touched-by-genius talents.
Yea, let us rejoice, for we are alive in the days of Mark E. Smith.
This little gem is from Grenwich Sound Radio in 1983, when Smith gave his “guide to writing guide.” Not the kind of toss you’ll get from those writing-by-numbers courses, no, but something far more oblique and entertaining.
Here’s how it goes:
“Hello, I’m Mark E. Smith, and this is the ‘Mark E. Smith Guide to Writing Guide.’
Day by Day Breakdown.
Day One: Hang around house all day writing bits of useless information on bits of paper.
Day Two: Decide lack of inspiration due to too much isolation and non-fraternization. Go to pub. Have drinks.
Day Three: Get up and go to pub. Hold on in there as style is on its way. Through sheer boredom and drunkenness, talk to people in pub.
Day Four: By now people in the pub should be continually getting on your nerves. Write things about them on backs of beer mats.
Day Five: Go to pub. This is where true penmanship stamina comes into its own as by now guilt, drunkenness, the people in the pub and the fact you’re one of them should combine to enable you to write out of sheer vexation. To write out of sheer vexation.
Day Six: If possible, stay home. And write. If not, go to pub.”
I must remember this the next time I have writer’s block…