Why does anyone like the Fall?

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This question might've been posed before, but there are too many threads to sort through so Im just aking it. They just sound like rubbish. Granted all I have is This Nation's Saving Grace and the Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall, but I just don't see it. I've heard nothing but wonderful things about them, but when I sit down to listen to them, all I hear is an unrehearsed band with a tone deaf lead singer, and absolutley no hooks. I'm not a bubblegum pop-purist by any means, but their appeal eludes me. Is there just something wrong with me?

Felcher (Felcher), Monday, 16 June 2003 20:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The entirety of the SLATES EP and HEX ENDUCTION HOUR (esp. THE CLASSICAL) is my reasoning.

But then, I tend to like things that sound like rubbish to most people.

doug (doug), Monday, 16 June 2003 20:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

yes. you're a mess. so sort yourself out now!

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 16 June 2003 20:49 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Funny, those are the only two albums I have and I'm just waiting to earn some more money so I can expand my catalog. Oh and I was gonna go see them this Thursday but then I realized I couldn't afford it. Waiting on money.

No hooks? What about "Barmy" or "2x4?"

Famous Athlete, Monday, 16 June 2003 20:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

and "The Classical" and "Industrial Estates"...

Will (will), Monday, 16 June 2003 20:53 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

or cruiser's fuckin' creek for fuck's sake.

scott seward, Monday, 16 June 2003 20:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Felcher, it's about repitition. They like repitition in their music, and they're never going to lose it. President Carter likes repitition, do you?

Seriously though, perhaps name one or two bands that you do like?

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Monday, 16 June 2003 20:57 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

yes, plz do that.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Monday, 16 June 2003 20:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I found my first Fall album, The Unutterable, to be quite simply priceless. Mark E Smifh has an irreplicable delivery. Of course he also puts out quite a bit of rubbish, but then who doesn't? If possible always listen before buying. Some of the riffs on I Am As Pure As Oranj are also fine indeed.

Millar (Millar), Monday, 16 June 2003 20:59 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

There are plenty of catchy Fall songs.

The appeal of the Fall, broken down:

1) Heavy emphasis on rhythm and spoken word - sort of like a purely British of rap.

2) One of the best punk vocalists of all time.

3) Excellent lyrics, often brilliant packaging.

Matthew Perpetua (Matthew Perpetua), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

victoria.

Mike Taylor (mjt), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:02 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

matthew perpetua has got it right on, especially with pt 3

there is no other band i can think of who have recorded several HUNDRED tracks i like, as opposed to a handful, a dozen or even a few albums worth. and still the lyrics can be endlessly original.

kieron, Monday, 16 June 2003 21:04 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Yo, Felcher - my 1st 2 Fall purchases were _This Nation's Saving Grace_ AND the 2-CD '84-'89 b-sides collection, both of which didn't do much of a damn thing for me. (I 1st heard about the Fall via Girls Against Boys name-dropping them 76 times (+/- 35) in various interviews.) The stuff that turned my head came from "back in the day" ('77-'83). If you don't have access to Soulseek or some other file-swapping utility, the most economical solution for you would be to seek out _Hip Priests & Kamerads_, which collects a slew of stuff from the Fall's early days. Listening to _TNSG_ in light of knowing where The Fall came from, the album sounds positively (WARNING HYPERBOLE WARNING) godlike. If you're feeling lucky & generous, then you might want to get EITHER _Totally Wired - The Rough Trade Anthology_ (2 CDs) or _Psykick Dance Hall_ (3 CDs). All 3 of the anthologies have some overlap (a hallmark of the Fall discography), so pick your poison accordingly - were I you, I'd proceed in the order I listed the albums.

Be warned - if you're looking for stodgy professionalism & precision in the Fall's method of madness, then backtracking to their earlier releases is not what you want to do. If fact, if you come around to liking / loving / wanting to spoon w/ the Fall, it's this very lack of precision & professionalism that you'll probably fall for 1st.

David R. (popshots75`), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:05 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I've got everything from Live At The Witch Trials through The Unutterable (though I'm probably gonna be getting rid of some stuff soon). I just think they're lots of fun.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:08 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Wait, you have Stephen Song, Craigness, Disney's Dream Debased, Spoilt Victorian Child and Paintwork and you hear no hooks? I think you'd better just give up.

N. (nickdastoor), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I just like that he says "-ah" at the end of every line.

And the drummer goes whomp-a-whomp-a-whommmp-a.

I guess I'm easy to please.

(Subthread: Great songs about The Fall: "Mark E. Smith & Brix," Barbara Manning)

JesseFox (JesseFox), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:12 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Download "Rebellious Jukebox" from the Fall's first album. HUGE hook on that one...

Ben Boyer, Monday, 16 June 2003 21:31 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

this is quickly becoming the tone of the thread, but i can't resist asking: if C.R.E.E.P. isn't catchy as all hell then what is~?1?!?

brains (cerybut), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:34 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I do really enjoy the Fall, and apparently in the same way as the people who've responded here: the flashes of wit, the repetition, the charming shamble of the band banging and jerking along all primitive while Smith sneers in the space over the top. You do sort of need to enjoy the broken-downness of it all, and maybe the laziness as well. And I'd say the real meat is in the way their hooks and bits of smoothness just clang out from inside all the steady beating so clearly and surprisingly: you get bonk bonk bonk bonk [big clear wide-open guitar riff hook!] bonk bonk bonk bonk.

What I'm more curious about is how the Fall have such serious devotees. Their formula seems to me to result in pretty wide stretches of less-than-necessary stuff, and it's static enough to leave me pretty confident that, say, a two-disc comp of highlights is more than any person could ever need of them. The dedication of their fans, on the other hand, makes me wonder: are there really little gems scattered all through the discography, enough little shifts of personality to make slogging through the whole thing worth it? The fact that people remember the names of their individual songs so readily would lead me to believe they must settle into very different places, but god, my limited Fall listening has not given me much indication that that's the case.

(Good way of testing this, I guess: start an "essential Fall" thread and see how lively and specific and Smiths-like the debate over what tracks count can get.)

nabisco (nabisco), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:38 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

this thread makes me sad.

jess (dubplatestyle), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:40 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Why I like The Fall.

jess (dubplatestyle), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:46 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

are there really little gems scattered all through the discography, enough little shifts of personality to make slogging through the whole thing worth it?

In a word, yes. Sometimes it is often necessary to immerse oneself in a prolific artist's work to fully understand it all. Mark E Smith has changed a lot over the past 30 years, and it shows in his work. The Fall certainly can reward those with a casual interest, but if you really want to appreciate the nuances and details, you can't just be a dilletant with a best-of cd.

(Jess's list is pretty cool, by the way)

If you start an "essential Fall" thread, you will find that a lot of people like a lot of different Fall songs, and it probably won't make getting through the huge discography any easier on you.

Matthew Perpetua (Matthew Perpetua), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

i don't think the fall have really done a thing worth a good goddamn for the last 18 years, nitsuh, and i'm not really interested in picking over their scraps from those years to pick out a handful of classic songs. but they did enough in those first 8-9 years to justify their acclaim to me...that's like 10 albums/records right there, at least 6 or 7 of which are solid start to finish. which is a damn sight more than most bands ever release.

jess (dubplatestyle), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:53 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

that's it jess! pistols at dawn!

James Blount (James Blount), Monday, 16 June 2003 21:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I'll second James. I refuse to let alleged fall-oid give up until after Code: Selfish. And even then I think they should get Light User Syndrome.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:09 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

sorry, i have cassette copies of "extricate" (?...i might be getting this wrong) and "light user" (bought in an ohio goodwill!) and i cant remember the last time i felt the need to play them

and i swear this has nothing to do with them being cassettes

jess (dubplatestyle), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:11 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I cant remember the last time I felt the need to eat a slaw dog! doesn't mean I can live without em!

James Blount (James Blount), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

B-b-b-but Spinetrak! SPINETRAK! SPINETRAK!

Extricate is pretty weak, I'll admit.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:14 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

what about those hotdogs with the cheese inside em?

jess (dubplatestyle), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:15 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

those are disgusting

James Blount (James Blount), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Jess, have you heard the Unutterable album? There's some great songs on that one, and there's a couple good ones on that last one with the words Missing Winner in the title.

Matthew Perpetua (Matthew Perpetua), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:19 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

big ups to everyone big upping The Unutterable on this thread

James Blount (James Blount), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:19 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

can someone compile all the best bits from the last 18 years?

gaz (gaz), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:20 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

If Mark E. is a singer, then anyone could be vocalist, rock-star, anybody, if he/she really wants. Mark gives us hope.

Margus Kiis, estonian rock critic (Margus Kiis, estonian rock cri), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:24 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

b-b-but, i don't want to be a singing rock-star

gaz (gaz), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:25 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

totally coincidentally I'd made a "20th Century Fall" (Witch Trials through Unutterable) track listing for my website today. When I put it up there I'll put it up here too. I should be getting a CD burner soon so I can make copies if anyone wants one (it'd be a double CD).

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:26 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I really do think there are, as nabisco puts it, gems scattered throughout their discography, though the Slates/"Elastic Man"/"Totally Wired" period has the greatest concentration of them. But "Inch" from _Levitate_ is one of their three or four greatest moments ever as far as I'm concerned, and yesterday when I had my iPod on random "The Real Life of the Crying Marshall" from _The Unutterable_ reached over and whacked me upside the head (in a good way).

First Fall I ever heard was _The Wonderful and Frightening World..._, which did nothing for me at the time. _Palace of Swords Reversed_ was my conversion experience.

Douglas (Douglas), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:27 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Best-of comp I made for a friend about 4 years ago:

1. Prole Art Threat (1981)
2. How I Wrote “Elastic Man” (1979)
3. Totally Wired (1981)
4. Inch (1999)
5. Fortress/Deer Park (1982)
6. New Face In Hell (1980)
7. Free Ranger (1992)
8. Black Monk Theme, pt. 1 (1990)
9. Masquerade (1998)
10. U.S. ’80s-’90s (1986)
11. Kimble (1993)
12. Slang-King (1984)
13. Repetition (1977)
14. Hit The North (1988)
15. Leave The Capitol (1981)
16. Edinburgh Man (1991)
17. Put Away (1978)

I believe almost every band I've ever been in has covered a Fall song at some point, and sometimes it wasn't even my idea... I have vivid memories of playing "U.S. '80s-'90s," "Frightened" and "Fantastic Life."

Douglas (Douglas), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

My first Fall record was the A-Sides collection, which is probably about as consistently "pop" as a Fall record is going to get. I highly recommend it as a starting place, even if it means you won't hear songs like "I Am Damo Suzuki" "Repetition" "How I Wrote Elastic Man" "Hip Priest" "New Face In Hell" "The Classical" "I'm Into CB!" or any of the songs from Slates right away.

Matthew Perpetua (Matthew Perpetua), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:34 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I burned myself out on the Fall during my big Fall obsession period, by indulging in too many live CDs. The Fall were the first band by whom I ever enjoyed hearing lots of live versions of the same songs - even, in some cases, preferred them to the album versions. I made it to "Extricate" and went "blah" around the same time I couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to hear another echoey version of "Totally Wired," or, indeed, any Fall at all (for awhile). But I've been waiting to catch my second wind, and sample '90s-and-beyond Fall. (As mentioned on another thread, I'm hoping seeing them for the first time this week may kick my ass in that direction.)

Sam J. (samjeff), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

as far as albums go you really only need Bend Sinister, The Frenz Experiment, I Am Curious Oranj, Live At The Witch Trials, Dragnet, Hex Enduction Hour, Peverted By Language, The Wonderful and Frightening World Of The..., and 458489 B-Sides. It's simple, really.

scott seward, Monday, 16 June 2003 22:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

and the other ones that i forgot.

scott seward, Monday, 16 June 2003 22:36 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I made the mistake of starting with the first album, which I thought was an odd and somewhat neat, but it didn't compel me to explore any further. It wasn't until several years, and an encounter with "Hex Enduction Hour," later... (I still think "Witch Trials" is not much fun to listen to; something about the way it's recorded...)

Sam J. (samjeff), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:40 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I made a Fall compilation for a friend, and though I can't remember the order of the songs, it went something like this:

The Classical
New Face In Hell
I'm Into CB!
Repetition
I Am Damo Suzuki
New Face In Hell
Hip Priest
Couldn't Get Ahead
Dr. Buck's Letter
Living Too Late
Hit The North
Cruiser's Creek (live from Seminal Live lp)
Dktr Faustus
CREEP
Clear Off!
Oh! Brother
Impression of J. Temperance
Prole Art Threat

Hopefully this, in addition to what Douglas and others are posting, will give you a nice long list of songs to download from your favorite p2p.

Matthew Perpetua (Matthew Perpetua), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:43 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

the totally wired comp is actually quite a good introduction, even though it only covers the rough trade years

jess (dubplatestyle), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:46 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Victoria

That's a Kinks song, Mike!

Anyway, I think the hype is a bit overblown, and they sound like absolute shit on pot, but they have their moments. Eh.

Farmer Al (King Kobra), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:50 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

here's that "20th Century Fall" deal. It's pretty pop (though I didn't put "Victoria" on it, though for the double CD version - this is for a c90, I'd definitely make the cut.


1) “steppin out”
2) “rebellious jukebox”
3) “dice man”
4) “rowche rumble-live”
5) “pay your rates”
6) “fit and working again”
7) “totally wired”
8) “the classical”
9) “room to live”
10) “lie dream of the casino soul”
11) “i feel voxish”
12) “c.r.e.e.p.”
13) “rollin’ dany”

14) “couldn’t get ahead”
15) “living too late”
16) “frenz”
17) “wrong place, right time”
18) “dead beat descendant”
19) “black monk theme part I”
20) “free range”
21) “strychnine”
22) “hey student!”
23) “life just bounces”
24) “spinetrak”
25) “touch sensitive”
26) “hands up billy”

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 16 June 2003 22:52 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

what they said = why i like the fall. though i have only heard everything they did up to perverted by language.

di smith (lucylurex), Monday, 16 June 2003 23:02 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Starting with Palace of Swords Reversed was a very good thing for me, I realize. Most recent Fall acquistions: the rerelease of Fall in a Hole and Listening In. Must get the solo spoken word thingy oh yes. Excuse me, my headache is still doing me in.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 16 June 2003 23:05 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Because they sound like absolute shit on pot.

Kris (aqueduct), Monday, 16 June 2003 23:33 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Newcastle the other night:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXECrDgDZEA

heaven parker (anagram), Wednesday, 25 October 2017 06:56 (one month ago) Permalink

He doesn't look great in that vid, but my god he sounds better than he has in yrs, and seems like from views from the heads on the Fall board that it was a great, heroic gig. He definitely seems like he wants out of that chair, which hopefully is a good sign.

2017 came for MES and he said go back, go back to your disease-control room

chr1sb3singer, Wednesday, 25 October 2017 15:44 (one month ago) Permalink

"seems like he wants out of that chair" counterpoint: he can't fuck with the amps in the chair

chr1sb3singer, Wednesday, 25 October 2017 15:44 (one month ago) Permalink

hahaha totally, it's the burning desire to fuck with his bandmates that will heal him

sleeve, Wednesday, 25 October 2017 15:57 (one month ago) Permalink

SepticSceptic16 hours ago

The man whose head expanded.

guilty lol here

frogbs, Wednesday, 25 October 2017 16:58 (one month ago) Permalink

Haha nooo

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 25 October 2017 16:59 (one month ago) Permalink

LOL that's plain wrong

Terry Micawber (Tom D.), Wednesday, 25 October 2017 17:01 (one month ago) Permalink

btw, I saw Dave Swarbrick playing sitting in a wheelchair with a tube coming down his nose and an oxygen tank sitting beside him and he lived, and kept performing, for like 20 years after.

Terry Micawber (Tom D.), Wednesday, 25 October 2017 17:05 (one month ago) Permalink

i mean, it's osteoporosis, right? what happens with osteoporosis if you don't treat it?

bob lefse (rushomancy), Thursday, 26 October 2017 14:02 (one month ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Has anyone mentioned the new cherry red compilations yet?

7cd set of all the singles, a sides and b sides. 3cd compilation of all the a sides.

koogs, Sunday, 26 November 2017 15:11 (two weeks ago) Permalink

It's been mentioned on one of the other million Fall threads.

It's also going on my Xmas list for sure.

Le Bateau Ivre, Sunday, 26 November 2017 15:17 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Oh! The Fall SINGLES box set! OH! you guys.

Mark G, Sunday, 26 November 2017 17:09 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Oh, that's a NEW fall thread, not one of the thousands I have already bookmarked...

As you were...

koogs, Sunday, 26 November 2017 17:12 (two weeks ago) Permalink

But props for the naming consistency.

koogs, Sunday, 26 November 2017 17:12 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Last night in Bristol and tonight in London both cancelled for MES health reasons :(

heaven parker (anagram), Thursday, 30 November 2017 12:57 (one week ago) Permalink

Very sad. Apparently he traveled to the Bristol gig against doctor's orders and was too ill to leave the hotel room. The band came out on stage and announced it a few minutes before they were scheduled to go on.

cwkiii, Thursday, 30 November 2017 13:39 (one week ago) Permalink

Lots of rumours similar to this on Twitter:

I’m sorry to say that I think tonight’s cancelled gig in Bristol, due to Mark E Smith’s ill health, may well be the end of The Fall. A “source close to the band” told me that “he’s hanging on by a thread”. As a Fall fan of 35 years, this has killed me. God bless The Mighty Fall.

— Sir Francis Drake (@cruiserscreek85) November 29, 2017

groovypanda, Thursday, 30 November 2017 14:42 (one week ago) Permalink

Almost seems as if he's determined to do a Tommy Cooper.

Action of Boyle Man Prompts Visitor to Stay (Tom D.), Thursday, 30 November 2017 14:49 (one week ago) Permalink

This blows

Hadrian VIII, Thursday, 30 November 2017 14:59 (one week ago) Permalink

OK I 'm just gonna brace myself for this one, for some weird reason (probably the local friend-of-friends aspect)I think Fred Cole's death has made me simply accept that all of these artists I care about are gonna die real soon.

sleeve, Thursday, 30 November 2017 15:00 (one week ago) Permalink

the absence of MES from this level will be something that will give me grinding dissonance for years and years

i feel dread

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 30 November 2017 15:40 (one week ago) Permalink

Jon I was thinking about you when I made that post, hugs

sleeve, Thursday, 30 November 2017 15:46 (one week ago) Permalink

oh great pere ubu have just cancelled the rest of their tour and DT is in the hospital (serious but stable condition)

(the closest thing we have to a domestic Fall afaic. croaker behemoth please get better)

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 30 November 2017 15:49 (one week ago) Permalink

hugs sleeve

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 30 November 2017 15:49 (one week ago) Permalink

Fuck :(

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 30 November 2017 15:51 (one week ago) Permalink

xp and DT too?! :(

Le Bateau Ivre, Thursday, 30 November 2017 15:52 (one week ago) Permalink

apparently so, read it on the visi fall forum just now

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 30 November 2017 15:56 (one week ago) Permalink

A Message to All, to All. From Mark E. Smith/The Fall group. As I, like Pr Rupert leave Bristol with my tail between my legs, I wish to give my great apologies to everybody. This idiotic idea to do both shows was purely my idea, against the advice of Pamela and The Fall group, agent & promoter. Hope to replace shows within 4 - 6 weeks. In the interim we have eight new songs ready to go and will try and let you hear a few before Christmas. From head patient to you, the patients. I love you all but cannot embrace you all, Mark E. Smith

Hadrian VIII, Thursday, 30 November 2017 16:15 (one week ago) Permalink

UMS and I saw Ubu last week in Chicago and they were great and Thomas in particular was in great voice, but he did seem to be deflated physically.

MES...this line in particular really breaks my heart "This idiotic idea to do both shows was purely my idea, against the advice of Pamela and The Fall group, agent & promoter. "

I hope both of these characters get well soon.

chr1sb3singer, Thursday, 30 November 2017 16:43 (one week ago) Permalink

I can't imagine MES talking like that, it's so far removed from his usual tone. What is the story behind this statement and are they actually going to plan more shows? All really odd and not entirely reassuring.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Thursday, 30 November 2017 16:48 (one week ago) Permalink

The Prince Rupert line is enough to convince me w/o a doubt it is a statement from the Group Field Commander ME Smith

chr1sb3singer, Thursday, 30 November 2017 16:52 (one week ago) Permalink

It's legit.

He used to send out Christmas tidings but I think it's been a while...agreed that the unusual warmth of this one may not bode well.

Hadrian VIII, Thursday, 30 November 2017 17:12 (one week ago) Permalink

Yeah, if someone was going to pretend to be MES, you know how it would sound-ah.

Mark G, Thursday, 30 November 2017 17:31 (one week ago) Permalink

Yes, the ring of MES prose has always had quite a sweet intelligent nature to it. I like the 'head patient' line. (I do wish he'd written more prose, especially wrt that 'as-told-to' biography which lacked the sweetness and contained much of the latter-day tedium.)

The circumstances of the message are worrying though, I agree.

Been listening to the new album again, in part prompted by an imago tweet, and i've come to the conclusion it's v good. love the giant homeric cogs of fol-de-rol. still digesting and cogging couples v jobless.

on the bus the other day i had the conception of them as a psychic net or mesh (itself a fall image of course). this was an extension from what I thought when i saw them in manchester. You know the way a water filter in an office water dispenser captures all the dirt and ends up coated in a thick, black (and somewhat alarming) sludge? It's how i sort of perceived Smith at that gig. Looking like a thousand year old witch, bubonic, lank, sparse hair, sort of *leaning into* illness and death. A baffle for all the drugs and drink and strung-out psychic living of his life, so that the filth and sludge and mundane part of intoxication is caught in his body and organs. that he's done this for his musical and imaginative exploration.

i hope i don't romanticise here. it would be tempting to carry that analogy too far and say that he then delivered the purity of art, but that's bollocks (and a dangerous conception).

Because what The Fall do anyway is to focus on that sludge at the same time as the elation and strangeness. There is no *purifying* at work thank christ. The poor unfortunates of their early albums, like Grotesque, are laughable and insane and grotesque, but although there is a lot of crisp hate for pseuds and enfranchised crooks, there's a lot of sympathy there too.

grotesqueness is our *condition*. laughter and pity and mockery is the appropriate response to this condition. we are grotesque and absurd flesh and twisted out of shape character, we *are* the sludge, prey to megrims, paranoia, insanity and over and over again solitude, occupying a world of revenants, minatory and monitory governments, and governed by abstract, pointless numbers.

and of course they're such fun. This is an endlessly renewed observation, prompted this time by the IIIIIIIIIIIIII crave DRAMA! line in Victoria Station Massacre. It's delivered with such glee and exuberance at the terribleness of the person he's temporarily inhabiting with mocking mimicry.

On the way into work the other day, listening to fol-de-rol, with its keening guitar, and messy, phlegmy background, it occurred to me the same is the case for the fall's music as it is for mes. it acts as a sort of wind harp for the mess and substance, the mocking, spindly, frail guitar (so often in the 80s getting its riff from smith's central intonations - 'i work off the lyric'), and sludge of the world, with exuberant energy gained from this... *stuff* that they've caught in their net of music.

anyway, god bless the fall, and god bless smith.

Fizzles, Saturday, 2 December 2017 13:13 (one week ago) Permalink

i vant ar corman sludge hai choi

Action of Boyle Man Prompts Visitor to Stay (Tom D.), Saturday, 2 December 2017 13:45 (one week ago) Permalink

Massive promotional tour. Hemel Hempstead! East Retford!

http://thefall.org/gigography/image/79_dragnet_nmead.jpg

Action of Boyle Man Prompts Visitor to Stay (Tom D.), Saturday, 2 December 2017 13:50 (one week ago) Permalink

fuck west retford, honestly

Dic Space has been contacted for comment. (bizarro gazzara), Saturday, 2 December 2017 13:58 (one week ago) Permalink

sludge hai choi chase chase on indeed. lovely flyer. god, how fucking liberating and weird they must have been, in those tiny venues, creating a barbaric racket out of those rudimentary sounds, with that *boy* with so much stuff, so many thoughts, things, characters and words, in his head. brilliant.

Fizzles, Saturday, 2 December 2017 14:04 (one week ago) Permalink

yeah I tweeted about it but I'm extremely glad Chris prompted the trip to Chicago to see Pere Ubu.

Dave sat prior to the show folded into himself on a stool in the back corner by the merch booth, Deflated really is the only word, all his intimidating bulk is slack.

I went out for a smoke and realized I'd somehow misplaced my lighter, and literally the only person out smoking was Mr. Thomas himself, bent over a cane. I politely asked for a light which he politely handed over to me. I was momentarily tempted to say something but I imagine fan interaction is horrifying to him, and he looked so frail. I managed a thanks for the light and "take care"

he shakes and needs a cane to walk, but onstage seated on a stool, he was mesmerizing, whatever life force he has left goes into his voice and his stare and still theatrical hand gestures. the band right now is amazing actually.

but he looks like a dead man walking no doubt.

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 2 December 2017 14:14 (one week ago) Permalink

great posts you both

imago, Saturday, 2 December 2017 14:53 (one week ago) Permalink

Yeah, heartbreaking. I can totally see David Thomas (who tbf has been sitting at concert for ages) looking so fragile, and yet when he's on stage, that force is gigantic.

Le Bateau Ivre, Saturday, 2 December 2017 15:12 (one week ago) Permalink

Outstanding post by fizzles there. Both Thomas and Smith are major art heroes for me, personally, and I'm very much saddened by this news. With Chilton and Van Vliet already gone, this will be the coup de grace for my personal "pantheon". Love these guys. Godspeed to you both!!

VyrnaKnowlIsAHeadbanger, Saturday, 2 December 2017 15:26 (one week ago) Permalink

Ref to Fizzles

"The Wings rot and feather under me"

Mark G, Saturday, 2 December 2017 16:57 (one week ago) Permalink

right yes. good line, lot of rotting and decay.

have been seeing pere ubu a lot in recent years and was convinced a v frail DT was going to die a few years ago. as with smith i hope he persists even tho they seem in tight pinches at the moment (i really love pere ubu and associated projects recent work and performances tho haven’t heard the most recent album)

Fizzles, Saturday, 2 December 2017 17:45 (one week ago) Permalink

I'm loving New Facts Emerge more and more, it's maniacal

Universal LULU Nation (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 3 December 2017 05:47 (one week ago) Permalink

MES and DT are an odd ying-yang pair, both are resolutely emblematic of their countries (Smith is so utterly English, Thomas is so utterly American) and yet both both seem so divorced from those places, Thomas being an expat in England and Smith has always felt like an exile under house arrest in his own country.

Thomas, who is such a massive physical presence onstage, even now, even when it appears his body is betraying him, whereas Smith has cultivated this weird, "anti-frontman" thing for decades, not seeming to know how microphones work, wandering around the stage, fiddling with gear, seemingly oblivious to everything go on around him.

Both Beefheart/VU fanatics, both tyrannical band leaders, both have continued to forge weird new directions in spite of what the heritage rock scene would love for them to do, just to revisit their back catalogs with aplomb (Thomas though in a very American move will do it for the right price, Smith doesn't have time for "look back bores"), both probably think the other is a nut job.

God I love 'em both.

chr1sb3singer, Monday, 4 December 2017 23:00 (one week ago) Permalink

great post and otm

sleeve, Tuesday, 5 December 2017 01:20 (one week ago) Permalink

I'm not a Pere Ubu fan at all, and I could easily do without a lot of Fall stuff from after about 1986 or 1987, but I find the deterioration of both quite sad.

Gholdfish Killah (Turrican), Tuesday, 5 December 2017 20:03 (one week ago) Permalink

I legit almost teared up at A Message to All

the underground is pass-agg (Drugs A. Money), Tuesday, 5 December 2017 20:22 (one week ago) Permalink

He's so Brian Clough.

Mark G, Tuesday, 5 December 2017 22:55 (one week ago) Permalink


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