We’re all fans of The Fall so with the untimely passing of Mark E. Smith we’re all mourning buckets right now.
I long ago let go of my dream to play for Leicester City and with the passing of the years and the emergence of no obvious talent, the possibility of the Booker prize or an Oscar seem increasingly remote. Now I’m forced to lay to one side my ambition to play in The Fall. A daydream which, if a little far fetched, was at least always statistically possible given the baffling number of bandmates Smith went through during his career. A revolving door policy which made Art Blakey and Jerry Garcia appear to be positively dependable employers.
Truth be told I was never the obsessive fan that friends and, notably, former bandmates were, but like a long running soap opera (a similie which I don’t use carelessly) they were a band I checked up on periodically, always meaning to spend more time on but never quite getting around to it.
Shamefully I only ever saw them twice, but one of those gigs rates among my top 5 for the sheer joy of seeing Mark E smirking throughout due to the unabashed enthusiasm of support band Elastica, pogoing behind the drummer.
It’s both routine and polite to say of recently deceased artists that they were a one off and we’ll never see their like again. For once this is true. The Fall weren’t in any way the sum total of the band members influences. They were of course the warped nightmarish vision of one man and quite simply no one else on Earth could possibly have spent their youth listening to Link Wray and Can and then combined them to create records like Hex Enduction Hour and The Infotainment Scan.
The Fall, for my generation at least, were a part of the landscape and indeed life itself that you just didn’t question. Like Marmite and Terry Wogan, everyone had an opinion on them and even if that opinion wasn’t always complimentary, you couldn’t deny its cultural influence. Everywhere you looked, everywhere you listened,, The Fall would rear their snaggle toothed head.
Not since John Peel died have I felt like a period of my youth has been lost and it seems unthinkable that there’ll be no more Fall albums.