R.I.P.M.E.S

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.

R.I.P.M.E.S

 

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6 thoughts on “R.I.P.M.E.S

  1. I’ve been listening today after reading a couple of blog posts from people I respect (small bow permitted here). Still not quite sure I get it. Kind of early 70s Lou Reed fuck ’em attitude, crap voice but surprisingly varied and often intricate arrangements. But the outsider status thing makes sense and that often adds to the sense of loss. Felt it in ’17 as two Can members were boxed and diced.

    Anyway, sad news leads to welcome appearance by KS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not worthy! I think anyone who likes The Fall has infinite sympathy for anyone who doesn’t get it. Let’s face it, you wouldn’t play them to relax after a hard day at the coalface. Like a lot of difficult music I really think you need to grow into it and hearing them first when national radio was force feeding us Shakin’ Stevens and Cliff Richard, someone bellowing krautrock in a broad Manchester accent made perfect sense. On the other hand, I’m totally getting Beaches thanks to your recommendation and indeed the sound of young Melbourne as a whole – The Stroppies are my new favourite band and I’ve been told by several friends I need to listen to Dick Diver. Or is all this passe to you?

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s me who’s passed, KS. I have a young friend (son of an old mate) who is probably on top of those bands you mention (and Melbourne has a rich history of DIY music) but it’s pretty easy to escape my limited vision these days. More an accident when I DO stumble across something new.

        Also, entirely agree with your point about The Fall (or any more challenging music) and context – both national and personal.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice tribute Kid, I am genuinely gutted about this. I lived in a house with an enormous Fall fan (he was ironically a very small thin person) for years and it rubbed off on me. I only saw them once in Leeds and they were just brilliant (tour for Shiftwork). A truly original and peculiarly English voice has been stilled for ever.

    Liked by 1 person

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