The Fall / Mark E Smith

If it is of any use to anyone via a vis the N word, I call my cats “the mittens” so when I sing along to The Classical I change that bit to “where are the obligatory mittens?” and think I am making a statement about too many cats on the internet or something.

I also often say it when I walk in the house after work.


Stumbled across a bandcamp page a few months ago of free Sheffield gig bootlegs including a few Fall ones but the quality seems mostly pretty shit.

However this short set from 1993 was apparently recorded for Radio 1 and sounds great. The band are on fire, Why Are People Grudgeful sounds absolutely superb.

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such a tune that. i read somewhere that the reason he shouts WHERES NORTH FROM HERE at the beginning of the album version is coz he’d told damon that he only ever records facing north :smiley:


Not many bands have A-sides as good as some Fall B-sides.

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Been listening to Hex Enduction hour quite a bit this week. What a great album!


I first dipped my toe into the world of the fall with some sort of live boxset (can’t remember what it was called other than it was green) and I couldn’t even make it the whole way through.

A little time later I heard 2 Librans on a compilation and loved it, then bought the Unutterable which I couldn’t stop playing - some bits were gloriously shit, and other bits were just glorious. I also got really into Bend SInister for a while.

I tried a few other albums, but I don’t think I ever gave anything enough of a chance. Looking through their Spotify page there is such an alarming amount of music on there.

Anyway thanks to this thread I’m going to try to give Hex Enduction Hour a proper go.

I also really love their covers - lost in music is fantastic. (I think… or it might be rubbish I don’t know, but I love it all the same.)


Do it. Would also highly recommend Perverted by Language


Jawbone and the Air Rifle is a tune!


Phenomenal album. Winter parts 1 & 2 are my favourite on it. My fave Fall songs are definitely the weird occult short stories, of which ‘Jawbone…’ is another brilliant example.


Gotta be honest, I don’t really buy into the idea that The Fall were great at covering other people’s songs but their version of ‘Lost In Music’ is one of the great covers for me. Always end up playing it 2 or 3 times back to back, I get quite choked up listening to it too which I’m not sure is a common experience listening to The Fall!

Yeah ‘The Unutterable’ is patchy but when it works it’s absolutely thrilling. ‘Cyber Insekt’ is such a great opener


Is Just Step S’ways on there too?

Yes, that’s my favourite on that album.

OK, thanks - added that to my list as well. Just need to find the time to give them a proper listen.

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Grotesque came out 40 years ago today. I think it might be my favourite Fall album.


just got round to reading Paul Hanley’s book Have a Bleedin’ Guess: The Story of Hex Enduction Hour from earlier this year, really good read. bit like the elder Hanley’s The Big Midweek but covering a shorter more concentrated period.

something that works really well about it i think is that it’s an insider account by someone who was there and in the midst of it, but who also seems to consider himself a relatively minor player in comparison to his bandmates, and was clearly a fan both before and after his own tenure, so it strikes quite a good balance. very thoroughly researched with lots of review and interview sources as well as new comments from Steve, Marc and Craig (who doesn’t give many interviews). lots of nerdy info about how the tracks and recording sessions came together, dispels a few MES myths, also quite a good and fairminded analysis of that infamous lyric from The Classical. also fairly short and very easy to read.

unbelievable that i still haven’t read Brix’s book though.

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I read The Big Midweek and have been on the fence about this one. Thought a whole book about just He’s might be too much on record. But from your review above , I think I’ll check it out.

It’s only 180 pages or so, doesn’t feel very long, and it starts with some background on their career up to that point (particularly from Dragnet onwards when the Hex lineup starts to come together) and ends with a bit about recording Room to Live, so it’s not too one note. Broken down into short sections like track by track, artwork, Iceland trip etc. Found it very readable and read it in a few days when I’m normally quite slow. Would recommend.

Bob Stanley (St Etienne) is doing a book

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Not read this or the big midweek but absolutely LOVE this kind of writing (people who happen to be around while great works of art are made) so adding both to the list.

Steve was obviously a massive driving force in the band for years but I remember him being fairly modest in his book as well I think (though he does say he essentially became the band’s manager later in his tenure). I think Paul is overly modest too but seems to regard himself as someone who could have easily been sacked in favour of Karl Burns at any moment, though is very proud of how they worked together as a unit. But above all they’re both just very normal fellas who were involved in making some absolute classics.

I think that lineup’s perspectives on Mark are always particularly interesting - I recently read an interview about Mark in some free music paper with Ed Blaney (manager/sometimes member in the 00s who also did a couple of collab albums with MES, which i’ve never listened to but have seen some pretty poor reviews of) and he’s still nauseatingly fawning about him, whereas the 80s lads are a lot more realistic, having been around before the messiah worship kicked in - they still have a ton of respect for him as an artist and his vision, and remain grateful for the opportunities and creative freedom they had in the band, but aren’t afraid to call out his bullshit and demythologise when appropriate either.