R.I.P. Mark E. Smith


5th of March 1957 – 24th of January 2018

By Debbie Smith

This is weird.
MES and The Fall have had a disproportionate influence on my life in ways that I am still trying to unravel even now.

There are people in my life to this day that I met because of The Fall. One of my bands was named after one of their songs. My forming of another ultimately stems from my hearing The Fall cover The Monks on their 80s albums – a first contact transmuted into something I could never have dreamed of back then. Yet another is basically a 1990’s London imitation of them (apologies, Ashley but you know the score). My halcyon indie heyday – scratch that – whole musical career to date – is peppered with my pathetic attempts to imitate the Bramah/Scanlon/Brix guitar sound. I have even been prone to curtail relationships if the other party did not appreciate The Fall. (Sorry, ladies, a bit late, but at least you have a reason now.)

From my first hearing them via the John Peel radio show (of course) in the 80’s (year unclear, but about 83 I think), they have just always been there for me. Regularly over the years, their songs insinuate themselves into my head and won’t leave and I have mad passionate love affairs with different albums for weeks at at time, and then months can go by without me thinking about them at all, because They. Just. Are.

He had always been there. Met him a few times, played the same bill a few times – always gracious and charming, even when not paying you and you have to put him in a headlock (the last time I met him. At least we supported them. A poisoned chalice for sure, but O, how we supped from it!).

And now… he is not. And I’m not ready for it. Of course the signs were there, for years if you’d care (dare) to look, but the definite and blazing signs this past year or so were hard to ignore. And yet, it’s still shocking and weird (you don’t have to be weird, etc.) to think – that’s it. No more Fall. Ever.
So. Drink the long draught. Check the guy’s track record. See the manager. Leave The Capitol. This is a cool group. Go and listen to some music by The Fall. There’s enough of it that you’ll probably dig something, even if you weren’t a fan. Oh, and definitely read ALL the books about them – or by them – that you can find – you might learn summat, as they say in Manchester.

I’ve just finished a bottle of whisky (it wasn’t full to start with, to be fair). It’s probably what he would have wanted. I might get a Gramme, Friday.

Godspeed you, MES. A New Face In Hell.
Go get ’em.

1 Comment

  1. Great review about a unique person with a weird and wonderful way about his every utterance.
    Even his death is not quite normal and very vague except you you know it was not murder.
    Much loved man RIP.

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