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Thursday 25 January 2018

Always Different, Always The Same

A guest contribution from George

The Fall were a bloody brilliant band. Or maybe I should say they were a series of bloody brilliant bands given the line-up changes.  “If it’s Mark E Smith and your granny on bongos, it’s the Fall”, but I never got to hear that particular version of the band, although it would have been great to see my Nanna, who would outsmoke Mark E Smith, on stage with her packs of Silk Cut and a glass of sherry, on the bongos whilst Smith had his back turned to the audience.

Repetitive Fall

The records kept coming, for almost 40 years, at times great (The Unutterable, Your Future Our Clutter) and at times a bit less so, but that run of albums from Live At The Witch Trials, in 1979, to The Infotainment Scan in 1993 rarely had a duff track on them. And you couldn’t ask for much more from a band. For me it's the music, the lyrics are always secondary, which is just as well given that at best only half the time  can I make out what the hell Mark E Smith is shouting about. And even when I can make it out, say on Garden (Perverted by Language), I've no idea what the hell it's about. And sometimes, when I'm lucky, it can always make me smile,
 "Make joke records, hang out with Gary Bushell,
Join round table. "I like your single yer great!""
on C'n'C-S Mithering (Grotesque).
 But it's the music, always that relentless relentless relentless repetition, on O.F.Y.C Showcase (Your Future Our Clutter), or Pacifying Joint (Fall Heads Roll), or No Bulbs, a song it is impossible and it should be illegal to not PLAY LOUD,  or, or, or,...Repetition (77-Early Years-79), it's always the music for me.

Early and Amusing Fall

You don’t have to like the personnel to like the music, which was just as well really, but I suppose there comes a point when the person’s actions go too far for us to listen to the records anymore. Maybe. After all, I suspect I’m not the only one who still plays Phil Spector-produced records; R.L.Burnside killed someone in a dice game. And Mark E Smith seemed to have some nasty violent habits, and hold some distasteful views, but that’s not going to stop me playing Live At The Witch Trials and shouting along to Mother Sister, blasting out The Lay Of The Land, the first Fall song I ever heard, almost shiver with pleasure as Cyber Insekt vibrates the walls. Mark E Smith didn’t mean anything to me, I never met him, never wanted to, I didn’t even want to go see the band in concert after about 2007,  but I always wanted to buy his records.

"I can make out some lyrics but what the hell is this all about" Fall

Always different, always the same


  1. What a great post. I miss your blog George.

  2. Way to go, George. Glad you found a place for this very fine tribute. I know the Fall meant a lot to you.

  3. What a great job George. Hope you'll find the time for further guest postings among us.

  4. Top tribute, George; particularly like the line: "You don’t have to like the personnel to like the music". So true... and not just about The Fall.

  5. Excellent stuff George. One of the best of the many tributes I’ve seen today.

    Thank you.

  6. Top stuff George. I am very fond of Oswald Defence Lawyer too.

  7. Thanks, everyone, for the comments. Music is a big big part of lives, and given that there sixty-four Fall albums up these stairs, I was glad Stevie (CC) gave me the opportunity to write a few words.

    1. Still waiting on that cheque which allegedly is in the post

  8. Yep, I can pretty much sign up to your heartfelt view too tho' I'd credit the lyrics more than you - that's when you can decipher 'em! I saw them a few times after 2007 but not in the last couple of years. I was at one gig at Sheffield Boardwalk (2010?) which was promoted by somebody I knew who told me later that it was the first time he'd put him on and that he'd been 'shitting it' as he met him out of the taxi up from the station and was installing him into his hotel. However, he'd been dead reasonable and that Elena had been lovely so he thought he'd cracked it. At the gig itself though 4 hours of heavy drinking later, after the opener Mark just walked off - turned out he'd found some fault with the mike stand and it took 50 minutes for them to persuade him to come back on. So yes he could be an arsehole but you generally put up with it. None of this though takes anything away from the first 30 years brilliance.