Yesterday, I was stood in East London's MOTH club when my partner saw the news of the passing of Mark E. Smith. The reports came in thick and fast from all the major news outlets, and as I stood waiting to watch the band I'd come to see that night, I felt a very strange emptiness after hearing the news. I had half a warm beer in one hand, her phone in the other, and a whole load of sadness.
I've written about my admiration for Smith previously here on the Community; his music was a gateway for many into the darker, experimental side of independent music.
Everything he did was a left turn... from his frivolance of firing and hiring band members, to his habit of moving every microphone onstage during performances, he was not only a sound engineer's nightmare, but the worst bandmate you could imagine. But from the stalls, he was the ideal cult frontman. The crowd loved him and he despised them with equal passion.
I'd like to use this opportunity to re-post a playlist of my favourite Fall tunes, with an updated selection and a new bio. I hope you find this as your gateway into the wonderful & frightening world of The Fall.
I'd also like to select a few live favourites, which capture the pure unhinged methods of his performance style.
I was lucky enough to witness The Fall in Norwich, back in October 2012. I was 18 with a bad haircut and an even worse third-hand car, and I had an amazing night watching him in the flesh. He was sardonic, tetchy, and incredibly funny.
Here's a picture I took from the back all those years ago, followed by a selection of my favourite live tracks from the many bootlegs available to hear...
'Touch Sensitive' Live in San Fransisco, 2013
'Theme From Sparta FC' Live in Hammersmith, 2007
'Psycho Mafia' Live in Liverpool, 1978
'Rowche Rumble' Live in Doncaster, 1980
As a footnote, I'd love to give you some extra homework for your Fall travels. Check out this documentary that was made about the man back in 2004.
Rest in peace, Mark E. Smith. The original Hip Priest.