on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2018 26 Jan

In memory of Mark E. Smith

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | 1 Comment


Hello Michael.

I hope 2018 has started well for you. It’s a while since we emailed, but I was moved by hearing of the death of Mark E. Smith to share my experience of seeing The Fall.

Just two gigs by The Fall in my concert-going history. The first (1982) at Hammersmith Palais, co-headlining with The Birthday Party, attended with my then girlfriend Theresa: the second (1998) at The Purple Turtle in Reading, attended after separating from my then wife Sally.

There were probably a thousand people at the plastic palm tree-lined Palais, but just thirty at the sweaty and dirty bar in Reading. In both gigs, a suited Mark E. Smith slurred and ranted his scorching yet funny invective, his wired band members looking scared and exhausted. I left both with my ears ringing and thoughts jangling, certain I could never see and hear anything better. I had been thinking it was time to see him again, but have now missed that chance.

My day? Attending a meeting on junior doctor suicide in London, then travelling to Bristol to give a talk on anxiety. Whilst walking from the Hammersmith and City line exit to the mainline station at Paddington, I was surprised to see exactly the same battered portakabin still standing, where I had worked in the St Mary’s Hospital Drug Dependency Unit over thirty years ago. All around its temporary structure, new shiny buildings have appeared – but it will probably outlast them all.

As John Peel observed about Mark E. Smith and The Fall – Always different, always the same.

best wishes – David


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1 Comment

  1. Michael Engelbrecht:


    Hi, David,

    I never was into their music, more a matter of respect than love. A personal view with a beating tends to give me the feeling of having missed something. „Our“ Ian McCartney met Mark a year ago, and he has the most intense connection to their music.

    Speaking of strange music, I rediscovered an affection for Frank Zappa after listening to a glouriously remastered three vinyl version of JOE‘S GARAGE.

    In fact, I like this weirdness and the wild mix of genres very much now. In the old days I only had some quite deep listening of THE GRAND WAZOO, OVERNITE SENSATION and ZOOT ALLURES…

    And Zappa, like Neil Young is fantastic on electric guitar.

    Hope we‘ll meet again in 2018


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