Fall News

The Fall are playing a few shows in the U.S for the first time since March-April, 1998.

Tues., Nov. 13

Knitting Factory, Los Angeles (MES spoken word, or "ranting and raving" according to the KF site). Support: Lydia Lunch.

Wed., Nov. 14 Knitting Factory, Los Angeles (support: Theory of Ruin, Mecca Normal)
Thurs., Nov. 15 Knitting Factory, Los Angeles (support: Flash Express, Midget Handjob)
Mon., Nov. 19 Great American Music Hall, San Francisco (support: Erase Errata, the Evening)
Tues., Nov. 20 Crocodile Cafe, Seattle (support: Kinski)
Fri., Nov. 23 Knitting Factory, New York
Sat., Nov. 24 Knitting Factory, New York
Sun., Nov. 25 Knitting Factory, New York (originally scheduled as a spoken word show -- sorry, a ranting and raving show -- but according to the New York KF site it's a band gig).
And the tour winds up in Manchester...
Thurs., Nov. 29 The Footage and Firkin, Oxford Road, Manchester (gig moved from Planet K).

Win tickets to the San Francisco gig on Nov. 19

"Aquarius Records is proud to be co-sponsoring The (mighty) Fall show at the Great American! Come into the store and enter to win one of two pairs of randomly drawn tickets -- we'll do the drawing on Thursday the 15th."

There are several gig reports in the Fall News archive: UK dates in October 19, Euro dates in November 5. If you want to send me a review, it's not too late. I'll add them to the relevant edition.


Apparently the EP The Present has been withdrawn / postponed. Tracks scheduled to be on it were "My Ex-Classmates' Kids," "New Formation Sermon," and "Distilled Mug Art." I've just heard that Voiceprint will release this EP after all "in a very different form."

Pander, Panda, Panzer. According to Rob Ayling at Voiceprint: "Basically we (Mark and I) were going through the track points and we both decided it wasn't very good (bad source tapes) so we decided to can that version of it. There is a plan to record nicely in a clean studio rather that rely on live versions of the pieces."


Are You Are Missing Winner (Cog Sinister COGVP131CD) is out on CD in the UK (and Europe?). It's also been spotted at a few stores in the USA, e.g. Vintage Vinyl, Other Music.

Order it from Action Records (£11.99) and tell them you came from the Official Fall website to get a 10% discount (they ship very quickly too - I've had great success ordering from the USA).

are you are missing artist 1 Jim's "The Fall" (M.E. Smith/J. Watts)
2 Bourgeois Town (R. Johnson arr. M.E. Smith)
3 Crop-Dust (S. Birtwistle/M.E. Smith)
4 My Ex-Classmates' Kids (M.E. Smith/E. Blaney)
5 Kick the Can (M.E. Smith/B. Pritchard)
6 Gotta See Jane (R. Dean/Taylor)
7 Ibis-Afro Man (M.E. Smith/J. Watts/I. Pop)
8 The Acute (Smith/Fanning)
9 Hollow Mind (Smith/Blaney)
10 Reprise: Jane - Prof Mick - Ey Bastardo (Spencer/Blaney)

A few unconfirmed grapevine items:

  • there'll be a limited edition vinyl picture disk.... the horror. On Nov. 8 Rob Ayling sent a message to Fallnet saying there (might? will?) be a pressing of 1,000 numbered picture disks.
  • Jim Watts says the shop version of the CD will have different artwork -- although it looks like the ones in the shops now are the same as the ones sold at the UK/Euro gigs, except that they've inexplicably switched Crop-Dust with My Ex-Classmates' Kids on the cover??
  • MES called Rob Ayling at Voiceprint "requesting some changes to the tracks."

The artwork
(further creative critiques would be welcome; email them to scooke@sdf.lonestar.org)

  • The cover is truly, TRULY dire, breathtakingly, dreadfully crap.
  • They should have had somebody crap on a piece of paper and photocopy it - that would have been better. May have got a bit squished in the photocopier though.
  • The new fall cover looks like a fall cover, is all. most are crappy looking, but at least they're shabby in a way that's recognizeable as being fall shabbiness. when i saw the unutterable cover, i thought, oboy, this looks halfass. of course, i was pleased to hear what the album sounded like. it's among the band's recent best. then i took a closer look at other covers, like infotainment scan, marshall suite, cerebral caustic, the frenz experiment, the wonderful and frightening world of the fall, middle class revolt--some of which are cool-looking, if shabby--and i realized that the fall are more hit and miss with art work than they are with music. still, i s'pose fall fans like to grouse as much or more as anyone else. here's hoping for more crap covers to come!

Voiceprint has two Real Audio selections (encoded @ 16 Kbps) on their site:

And the reviews are trickling in...

Q 4Music (Q online edition)
Fall - Are You Are Missing Winner ** (2 stars), Ian Harrison

Psychic reptile Mark E Smith is a bold man. To date he has put out six non-essential live albums, each with the same shot of Smith flicking the V's on the cover, presumably at the purchaser. Regrettably, Are You Are Missing Winner feels a bit like that. Whereas 2000's The Unutterable had strong songs and slick production, now we're back to wildly variable fragments recorded in Smith's shed. These are either great -- the spidery Cropdust echoes Mr Pharmacist -- or bemusingly thin. Apart from that, the familiar slurred delivery of unfathomable lyrics continues over gnarled garage rock. Strictly for the kind of fans keen to display levels of dutiful devotion last seen at the Charge Of The Light Brigade.

Justin Kollar:

although this isn't my full review, i gotta say so far... after about 3 listenings... it feels kinda like dragnet to me. crude riffy tracks with horribly out of key shit all over the place. songs with a lot of words that aren't about anything. no obvious hooks, but still i find myself humming little parts hours later. not bad at all. quite a change from the unutterable, but as good as that album is i wouldn't want another that sounds just like it.

Joe Kard2000:

Picked up a copy last night...after getting beyond the dissapointment at the shoddy cover......i'm still trying to get past my dissapointment of the lp.....i think it wouldve made a far better ep, standouts for me are ex classmates kids, burgeous town and jane reprise/ay bastardo.....other than that this ones getting filed away... guess they cant all be winners.

Adrian Fry:

Went out and bought the new album at lunchtime today. The cover is as shit as everyone said it was but then quite a lot of Fall cover art has been shit over the years. And what about that title? Is it some kind of joke? Is the mis-spelling of are a bit of arty cleverness of a kind way above my head or just someone being too scared to tell MES "That's not how to spell are."?

This is a low-fi, guitar based album, a long way from the slickly produced keyboardy brilliance of The Unutterable. The more I listen to 1990s-2001 Fall, the more I think of MES as being like some old black blues singer. It no longer matters what he is singing (I don't think he's written a conventionally 'meaningful' song since M5) but there is that unique voice, like a linguistics professor attempting to explain some arcane argument after 25 years on meths and park benches. So the blues cover version Bourgeois Town - not that it's done in a blues style, of course - is the standout track for me on first listen. Jim's The Fall is a good stab at re-creating The Fall circa Middle Class Revolt and it has an arrogant, swaggering vocal. My X Classmates Kids is another standout track, with MES once again impressionistically sneering at TV, computers etc and crying for the kids growing up now (what an old softie).

The cover version of Gotta See Jane is little more than workmanlike but it mutates wonderfully into Reprise Jane Prof Mick Ey Bastardo at the end of the album.

The rest of the tracks haven't made too much impression on me yet but it sounds like Crop Dust is supposed to be the big track of the album and I've read that it goes well live.

Stuart Estell:

Got my copy of the album from Amazon yesterday - and despite the awful cover I think it's fantastic. This is probably because either: (a) I'm suffering with terrible withdrawal from caffeine (b) my expectations were incredibly low or (c) I'm being really gullible/excitable and will turn round in 3 weeks and announce that I now think it's dreadful (why change the habit of a lifetime?)

However, for the moment, the following thoughts: the production is superb - absolutely bang-on for the songs on the record (detractors: what do you want, a bloody Corrs LP?), and all the faffing about with cheapo tapes in Ibis-Afro Man/Race With the Devil (that, Crop Dust, and Bourgeois Town are instant Fall classics to my mind) has reminded me of why I loved this band so much in the first place.

Minor gripe: I preferred Ex-Classmates Kids as I Wake Up In The City, just because of the coughing.

We are the New Fall, indeed. Nice work, Jim.

Steve Dean:

The new album. What the fuck are you malcontented arsewipes moaning about? Mark's voice is clearer than ever since about LUS. Sound mix and balancing sound like one of us did it, however. The inside photos, who are those guys ? Someone said this was an album made to be played loud and it seems to work best that way, it certainly doesn't let you settle.

Jim's "The Fall" & Crop-Dust are fine enough and My Ex-Classmates' Kids near as good; all razoredged Iggy thrash and abrasive sound scapes, glorious. Kick the Can / Gotta See Jane could be lived without. Ibis-Afro Man is a right old mess and sounds like an out-take from Space Ritual mostly, all a bit smart-arse. The Acute is superb as is Hollow Mind (which it must have been noted before but I avoid reading before hearing) is a retake on Jerusalem isn't it.

The Acute/ Hollow Mind: are almost parts one and two of the same song and whoever they are pointed at I imagine is not a million miles unrelated from the THANKS column that includes "Thanks to .... No Body Else..." The Acute/Hollow Mind remind me of something earlier in fall - something like Rose but not Rose and on intial impression are the ones I like the most.

Reprise: Jane - Prof Mick - Ey Bastardo is a joke and fine as that, sounds a bit like 'fucking hell the album's only 40 minutes we'll stick best bits of leftover tape together" Is that Smith or Sven who is a bastardo? Deffo Steve is bald. S'like here innit, given half a chance and the boot is straight in. Not that you give a rats arse but overall I think its most like a Fall album (a ridiculous notion I know) than anything since 27Pints - rough, funny and completely unapologetic.

Al Reynolds:

The reprise bit is obviously The Fall's attempt at a Genesis-style medley, only without Phil Collins. "Ey bastardo" - isn't that what the hunchback in the Name of the Rose kept saying?

It sounds like it's been produced by gerbils. And it's all the better for it. Yes - who *are* those people on the inside cover?

John Howard:

Here, here. A fine album. Personally I am all for more shit like Ibis/African Man and the last Bastardo track. great stuff. Smith sounds in fine fettle and the production is lovingly shitty. I don't hear a Fall "classic" on here (the last one had a couple) but I dig it a bunch as an album.

Penatenziagane (or something like that, mein italian ist vhack) was what the Tom Waits guy sez in Name of the Rose. It is a reference to the Albagensian Crusades.

Ian Greaves:

My annual post should also mention the new Fall LP - preaching to the converted and no one else? The transitional argument isn't very convincing, I'm afraid. Every album for the past few years (inc CC) had something on it which made me think "surely 'other' people will listen to this?" Y'know, F'Oldin, Masquerade, Two Librans, He Pep even, but this has none of that. Deeply strange and deeply disappointing. But then, I didn't take to the last one all that quickly, and love it now.

Michael Flack:

I've just been listening to this for the first time, and although as per usual it starts better than it finishes, I think it's the Fall album I've been waiting for a while. Energy, raw rhythms and the same old riffs. Lovely vocals and muggy muggy production that will ensure the 50th listen is as rewarding as the 1st. I don't believe it can be faulted really, unless you're a record reviewer who hasn't had their free lunch or something. My favourite is Crop Dust, although it should be at least 10 minutes longer.

Does everyone else's copy get Kick The Can and Ex-Classmates' Kids the wrong way round?

And big up to Voiceprint for the credit on Gotta See Jane - R.Dean/Taylor indeed! I bet you lot think Ian Duncan Smith and Sven Goran Eriksson are four different people!

Rex Freeman:

What the fuck is Smith on? If this miserable, pointless excuse for a record is in any way influenced by nicotine or alcohol we should all become vegan potheads right away. I sat and listened to it intently for 47 minutes on its arrival as always (although after the past two studio efforts, no longer like a kid on xmas morning) and was treated to a smug, amateur-hour variety of vaguely psychedelic garage songs which, when they weren't being relentlessly banal, were bordering on the offensive (on track seven we seem to be being treated to the sounds of animals being tortured - believe me, it isn't funny). Every effort seems to have been made on this artless, pretentious piece of crap to annoy the listener: deliberately jarring "editing", pitiful bass playing, shiftless drumming, "sampled" pink floyd guitar, and the frustration that there's a tune just around the corner that never arrives.

I was playing the "Infotainment Scan" the other night and thinking how brilliant it is, maybe my favourite record ever and what a great year it was in 1993 PRINICIPALLY DUE TO THAT ALBUM and its delicious singles. "Middle Class Revolt" the following year was disappointing, but really only because we had the best of it already on the Eps that preceded it. The rest you know. I should be indebted enough however to Mr Smith to now adhere to his cynicism and make the new fall album all about me. But it's all been said, and on the evidence of the witheringly monikered "are you are missing winner" the look-back bores are in the lead.

Dave Harrop:

Spent the weekend tying to persuade the family: mother, wife, 11-year-old daughter that it would be beneficial to turn off the TV and have a family listening of AYAMW.

Failed miserably and they all suddenly found urgent things to do. However, managed to entrap them in the car, and on the grounds that I valued Jane's opinion, got her to listen to first five or so tracks before she said "I can't take any more" and threatened to throw the tape out of the window. She then said: "You only say you want to know what I think, so you can play this stuff. You know very well what I think - its shit!" That's a fair cop, I suppose.

Her verdict on Gotta See Jane was it sounded like a bad school band. Africa Man also bombed, and she said I would be living in the bush too if I didn't turn it off pronto.

Don't really know why I am telling you all this except a bottle of red has loosened my tongue, and I wonder if others experience this sort of repartee with spouses.

Thomas Harms:

having bought all fall-lps from the very beginning til today i must say that this truly is one of the worst efforts mark edward has ever delivered. itīs NOTHING. no songs, no riffs, no lyrics, just dull bits and pieces from rehearsals. loveless, uninspired, crap. just the contrary to (at least) some tracks on "the unutterable", not to mention real good fall-albums.

sorry, guys.


The Forum, London, November 10, 2001

Adrian Fry:

After 10yrs listening to their records, I've finally seen The Fall. As one of those for whom MES is The Fall - I have no time for the musicologist cretins with their protestations that the interplay between the Hanley's, Brix etc was the core of Fall appeal - I was pleasantly surprised.

Never been to The Forum before but rather liked the place.

Support band bucked the usual business whereby all support bands are contractually shit by being OK - indie, grunge and HM influences vying for supremacy a la Afghan factions.

Fall opened with The Joke which sounded just fantastic once MES came on looking shot away but good hunoured. Can't recall set list but the songs that stood out for me were Bourgeois Town, Crop Dust, Way Round, Librans and X Classmates Kids.

Friend who came with me (under duress) enjoyed the gig despite my endless assertions that The Fall would be shit and he'd hate them.

I even made last train home!

Roll on my next chance to see The Fall.

Dave Tristram:

Caught this gig almost by accident as I was in London for the weekend with fellow Fall fan Monty (The 'Jumper Clown'), my 15th Fall gig (since 1981) but the first time I'd seen them since Birmingham in May '99. Fairly good crowd, T-Shirt sales healthy, and as always, a larger then expected smattering of goths, and people with strange footwear.

First experience of new line up, and I dunno what some of you lot have been moaning about, because to this seasoned Fall fan they sounded well 'ard. Set list pretty much as has been recorded on these pages, blistering version of Mr Pharmacist and Crop Dust and Bourgeois Town sounded good as well, Some of this verged on Heavy Metal/ Stooges etc. This line up is an improvement on the last few years as they are a tight, well meshed unit who don't feel the need to do anything fancy, and the sound in general seemed 'back to basics' and pretty rough, which certainly suits me, tho' I can appreciate that some will be disappointed. MES was in vintage amp fiddling mode, turning off the guitarist almost completely at one point.Rhythm section was excellent. Some kid who looked a bit like MC Tunes slightly brighter brother accompanied MES on a couple of tracks, and Smith shooed some tubby solicitor looking character in a tank top on with a broom to sing Dr Bucks Letter for the second encore, though the poor chap patently wasn't up to the task (who was this???). Several MES 'altercations' with mike stands also. Mark Perry was apparently in audience.

Think they're much better for getting rid of keyboards and all those crappy pop trappings, but thats just a personal opinion, and 'I Wake Up In The City' (Flitwick 7) is the best thing MES has committed to vinyl since the DOSE singles.

The only person from '76 still consistently doing his thing with ANY degree of integrity.

Audience reaction pretty mixed-heard lots of moaners on the way out-well what do they bloody well expect???

Are any of the last line up doing anything else? And is it true that Julia Nagle is seeking 'legal advice' over something or other???

Alan McBride:

by another of those happy coincidences I had to meet a supplier in st. albans this week, so not for the first time a work trip afforded an opportunity to clock up yet-another-fall-gig.

passed salford car hire truck ont' m6 on way down thursday night, little doubt that it was the fall's kit.

now I've penned a lot of reviews for this list of fall gigs from early nineties on, including just about every london appearance in the last decade. I don't think I've ever given any gig the thumbs-down, not even the bad ones - even the likes of worthing with mark doing a shane mcgowan impression, to the smith-and-synth debacle/triumph at dingwalls one year - all had some redeeming facet, some highs.

but not this one, at least not to these eyes and ears. and after belfast (stunning) and dublin (passable) you can take it there's no anti-newbie bias here. but london last night was dire, dull and embarrassing. nothing terribly bad went down, just a trotting out of sloppy dirgy wankey pub rock. ok - at times it got load enough and distorted enough that that in itself became the point, and occasionally it threatened to grab at yer loins. but it amounted to nowt but anticlimax and dulled hearing.

caught up with ex-fuckface and erstwhile fall fanatic tony b, who despite listening to a steady diet of eminem and strokes recently would at least be a converted to preach to - but he too was left nonplussed and doubtful of ever making the effort to catch them again. I did try to impress on him thought that after belfast I ken this outfit can pack some clout when riled, but he wasnae convinced I'd wager.

ah well mark did try I guess, but even his improv's were embarrassing this time - roundabout had 'into glass...into space...' repeatedly which was cringeworthy. there was mention of 'irish people' twice which I didn't catch but I'm guessing it wasn't complimentary and was probably reaction to the pubs being filled that day with pissed up paddies celebrating the iran game (whereas I was a sober paddy that day, driving and all). there was one bit of decent vitriol - something about 'yer a fookin' mess...yer a fookin' she-male...'. after lots of (plastic) glasses and fountains of beer had been tossed stage-ward, we got 'they wanted joe strummer...but they couldn't even find him...because they were dip fuckin' shit thick...' (or something like that). there was one remark about 'hippy shit' I think referring to crop dust - dunno.

can't remember set list but it had therein, pharmacist, crop dust, beourgois town, ex-classmates (became workmates) kids, touch sensitive (which was actually probably the highlight, which says a lot), dr bucks, roundabout, kick the can/f'oldin' money. no bastardo or african man, unfortunately.

they did 'jims fall' just to give the nme something to latch onto when the rip them to bits I guess - mark used some vox-vocoder thing, I think, so that at one point it sounded like donald duck singing 'we are the new fall' - not funny just another cringeworthy moment.

single comedy moment when mark sidles towards guitarist who's looking a bit worried as he approaches, and mark puts arm around his shoulder and turns him like a manekin to face audience.

note of advice to jim - the nose-in-the-air rock-god pose with ponytail a-swishing works ok on a small stage but not when half the crowd are looking up yer snout :-) sorry - just kidding.

anyhow, shite gig, roll on the next one which can only be better. I just hope our pal sven didnae travel all that way for this.

passed same salford car hire truck ont' m6 on way back home sunday afternoon, recognised fall crewfilth at wheel. wonder what they made of it all.

Simon Roberts (replying to AMcB):

>town, ex-classmates (became workmates) kids, touch sensitive (which was
>actually probably the highlight, which says a lot), dr bucks, roundabout,
>kick the can/f'oldin' money. no bastardo or african man, unfortunately.

Can't agree about touch sensitive - I found it to be one of the poorest tracks, reduced to a dully repetitive riff. The highlight for me was Bourgeois Town, which was LOUD, malevolent and psychotically repetitive. Even so good as to be adequate compensation for the crapping about with amps and walk-offs. Like Jerusalem used to sound live.

>they did 'jims fall' just to give the nme something to latch onto when the
>rip them to bits I guess - mark used some vox-vocoder thing, I think, so
>that at one point it sounded like donald duck singing 'we are the new
>fall' - not funny just another cringeworthy moment.

The vocals seemed extremely sludgy and slurred to me at the beginning of the set, then he seemed to find a spark during Pharmacist which ignited his interest for the duration of the track. I long ago became completely bored with Pharmacist, but last night the voice seemed completely in character for a change, delivering an excellent ultra-sarcastic recitation whereby the lyrics were crystal clear and hung in the air as if on a psychic karaoke screen to be savoured and digested, delivered right on target with strokes of the downwards pointing finger. Also a highlight, I thought. By the end of the set the sludge was gone and the vocals were in ultra-trebly ultra-nasal mode, so much so as to verge on parody at times.

As for the D Duck 'we are the new fall' effect, I'm pretty sure that the technology utilised was in fact that of a forefinger and thumb squeezing the nostrils closed! There were plenty of cringeworthy moments, but I did not find this to be one of them. The "We are the new fall" chant struck me live as absurdly and completely vicious in the context of being practically spat by MES into the faces of the guitarist, drummer and bass player - i.e.'The New Fall'. It seemed the vocal equivalent of the amp-fiddling. Stoopid thought: can't help wishing that if all the fiddling could be transformed into vocals instead things would be much less embarrassing.

"Jim's The Fall" sounded quite different from the album version in an interesting pared-down Slates-y way because there was only the one guitarist present for last night's set - dunno what happened to the other guy, maybe he got fed up with the amp-fiddling and left.

>anyhow, shite gig, roll on the next one which can only be better.

On balance I thought it was a gig of a few high highs and a few irritating lows (why o why...?), but the sheer crunching racket was great and carried the momentum along nicely. I did not leave disappointed, and preferred this to the flat, featureless performance at the Birmingham Academy last year. Having said that, I Fall Idiot must admit that this gig was like the album in respect of the fact that in no way was it going to impress the unconverted. The biggest disappointment was Dr Buck's which was left to a couple of roadies to attempt. Such a shame because the guitar-only version at Liverpool was both a musical and vocal stunner.

One thing that was a little strange, the gig started and finished really early - when I arrived at about twenty to nine they had already started, and they had finished by ten.

Simply Not Funny: the guy next to me shouting "GET ON WITH IT!" in real-ale accent between each song.

Simply Funny: some geezer kept shouting angrily "STOP TAKING THE PISS!". Made me smile trying to imagine The Fall if MES took him at his word and did in fact stop taking the piss...


Rich Kidd:

Couple of reviews of our least favourite chair thrower

what a tosser!


Derek Westerholme:

The new album by a group called "It's The Black-Eyed Snakes" has a glorious 7min45sec version of My New House on it. It's all trashy blues in the most wonderful lo-fi garage tradition.

It also features Low's Zac Sally on two tracks... one playing Harmonica, and one playing "retar". Has some great other covers... Dixon/Moby's Honey (Based, as we all probably know & the liner notes are quick to point out, on a Bessie Jones Song) and Low/Dirty Three's "Lordy".

My New House Live At Bev's Juke Joint, Superior, Wisconsin, June 2001. http://www.blackeyedsnakes.com/multimedia/newhouse.mp3

Nov. 14, 2001

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Recent news...

011105 Euro gig reports, Knitting Factory Knotes interview
011019 UK gig reports, studybees interview
010930 tour / booking details, 1979 fanzine interview
010909 not much
010828 Flitwick single, 82/83 gig pics
010627 Faustus
010531 Dublin pics, Cash for Questions, Guardian interview
010429 IR, UK gig reviews
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010303 Dublin gig, Invisible Jukebox
010128 World Bewitched details
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000620 Ashton, Hull, Middlesbrough, Glasgow, Edinburgh reviews, old Volume piece
000530 LA2 reviews
000522 few old LP reviews
000502 bits & pieces
000424 TBLY #19 details, Prop details
000408 more Leeds reviews. WSC interview, other interview snippets
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000314 various reviews, old Liz Kershaw i/view
000224 Past Gone Mad details
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000130 tour details, Tommy Blake stuff
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Old stuff: Nov 1997 - Dec 1999