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I'm back -- well-rested, mosquito-bite-ridden, and confounded by Conway's html and the industrial color scheme. I like the feather though.

I have a few great scans of old press clippings to add, thanks to Stuart, but they'll have to wait until tomorrow. Apart from those there's not much in the IN box.


August 18, 2003

This is the latest news and gossip off FallNet for those with weak stomachs.

If you have anything to say, you can mail Stefan, but you can't mail the FallNet mailing list direct anymore. To subscribe to FallNet, send mail to:

ta to biv for this

Recent news...

22jul03 US tour reports (second half: Cambridge > Dallas), New Yorker cartoon, Simon Spencer RIP, "Idiot Joy Show," Words of Expectation review
01jul03 US tour reports (first leg, thru Cleveland), PBL dvd & User Guide reviews, Jim Watts interviews John French, 1999 MES int., Voiceprint clearance sale
19jun03 Canada, ATP cancelled, the fall uk, Fall books, Damo vs. USA, MCR's greatest frontman, Meltzer, Bad Man Wagon, Adult Net debacle, comp reviews, Brix '87int., MES '82 int., "Idiot Joy Show"
27may03 PBL/Leeds DVD reviews, Aarhus gig, great 1981 MES interview, Smiths Week, Woog Riots tribute, Sanctuary CDs, Rubber Banana Fall radio show
29apr03 ATP, PoSR review, Peel Session & Step Forward CDs, Made in the NW, Jeremy Vine show, bits
28mar03 Jim Watts sacked, Country on the Click details, Peel Session, Turkey gig, 85 & 88 gig photos, Luz's "The Joke" comic, Pascal LeGras new work, MES T-shirt, Fall on emusic, Fall Tattooing rip
24feb03 news about books, Mojo top 50, Claus Fall guitar, Beggars vids, Corsa ad link, 9feb83 + 88oct8 photos, '78 So It Goes clip, Hanley bros interview, several early music press scans, other bits
9jan03 Independent interview, Early Singles, Listening In, UK chart placing history, Razor Cuts, Pascal LeGras video, Record Collector, ring tones, Blue Orchids CDs, Peel's Fabriclive
4dec02 Electric Ballroom gig, Virgin Radio, Fall vs. 2003, MES death row picks, Conway's wallpaper
8nov02 PPP review and lyrics, Dave Harrop, Manchester Online soap opera
15oct02 UK gig reports, 1983 photos, Fall press kit
20sept02 loads of upcoming releases, jigsaws, Vauxhall advert, Mark Prindle int., couple of music press scans, Slates movie clip, Fall Tattooing
23aug02 singles box and Totally Wired reviews, Rocking Vicar, lots of old music press scans
3july02 2G+2 reviews, 6FM mp3, Bourgeois Blues, bits
13jun02 2G+2, Wire 25th anniversay piece, custom Fall gig, PDFs of four old articles
16may02 Blackburn, London, ATP gig reviews, BBC 6FM, Sydney 1990 int., French cartoon
19apr02 US tour cancelled, Mojo article, Select (June 91), bits & pieces
19mar02 Euro tour reviews, Record Collector interview., Wire review, new Fall discog., misc.
13feb02 comp results, Athens review, Bournemouth Runner, Pan
13jan02 Timekode, Pan, bad German translations, NME 2/25/89 interview
02jan02 album reviews, ancient Usenet refs
12dec01 MCR gig reviews, album reviews, Pan
28nov01 mammoth US tour edition
13nov01 first batch of AYAMW reviews, London Forum gig reports
5nov01 Euro gig reports, Knitting Factory Knotes interview
19oct01 UK gig reports, studybees interview
30sep01 tour / booking details, 1979 fanzine interview
9sep01 not much
28aug01 Flitwick single, 82/83 gig pics
27jun01 Faustus
31may01 Dublin pics, Cash for Questions, Guardian interview
29apr01 IR, UK gig reviews
9apr01 NL gig reviews
3mar01 Dublin gig, Invisible Jukebox
28jan01 World Bewitched details
1jan01 some ace Castlefield pics
19dec00 more reviews
1dec00 tour reviews, crap interviews
10nov00 Unutterable reviews
21oct00 Stanza festival, HighSmith Teeth, comedy dogs
11oct00 RFH reviews, new Cog Sinister releases
12sep00 DOSE interview, Fall calendar
22aug00 Portugal, Manchester gigs 
9aug00 bits & pieces
23jul00 Psykick Dance Hall, Pure As Oranj details, Triple Gang reviews
9jul00 few bits
20jun00 Ashton, Hull, Middlesbrough, Glasgow, Edinburgh reviews, old Volume piece
30may00 LA2 reviews
22may00 few old LP reviews
2may00 bits & pieces
24apr00 TBLY #19 details, Prop details
8apr00 more Leeds reviews. WSC interview, other interview snippets
26mar00 Doncaster, York, Leeds reviews, BravEar interview (plus others)
14mar00 various reviews, old Liz Kershaw i/view
24feb00 Past Gone Mad details
13feb00 few bits & pieces
30jan00 tour details, Tommy Blake stuff
20jan00 TBLY #18 details, Hanley in Mojo
10jan00 Dragnet doylum, New Year message, etc

older news: Nov 1997 - Dec 1999


The Fall play ...

Sept. 28 Coliseu do Porto, Porto, Portugal (20 euros, doors 8 p.m., Fall on stage 10 p.m.)
Sept. 29 Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal (20 euros, doors 8 p.m., Fall on stage 10 p.m.)
Oct. 1 Bierkeller, Manchester (£12+booking fee, tickets from Ticketline, doors 8 p.m.)
Oct. 2 Bierkeller, Manchester (£12+booking fee, tickets from Ticketline, doors 8 p.m.)

Adam Elfin, the Fall's new manager, says there's still no release date for Country on the Click, but he hopes it'll be out by late September (although October is not out of the question). He's planning a UK/European tour to promote the album when it comes out (thus the move of the Portugal dates from late July to late September), and there's a possibility of dates in Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, as well more US gigs next year. There was mention of a new Fall site with merchandise (e.g. T-shirts, which would be great, since I get more email asking about T-shirts than any other topic).


There's a great Ben Pritchard interview conducted after one of the NYC Knitting Factory shows on Mark Prindle's site. The Fall played a version of Classical Gas at a couple UK gigs last year, apparently. Anyone have a recording?


Simon Ford's excellent book Hip Priest: The Story of Mark E. Smith and The Fall is in the shops three weeks early, due to a mix-up at the warehouse. It looks like it's available at Amazon.co.uk as well.

Ian Greaves:

I was expecting endless indexes from Ford, a la Wreckers Of Civilisation, but there's nothing - just biographical text. He indicates that Fallnet covers everything as well as you could reasonably hope, so directs people there. A lot of publishers seem to be discouraging list-heavy appendices these days. I wonder whose decision this was with Hip Priest. This is very readable, with a confident compilation of research and published interviews that borders on the cocky.

1977-82 benefits from a lot of fresh interviews with Friel, Baines, Riley et al, so that earns a lot of page space because it's clearly the really strong area of his research and it's a particularly fertile period to cover. Brix is good for the Beggars patch, as is Michael Clark (some great stuff on his collaborations), but each section rises and falls on what support he has from band members of the period, which inevitably limits it. He's managed to get a good spread, but the Dave Bush period is quite dependent on what he himself has to say. 1992 is not particularly well served, and I get the impression that Hanley and Scanlon do not have photographic recall.


It's very well written. Rather a lot of new interviews and things. My big problem however is that the 90s become more of a simple list of what happened and when - which is a great shame as I for one really wanted to know more about that era. I think everything that can possibly be written about the years 1977-89 has been written, and a bit more detail on what happened after that would have been much appreciated.

Still, a fantastic read if you're one of those early/Brix-era Fall fans, and I can't fault the research for the most part. Maybe it's because Dave Bush is the only major 90s source, or because of the declining sales resulting in less interviews at the time. The best Fall book so far by a country mile, though.

David Barnett:

I just finished reading the Ford last night. It's a bit curate's egg. As a history, it's well researched and readable. The author cites many interviews from the music press and has spoken to some really core Fall members (although MES refused apparently and there's no Craig) who offer interesting takes on a variety of points.

The trouble is that's as far as it goes. Maybe I've been spoiled by John Harris's The Last Party, but Ford's use of contextual info (Miners' Strick, Gulf War, other events) seem tacked on and unconsidered as reference points. He seems to be paying lipservice to social or political events rather than establishing relationships between them and the music.

And there is very little analysis or probing of the music itself. Even the descriptions just quote lines from here and there for the most part. Although I appreciate he was probably working to a word limit and that no-one's going to account for every song on every album, the reception and discussion of the songs is thin and uninspiring. But, the book is primarily a history and as a history it uncovers a busy, intricate story. Ford doesn't judge very often and prefers to offer a variety of sides to more controversial aspects than settling on just the one. A pretty good stance on something like the Fall...

Tom Wootton:

The path of The Fall has been undeviating only in quality. The rest of the tale is a rackety one of cameos and bit-parts, bust-ups and reunions, where Smith's sometimes apparently fantastic memory set against the more prosaic recollections of friends and band-members. Any prospective biographer must wade through masses of information and fill in sudden hiatuses and come up with a coherent narrative. Simon Ford has had a shot at it.

The book starts very well with Simon Ford unearthing Smith's childhood and the beginnings of The Fall. There is nothing particularly surprising here. In some cases hindsight has perhaps aided recollection; 'He looked lilke he could tear you a new arsehole just with words.'

But most of all the picture is of a type not unusual in school; an 'anemic looking' drop-out, who is 'quiet and moody'. The best thing here is the image of Smith, with kids laughing behind his back at how he'd become a hunch-back if he kept wearing so many speedway badges on the lapels of his school blazer.

The origins of The Fall have not previously been documented and it is here that Ford excels. Kay Carroll and Una Baines have been particularly forthcoming and open. Kay Carroll comes across clearly and sympathetically about her time in The Fall and Smith's character; 'Mark is very astute, incredibly manipulative when he wants things to happen without confrontation for himself. (...) don't get me wrong, it's not a complaint, it's one of Smith's more enigmatic qualities that intrigued me. Well, it did until it happened to me.'

Ford manages to arrange the punks, bands, fans and 'zines around The Fall very effectively. The narrative shows them thrusting away from their. Despite protestations from other band-members, it is clear that Smith and subsequently Kay Carroll were responsible for this. Smith's will is unbending, and if people don't like it, or if they can't keep up with the pace, they leave, one way or the other.

As the story of The Fall progresses the narrative thins. After Una Baines and, later, Kay Carroll leave Ford relies more and more on Smith's interviews, may of which were quoted in Paintwork, or will have been read before. The research and interviews that Ford has done for the earlier, previously untrodden, parts of The Fall's history make way for a recital of songs, albums and gigs, with no analysis of any. Things become laugably brusque - here is Ford on Karl Burns' return in 1981; 'the prospect of almost three months of touring fun and mayhem proved just too good an opportunity to miss. The European leg of the tour went smoothly...'. 'Went smoothly'? Burns must have been pleased with that.

Increasingly the story deteriorates, and Ford seems to have the manner of writing against time. No mention is made of Trevor Long's accounting sleights of hand until a cursory description of The Birmingham School Business School. This is arse about tit. The Birmingham School of Business School was certainly partly inspired by Trevor Long, but that isn't what the song is about. So it is that information about the band seeps through, without context, without any sense of chronology.

More and more, Ford reveals the imaginative poverty of the music journalist. He specialises in the three-word summing up of songs - Oswald Defence Lawyer is described with unforgivable laziness as 'a consipiracy theory about "zig-zag bullet lines"'. The reader is increasingly made to feel like someone entering the underworld, as he flies headlong into the realm of the Fall reissue liner note realm. He muddles the tracklisting of The Light User Syndrome, suggesting it closes with two covers, and earlier in the book has referred to the character Robertson Speedo from Gramme Friday.

Reading the latter parts of this book feels like being on a merry-go-round of people and places. Around the time of Extricate and Shift-Work, Martin Bramah refers to someone called Kenny, who Ford evidently feels we are on first name terms with, since he feels no need to gloss some sort of identity to him. Four pages later, Ford casually refers to someone called 'Brady' who plays fiddle. The reader can just about work out that Nagle and Smith were going out from the following quote; 'Later reports in Mojo had Saporito claiming that he thought the police response was so heavy-handed because the hotel identified Nagel as Smith's girlfriend.'

At least, they had better work it out from that, because that is the only place that it is suggested that Nagle was anything more than just a band member. It is undoubtedly a difficult task Ford attempts, but his success with The Fall's early career promises more than the unravelling story that follows.

Perhaps he could have maintained an interest in what he was writing if he hadn't been so numblingly incurious. He makes no attempt to find out what actually happened with the supposedly unpaid money to The Unutterable line-up. Although mentioning in passing that Smith was pleased to be support Pete Hammill at a festival he doesn't mention that at one point a collaboration was mooted between them (apparently vetoed by Hammill because of a dislike for the jam session). Mentioning one juggling of band members Ford says that 'two days later Leatham resigned, or was sacked'. You tell me, you're the biographer!

A charitable explanation is that even where ex band-members were willing to talk, they were not willing to say much. The destructive US Tour of 1998 is seen mainly through the fans' eyes, as reported on the website, with little extra interviewing, and will be old hat to many Fall fans.

He is curiously damning of The Light User Syndrome and The Marshall Suite, but the book has too many annoyances to quibble about individual taste.

In the end, I wondered who Simon Ford was writing for - I suggest someone who has none of The Fall's records, but knows the band-members and songs inside out. Of Iceland Ford says that 'it was here that Smith fell down flat in the Cafe Iol'. This is a phrase that will be runic at best, to anyone who has not heard Iceland and not hear the lyric as cafe aisle. But if the book IS for Fall fans, why tell us what the songs on Middle Class Revolt are?

The book has many good moments. How could it not? Smith is a wonderfully entertaining and stimulating interviewee and the book is strong on Smith's girlfriend's and wives who tell their stories openly. It is the story of an imaginative, artistic and emotionally complicated band. But there is no real attempt at guessing what makes Smith and The Fall tick, or any suggestion that the spiritual brinkmanship that characterises Smith's behaviour may be the very thing that consistently provides such wonderful music.

Oh, I nearly forgot, five photos is far too many, especially for 14.

Joe K:

Got my copies of User's Guide and Hip Priest from Amazon UK this weekend. Actually got my rain drenched copies since whoever dropped the package off left at in the front with the end of User's Guide sticking out of the package.

The User's Guide is pretty much useless. I read throught it in two hours and noted some factual errors that i think have already been pointed out here, quotes that i've read a million times elsewhere, some information seemed to come directly from FallNet. I liked the idea behind it....and if done right it would've made a nice companion to the hip priest book which i've just barely started. Wish there were a few more photos...


Graham Coleman, founder of the TBLY fanzine:

After being listed at the back of A User's Guide to The Fall book, I realised that my TBLY site was in
shoddy condition, so I gave it a bit of a tidy up, as much as a crappy old free Tripod site can be tidied
up, and a few new pics scattered about... more to follow.


Yet more Fall product on the way:

Live at the Phoenix Festival 1995-1996, due August 25, according to Amazon. On the BBC's Strange Fruit label. That photo on Amazon looks familiar!

Tracks are: Pearl City / Behind The Counter / Free Range / Don’t Call Me Darling / The Chisellers / Feeling Numb / Idiot Joy Showland / Edinburgh Man / Glam Racket / He Pep! / US 80s-90s / 15 Ways / Powder Keg.

Pearl City through Glam Racket would be from the BBC broadcast of the July 14 1995 festival (I don't think they aired the entire set; plus four tracks from July 21, 1996). Would have been a much more useful document if they chose to release the full sets of both gigs on a 2xcd set.

The War Against Intelligence: The Fontana Years - a compilation of Fontana/ Phonogram albums and singles tracks 1990-92, compiled by Daryl Easlea for Universal. It's listed on Amazon with a September 1 release date, however Daryl says it has been put back to 6 October to leave a clear enough gap with the other recent and upcoming releases.

Tracks are: Telephone Thing / The War Against Intelligence / Free Range / The Littlest Rebel / High Tension Line / Popcorn Double Feature / The Book of Lies / Hilary / Shiftwork / Blood Outta Stone / Immortality / Ed's Babe / Gentlemen's Agreement / Bill Is Dead / Time Enough at Last / You Haven't Found It Yet / The Mixer / White Lightning

Thanks to Daryl for sending us the artwork, which is usually stylish for a Fall compilation:

And Totally Wired - The Rough Trade Anthology that Sanctuary put out last year on double CD now seems to have been released on 3 vinyl LPs on the Italian label Get Back.


Paul Hanley:

The 20th of September will see Tom Hingley's band The Lovers gracing the stage of Glasgow Barrowlands. The band comprises Tom (Inspiral Carpets lead singer) and Steve and Paul Hanley (previously of the Fall) on bass and drums respectively, with Jason Brown and Kelly Wood adding colour to the lineup in their guitar and keyboard contributions.

The concert coincides with the release of the Lovers' debut double A-sided single YEAH / 3145 on the Manchester independent Newmemorabilia label on the 8th of September.

Yeah is 3 minutes of blistering 1978 punk rock where Tom raises his twin barrels against the twin targets of corporate celebrity nonentities and the cult of Big Brother / Pop Idol reality show nonsense. "REALITY TELEVISION IS GONNA FUCK MY WIFE / WATCHING SCUM MAKES ME FEEL SO MUCH BETTER ABOUT MYSELF."

watch and enjoy the drama unfold

Newmemorabilia Records
Flat 1, Burnage Court
16 Burnage Lane
M19 2HX

Paul added in his note:

As you can see, the chorus of Yeah! is "Reality TV's gonna fuck my wife", so it can only be a matter of time before we're on TOTP. Surprisingly for a band with a combined age as high as ours, it's really rather excellent, and I reckon it will make more sense to Fall fans than Inspirals fans at first listen (though Tom may disagree.) I'm rather embarrassingly proud of it, especially as Steve's back on blistering form. Iggy Pop and Bo Diddley haven't been combined this well since what.... Diceman?

PS: Steve's son, Paul (nice name) has a band called The Forrest who are going to be big sometime soon. Keep your ears out...


Jeff Higgott:

The new I, Ludicrous album, featuring "I've Never Been Hit by Mark E. Smith" is now available for only £10 / €15. See http://www.iludicrous.co.uk for details.


Sandeep Atwal:

I've posted an old (1994) interview I did with Brix here: http://www.infernalpress.com/Brix.html. If you have trouble with the pdf file, here is the interview in plain text.


Russell Mckenzie:

Just to let you know, I've taken the wonderful MES filter by Paul Sexton and stuck it on my web site, so you can use the MES filter without having to install it or figure out how to use it. Just go to http://www.rmckenzie.uklinux.net/messpeak.php and blammo, talk like the world's greatest Mancunian. Maybe someone's done this already, apologies if so.

It's a poor substitute for the real MES (come on, Country On The Click!) of course.


A recent piece on Buzzcocks and the Fall at http://indyweek.com/durham/2003-07-09/music.html, with a photo of MES by veteran Fall photographer Paul Lewis.


Steven Bending's wonderful The Fall Multimedia Project website has been updated with clips of Bombast, Cruiser's Creek and a brief MES & Brix interview snippet from The Tube, 1985.


Thanks Joshua for pointing out the recent reviews of It's the New Thing! - The Step Forward Years and Time Enough at Last at Pitchfork Media.


John Roberts reminds us of a set of photos from February 1983 at Plan K, Brussels at http://www.newwavephotos.com/Fall1.htm.


Peter from Australia has uncovered Mark E Smith's secret sideline to help pay the bills, here.