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The Fall play / M.E.S. talks ...

30 Apr HMV, Oxford Circus, London. Mojo 2008 Honours launch party. The Fall are scheduled to play at 7pm.
3 May

Maxwell Hall, University of Salford. Balcony seats (200 @ £19 plus booking fees) available through Ticketline only (0161 832 1111). With John Cooper Clarke and Bobbie Peru. Standing floor tickets (1000 @ £17 plus booking fees), available through Ticketline, wegottickets, Salford University Union; Vibes, Bury; Endless Music, Prestwich; King Bee, Chorlton; Piccadilly Records, Oldham Street; and with no booking fee from Alan Wise, 26 Lockett Gardens, Manchester M36BJ (enclose an SAE and check for £17).

This gig has been postponed for a second time, the University now citing structural problems with Maxwell Hall (an asbestos problem). According to Alan Wise, the show has been rescheduled for 12 June; see note (19 May) from Alan Wise below. HOWEVER, The Fall say the show is not happening on that date, either. See note from Elena below. HOLD ON... the saga continues. Alan Wise confirms the Fall play Manchester University on 28 June with Salford tickets valid. See note below.

8 May Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Belfast. Cheaper than usual tickets, too: £10 + £1.50 booking fee.
10 May De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex
24 May Brighton Festival. MES reads from Renegade at 3pm at the Old Court House. Tickets are sold out but you can try the box office for any returns – 01273 709709
26 May Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales. Mark E. Smith and Austin Collings talk to Jon Gower in the Cinema at 7pm.
29 May Bloomberg SPACE, 50 Finsbury Square, London. According to Stefan Bruggëmann's site, the Fall will play Blindness at his and Dr. Atl's exhibit opening. The opening is 6:30-8:30 pm with the Fall on at 7:30.
15 June Rabarock festival, Järvakandi, Estonia.
28 June Academy 2, Manchester University, doors 7:30. Support: D.I.L.E. & Bobbie Peru. Tickets from ticketline (tel 0161 832-1111), or your old Maxwell Hall tickets will get you in.
3 July Spiegeltent, Cork Midsummer Festival of the Senses, Cork.
6 July Rokaj Fest, Zagreb, Croatia.
12 July Earagail Arts Festival, Letterkenny, Ireland.
16 July Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London. Another Q&A with MES & Austin Collings Ian Harrison, associate editor of Mojo. 7:45 pm. Moved from the smaller Purcell Room.
20 July Dour festival, Dour, Belgium. The Fall are listed on the Dour site's programme but Elena says they're not playing.
25 July Wickerman festival, East Kirkcarswell, near Dundrennan, southwest Scotland.
6 Sept West Coast Festival of New Music, Stavanger, Norway.
9 Sept Hennessey Spiegeltent, Dublin Fringe Festival, according to this advert.
10 Oct Lemon Tree, Aberdeen. Tickets from Ticketline 01618321111, Lemon Tree box office, Tickets Scotland and Ticketweb. With John Cooper Clarke.
12 Oct Queens Hall, Edinburgh. Tickets from Ticketline 01618321111, Queens Hall box office, Tickets Scotland and Ticketweb. £18 plus booking fees. With John Cooper Clarke.
27 Nov The Duchess, York. TO BE CONFIRMED
28 Nov M Club, Crewe. TO BE CONFIRMED
29 Nov The Picturedrome, Holmfirth. Confirmed according to A. Wise, but tickets are not on sale yet.


added 7 July

Thanks to Neville for spotting the "Chemical Party" video on youtube.


added 29 July; updated 7 August

MES's Mojo Maverick award on ebay. Auction ends 7 August at 14:37:28 BST

mojo maverick

A very special & unique auction of a prestigious music award won by the legendary Manchester group 'THE FALL'

Mark E Smith was presented with the MOJO Maverick Award on June 16th 2008 and has generously donated it to VICTIM SUPPORT, CITY OF MANCHESTER to raise funds for victims & witnesses of crime in Manchester.

This is a complete one-off item and would grace the mantlepiece of any music fan, with 100% of the proceeds going to help victims and witnesses of crime.

The award sold for £720.


added 28 July

Friday, 25 July   Wickerman Festival, East Kirkcarswell, Scotland

Is This New / Wings / My Door Is Never / 50 Year Old Man / I've Been Duped / Mountain Energei / Latch Key Kid / Can Can Summer / White Lightning / Mr. Pharmacist / about four notes of Pacifying Joint (curfew)

Running order may not be correct. Reviews on the message board and some photos on flickr.


added 23 April; updated 27 July

Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith reviews

There's a thread on the forum to post your reviews and I'll add others here as I find them. There are also some good comments on the BBC's Marc Riley forum, including a few from the man himself (MR, not MES).


added 17 July; updated 5 August

Wednesday, 16 July   MES chat at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London

Reviews on the message board; another good piece by Angus Kennedy on the culturewars site.

And here's a terrific review by Tom, posted on Fallnet:

So, I went to the Mark E Smith talk on the South Bank last night. I must admit I wasn't expecting too much, being half in agreement with the recent hostile Wire review of Renegade.

Smith himself was looking well, smartly turned out, the usual slightly extravagant and large leather jacket with red lining, looking like a futuristic magician, especially with the long angles of his hair, like something out of a Vorticist portrait.

The Eagle and Steve Evets were in attendance, and sat either side of the interviewer and Mark E Smith - 'Not to protect me from you, but to protect you from me'.

There was some effective and amusing fumbling around with the interview microphone, Harpo Marx style, which he somehow managed to render useless and thus himself inaudible apart from loud woofing sounds and sudden drop outs - as in a Fall song.

This was eventually sorted out by getting him a normal microphone.

Considering everything, Smith was the model of affable courtesy and good humour -mildly eccentric of course, according to your taste, and perhaps somewhat deaf, although this seemed to come and go and was probably as much a tactic of confusion as anything else.

Considering everything? Yes - considering the fact that he is always asked the same questions over and over and over again, time after time, trying to elicit the same answers we have heard 1,000 times before, trying to get him to go on a rant, to perform -

And to be fair to Smith, he wouldn't bite.

What do you think of the South Bank?
'It's all right.' (lightly) 'I've been here before you know.'

He made an amusing hash of the question about whether he had the gift of prophecy, he evaded questions about manliness - clearly designed to get him to go on a rant about effeminacy - preferring to try and talk about pseudo art, but the questioner wasn't having any of it.

'Because everybody's depressed nowadays aren't they?
'Eh? Depressed?'
'You know, people get a bit unhappy, go for counselling?'
'Er... I dunno. Keeps them off the streets doesn't it?'

Thus it was that the interviewer appeared in the role of narrow minded pub philosopher more than Smith, who was a picture of studied confusion.

'So what? Who wants to know about that?' was his understandable response more than once.

The interviewer was nice enough, but Lord, this is one of the best songwriters ever. This was supposedly part of the literature festival - and the interviewer seemed keen to talk about the biography. However, Smith's output with The Fall has more to do with literature than the extended interview that is Renegade - in fact, having scanned the programme, The Fall's output has more to do with literature than most events at the literature festival.

Yet there was no engagement with this.

When Smith was asked a question about his material - Shift Work for instance, one of his finest albums lyrically, and unique musically - he showed a genuine willingness to engage, to talk about its metallic sound, but the interviewer started asking about Sheffield, where it was made. As Smith said, with commendable restraint, 'It's not about Sheffield'. But that candle had been snuffed out.

Even when the amusing knockabout Ey Bastardo was brought into the conversation, Smith perked up, but again was thwarted by the interviewer's desire to talk about fights with bandmates.

The interviewer wanted to know whether Smith had felt any pride in the emergence of Manchester as a musical city, and Smith said he didn't care about Manchester, and as he has said The Fall are not a Manchester band. This should seem self-evident to anyone who has listened to them - they are international, at the very least, in scope and in composition - as Smith said 'The Fall come from nowhere.' This statement, surely as much a statement of philosophy as of fact, was met with incomprehension.

As was Smith's statement that his future generations are all dead.

Smith, not being asked about his trade, instead started asking about journalism. Said that it was a dying trade and that we are in danger of ending up like France or America, where everything is just taken from the press release (I thought we were already like that - I don't know about France or America), suggesting it was the editors at fault, asking their journalists for the same old tired thing.

'Some of us are struggling against it.'
'Well you're not struggling hard enough.'

His suggestion that the internet was ephemeral was met with a surprisingly sharp contradiction from the interviewer, and an equally quick reiteration from Smith.

But the point really is that How I Wrote Elastic Man, about how the public kill off their heroes' creativity seems increasingly applicable to The Fall and Smith. Journalists NEVER ask about songs, about construction, about the imaginative well springs and the external stimulations.

They, or their editors, want Smith to play up and rant. And the more interviews he does and the more he gets public exposure, and there has been more and more of that of late, the less you get, the less concerned are people with the songs and the music - just the image.

As a consequence you get an entire band of fans so-called who are just there to see a performing monkey - who go for the image rather than the content. In this country we seem to laugh more out of fear or nervousness, like a timid suburban housewife, we have become, it can seem at times, an exceptionally silly nation. A large minority of the audience tittered at every utterance.

This is a battle he cannot win, so he should not play.

God knows, there are going to be laughs when Smith is interviewed - he's a very amusing man, and it will occasionally be difficult, he can be, as everyone knows, recalcitrant - but Smith seemed willing at times to talk, and sometimes it can seem, presumably because it would mean listening and thinking, that is the last thing either interviewers or audience want

And what they want is what they get.

It used to be said of Shakespeare that one of the reasons was so good was because of the Elizabethan theatre's audience, which crossed all social boundaries. You are your audience. The Fall's recent audience - at least in its general public aspect (individual fans tend, almost without exception, to be interested in The Fall and interesting about them) - have weak, milk and water appetites, unsuited to The Fall's strong meat.

Recent Fall albums have perhaps been less strong than formerly - Fall Heads Roll surprisingly dull, despite some strong songs, Post TLC: Reformation! exceptionally interesting and imaginatively daring in thrust, but productive of the sound of a whoopee cushion when actually sat on, Imperial Wax Solvent, safe, with moments of Fall beauty - Alton Towers is a remarkable thing - but with overall perhaps a rather processed feeling - like Fall sausage meat.

I hope this is not indicative of a death by mental asphyxiation by the hand of the public and the media.

When Yeats died Auden said that 'he became his admirers' - for Smith that seems to have become a living curse, a limitation. Let's hope not - and if anyone should know what he is doing, it is Smith. He's been in the game a long time, and he's tough and mentally strong, but I repeat, I do not think this level of increased publicity and assimilation is a game he can win.

God bless The Fall - I suspect that for the first time in their history, they may have need to draw on the bank of divine benevolence, of which there should, thankfully, be plenty.


added 14 July

Saturday, 12 July   Earagail Arts Festival, The Grill, Letterkenny, Ireland

Is This New / Wings / Fall Sound / 50 Year Old Man / I've Been Duped / Wolf Kidult Man / Latch Key Kid / Over! Over! / Pacifying Joint / White Lightning / Blindness / Mr. Pharmacist

Reviews on the message board.


added 28 March; updated 12 July

Imperial Wax Solvent reviews

There's a review thread on the message board and I'll add links here to others as I find them.


added 20 June; updated 12 July

There's a brief audio clip of the first MES/Ed Blaney CD single "Transfusion" on Voiceprint's http://markesmith-thefall.com/. The artwork's by Pascal Le Gras...

From the 3 July Salford Advertiser, thanks to Chris.



added 7 July; updated 12 July

Sunday, 6 July   Rokaj Festival, Zageb, Croatia

According to Juraj, the set was

Is This New / Alton Towers / Theme from Sparta F.C. / I've Been Duped / Pacifying Joint / Fall Sound / 50 Year Old Man / Mountain Energei / Reformation / Strange Town / White Lightning / Blindness


The Fall played yesterday at the Rokaj fest in Zagreb, an hour long set. I couldn't recognise any of the songs, a mate of mine couldn't either and he's a lifelong fan. The kids from the band gave interviews, Mark didn't. Annoyed the drummer and attempted to disturb the audience through PA noise, but we're a resilient bunch.

Reviews and links to youtube clips on the message board.


added 7 July

Issue 2 of Reformation Post the Pseud Mag is now online.


added 4 July; updated 12 July

Thursday, 3 July   Spiegeltent, Cork Midsummer Festival of the Senses, Cork


Is This New / Wings / Wolf Kidult Man / I've Been Duped / Fall Sound / 50 Year Old Man / Over! Over! / Can Can Summer / Mountain Energei / Latch Key Kid / White Lightning / Exploding Chimney / Pacifying Joint

Reviews and youtube links on the message board. Thanks to Mark for the setlist.


added 29 June; updated 4 July

Saturday, 28 June   Academy 2, Manchester University


Is This New / Wings / Wolf Kidult Man / Fall Sound / 50 Year Old Man / I've Been Duped / Over! Over! / White Lightning / Can Can Summer / Latch Key Kid / Pacifying Joint / Reformation // Exploding Chimney

Reviews and photos on the message board. Thanks to Chris for the setlist.


added 24 June; updated July 4

Lough Press has published vII by Mark E. Smith -- the second volume of Fall Lyrics -- in a two thousand, numbered edition. £25 delivered anywhere (not £35 as reported here and elsewhere) but it looks like you'll have to pay through a bank transfer to Herr Luff's account.

The book's official launch is not until 18 August, but you can pre-order a copy from this page, which has more info on the book, and you'll get a copy around the end of this month. I imagine it will sell out quite quickly, but I believe there's a cheaper edition in the works.

There's also a thread about the book on the forum and a reviews page. I don't really have anything to add to Conway's review. It's a lovely book; my only gripe is that I wish they'd used higher quality paper. Many thanks to David for sending me a copy.

There's another review by Bob Osborne for his online Fall fanzine.

And Action Records still has copies of the first volume -- The Fall Lyrics (1985) -- for a very reasonable £7.99.


added 20 June

Mark received his "Mojo Maverick" award at the magazine's ceremony on 16 June. Here's a clip of the proceedings.

Also XFM reports the following:

Despite the apparant bonhomie at last night's Mojo Honours List 2008 award ceremony, The Fall's Mark E. Smith is alleged to have physically attacked Xfm favourites The Cribs. It seems that he wanted the photographers all to himself.

According to reports that circulated around the Mojo Awards, The Fall's frontman didn't take too kindly to The Cribs attempting to pose for a photograph with him.

The Wakefield trio had presented Smith with the Maverick Award and the foursome were ushered into a room to have their photo taken for posterity. It was at this point that Smith is alleged to have attacked The Cribs, pushing the band off the podium as he demanded that he have his photo taken on his own.

Earlier in the day, Nick Cave told Xfm that Smith should stop snivelling. Having been told that Smith was of the opinion that Cave should never write another book (Cave is planning a second novel), the Bad Seeds frontman responded by saying:

"Have you read [Smith's autobiography] 'Renegade'? It's sad. It's one of the most whingy, whiney and snivelling things I've ever read in my life.

"He's not a curmudgeon but he snivels and moans and whines. I love him very much but he snivels. He should reach for the tissues!"


added 16 June

Sunday, 15 June   Rabarock Festival, Järvakandi, Estonia

Is This New / Wings / Wolf Kidult Man / 50 Year Old Man / Fall Sound / I've Been Duped / Pacifying Joint / White Lightning / Latch Key Kid / Reformation // Mr. Pharmacist / Blindness

Reviews and links to photos on the message board.


added 16 June

Tommy has finished compiling his astonishing The Story of the Fall -- 432 blog entries on just about every song the Fall have recorded or played live. There's a thread about it on the message board where you can post your congrats.


added 5 June


The first single from the recently announced Voiceprint deal, to be released as "Mark E Smith & Ed Blaney", will be "Transfusion". It is a limited edition CD single of 1,000 copies.

I understand it will be on sale at the Manchester University gig on 28 June.

There's more about the Voiceprint deal in an interview with Ed Blaney in the most recent issue of the Fall news. The plan in March was for five limited edition 7" singles (now CD singles, apparently) which would be released on an album later in the year. I can't find any news about these recordings on the Voiceprint site.


added 2 June

Bo Diddley, r.i.p.

An excellent appreciation by Ben Ratliff in the International Herald Tribune, complete with Fall mention:

Bo Diddley, a singer and guitarist who invented his own name, his own guitars, his own beat and, with a handful of other musical pioneers, rock 'n' roll itself, died Monday at his home in Archer, Fla. He was 79.

The cause was heart failure, a spokeswoman, Susan Clary, said. Diddley had a heart attack last August, only months after suffering a stroke while touring in Iowa.In the 1950s, Diddley — along with Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and a few others — helped reshape the sound of popular music worldwide, building it on the templates of blues, southern gospel and rhythm and blues. His original style of R&B influenced generations of musicians. And his Bo Diddley syncopated beat — three strokes/rest/two strokes — became a stock rhythm of rock 'n' roll.

It can be found in Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away," Johnny Otis's "Willie and the Hand Jive," Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride," The Who's "Magic Bus," Bruce Springsteen's "She's the One" and U2's "Desire," among hundreds of other songs.

Yet the rhythm was only one element of his best records. In songs like "Bo Diddley," "Who Do You Love," "Mona," "Crackin' Up," "Say, Man," "Ride On Josephine" and "Road Runner," his booming voice was loaded up with echo and his guitar work came with distortion and a novel bubbling tremelo. The songs were knowing, wisecracking and full of slang, mother-wit and sexual cockiness. They were both playful and radical.

So were his live performances: trancelike ruckuses instigated by a large man with a strange-looking guitar. It was square, and he designed it himself, long before custom guitar shapes became commonplace in rock.

Diddley was a wild performer, jumping, lurching, balancing on his toes and shaking his knees as he wrangled with his instrument, sometimes playing it above his head. Elvis Presley, it has long been supposed, borrowed from Diddley's stage moves; Jimi Hendrix, too.

Still, for all his fame, Diddley felt that his standing as a father of rock 'n'roll was never properly acknowledged. It frustrated him that he could never earn royalties from the songs of others who had borrowed his beat.

"I opened the door for a lot of people, and they just ran through and left me holding the knob," he told The New York Times in 2003.

He was revered by those who had learned from him. He was a hero to the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, and a generation later he became a model of originality to post-punk bands like the Clash and the Fall.

In 1979, Joe Strummer and Paul Simonon of the Clash asked that Diddley open for them on the band's first American tour. "I can't look at him without my mouth falling open," Strummer, starstruck, told a journalist during the tour.

For his part, Diddley had no misgivings about facing a skeptical audience. "You cannot say what people are gonna like or not gonna like," he explained later to the biographer George White. "You have to stick it out there and find out! If they taste it, and they like the way it tastes, you can bet they'll eat some of it!"

Diddley was born Otha Ellas Bates in McComb, Mississippi, a small city about 15 miles from the Louisiana border. He was reared primarily by his mother's first cousin, Gussie McDaniel, who had three children of her own. After the death of her husband, McDaniel took the family to Chicago, where young Otha's name was changed to Ellas McDaniel. Gussie McDaniel became his legal guardian and sent him to school.

He was 6 when the family resettled on Chicago's South Side. He described his youth as one of school, church, trouble with street toughs and playing the violin for both band and orchestra, under the tutelage of Prof. O.W. Frederick, a prominent music teacher at Ebenezer Baptist Church. Gussie McDaniel taught Sunday school there. Ellas studied classical violin from the age of 7 to 15 and started on guitar at 12, when his sister gave him an acoustic model.

He then enrolled at Foster Vocational School, where he built a guitar as well as a violin and an upright bass. But he dropped out before graduating. Instead, with guitar in hand, he began performing in a duo with his friend Roosevelt Jackson, who played the washtub bass. The group became a trio when they added another guitarist, Joseph Leon (Jody) Williams, and later a quartet when they added a harmonica player, Billy Boy Arnold.

The band — first called the Hipsters, then the Langley Avenue Jive Cats — started playing at an open-air market on Maxwell Street. They were sometimes joined by another friend, Samuel Daniel, who was known as Sandman because of the shuffling rhythms he made with his feet in sand sprinkled on a wooden board.

Playing with the Jive Cats was not enough to make a living in the early days, so Diddley found jobs where he could: at a grocery store, a picture-frame factory, a blacktop company. He worked as an elevator operator and a meat packer. He was also boxing, hoping to turn professional.

In 1954, Diddley made a demonstration recording with his band, which now had Jerome Green on maracas, approximating Sandman's swishing sound. Phil and Leonard Chess, of Chess records, liked the demo, especially the tremelo on the guitar, a sound that seem to slosh around like water. They saw it as a promising novelty and encouraged the group to return.

By Billy Boy Arnold's account, the next day, as the band and their soon-to-be producers were setting up for a rehearsal, they were idly casting about for a stage name for Ellas McDaniel when Arnold thought of Bo Diddley. The name, Arnold said, described a "bow-legged guy, a comical-looking guy."

That may be all there is to tell about the name, except for the fact that a certain one-string guitar — native to the Mississippi Delta, often home-made, in which a length of wire is stretched between two nails in a door — is called a Diddley Bow (sometimes spelled Diddlie Bow). By his account, however, Diddley had never played one.

In any case, Otha Ellas McDaniel had a new name and the title of a new song, whose lyrics began, "Bo Diddley bought his babe a diamond ring." "Bo Diddley" became the A side of his first single, in 1955, on the Checker label, a subsidiary of Chess. It reached No. 2 on the Billboard chart.

Diddley said he had first heard the three-stroke/rest/two-stroke "Bo Diddley beat" in a church in Chicago. But variations of it were in the air. The children's game "hambone" used a similar rhythm.

The beat is also related to the Afro-Cuban clave, which had been popularized at the time by the New Orleans mambo carnival song "Jockomo," recorded by Sugar Boy Crawford in 1953.

Whatever the source, Diddley felt the beat's power. In early songs like "Pretty Thing" and "Bo Diddley," he arranged the rhythm for tom-toms, guitar, maracas and voice, with no cymbals and no bass. (Also arranged in his signature rhythm was the eerie "Mona," a song of praise he wrote for a 45-year-old exotic dancer who worked at the Flame Show Bar in Detroit; this became the template for Holly's "Not Fade Away.")

Appearing on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in 1955, Diddley was asked to play Tennessee Ernie Ford's "Sixteen Tons." Without telling Sullivan, he played "Bo Diddley" instead. Afterward, in an off-camera confrontation, Sullivan told him that he would never work in television again. Diddley did not play again on a network show for 10 years.

For decades, Diddley was bitter about his relationship with the Chess family, whom he accused of withholding money owed to him. In her book "Spinning Blues into Gold," Nadine Cohodas quoted Marshall Chess as saying, "What's missing from Bo's version of events is all the gimmes." Diddley would borrow so heavily against projected royalties, Chess said, that not much was left over in the final accounting.

Diddley's watery tremolo effect, from 1955 onward, came from one of the first effects boxes to be manufactured for guitars: the DeArmond Model 60 Tremelo Control. But Diddley contended that he had already built something similar himself, with automobile parts and an alarm-clock spring.

His first trademark guitar was also handmade: he took the neck and the circuitry off a Gretsch guitar and connected it to a square body he had built. In 1958, he asked Gretsch to make him a better one to the same specifications. Gretsch made it as a limited-edition guitar called "Big B."

On songs like "Who Do You Love," his guitar style — bright, chicken-scratch rhythm patterns on a few strings at a time — was an extension of his early violin playing, he said.

"My technique comes from bowing the violin, that fast wrist action," he told George White, explaining that his fingers were too big to move around easily. Rather than fingering the fretboard, Diddley said, he tuned the guitar to an open E and moved a single finger up and down to create chords.

As his fame rose, his personal life grew complicated. His first marriage, at the age of 18, to Louise Woolingham, lasted less than a year. His second marriage, in 1949, to Ethel "Tootsie" Smith, unraveled in the late 1950s. He then moved from Chicago to Washington, settling in the Mount Pleasant district, where he built a studio in his home.

Separated from his wife, he was performing in Birmingham, Alabama, when, backstage, he met a young door-to-door magazine saleswoman named Kay Reynolds, a fan, who was 15 and white. They moved in together in short order and were soon married, in spite of Southern taboos and laws against racial intermarriage. During the late 1950s, Diddley's band featured a female guitarist, Peggy Jones (stage-named Lady Bo), at a time when there were scarcely any women in rock. She was replaced by Norma Jean Wofford, whom Diddley called the Duchess. He pretended she was his sister, he said, to be in a better position to protect her on the road. The early 1960s were low times. Chess, searching for a hit, had Diddley make albums to capitalize on the dance craze "the twist," as Chubby Checker had done, and on the "surf" music of the Beach Boys. But soon a foreign market for his earlier music began to grow, thanks in large part to the Rolling Stones, a newly popular band that was regularly playing at least seven of his songs in their concerts. It paved the way for Diddley's successful tour of England in 1963.

But he wasn't willing to move to Europe, and in America the picture worsened for him: the Beatles, the Stones, Bob Dylan and the Byrds quickly made Bo Diddley sound quaint. When work all but dried up, he moved to New Mexico in the early 1970s and became a deputy sheriff in the town of Los Lunas. With his sound updated to resemble hard rock and soul, he continued to make albums for Chess until his contract with it expired in 1974. His recording career never picked up after that, despite flirtations with synthesizers, religious rock and hip-hop. But he continued apace as a performer and public figure, popping up in places both obvious, like rock 'n' roll nostalgia revues, and not so obvious: a Nike advertisement, the film "Trading Places" with Eddie Murphy, the 1979 tour with the Clash, and two presidential inaugurals, George H. W. Bush's and Bill Clinton's.

Since the early '80s, Diddley lived in Archer, Florida, near Gainesville, owning 76 acres and a recording studio. His passions were fishing and old cars, including a 1969 purple Cadillac hearse. In 1992, he married Sylia Paiz, who became his fourth wife.

Diddley's survivors also include his children, Evelyn Kelly, Ellas McDaniel, Tammi McDaniel and Terri Lynn McDaniel, as well as 15 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Diddley attributed his longevity to abstinence from drugs and drinking, but in recent years he had suffered from diabetes. After a concert in Council Bluffs, Iowa, on May 13, Diddley had a stroke and was taken to Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha. Last Aug. 28, he suffered a heart attack in Gainesville and was hospitalized.

Diddley always believed that he and Chuck Berry had started rock 'n' roll, and the fact that he couldn't, financially, reap all that he had sowed made him a deeply suspicious man.

"I tell musicians, 'Don't trust nobody but your mama,' " he said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine in 2005. "And even then, look at her real good."

__________________ set

added 31 May

Thursday, 29 May   Bloomberg SPACE, Finsbury Square, London

Is This New > I've Been Duped / White Lightning / Blindness

Review, setlist, and photos on the message board, all thanks to HPAFP.


added 27 May; updated 31 May

Monday, 26 May   Hay Festival, Hay-on-Wye, Wales (MES Q&A)

Reviews on the message board, and a .wma recording of the proceedings, thanks to Christopher.

The BBC's and Guardian's takes.


added 27 May

Saturday, 24 May   Old Court House, Brighton (MES Q&A)

Reviews on the message board, and another by Jon Wilde in the Guardian. Also many photos by David Sharman, who also provided the video below.

Here's another one, thanks to andyweirpenguinbooks.


added 19 May


Dearest Friends:

The Real Mark E. Smith here:

1)Your contempt for the squirrel thing.

2)Your support for the tour of "L.P. that wasn't out yet.".

3)Your toleration of ghost-writer Collings absurd chapter titles.


I LOVE YOU ALL, MEIN COMRADES, But I cannot embrace you all-
because, in the main, I have pulled out the lap-top lead to use as a handy throttling device for mediaists, activists, groupies and Alan Wise(show not on ever).

From all this, dear friend, there are two things.

1) Beware, Big Dave from Duesseldorf is out of hospital and planning a new book- it is good.
2)BUT the main perogative is "The Fall" group and always will be.

Your pal,
Mark E. Smith
May 2008

__________________ flyer

added 12 May; updated 19 May

A note from Richard aka DJ Wanker about a shindig following the MES reading at the Brighton Festival.

After MES' appearance at Brighton Festival on Saturday May 24th, we are taking over a nearby pub and playing loads of records by The Fall.

The afternoon is called 50 FALL FANS CAN'T BE WRONG!

The event is free!

The venue is Tom's Bar, 13 Prince Albert Street, BN1 (Five minutes due south of The Old Court House). Map. It's under new ownership*, 100 capacity on two floors with a very nice smoking garden.

The DJs are Jon Sonic Smith & DJ Wanker – two stalwarts of Brighton's alternative club scene.
Jim runs Born Bad, DJ Wanker runs Fuck The Pain Away. They'll be playing everything by and nothing but The Fall – happy to take requests.

As it's a free event, feel free to buy a DJ a drink.

Please note this event takes place in the afternoon, not the evening. We'll be starting at 3pm - the same time as the reading, for anyone who wasn't able to get a ticket, but wants to come along.

Finishing around 8pm, maybe later...

* If you google Tom's Bar their website says its an S&M club, it's not anymore though!


added 12 May

notes on that Salford gig....

A second note from Alan Wise on the cursed Maxwell Hall gig at the U. of Salford:

A bit of Asbestos never hurt anyone... Now Maxwell Hall Salford say its all fixed by June 12, and the Fall go to Estonia on 13th. So first they will play the 12th June at home in Salford then go to exotic destination.

Same bill.. Fall / John Cooper Clarke special guest and Bobby Peru who are based by the Maxwell Hall. For alll of us this is a 15 min journey from home and is as close to BASE as it could be... a real hometown gig.

So announce Thursday June 12, approved by Mark..... I had suggested the day later when they are flying to Estonia.? Whats wrong with that ?

Therefore due to senility and dementia I think I have been retired as Impressario?And sadly after 30 years behind the scenes I must take my leave of our beloved leader and pass the baton on to a younger man... my former assistant mr Simon Taylor e mail genesimon@hotmail.com

-I have enjoyed promoting the Fall for 30 years but now its "over the hill to the poorhouse" for me and perhaps old fans who know me will pop in for a cup of tea at Blackley Old Persons Home, just by the Crematorium.. I will be on ward 15 in a shared room.

But "farewell" is on 12 June at Maxwell Hall and for every old buyer, with a previous dated ticket, still valid of course, that have bought 3 or more together, ie on one transaction, I shall give them FREE a fourth to say sorry for the nuisiance... not our fault actually, but the "buck stops here"-

Alan Wise

On reading the above, Elena sent the following:

19th MAY 2008




No show on June 12, but there will be a Manchester date on 28 June:

Yes, after meeting with Mark it seems as if the cursed Maxwell Hall show is not to happen. The 12th is difficult for them with Estonia in mind and the hall have no other dates in June due to exams. And we have promised to complete it in June.

They actually did the Maxwell hall before .two free tickets for the new venue to the first one that rembers the date, the title of the event and who else was on. (alan.wise3@googlemail.com).

To keep to our original Plan B, we are MOVING venue to the University of Manchester. Either Academy 2 the MDH on 28th at either of the big Halls. Which is a Saturday. i cant do the extra free tickets there as it wont work, but all old tickets ALL old tickets for Salford will guarantee entry. Of course we will sell new tickets as well, as the new album is out.

Sorry to confuse, but we always thought we might have to move venues and start afresh.

This is Marks decision wuth my agreement. I think it will produce a better show.

Alan Wise


added 11 May

Saturday, 10 May    De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex


Is This New / Wings / Wolf Kidult Man / Fall Sound / 50 Year Old Man / I've Been Duped / Mountain Energei / White Lightning / Can Can Summer / Latch Key Kid / Mr. Pharmacist / Tommy Shooter // Pacifying Joint / Blindness // Over! Over!

Reviews on the message board. Thanks to johnnymills for the setlists.


added 11 May

There are some fascinating comments on the message board about the Messing Up the Paintwork conference in Salford last Friday (9 May). Wish I could've gone. They say the papers will be made available at some point.


added 11 May

Mark was on a BBC Radio 4 documentary on John Cooper Clarke -- The Bard of Salford -- last Thursday night. There's a RealMedia clip of it on sendsapce, thanks to Craig.


added 9 May; updated 10 May

Thursday, 8 May    Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Belfast

soundcheck: Senior Twilight Stock Replacer

gig: Is This New / Wings / Wolf Kidult Man / Fall Sound / 50 Year Old Man / I've Been Duped / Mountain Energei / White Lightning / Latch Key Kid / Over! Over! / Mr. Pharmacist / Can Can Summer / Pacifying Joint / Blindness

Photos by Geoff on flickr. Reviews on the message board.


added 8 May

Here's a video of Mark being interviewed by Mojo at that HMV launch party on 30 April.


added 2 May

Short interview with MES in the Manchester Evening News by Rachael Clegg (2 May). IWS is about "looking at Britain from Germany."


added 1 May

Wednesday, 30 April    HMV, Oxford Circus, London


Is This New / Wings / Wolf Kidult Man / I've Been Duped / Over! Over! / Latch Key Kid / Tommy Shooter / 50 Year Old Man / Pacifying Joint

Reviews and photos on the message board. Thanks to Mark for the setlist.

There's an entry by Danny Eccleston about the Mojo awards launch party (MES has won the Mojo Maverick award this year) on the Mojo blog.


Literary Review - Private Eye No 1209 (thanks to Harry for typing it in)

Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith
Mark E. Smith
(Viking, £18.99)

On his early life
Is this fookin' thing switched on...? Right, then... Cheers... No, ah'm not raising me voice, else I'll miss the Karaoke.... Cheers mate... Me childhood? It was all right, torturing me sisters and trading porn mags with them Irish lads. I feel sorry for kids these days. They're missing out on things. Not that I enjoyed myself, mind. At school they read us the fookin' Hobbit. Can you imagine that? This book about some tiny fucker who lives in a hole. I couldn't get me head round that... I couldn't afford to go to college: went for about three months, but I never had any money. Not that I liked it, mind, fuckers telling you what to do. Educate yourself, that's always been my philosophy. George V. Higgins – that's a good writer. You don't get fellows like that on any of the reading lists. Not, that I agree with reading lists, mind. You don't fookin' tell me what to read... [continues]

On his public image
I really do think there's people who think I'm an aggressive character, y'know, some kind of maniac... Look, just fuck off will y' pal, else I'll... Right, I fookin' told you, you fucker... Anyway, it's mostly journalists that do that, that fookin' Paul Morley... [rambles uncertainly for some minutes] Ask anyone that's been in The Fall – that bloke there, he played bass for us for ten minutes in 1980, or was it 1981 – and they'll tell y', Mark, he looks after his own. That time I clobbered Eric Lard [Fall lead guitarist, 13 September – 3 October 1982] with his Fender Stratocaster – fookin' poncey guitar, I mean why couldn't he have a Woolworth's one like everyone else? - it were all over the papers – trust that fookin' Paul Morley – but what no one ever remembers is that it was me that took him down to Casualty and phoned his dad to say “Your wanker of a son's had an accident”. Credit where credit's due. The fucker.

On the band's early days
Rat Street, Prestwich was quite a going place at the time. Always plenty of vomit on the doorsteps at Christmas, which is a sign that folk aren't feeling the pinch... Good solid working class people... Not that I liked it, mind. Then when I saw the Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in '76, I thought “My lot aren't as bad as that.” Not that they were any good, mind. There's people who'll say “that Mark, he's a fookin' dictator, he'll sack his band every fookin' week”, but the way I see it is, them musicians, y'have to watch them, always ready to get pissed... Cheers mate... and shout their mouths off about things they know nowt about. The fuckers.

On the sartorial niceties
As a band, we've always dressed sharp. You have to. That Oxfam shop on Salford High Street sells some all right stuff at a fair price. There's times I've taken the whole band in there – well, them that I hadn't fired that morning – and had them kitted out with flares and red-and-white tank tops. Nobody rates a scruff. Not that I've ever really bothered about clothes, mind...
[continues endlessly]


added 30 April; updated 1 May

Imperial Wax Solvent non-UK distribution / CD mastering

Several people have asked me whether Imperial Wax Solvent is getting a domestic release in the USA. I wish I knew. Universal, who bought out Sanctuary last year, has earthwide if not quite universal rights to the album but don't appear to be doing much to promote or distribute the album outside the UK.

I'd recommend purchasing the album through Action Records. They're selling the CD for £11 and the LP for £12, and you get a 10% discount if you enter "fallnet" in the coupon box area. Or you could get it for about $26 through these Amazon resellers.

Also, in answer to another common question: Yes, Strangetown sounds like it has mastering defects galore (see also 50 Year Old Man); it was apparently intended to be that way and it's not a problem with your particular CD or LP.


added 30 April

Four contibutors to the defunct The Pseud Mag Fall fanzine have started a new, virtual fanzine – Reformation Post TPM – on googlepages. Their first issue is online and they welcome contributions for future editions.

They're also reviewing tapes of Fall gigs past and present on The Fall Live.


added 30 April

A blog entry with a great mp3 of Greg Lyon, of Princeton University's WPRB radio station, discussing the gig he'd just attended at the Trocadero in Philadelphia – The Fall on 4 April 1998, three days before the Brownies Incident.


added 29 April

Mark E. Smith was a guest on BBC Radio 4's Front Row programme last night. You can listen again on their page or download this handy mp3 from yousendit, with thanks to Ocelot.


added 29 April

An MES interview with Aidan Smith was in the 27th April Scotland on Sunday.


added 28 April

Cologne's #1 Fall fan – Michael Jungbluth – and his mate Tobias Bock are running a two-night Fall event at their local pub.

They'll be playing Fall records only on 9th & 10th May at Connection, Marienstraße 5 in Cologne. 10pm - 3am each night.

Michael will post the sets played on the forum.

If you'd like a high res pdf of the flyer, please email Michael at the address at the bottom of the flyer – blu4711-shaATyahooDOTde (replace the AT and DOT with the appropriate symbols, obviously).








7 Aug 2008

This is the latest news and gossip off the message board, Fallnet, and elsewhere. If you have anything to say, please email Stefan at fallnews@gmail.com.

To subscribe to Fallnet, send mail to:

ta to biv for this

Recent news...

08apr27 March UK tour / Renegade excerpts / The Fallen book / Imperial Wax Solvent / Squirrelgate / Daily Telegraph, MusicOMH, Uncut, Word interviews / Hex on Radio 4 / Blaney on Voiceprint deal / Messing up the Paintwork programme & abstracts / Fall news feed

08jan21 VS / Fall gig reviews, Vice TV's "Soft Focus" int., Messing up the Paintwork conference, message from MES, MES reads Lovecraft, "Latch Key Kid", Suzanne Smith & Claus Castenskiold prints for sale, Flying Nun documentary, Dave Day r.i.p., Renegade preview, MES on BBC radio sitcom "Start", Unofficial Fall site now The Fall Online

07oct16 Fall / Von Südenfed gig reviews, Zone / Jungle World / Chord / Taz interviews (mainly VS-related), Independent Q&A, Fall Box Set reviews, Hammersmith Palais DVD, Mick Middles' Complete Guide, Wyndham Lewis, myspace MES imposter, Fall Cup 2007, Derek Erdman Fall nights, Intermittent Signal (Simon W.), MES fabric doll.

07jul03 Newsnight Review int., Independent Q&A, Barcelona gig, Von Sudenfed reviews & interviews, Fall box set, Julia Adamson, Hurdy Gurdy Man video, Word of Mouth, John Leckie TapeOp int., Reformation video, Ideal TV clip, Record Collector / Manchester Confidential / Harp Magazine ints., Lee on I'm Into CB, official site problems, Foggy Notions letters, PBL fiction collection.

07apr12 UK tour, RPTLC reviews, Narnack edition, Reformation single, Von Sudenfed, MES's 50th, Uncut Q&A, Foggy Notions / Telegraph / Liberation / Rock & Folk interviews, Renegade delayed, Saturn 5, Universal reissues, Culture Show / Transmission TV spots.

07feb22 RPTLC UK released, Malaga gig, MES interviews: Independent, Welt am Sonntag, Stool Pigeon, The Times, Fantastic Man; Johnny Vegas' Ideal preview, Memorex of the Krakens, Anjulireeves on youtube, Packing a Gun, 7 Wives of MES, Saturn 5, Grayson Perry, Brix's "Star," Frank Sidebottom.

06dec30 Reformation Post TLC announcements, NYC & Strangeways gigs, Julia Adamson photos, Dave Milner songs, Gusgus Not Clean remix, Fall forum crash, Sonic Arts Network cd, PBL book, Mitsubishi Blindness, Monks live session, MES on Dylan.

06oct30 Silver Monk Time & Monks gigs, Oct. UK & Ireland gig reviews, Ben Pritchard interview, "Renegade: The Gospel According to MES," MES DJ set on Radio 1, Environmental Health News, Stewart Lee in Sunday Times.

06sep21 Simonfb, r.i.p., Bournemouth & London gigs / UK festivals, Silver Monk Time, Sunday Herald & Maximum RnR interviews, Julia Nagle's latest projects, another Peel tribute CD.

06aug17 Brooklyn Vegan / Arena Homme Plus interviews, Oya Festival, Tesla-K, The Blimp, Tycoons Follies, Artrocker review, Tony Friel archive, PBL book update, KFNY poster, Billboard, more Voiceprint CDs.

06jun13 US tour (second leg), more US press (NYT, The Pitch, SLC Weekly, Stop Smiling), Manchester gig (inc. MEN preview & FT review), What Sven Could Learn from Me (Guardian int. from last year)

06may23 US tour (first leg), US press (LA Alternative, LA City Beat, SF Chronicle, OC Weekly), Smog Monsters, Morley on MCR/L'pool

06may01 Berlin gig, Reclaimers' footy song, MES "In Their Own Write", Praxis Hagen exhibit.

06apr06 UK tour, Greek/ Swiss gigs, "The Two-Year Gap" announcement, John Peel Fall intros/ outros mp3, Wire's Fall Primer, Q's Manchester special, Monks Beat Club clips, Fallnet's "Dr. Buck's Letters", Fall album survey results, Nikki Sudden / Ivor Cutler r.i.p., Brix's new house, cult musicians, Gavin Esler.

06feb21 Official Fall site now Unofficial, Guardian ex-Fall members article, Mojo interview and poll results, IS, IAH, MCR & CC remaster details, Mixing It session, Antwerp & Wigan gigs, Ding's two new bands, Ghostigital, New Year's Honours, fashion corner: Brix interview & Lagerfeld show, Blue Orchids new album, history of Salford bands.

06jan03 Word MES interview, ticket refund information, Festive 50, misc. year-end press roundups and Fall forum poll results, preview of Guardian's ex-Fall members article, MES lego minifig, Armitage Shanks & Necropolis Fall-related songs, Ghostigital's "Not Clean" & "Codomatopoeia," Corsa ad back on TV, John Peel's Record Box.

05nov08 Fall Heads Roll reviews, UK tour, Incendiary, Rock Sound & Pitchfork interviews, PBL book preview, Commercially Unfriendly cd.

05sep30 Fall Heads Roll details, MES to read footy scores, Peel tribute CDs, ChronicArt preview, Blast Off DVD sampler, Frank Skinner, Jacob's Cream Crackers, Stewart Lee, Deisel-U-Matic award.

05aug18 Paul Hanley BBC radio int., MES Metro "60-second" & Kitchen Sink ints., 1979 Jamming! int., Deisel U Matic award, Paul Wilson's Fall Mix, Stewart Lee's favorite things.

05jul26 Berlin & Paris gigs, Fall site news, Diesel-U-Music & Mojo awards, Live from the Vaults: the "real" story, Sanctuary / Slogan Records announcement, Mayo Thompson, Commercially Unfriendly CD, links to loads of Peel box reviews.

05jun14 UK & Lyon gigs, Conway's guitar tab and Adult Net pages, Jools Holland, Deeply Vale cd, MES int. w/BBC on Peel, Lime Lizard 1993, Festive 50 book, Live from the Vaults delayed, Wake Up in the City, Cuz'n Roy's yard sale on ebay, Jahn Rhondos.

05apr27 UK gigs, Left of the Dial & Scotland on Sunday interviews, Deeply Vale CD preview, Bingo Masters press release, Scherzo Schist, Live from the Vaults, Simon Reynolds, Simon Armitage, Prenzlauer Berg, Fall Cafe, Poloraoids special offer, Brix & Gromit, MES on Funhouse, Fall documentary transcript, the Fall wants your photo.

05feb25 BBC4 Fall doc, Hex reissue, KFNY gig, Fall Forum's TNSG, Ice Magazine (UK) MES int., Sun Zoom Spark articles, Playlouder appreciation, unofficial Sparta FC video, Peel set postponed 1 month, MES's New Years Honours list, 9may81 photos, Hunter S. Thompson, RIP.

05jan07 Jim Watts resigns, UK gigs, Pseud Mag, Festive 50, Deeply Vale, documentary, City Bar "fall-out", Polaroids on the Fall, Wipe That Sound, Narnack sampler.

Fall News archive