added 4 September
Fat White Family will release "I Am Mark E. Smith" as the B-side of their 10" single "I Am Joseph Stalin" on 27 October.
added 1 September
An English film company called Mythology 500 is making a Fall documentary (I gather it's for DVD release) and they’re looking for some Fall memorabilia to use — old posters, photographs, film footage, etc. MES has pointed them to The Fall Online.
They would like to borrow the memorabilia from UK people for filming and will return the items as soon as possible. The contact person is Frank Lea at firstname.lastname@example.org
added 1 September
Waterstones Islington are delighted to announce:
An Evening with Steve Hanley and Olivia Piekarski
Friday 19th September
Tickets are £3 and are fully refundable against the purchase of "The Big Midweek" on the night.
Price includes refreshments.
To book either call the store on 0207 704 2280, or visit Waterstones, 11 Islington Green, London N1 2XH
The nearest tube is Angel (5-8 minute walk); alternatively you can use Highbury & Islington (a 15-minute walk along Upper Street)
The store is well served by buses, including: 73, 476, 341, 19, 38
This is a limited capacity venue so we expect this event to sell out quickly, please book early to avoid disappointment on the night.
added 31 August
Saturday, 30 August 2014 Fibbers, York
Bam / Bumblebee / Cock in My Pocket / Jungle / Cowboy George / I'm Not from Bury / Wolf Kidult Man / The Remainderer // White Lightning // Pledge // Mister Rode
Reviews on the forum, and thanks to Chris and James for the setlist. A set opening with four new songs may be a first. Dannyno?
added 20 August
Cherry Red says the live LP—"Uurop VIII-XII Places in Sun & Winter, Son"—will be out on 27 October and also on sale at the September gigs in Brighton, London, and Salford.
Also that it's "the first official live LP for ten years" (that would make "Last Night at the Palais" on Sanctuary and all those Voiceprint and Ozit releases unofficial) (They've since removed that bit, but not that it supposedly represents the years VIII-XII, even though three of the tracks weren't played until XIII.)
Tracklist: Wings (With Bells) / Auto 2014 Chip Replace / Amorator / Jetplane / Irish / Cowboy George / Chino / Sir William Wray / Fifty Year Old Man / Wolf Kidult Man / Reformation / What About Us
added 13 August
Eli & Mark E. Smith have a track called "21 Again" on the upcoming Mouse on Mars collaborators album, "21 Again." Release date 31 October 2014. More info here.
added 11 August
Sunday, 10 August 2014 Beacons Festival, Heslaker Farm, Skipton
The Remainderer / Cowboy George / I'm Not from Bury / Bam (Student-Village) / safety break due to a lot of wind / Mr. Pharmacist / Facebook Troll / White Lightning / Cock
Set curtailed by festival people due to high wind. Reviews on the forum. Thanks to Chris Goodhead for the video and setlist. "Cock" reminiscent of The Stooges' "Cock in My Pocket."
added 27 July; edited 30 July
I finished reading Steve Hanley's "The Big Midweek" last night. It's a wonderful book and very funny indeed. Steve is a zen master in deadpan humour and his portrayal of his Fall colleagues—particularly Craig and Karl and roadie extraordinaire Colin Burns—will I think get someone interested in doing a Fall biopic. It's not only the best and most entertaining book about The Fall, but among the best music books I've read. Thank you Steve, Olivia and Route Publishing.
There's another launch event for the book with a Q&A. Rough Trade East in London on Thursday, 18 September. Ordering the book on this page will get you+1 in for free.
added 27 July
Interview with MES in curmudgeon mode, in Issue #60 of Loud and Quiet.
You may find this PDF easier to deal with than reading it on their site (thank you Academic Hamilton).
added 19 July
Friday, 18 July 2014 Fiera della Musica, Comune di Azzano Decimo, Italy
The Remainderer / Cowboy George / Bury / 2014 > White Lightning > 2014 / Sir William Wray / Mister Rode // Blindness
Not 100% sure if that was all. Review on the forum. Marco wrote in saying "no beard this time, but glasses. the encore was 'blindness', which has been followed by heartedly generous applauses from the audience."
added 19 July
Lots of reviews and videos etc. of and from Steve Hanley's book launch party at the Deaf Institue in Manchester on 12 July on the forum (they start on the fifth page of The Big Midweek thread). Also comments on the book itself on that thread and later here.
added 8 July
Steve and Olivia signing 300 numbered copies of "The Big Midweek," which will be sent out next week to people who ordered one here (it's not too late). Otherwise you'll have to wait until 14 September, the official launch date.
Steve answered some of Conway's questions about the book and his twenty years in The Fall.
Conway: So, what made you decide to write this book? And now, after all this time? Was it prompted by Dave Simpson's book, The Fallen? I hope you saved all the best stories for your own book!
Steve: For "The Fallen" book, I was interviewed for less than an hour. As far as I knew, it was going to end up as half a page in the Guardian. Had I known it was then going to be a book, I might have had more to say. But it’s been the same whenever I’ve been asked for an interview. I only have a short conversation, so it’s never really going to go beyond a few anecdotes.
I’ve been wanting to write this story for some time. For a number of years after I left, the material was too raw to be objective about. The repercussions of having left The Fall were still haunting me on a daily basis. Adjusting to a different existence was taking enough effort and I was frustrated at seeing something I had been a big part of all my adult life carrying on regardless. That’s not the best state of mind to be writing a memoir.
The more practical problem was finding someone to write it with me. One well-known journalist laughed in my face, probably having an idea of how much would be involved in encapsulating the swamp-matrix of my twenty-year stint.
How was it that Olivia came to co-write the book with you? Was that suggested by the publisher?
We were writing together for two years before even looking for a publisher and finding the right one. Someone who appreciated the value of the human aspect of the story and didn’t just want another rock n roll cliché. As for finding the right writer; let’s just say it was a very timely chance meeting. Olivia has achieved the impossible: getting the quiet, miserable-looking bloke at the back who never said a word to spout off 140,000 four times over.
How long have you been working on writing your book?
When Olivia started writing this with me we were told by a reliable source in the publishing world that to do it properly would take five years, a proposition we royally scorned. In the end we only just managed to shave a year off that damning prediction. Four drafts and four years later, we’re done.
It’s not normal to have to remember everything in the minute kind of detail the creative approach demands. And so much went on in The Fall it became a question of what to leave out. It’s impossible to write everything. The skill is in being to pick out the aspects that tell the story as a whole, and Olivia has been very good at that. But it takes time to get it right, and it isn’t easy when characterising people who are real. There’s a fine line to tread between upsetting someone and mis-representing them through all the best intentions. It’s even more the case when those people still make a living under the scrutinous public eye. It was a great relief when major characters in the book read it and felt we had captured them well.
It's interesting that The Fallen book seems to have given some ex-Fall members a bit of a new lease on life. For example, Mike Leigh, who’s back drumming and gigging again. That's gotta be a good thing, don't you think?
Dave’s book did help to re-unite some ex-members. Mike Leigh told me that he wanted to start playing again once he’d come to a Factory Star gig. Clearly if us old duffers can get away with it, why shouldn’t he?
And talking about Dave Simpson's book, how's Karl Burns these days? Been to visit him lately?
No. But if he’s reading this or if anyone can send him a smoke signal please let him know he is invited to the launch. He’s a major character in The Fall story who’s been misrepresented until now.
I trust there was a bit more effort gone into this book than Mark E Smith's autobiography, which reads like someone just put a microphone on him while he was down the pub rambling on all afternoon?! Have you read Mark's book? Any comment?
It’s a shame Mark is so quick to devalue the legacy of his own genius.
What about the Mick Middles and other Fall books?
Anyone else who’s written about The Fall has been a fan; they’ve not had the benefit of living it on the inside.
Do you have a collection of basses/guitars? Is there an old '57 Stratocaster stashed away somewhere in Steve Hanley's attic?
No. It’s hanging in the window of the local Cash Generator. Waiting for you lot to buy advance copies instead of buying into the cut-price rip-off deal on Amazon in September. By the way, it’s a Fender Precision. [Conway notes: I know Steve plays a Fender Precision, but as a collectible I thought he might have a '57 Strat, which would be worth a bucketload of money.]
Steve Hanley vs. Peter Hook - who would win: (a) bass play off; (b) drinking competition; (c) bullshitting competition; (d) fistfight?
a) Me b) Me c) Him d) Him
To many fans, 1998 was the end of The Fall. For a while things looked pretty grim and yet, in the end, MES pulled things around. Were you surprised?
God, yeah. And it’s amazing that Mark’s kept it going to this day. Every credit to him for that.
If Mark had phoned you, say a year later, and said come on back, let's have another crack at this, would you have done so? If he phoned you now, what would you say?
About a year-and-a-half after I left, Mark’s sister approached me at an Ark gig and gave me a piece of paper with his phone number on. She said, ‘Ring him. He’s waiting to hear from you. I’ve been watching you and I still think you two are meant to be together. He has been through a hard time himself, y’know.’ To which I replied, ‘I bet he’s not getting up at half past six in the morning though!’ But seriously, I wasn’t tempted, even though Ark was sinking like a submarine.
Ark - what were you thinking? The bass playing was fine, must have been the singer's fault then?
At first, the three of us were in denial, especially me. Convinced we could just get a new singer and carry on, we were back out on tour within six weeks of being back from New York. Not the best plan, in retrospect. The idea was to get as far away from sounding like The Fall as possible, so why we used the backlog of music leftover from Fall song-writing sessions is another good question. They weren’t second rate rejects. Usually everyone would bring two or three ideas, and there’s only so much room on an album so it was only the one you felt most comfortable pushing forward that would make it.
Fall fans didn’t like Ark and neither did anyone else, but nobody could bring themselves to be honest, except for John Peel. When I asked him if he’d like to hear a demo tape, he said that there was nothing he’d rather have a listen to. That was until he got the tape. But y’know, our support slot for The Shirehorses went down so well we even got an encore, so we can’t have been that much of a joke band, can we?
Obviously you didn't leave The Fall as a multimillionaire. Hope you've received your share of the songwriting royalties off all the CD reissues, etc? Being a school grounds keeper must have been a nice change? Were you the coolest grown up at the school in the kids eyes?
In defence of school caretakers everywhere, I’d like to say that we are responsible for the day-to-day health, safety and well-being of hundreds of children, teachers and parents. No mean feat in these litigating times. It was mostly a lot easier standing up straight and playing that thing with the four strings for an hour and a half a day. You couldn’t get sued for that, though psychological fines were commonplace, especially if you tried to play too many notes.
Have you continued to follow The Fall since you left? Would you care to venture an opinion on the latest material or live performances you've seen?
I haven’t listened to any of the new stuff, nor have I been to a live show. It’s taken years and the writing of this book just to revisit the albums I was part of, which was surprisingly pleasant.
Can you give us your three favourite Fall basslines?
Not really. It’s not something I think about. You look at the song as a whole rather than dissect the bass.
Best Fall album?
My favourite, as in the ones I like working on the most, are Dragnet, Hex, This Nation’s Saving Grace, Bend Sinister, Extricate and Infotainment Scan.
Thanks for the questions, Conway. You’ll find extensive answers to these other ones in the book.
The late 1970s and early 1980s must've been some incredible times, yeah? Hard to top? Must've been some darker sides though?
Bringing your brother in to play drums for the Fall - good or bad move? Does he still hold a deep resentment against you for this? LOL
When Marc Riley had a punch-up with Smith in Australia in 1982, I'm guessing that you were the guy who stood between them and pulled them apart. Much the same way as you did with Karl Burns at Brownies in 1998 (I presume you've seen the Brownies video?). True?
You've always been seen as the quiet, hard-working type who stays in the background and just gets on with the job. Is that a true portrayal?
How did things work in your time with the recording process? You co-wrote most of the songs. Was it usually a collaborative effort, including MES, or did the music and lyrics happen separately?
Baghdad, Space Cog, Analyst - what the hell was that all about? Did you ever quiz Smith on his lyrics or did you not pay that much interest?
When Mark got married to Brix that must've completely changed things. It was no longer a bunch of young blokes having a laugh and making music. How did that affect the band dynamics? Did it effectively split the band into two camps, MES/Brix and the lads?
Around the same time as Brix arriving was the switch to Beggars Banquet and John Leckie coming onboard as producer. The music became considerably more mainstream. Do you think the band was naturally heading in that direction or was it a conscious decision? How big a part did Brix play in that?
When do you think it changed from being The Fall to being Mark E Smith and his backing band, The Fall? Or did that only happen after you left?
When Craig Scanlon was pushed out, did you consider packing it in? Do you think that could have spelled the end of The Fall?
Brix returned in the mid '90s. Were things getting a bit desperate for that to happen? How did she fit back in?
Worthing 1996 - the worst Fall gig ever?
Was the 1998 tour of America ever a good idea? How do you feel about it now?
added 27 June
Notebooks out, plagiarists.
added 11 June; updated 14 June
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 Under the Bridge, Chelsea, London
Amorator! / Hot Cake / Jetplane / Sir William Wray / Mr. Pharmacist / 2014 / I'm Not from Bury / The Remainderer / Psykick Dancehall / Mister Rode // Reformation / Wolf Kidult Man / Mr. Pharmacist (again)
Reviews on the forum, and thanks to Mark for the video.
added 11 June
Tuesday, 10 June 2014 Under the Bridge, Chelsea, London
The Remainderer / Cowboy George / I'm Not from Bury / White Lightning / Pledge / Sir William Wray / Mister Rode / I've Been Duped / Strychnine / Hittite Man / Blindness // Theme from Sparta F.C.
Reviews on the forum and thanks to Mark for the setlist. Also a review here by Danny Coughlan.
added 16 May; updated 5 June
"The Big Midweek" by Steve Hanley & Olivia Piekarski will be published by Route on September 15th.
There will be 300 advanced copies, signed by Steve, available tomorrow (June 6) at thebigmidweek.wordpress.com. Copies will be sent out in mid July, two months before the official release date. (You can also read a short review by Stewart Lee on that site.)
There will be a private launch event for the book in Manchester on Saturday, 12 July. There will be a Q&A session with Steve and Olivia, and Steve has pulled a band together with a few ex-members and will play a short set, including Fall songs and a few others that feature in the book. The Fall Online has been offered a number of double guest passes to attend. If you want to go, see Conway's post on the forum.
And Dave Simpson will do another chat about writing about The Fall at the Deer Shed Festival in North Yorkshire, 25-27 July, this time adding Mike Leigh to the lineup of regulars Steve & Paul Hanley and Simon Wolstencroft).
added 1 June
Saturday, 31 May 2014 L'Espace Invaders, Le Havre, France
Thanks to Alexis for the setlist, who says: "A good performance of the band, but not M.E.S because after I've been Duped he sang off-stage Hittite Man, and they don't play Facebook, Jetplane was played but sung by Elena and Peter, don't play Container Drivers and M.E.S returned on stage only for Blindness." He thinks the running order might've been:
Remainderer / Sir William Wray / White Lightning / Cowboy George / I'm Not from Bury / Pledge / Mr. Rode / 2014 / Wolf Kidult Man / I've Been Duped / Hittite Man / Jetplane / Theme from Sparta F.C. / Blindness
added 31 May
Thursday, 29 May 2014 This Is Not a Love Song Indie Music Festival, Nîmes, France
By all accounts another good gig. The video by Penny Green-Shard of "Cowboy George" is not too shabby, either. Reviews on the forum.
added 16 May; updated 18 May
Thursday, 15 May 2014 Manchester Cathedral
The Remainderer / Cowboy George / 2014 / I'm Not from Bury / White Lightning / Pledge / Sir William Wray / Happi Song / Mister Rode / Amorator! / Facebook Troll / Strychnine / Wolf Kidult Man // Blindness // Reformation (aborted) > Mr. Pharmacist
Sounds like a great gig. New song "Pledge" written in the dressing room before the gig, says Daren. Review in the Manchester Evening News (I wonder how many "symbols" the drummers have between them) and loads on the forum with a particularly vivid one by Chris Goodhead. Thanks to Mark for the setlist and Stan Mission for the video.
added 9 May
Charlie Waterhouse, who's co-writing what looks to be a great book:
I'm writing in the hope that you and site visitors might be interested in a book I'm involved in exploring the philosophy of Punk. I wont ramble on here – as there's a load more blurb in the link below if it is of interest – but we've spent the past year talking to as many key figures (from Crass to Fugazi, The Adverts to Albini) as we can.
The book's due for publication in October – and we're currently Kickstarting for the print costs.
If you are interested, the link to the KS is here (campaign ends on Sunday 11 May):
added 7 May; updated 8 May
Tuesday, 6 May 2014 The Junction, Cambridge
2014 / Mr. Pharmacist / Amorator / Wolf Kidult Man / Over! Over! / Mister Rode / off stage / I'm Not from Bury / Reformation / off stage / Psykick Dancehall / off stage / Strychnine
M.E.S. off stage but singing from Bury onward. Reviews on the forum and thanks to Kiespijn for the setlist.
added 2 May; updated 3 May
Thursday, 1 May 2014 Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
Nate Will Not Return / Taking Off / Over! Over! / Mr. Pharmacist / Mister Rode / Amorator / Irish / Wolf Kidult Man / 2014 / The Remainderer / I'm Not from Bury // Sir William Wray / I've Been Duped
Sound problems and beard. Reviews on the forum and thanks again to Mark for the setlist and video of "2014".
added 30 April
The mighty @BuyKurious strikes again. ! P U H W
added 30 April
From an interview with Luke Haines in Brooklyn Vegan:
BV: What do you do when you're not making music?
LH: I've actually got a thing in the Berlin Festival in July with a guy called Scott King. It's a "micro-opera" thing with visuals. It's about Mark E. Smith of The Fall going on a caravan holiday. Do you have caravans in the States, what old people go off in when they retire?
BV: We call them RVs here. Winnebagos.
LH: Right. RVs. So anyway the opera is about that. It's a short thing, with actors and everything. It's very "art." The opera's called Adventures in Dementia.
added 29 March
A message from The Fall about the White Lightning Record Store Day 12"
We would like to let you know that The Fall are not participating in RSD 2014 as we think it is bad form to take part every year.
Unfortunately it has come to our attention that Secret Records have announced a release that we were not involved with in any way
without asking us or even telling us about it — as they did with "13 Killers" last year, which we only found out about after it was on sale. They have never contacted us about these releases.
We don't know anything about the "White Lightning" record. When asked they did not reveal the track list to us. Have to assume that these are previously released tracks from various records.
Most artists would prefer to bring out new songs or new versions of songs for RSD and let record shops know the track list in advance so they can decide what to order!
It is also listed on amazon.
Sadly, this is not in the spirit of RSD.
What they are doing is illegal and is fraud.
added 16 March
And then there was one. R. I. P. Rock Action.
added 15 March
R. I. P. Gary Burger, and thank you.
added 28 February
"Let's Do Lunch with Mark E. Smith" in the April 2014 Q Magazine. Thanks to ocelot for the scan (click for a readable copy).
added 7 February
This looks great! It's a revised version of the film that screened at that Fall exhibition in Copenhagen last year.
12 years in the making - done by 3 danish Fall fans.
John Peel, David Gedge, Dee Dee Ramone, Thurston Moore, Peter Hook, John Cooper Clarke, Stephen Malkmus, Alan Wise, Ed Blaney etc etc. They are all in it.
+ MES interview, spoken word and in concert.
There's a screening in Copenhagen on March 1 at the Musikfilm Festival and UK screenings are in the works.
added 2 February; updated 3 Feb
Saturday, 1 February 2014 Gagarin 205, Athens
Victrola Time / Hungry Freaks Daddy / Wolf Kidult Man / I've Been Duped / Strychnine / Mister Rode / Remainderer / White Lightning / Cowboy George // Amorator / Theme from Sparta F.C.
Two full drum kits (Keiron Melling and Daren Garrett). MES off-stage following Mister Rode; Elena and Daren share rest of vocal duties. Reviews on the forum. Thanks to Costas2x4 for the video and Mark for the set.
added 2 February
Stephen Collins's cartoon in Saturday's Guardian.
added 2 February
Claus Castenskiold has some more of his signed Perverted By Language posters for sale.
The posters are thick paper stock 30"x 24”, in color. Each poster is hand-signed by the artist.
The price is $ 27.00 USD for each poster (including shipping) in the USA.
The price for one poster to Europe is $37.00 (shipping included). The posters are sent in thick sturdy tubes.
Payment options are; E-check, Paypal, or pre-arranged payment method.
This is the last time the posters will be available at this price.
Orders can be placed with Claus at email@example.com.
If using Paypal, the account is firstname.lastname@example.org.