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News for November 1997 - last u/date 10 Nov 97

Break in normal service I'm afraid - here's today's news (mail me if you want to be sent the main set of Ireland reviews):

From the NME site: http://www.nme.com/newsdesk/Fallenapart:Smithfiresband.html


The immediate future of THE FALL is in doubt after MARK E SMITH sacked his band following a spectacular, drink-fuelled bust-up in Belfast last Saturday evening (November 8). The band's gig at the Empire Music Hall that night was subsequently cancelled mere minutes before stagetime. Uncertainty also surrounds the 15 outstanding dates on the band's current UK tour.

Smith reportedly arrived at Belfast's Empire in poor spirits. The venue's stage manager, Mark Erskine, told NME: "He was giving the band hell. He walked off the tourbus, straight onto the stage and started kicking stuff about and decking mikes. He sacked the band and they went." Smith also upset the staff of the venue by flinging a bottle of ketchup against a backstage door. The manager, Mike Gatt, gave Smith a mop and ordered him to clean it up.

In an attempt to try to calm the singer, staff at the venue rang Terry Hooley, founder of Belfast's Good Vibrations record label. Hooley promoted The Fall's early gigs in the city and has remained in touch with Smith ever since. According to Hooley, Smith had been drinking champagne and was difficult to reason with. At one stage, Hooley grabbed the singer by the neck to restrain him. The singer thought he was about to get punched, and asked if he could remove his false teeth first. Hooley removed his own glass eye instead. "I'm not gonna hit you," Hooley insisted.

Smith then hit upon the idea of going onstage and playing an a cappella set of Beach Boys covers with Hooley and another friend. Smith called the Empire the next day, looking for his passport and a collection of demo tapes. He told the manager that he would try to make amends at a later date. A Fall spokesman told NME: "This has surprised us as much as it probably surprised Mark. This might end up being resolved although I'm sure he did sack them at the time. As long as he regains his passport, the tour will continue in typically maverick Fall fashion, even as a solo acoustic show!"

The Fall were due to play Manchester Sankey's Soap this Thursday (November 13). "There is a very large question mark hanging over that gig," the spokesman added. Contact venues for latest details on other tour dates.

And some reviews that didn't go up yesterday:

From: Alan McBride
Subject: cork, dublin, belfast, oblivion

didnae go to cork myself, but non-fallnetter neil did and he reckoned it was
a good gig (although shanley apparently didn't think so).  apparently smith
came on with the band, then about 15 secs into riff of first track he pulled
karl and julia off stage, leaving steve and tommy a bit bemused.  dunno if
they followed them off then, but apparently once they were all back on stage
they played a good gig.  no set list I'm afraid, no tape made as far as we
could tell.

dublin was a great gig, more due to the atmosphere and the copious amounts
of beer though rather than the music, in my opinion.  i don't think the band
could hear themselves, so their timing wasn't great.  listening to the tape
in the car up to belfast we got to hear just how badly they massacred
masquerade, which was ironic because on the night it was the track that
first got everyone going.  great delivery of jungle rock and ol gang, great
strung-out version of glam racket as encore, dunno why they didn't play a
second encore because the crowd were pretty vocal.

belfast - can't even bring myself to talk about it.  'cept to say we saw
smiffy come in and he looked a bit out of it but in good form - grinning
bemusedly, keeping his balance.  but apparently he ended up throwing stuff
at other band members so they f*cked off.  apparently also they were gonna
play a short set of four trax with just him and julia - vultur was to be the
last track.  but even that didn't happen.  and I was _so_ convinced that it
was gonna be a _great_ gig 'cos the venue was cool, the acoustics were good,
the dublin gig was a great warm-up.  such a disappointment.  *sob*

the horror of lavery's rick?  quite liked it myself, at least until the end
when an evil little turd of a bouncer tried to find an excuse to deck me.
 the massive steel doors on the bogs made quite an impression.  it did feel
a bit threatening for a while when a bunch of pissed up chaps started
smashing glasses, and when alex called one of them a dickhead when he fell
off his chair.  oh yeah - and a certain member of our party managed to puke
all over some poor lass - not me I hasten to add.

don't think I'll make the trek to manc on thursday :-(

anyhow - my money's on the tour being shelved, and I wouldn't put much on
the band surviving this one.  yeah I know it's happened before, but this
feels different.  and yeah geoff - I felt like smashing my cd's too.
From: andrew john richardson
Subject: Belfast

The signs were there all along.

Geoff's coat getting showered in glass in Lavery's back bar (PLEASE Alan
describe the real horror of Lavery's back bar!!) - and Geoff's vain attempt
to relocate the shards

Huddersfield scoring as we left the bar

Shite suport band from Enniskillen

A quite beautiful gig venue and the most ornate prosceniu, arch the Fall
never played on. As I said as I spotted Alan alone with his thoughyts gazing
at the void on the edge of said stage. 'The silent corner and the empty stage'
(P. Hammill)

On my way up to meet Peter at 7pm I was passing the gig venue and spotted Julia
scrabbling around below pavement level trying to get in to the place. A meagre
conversation followed along the usual lines of 'good gig last nacht' 'surprised
at the stripped down techno' Will you be coming tonigh, sez she, Aye, sez I
Not a hint there BUT I swear just before this I spotted Tommy in a cafe wrapped
round a cup of something hot. So, my gloss on this is that there had no
been no sound check, why would Julia look like sh'ed just turned up?

Thanks for all the hospitality from the lads and lasses of Belfast and my
heart goes out to poor peter who had to sacrifice his ticket number 1 to get
his dosh back.

The Empire strikes back

Smith will return -- I am confident.
BTW With the addition of Tommy the fall were beginning to run away with the most
ugliest band in the world award

From: Paul McMullan
Subject: RE: Belfast

Hi there those who know me. I decided now would be a good time to
re-join the Fallnet. Just to hear about the last thrashings of a dying
band (no, I don't really believe that).

I was forced (due to work) to go to London for a conference on the 6th
and 7th. Imagine the chagrin when I discovered the Fall were playing
both those dates in Ireland (I think Vlad still has my profanities).
Anyway, I decided rather than spend a drunken weekend with my London
chums, i'd come back and try desperately to go to the Empire gig. I had
already booked to see Harry Hill on the Wednesday night in London, but
flight was delayed 3 hours due to the Virgin crash, so that was that.
Made me a bit nervous for getting to the gig. But no, plane touched down
at a good time. Managed to get the Airbus before it started off, and
arrived into the Empire just as the noise of the support band was
stopping. Thrashed two quick pints in meself and waited... and waited...

the rest you all know.

The unfortunate thing was, there was a great buzz before the gig.
Everyone was getting excited, and when T. hooley announced  "Mark E.
Smith is a dickhead", I think all the fears were confirmed. I did catch
a glimpse of the grizzled old shite, and he looked pissed, but then I
don't know what he looks like sober.

Anyway, although I was disappointed I thought it was slightly (only
slightly) amusing. My mate however had never seen The Fall, and was big
into them over the last 3 years or so. He was really pissed off. Ah

Peter, you should have asked them to keep your ticket... use it next
time they play...
From: "Mike Jones"
Subject: Boney M Pre-Cog

It just struck me;
MES on Levitate -
I come and knock at your door.
Boney M on 'Belfast' -
Belfast - when the doorbell rings it'll be your last.