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News for November 1997 - last update 16 Nov 97


Err, they seem to be back together again. See the previous few news pages. Manchester (13th) reviews below

Remaining dates: Newcastle Riverside (19),
Aberdeen Lemon Tree (20), Edinburgh Venue (21), Glasgow
Garage (23), Dundee Fat Sam's (24), Oxford Zodiac (27),
Stoke Stage (30), Leeds Irish Centre (December 1),
Liverpool Krazy House (2), Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
(4), London Kentish Town Forum (5), Cambridge Junction
(7), Norwich Waterfront (8) and Bristol Bierkeller (9).

Also possibly:
26/11  buckley

Glasgow Garage, tickets from Cathouse, Ripping Records or the QM,  phone 0870 601 0002
The Forum, Kentish Town, London: tickets 12 quid from 0171 344 0044 (credit card, probably booking fee).
Cambridge Junction 01223 511511
Bristol Bierkeller 926 8514
Stoke: The Stage, Hanley, Tickets £7.75 from Mike Lloyd Music, phone: 01782 207777
Oxford Zodiac.  (Number is 01865 726336. Gig details:  Tickets 9 quid in advance (in cash, in person!), 10 quid on
the door (if there's any left).  Doors open at 7pm, and the Fall will be OFF STAGE by 10pm - the Zodiac has an early curfew during the week. So get here early.)


MES' recent diplomatic appearance in Loaded is reproduced below.

T-shirt news

From: Peter Reavy
Subject: T shirt

I was speaking to my military history advisor last night and gave him a
verbal description of the current Fall T shirt. Here's what he reckons:

The cavalry depicted are Prussian Hussars at the time of the 7 Years War
between the Prussians and the French (1756). The ones shown were an elite
regiment, Frederick the Great's lifeguards (liebshussaren). They were
known as the Death's Head (totenkopf) hussars.

Much later, the SS Grenadiers saw themselves as the direct descendants of
these lifeguards.

This is is going on the black uniforms and the skull. According to my
friend, after the 7 Years War, the Death's Head hussars changed from a
conical hat to a busby.


The band are set to release new single 'Masquerade' in January.

Two more Receiver releases:
Oxymoron: Oxymoron, PowderKeg, White Lines, Pearl City, Birmingham School of Business School, Hostile, Glam Racket, Italiano, He Pep, Rainmaster, Behind The Counter, Bill is Dead, ESP Disco, Interlude/Chilinism, Life Just Bounces.

Cheetham HillTime Enough At Last, Free Range, Chiselers, US 80s 90s, Spinetrak, Idiot Joy Showland, Oleano, The Joke, Ed's Babe, Hit The North, White Lightning, Secession Man, Last Chance To Turn Around, Coliseum, Eat Y'self Fitter. Release Date: 17-Nov-97

Recent news of a distressing nature....


When Mark E Smith of The Fall starts an interview by trying to stub a
fag out in your face, trouble can only follow. Here's what happened when
loaded went for a 'chat'

Enter Mark E. Smith. He looks like a melted muppet in Man At C&A
He's about half the size you'd imagine, twice as old and
shockingly wizened. The Fall frontman and original grumpy old
bastard of rock immediately begins to tell an anecdote about
employing a Cheetham Hill drug-gang hit man to run The Fall fan
club. Apparently, he used to write back to people who wanted to
buy Fall T-shirts saying, "You don't want to bother with the Fall,
they're shit." He seems in a good mood. If a little confused.

Exterior: In the street, waiting for a taxi. Mark E Smith sees two
businessmen get into a car. There is an almost audible click and his
apparent good mood suddenly disappears.
MES: Fucking hard cunts in cheap suits. Wankers.
 Mark starts staring at traded writer.
Ioaded: (Thinking he's admiring his 99p McDonald's sunglasses)
 What are you looking at, Mark?
MES: You, 'cos you're a cunt. (Mark starts shuffling towards writer)
 You're from Macclesfield are you? A fuckin' Macc Lad? Think
 you're fuckin' hard do yer? (Attempts to stub lit cigarette out
 in writer's face. Writer grabs his weedy arm).
Ioaded: (Firmly) Fuck off.

Taxi arrives. Inside, MES starts berating the driver for listening to
Melody FM, despite the fact that MES thinks it's "quite nice".

MES: Fuckin' better than Radio One though, I tel I yer! Fuckin' John
 Peel, he's the fuckin' worst, he's worse than Tony Blackburn ever
 was ( John Peel is The Fall 's biggest ever fan, having tirelessly
 supported them for 20 years). Bastard.
We arrive at the pub. Mark is suddenly apologetic.
MES: Y'alright John? Y'alright?
Ioaded: I'm fine, don't worry about it.
MES: You're a fuckin' cunt, aren't you?
Mark is momentarily distracted by the nearby Bavarian Sausage stall.
MES: That is fuckin' great, that place. German sausage centre.
Inside pub. Mark orders two bottles of Pils in a pintglass. Has big row
with barmaid because they don 't keep theirglasses in the freezer.
Ioaded: Aren't you a beer drinker?
MES: What d'you mean?
Ioaded: You're drinking Pils instead of bitter.
MES: You get too many germs off London glasses. They don't wash
 down here.
Ioaded: Anyway, onto the interview.
MES: - Aye.
Ioaded: The new album marks 20 years of The Fall.
Ignoring writer completely Mark picks up a newspaper and begins to read.
Ioaded: Do you feel you've developed in that time.
MES: (Suddenly) loaded?
Ioaded: Um,yes?
MES: Never read it.
Ioaded: Have you no idea of what it's about?
MES: Flicked through it. Fantasy life. Bungee jumping,
 paratrooping. Birds in hotel rooms.
Ioaded: But about this
Markgoes back to his paper. Starts mumblingas he reads the- TVsection.
Ioaded: Do you watch TV much?
MES: I never watch Tv. Never. Only gardening programmes. I don't like
 'em, but it keeps me peaceful. War videos. Last one I saw was
 about Culloden. Last battle on English soil. Prince Charlie.
loaded: And what do you get out of war videos?
MES: Nothing. I watch 'em with the sound down. Or I turn 'em up,
 then go out. (Suddenly perks up) Macclesfield? Full of people who
 pretend to be in Manchester groups.
Ioaded: Does that piss you off?
No response Mark stares out of window.
MES: (Suddenly) You're a good lookin' lad. You should do alright.
Ioaded: Cheers. Whydon'tyou tell me about this 'Inch' single?
( The 'Inch'single was recorded in the first week of the sessions for
The Fall's new 'Levitate'LP. At this point, Mark inexplicably 'fell out'
with the producers and fired them. Allegedly the producers sent tapes of
'Inch ' to record companies with a covering letter purporting to be from
Mark E Smith, asking them to put it out.)
MES: (Afterlongsilence) We came to a compromise.
Ioaded: What was that?
MES: I'm notsayin'.
Ioaded: (Trying different tack) Do you like London?
MES: It's alright
Ioaded: What do you I ike about it?
MES: Very tolerant, Londoners.
Ioaded: More so than Manchester?
MES: I can't stick Manchester either.
Ioaded: But you live there.
MES: I live in Salford.
Ioaded: So something must keep you there.
MES: You can go all over the world and nothing's ever any good, is it?
Ioaded: I travel all over the world and I see things I really like.
MES: Like where?
Ioaded: I like New York.
MES: That's a Macc lad who's moved to London talking now. You've
 gotta stick to your fuckin' roots. You don't desert the fuckin'
 barracks, alright?
Ioaded: As an artist, though, surely you could get inspiration from...
MES: ( Interrupting) But YOU'RE not a fuckin' artist are you? And
 what's there to write about down here? Some nice clothes shops and
 some nice freaky people walking around. So fuckin' what?
loaded: So doyou get inspiration from
MES: It's all work! I never stop! It's a common fallacy that work
 is some kind of hindrance and you should live the rest of your
 life in pleasure. False peace and false fuckin' leisure. That's the
 problem with this country: retiring early, having a good time. The
 only pleasure in life is work.
loaded: But surely...
MES: See? You don't fucking get it, do you? You're from Macclesfield,
 you're fuckin' cretins. You just wanna sit on your arse and
 fuckin' eat all day.
Ioaded: But if you're doing something you enjoy, that doesn't necessariIy
 make it work.
MES: (No response, stares at floor.)
loaded: You don't necessarily have to work at it.
MES: (No response, blows smoke at ceiling.)
loaded: Do you have a rigid work structure to your I if e?
MES: (Mutters inaudibly)
loaded: Do you go into the studio at a certain time?
MES: (Suddenly) Are you courting?
Ioaded: Yes.
MES: (Ranting) Yeah, fuckin' look at you, you don't wanna do any work,
 you're not interested in anything! See, you're just like every
 fuckin'fat-arsed middle-management cunt in Britain, aren't you?
 You just come out to work to get away from the wife. You're not
 interested in creating anything, and that's why the country's on
 it's back, PALLY!
loaded: OK, but you and l enjoy our jobs, a lot of people have to do work
 they hate.
MES: (Sarcastic) Oh, and I should be grateful shouldn't ? With the new
 Labour government, I should be very, very grateful for anything.
 Look at you, you haven't got your interview together, have you?
 Admit it. Face up to yourself, pal. I meet people like you every
 fucking day in the bank, in insurance offices, in record companies.
 There's gonna come a time when you're gonna have to face being a
Ioaded: And you're different?
MES: No. I'm just telling you what I think.
Ioaded: WelI telI me what you think about this: even though The Fall have
 been hugely influential, many other Manchester bands have had much
 more success. Is that frustrating?
MES: No.
Ioaded: But wouldn't you rather have had more chart success?
MES: No.
Ioaded: Why not, surely that's the normal way musicians get appreciation
 of their art, by people buying their records?
MES: (Noresponse.)
loaded: Are you happy just being infIuential?
MES: (Picks at Pils bottle label.)
loaded: Pavement, for example, have cited The Fall as being a massive
 influence. Do you see that?
MES: (Looks out of window.)
loaded: Do you rate Pavement?
MES: (Smokes fag. Exhales loudly)
loaded: So what do you want to talk about, Mark?
MES: I thought we were here to talk about the LP
loaded: OK we will, but loaded's not just about music, it's about Iife,
 I'd just like to get your opinions on a few things. You're known
 for being a man with opinions. We can talk about whatever you like.
MES: (Aggressive) Stop fucking about then, haven't you got it fucking
 worked out? You're just some fucking scruffy-haired pop star!
 Ask me some fucking questions!
loaded: I have been doing.
MES: All I've got from you is that you've got the flu and that you're
 a big fucking pop star! It's very endemic in this society. You're
 not fucking interested in what I've got to say.
Ioaded: (Losinit) I am interested in what you've got to say! But you're
 not saying anything!
MES: Well, fucking work at it then!
loaded: (Tight-lipped) OK, wel I you brought it up: tel I me about
 the new Labour government.
MES: (Noresponse.)
loaded: Is it going to make any difference to your Iife?
MES: (No response.)
loaded: Did you vote for them?
MES: (Viciously) Did I fuck! I didn't vote for anything.
Ioaded: Do you never vote?
MES: I vote all the time.
Ioaded: So is it going to make a difference?
MES: It's not gonna make a difference at all, it's gonna turn us
 into a fuckin' Czechoslovakian state. We'll be like we're stuck
 behind the Iron Curtain if you ask me...
Ioaded: How so?
MES: (No response.)
loaded: (Insisting) How is Labour going to turn us into a
 communist country?
MES: (No response.)
loaded: Come on, Mark, give us an opinion.
MES: (Sudden mood swing becomes instantly conversational) What
 did you think about the Princess Di thing? Were you upset?
loaded: Not really. Shocked, surprised. But I didn't cry. How about you?
MES: (No response.)
loaded: Are you pro-monarchy?
MES:  Nah.
loaded: So why do you think so many people have got so upset?
MES:  They've got nothing better to fucking think about.
Ioaded: Hasn't it got to be more than that?
MES: (Long, long, long, LONG silence.)
loaded: Are you alright, Mark? Are you just not in the mood?
MES: (Noresponse.)
loaded: (Concerned) Is there something I've said to upset you?
MES: No. It's alright. (Another long, uncomfortable silence.)
loaded: Is it me? Do you just not want to talk to me specifically?
MES: I can't see the point. I've got work to do. I'm in a fucking band.
Ioaded: Aren't interviews part of being in a band?
MES: I don't particularly like your magazine, I don't fucking
 really wanna talk to you, I'm not interested. I don't see
 what it's got to do with my band. People who buy my
 records don't read loaded
loaded: But maybe loaded readers would buy your records after
 reading this interview
MES: (Raising voice) People who read loaded are just frustrated
 perverts like yourself! I'm not interested in talking to
 anyone who can't have a drink like a fucking man!
loaded: ( Irritated) What's that supposed to mean?
MES: ( Yelling) What it fucking means is that you're a fucking
 dead-leg cunt and I'm not talking to you.
 (Childishly) You smell ! (Gets up and buggers off.)

Enter Julia Nagle, Mark's girl friend and keyboard/guitar player in The

JN: Don't take it personally. He gets like this.

As we chat, Mark is round the corner ranting and shadow-boxing the wall.
When he smashes his fist against the wood work, a scuffle ensues with
the barstaff. Only prudent interception by Mark's PR prevents him being
ejected. Suddenly he reappears and gestures at Julia's half-full glass.

MES: Are you not getting the woman another fucking drink? You fucking

Julia and the PR separate us. Minutes later, top pop combo Ash enterand
say hello. Mark reappears ranting about how Ash owe their  entire career
to him.

MES:  You give them their start in life and do you get any thanks? Do
 you FUCK! Without me, you'd be fucking NOTH I NG, you useless cunts!
Tim Wheeler, Ash singer: How exactly did you start our career?
MES: (Approaching Ash's table) Look at you, with your pop star
 haircuts. (Starts flickingat Tm's fringe.)
TW: (Menacing Northern Irish accent) Fuck off!
MES: ( Wandering off into street, laughing like some washed-up meths
 drinker) They all fucking owe me a fucking living, all of 'em.

Fade on loaded writer, steadying nerves with stiff drink.


Manchester reviews

 From: "David I. Williams"
Subject: Sankeys Stormer

The Fall are back with a vengeance and played a stormer last night at Sankeys.
Line-up as Dublin, they opened with great determination, You Pep, Lie Dream
and quite the most powerful Ten Houses to date were tight and awesome. It
dipped a bit in the middle - most noticeably an another shambolic and
lacklustre Masquerade - and picked up with a fine version of Spencer, Jungle
Rock, Counter, a very good rocked-out Pearl City and, of course a storming Ol
Gang to finish.

The band could be seen laughing and joking backstage before the encores, MES
grinning and anxious to get out for more. First came Feeling Numb and Idiot
Joy and final encore was a simply awesome Mere Pseud Mag Ed - Mark announcing
"this one is for Karl".

Whatever has been said since Belfast, it has given the band the boot up the
arse that they needed. SHanley was a bit sheepish, lurking at the back of the
stage early on, but came forward towards the end, giving it his trademark left
leg stomp and nodding his head as of old.

He Pep
Lie Dream
Ten Houses
Jungle Rock
Behing The Counter
Pearl City
Ol Gang
Feeling Numb
Idiot Joy Showland
Mere Pseud Mag Ed

..don't write 'em off just yet.

From: Terry

two shit supports

fall :
left to right

tommy (too damn loud)
steve (the greatest)
karl (very good actually - made loads of the songs like this nation
saving grace, but that's no bad thing)
mark (inaudible - not too much leaving stage (only three times i
think) / messing with gear (tommy was the main target - steve on
julia (shite)

set list
(as written)
only seemed to be one copy which steve had - but another appeared
half way through and went on tommy's amp

lie dream
10 houses
jungle rock
pearl city
ol gang

feelin numb
idiot joy showland
mere pseud mag ed

my personal view - tommy is crap, i say julia was from personal past
experience so i presume she was

apart from a few early highlights, i was pretty bored by this lot ...
then from about counter onwards they were excellent (no levitate
material ?)

ace intro tapes ... sometimes good guys don't wear white, 5 years
ahead of my time, funnel of love - afterwards, bacon fat ...


From: Gerard Wood
Subject: Mark'll Sank Us - Diary of a FallNetter

Stalker / Foil / The Fall, Manchester Sankey's Soap 13NOV97

And so it came to pass that I found myself creeping out of work at 3.30pm
and hot-footing it to the awaiting newly-Vectra'd Id for what is probably
the furthest single-night commute to a gig ever. As we rolled out of the
Chilterns, thoughts turned to the night ahead: have the band really kissed
and made up? Will MES be in calm or Loaded state? The nation awaits.

The M40 gave way to the M42 and the M6, with RDS piping up some wonderful
traffic news. "Slow moving traffic on M6 northbound between J6-11. There is
a 5 minute delay." Which became 15mins, 25mins, 40mins, 50mins and finally
55mins at its peak. Excellent. The 7pm arrival not looking quite so likely.
Had fun listening to a demo of Id's band from the 80's, though.

Manchester - it's 7.30pm, and there's rain in the air. The comedy of
finding a car park begins. There seem to be 3 car parks in the Piccadilly
Gardens area, and the various road signs seem to take the driver on a
guided tour of all of them, without ever indicating an entrance. Finally we
get into one, park up, and leave, casually glancing at the sign by the exit
- "This car park is locked between 7.45pm and 8am". It's 7.43pm. A swift
payment (a quid for 30secs - value or what) and exit is made, and we
eventually find an open car park, less than 10mins walk from the venue.

Next - the pub meet. It never did get organised properly, did it? Terry
mentioned a pub called the "Land of Cheese" or something at the end of Swan
St - seemed an unlikely, but off we went in search. Sure enough, there's a
pub at the end of Swan St - "Land O' Cakes". Not a bad guess, tel. Id &
meself dropped in, but there's no sign of any FallNetters. A quite pint o'
Boddy's is consumed (but no cakes) and it's back to Piccadilly Gardens -
neither of us have got any money, neither of us have eaten for ages.

Wallets replenished, a fine Mancunian meal of pie and chips wi' gravy
follows at a price which would buy me a packet of Smarties in Henley. Then
it's to the venue. Tickets are located, and in we go to find Al McB minus
wallet at the bar. It's 9pm, and the first band are about to hit the stage.

Stalker - an interesting band. Not the techno edge I was expecting, though
I can see where I got that impression. Bass-driven tracks, with two female
vocalists, neither of whom 'sang' in the conventional sense. Lead vocals
were something like half-spoken dialogue with occasional screeching, all
backed with highly theatrical flailing of arms, hair etc. The guitar seemed
a bit superfluous at times, and on some tracks it was inaudible anyway. A
bongo track appeared towards the end, and the final track "Tick Tock"
featured twin 'standard' drums and electronic drum pads - worked quite
well, I thought. Not sure how I'd describe the overall effect - probably a
bit like watching The Sugarcubes or something. Or perhaps not.

In the gap between bands, Alex S and co have arrived. The Fall boys are in
the pub round the corner, and all is well.

Foil - second band on, and something I could well have done without. Two
guitars and bass hammering the same chord for half an hour, with a pile of
thumping and 'angry' vocals. Very black. Very loud. As Nigel Blackwell
would say, "Henry Rollins, Henry Rollins, he's hard he's hard..." I weren't
impressed, guv.

The FallNet clan meet makes it to 4 as Matt H. reveals himself. No-one's
got any idea what terry and Daniel look like, so sorry fellers. A photo is
taken anyway, the flash refuses to work, bugger.  Karl is spotted wandering
around the venue - has he lost the band?

10.30pm, time to move to the front. Find an ideal vantage point at the
front left of the stage, in front of Tommy's mic. Karl finishes setting up
his kit. Julia appears, and keyboard swathes can be heard under the DJ's
records. She's off, but then she's back with Karl and Steve. No long
instrumental opening, it's straight into "He Pep!". Tommy (with purple silk
shirt) joins the band, and finally MES appears, with a huge long black coat
on, looking like he's just come in from the Arctic.

A fine opening to the set - MES looks in much finer fettle, and in spite of
being fairly inaudible for large parts of the set, delivers a great
"Lie Dream" sounds better than ever, "10 Houses" has an, er, interesting
middle section, "Levitate" semsto have more bite, and "M5" causes chaos at
front centre, with the crash barriers crashing and punters collapsing on
top. MES discards the coat, to reveal another black jacket underneath.

"Masquerade" brings mid-set chaos. Tommy can't seem to get hold of the
rhythm, and his guitar's very high in the mix, making it all the more
obvious. Why Tommy and Julia both have to play what is basically the same
guitar part is beyond. Frankly, it's a shambles.

"Mummy" partially saved the day, although Tommy's mic has now given up
completely. Some fine gurning from the lad as he delivers the inaudible
backing vox, though. "Spencer" regained the momentum fully. Not my
favourite track on the LP, but the loping bassline sounded tremendous.
Steve's still hiding away at the back - step forward, God!

For "Jungle Rock", MES is getting a bit fed up at not being able to hear
his vocals, so he spends virtually the entire song crouched down by the
side of Karl's drum kit with his head in Karl's monitor, only reappearing
when vocal duties are over to fiddle with Tommy's and Steve's amps. Tommy
seemed to be a regular target from this point on (and quite wisely, I
reckon - Tommy definitely needed turning down a bit).

"Behind The Counter" creates mayhem in the crowd. MES discards his jacket,
down to the shirt now. It's a rocking end to the set, with the crowd
threatening to spill onto the stage as everyone pushes forward. "Pearl
City" comes and goes, before the main set ends with the ubiquitous "Ol'
Gang", which I didn't think was quite on the form of previous airings, but
good nonetheless.

Comedy moment of the night as the band leave the stage. They head off in
the direction of the fire exit at the back left of the stage before
collectively realising that it's *bloody cold* outside with only a shirt
on. So Steve points the way back to the dressing room and they all turn
round and shuffle off behind the curtain. A quick look at the set list on
Tommy's amp revealed no planned encore. Through the gap in the curtain, the
band could be seen discussing what to play, with MES laughing and appearing
in good humour.

After a few mins, the band reappear. MES shuffles God forwards, and
exchanges a few word - they seem to be back on good terms. A two-song
encore - "Feeling Numb" and "Idiot Joy Showland" (more crowd chaos), with
Steve definitely getting into it now as Id mentioned, the left leg now in
full pounding order and the head rockin' away.

Away they go, and with the clock now at midnight, we wonder whether
there'll be any more. Mic stands are reassembled, and sure enough they
troop out for a second encore, which MES dedicates to Karl. Tommy rings out
an "interesting" opening (still too loud!), and off they go into "Mere
Pseud Mag Ed". The possibility of it falling apart is always there, but
they hang on in to bring a fine ending to a superb night.  MES shakes hands
with a few at the front, and that's it, it's away to awaiting dads in brown
Audi's, kids.

Trip home all a bit of a blur, due to a mixture of the fog and me nodding
off. Had fun guessing where the next edit would be in Rich's 90min splice
of "Ol' Gang" at some point. Full marks to Id for staying awake and
delivering me home again, and finding his way round a roundabout when the
fog was so dense that we couldn't see the road.

3.10am, and it's time for bed. 4 hours til I go to work...

Gez, well knackered

From: "Daniel Blake"
Subject: Sankeys last night

15 songs in all, interesting live versions, even some CC songs.
Set list (not in right order)
He Pep, Lie Dream, Masquerade, M5, Jungle Rock, Behind the Counter, Feeling Numb,Idiot Joy, I come and stand at your door (long version), Pearl City, 10 Houses of Eve, I'm a mummy, levitate, O'l gang, Mere Pseud Mag Ed.
Line up
Nagle, Burns, Crooks, Smith, Hanley.
 Met a very nervous S Hanley before the gig,  He said everything was fine now with
Mark.  What a gig to - long versions of old favs, Mere Pseud was a corker finish.
No obvious FF's to be seen though.  Beer was pricey.  Saw awol ff CB power at the front with a FC Gutersloh shirt (Bernd Con).  He was a bit of a nutcase, probably cause they're 2nd from top and look likely to be promoted this season.

From: Alan McBride
Subject: RE: Sankeys Stormer

Not quite a enthused as David I'm afraid, but the Sankey's Soap gig was a
good one.

Support were Stalker (erm - think kate bush meets pj harvey) and Foil (think
minor threat , snuff, a poor man's fugazi).  Stalker had some good moments
but lots of cheesy ones too.  Best track was one where a big black woman did
soulful backing vocals.  All their songs were about sex, derangement,
alcohol.  Quite clever lyrics in places actually - well, at least they had
something to say, which is more than one usually expects of support acts.

Anyhow - intro tape to the fall was a mix of rockabilly stuff and some
blues.  During a blues track julia took the stage and played some haunting
washes of noise over the track.  Eventually joined by the rest of the band,
they clunked into Pep.  Tommy's projected pictures were on the backdrop
throughout - more men with tinfoil masks.

Smith came out wearing a dark full length coat - looked like a woman's coat
actually, but vaguely reminiscent also of the gestapo look.  First words
were 'good evening we are the fall', and he repeated this line later in the
track.  Sort of as if the assertion of identity could draw a line under the
recent debacle.

I was right up front and stage right, mashed against the iron barrier that
protected the stage.  It wasn't long before this collapsed against the stage
at a 45 degree angle leaving people at the front falling forwards under the
push face down at smith's feet.  My shins are pretty bruised this morning!

Lie dream was mediocre.  I'm appalled to say I'm actually getting fed up
with this live now!  Best rendition ever was the second jilly's date the
last time they played manc, but now it's just tired.  Smith shed coat to
reveal a short blouson casual black suede jacket over a check shirt and
brown (!) trousers.  This jacket was shed later on, but otherwise no costume
changes.  Straight out of oxfam the trousers, a gash in the left thigh held
shut by a safety pin.  As he spent most of the gig standing right in front
ot me I had to resist the urge on a number of occasions to just grab the lip
of the tear and give it a good yank :-)

Ten houses was as ever a rousing track, but I miss the heavy sequenced bass
thumps that dominated this track when julia used her full kit.

And then just as at dublin, the gig stalls somewhat at levitate.  But again
at dublin, mid-song I think I got the point.  Now I really don't rate this
track - to me it's probably the weakest the fall have ever done.  But
there's a bit in the middle where the guitars kick in and when they do it
live it's quite distorted and loud and it can really grab the moment.
 Meanwhile smiffy's rants 'hup!  levitate....with
me.....hup!...levitate....with me....' and it all comes together.  Almost
like an interlude.  From there, again just as at dublin, the gig goes up a
notch in tempo.

M5 was great, but not as awesome as it can be.  At the front we suffered a
tad from not being able to hear smiffy's vocals too well as there was no
monitor.  Vocals were better at the back.

For much of this part of the gig smith looked a touch disinterested.  Very
very sober though.  Much of the time he was inspecting the floor and gazing
around at the base of the kit and keyboards.  Seemed he had a thirst because
he picked up a bottle that was on the stage in front of me and was a bit put
out to find it empty.  He had a mooch about and had a slug from Karl's beer
and from a can by steve's feet.  For much of the gig he eyed the various
bottles that people had deposited at the edge of the stage as if willing
them to be full by telepathy.  Eventually he had to settle from a slug of
mineral water.

Funny moment at the beginning of masquerade - Tommy led the track with his
guitar hackings (no sequenced bits this time - at dublin the fell totally
out of time with the sequenced track and it was a mess), then julia is meant
to come in with her guitar in time with him.  She deliberately hacked a few
notes totally out of time - he shot her a worried look and she grinned
mischievously at him and snapped back into time.  At the end of the track I
shouted 'better than at dublin, huh julia...' but she wasnae amused.

And then mummy - christ this song works so well live!  Julia plays the
keyboard riffs in various off-key permutations and mark bashes away a bit
too.  Tommy proves that he can play.  And the whole place roars - 'I'm a
mummy!'.  Great stuff - worth the trip for that track alone.

Tommy upstaged mark dress-wise this gig - he wore a shiny purple silk shirt
which was quite flashy.  Apparently all the band had been contacted about
the manc gig 'cept Tommy who didn't confirm that he would be there after
belfast but just turned up.  Good for him - keep smith guessing - keep your
pride.  Personally I don't reckon he'll be there for very long though, and I
can't say I'd be too sorry to see him go, but he's certainly very capable
now.  Funny Tommy moment - during mummy where he's really getting into it,
thrashing away, he has to do a bit of backing vox, and he manages to slobber
hugely all over the mike - I mean a real mouthful.  Dripping down his chin
and shirt for the rest of the song.  Quite impressive :-)

And then Spencer.  Love the see-saw bass on this, sounds great live.  Mark
sang most of this song with his back to the audience (in case mel was up
front swooning embarrassingly) and I couldnae make out much of the vocals
'cept 'M-E-L-K...'.  Sounded quite good though - 'specially the bit at the
end where it picks up tempo.

Jungle Rock - trundled along thrillingly, mark singing most of the vox on
his hunkers at the back between Karl's kit and some amps, back to the
audience, shuffling disinterestedly through lyric sheets and trying to find
a stray beer.  Sounded fantastic.

And then the mosh pit went _berserk_ during Counter.  Another of those great
fall-gig moments when the band get a rush just as the audience do.  I was
absolutely battered at the front - at one point I thought I'd received a
cracked rib courtesy of someones head when he was catapulted into me full
tilt.  And I wore the 'gig arran' - bad mistake as now it's stretched to
fuck.  Smithy started to get into it again at this point, singing
closed-eyed, hand gesticulating, head thrown back.  And Hanley had a vicious
puring look on his face like as if he was taking out all the belfast
frustration on his bass.

Mark left the stage a coupla times and this one time he returned at the end
of counter.  A brief moment of relative quiet between the trax gave me a
chance to bellow my by-now-regular heckle of 'session musician.....session
musician....' half-shouted, half-sung a la the old unrecorded fall classic.
 This got a smile from mark, and a bit of a glare from Tommy :-)

Pearl city - no bad, but Tommy can't quite get the riff off as smoothly as
craig - he stalls it a bit in the middle every time.

And then ol' gang.  Prob'ly not as good as the bangor climax, but up front
it was a sustained frenzy while julia puched out the deliciously simple,
repetitive keyboard riff.  A great end to the set.

They didnae need too much persuading to do the first encore, and it was nice
to see a speeded-up feeling numb resurrected after a short absence.  Thought
at one point smiffy was gonna give me the mike 'cos he was standing inches
away and holding the mike right in my face, but it was thankfully just an
accident of his stance.  Pity in a way though, 'cos in the car on the way up
I figured what I'd rant if I got the mike again (unlike at gloucester where
it was a surprise).  This time I was gonna sing '....and at the belfast
empire we had this to say....cheaaattted....we were cheated
pal....cheeeeaaatted....' :-)

More bruises during idiot joy.  This time I nearly sustained quite a serious
injury when the second barrier collapsed beside the first, almost trapping
my hand between the two.  As it was I pretty much buggered my knee.  Very
excellent delivery of this, or at least it seemed so at the time.

As they went off I managed to get in a few more heckles;  '....dublin,
belfast, cork and fuck all....' and '...so what happened at belfast then,
mark?'.  They took a while before they came out again, and when mark was
close I managed to get in another shout of '...do one for belfast empire,
mark'.  A cutting look, and he slurred something which David and Gez
reckoned was 'this is for karl' but which I fancy was 'this is for loaded'.
 Nah it wasn't, but it should have been.  And into a clumsy, shambolic,
patchy but thumping and rousing rendition of mere pseud mag ed.  This time
they really looked like they were enjoying it.  Great end to a pretty good

Another aspect to my adventure was that about 50 miles outside manc I
realized I had little petrol left, and then found I'd left my wallet behind.
 I just about made it into the city center - 'twould have been fun being
stranded over 100 miles from home with no money.  Managed to get to venue
and had to scrounge a loan petrol dosh from David.  The journey back was not
without incident either.  Most of north and mid england was shrouded in
heavy fog, and sometimes there were sudden pockets with five foot
visibility.  Fuckin' fog - makes it harder to see the speed cameras :-)

Anyhow - it's the end of a working day that wasnae too bad considering my
three hours kip.  Yes the fall are back.  But I wouldn't count on them
lasting long, certainly not in their current guise.  But with luck they'll
run on at least until the cambridge/norwich/london/oxford gigs so I can ease
out of my gig-addiction gradually and avoid fall-cold-turkey.

Forgot to bring ketchup, beach boys album covers, copies of loaded and other
props to throw at mark. Maybe next time :-)