Fall News - 7 August 1999

There's a gig at Planet K, Oldham Street, Manchester on the 20th August.

The Fall play Edinburgh at Queens Hall, Edinburgh on Sun 22 Aug. This gig is part of the Flux Festival. Tickets @GBP10 can be bought on-line via the Flux Festival website or by telephone 0870 90 70 999 or 0131 220 4349 or 0131 668 2019

They also play Reading Festival on 27 August, Leeds Festival on 28 August on the Radio 1 Evening Session Stage. Tickets (GBP 33/day) from 0541 500 044, 0171 344 0044, HMV, Ticketmaster. Other details here.

NL/B tour dates:

14 sept Doornroosje Nijmegen
15 sept Paradiso Amsterdam
16 sept Vera Groningen
17 sept O13 Tilburg
18 sept V.K. Brussel
19 sept L.V.C. Leiden


The Clint Boon single is out on the 9th August. The live version of I Wanna Be Your Dog on the B-side, featuring MES on vocals, is excellent. It's a must-have.

F-'oldin' Money, the new Fall single is out on the 16th August. On two CD singles; the B-sides are the orininal PWL recording of The Crying Marshal, a falsetto Perfect Day, and alt.take of Birthday Song and Tom Raggazzi.  

The Elastica 6-track EP is out on the 23 August. Featuring MES vocals on two of the tracks: How He Wrote Elastica Man and KB. The first's an angular guitar singalong; the second a bit more sedate with Dave Bush's keyboard scrawled over the top - both could happily be Fall numbers and are really rather good. They're by far the most complete tracks of the six. You'll be able to order this online at Deceptive Records.


Paul Wilson:

Looking throught the latest Q (not something I usually do, mind), there's a letter from someone asking about 'the Mark E. Smith jacket'. Apparently, you can buy it in Selfridges for two hundred and fifty quid. The reply said that the designer is a big Fall fan and inspired by MES' mid-80s Burtons style dress code created this jacket - there's a photo of it, too - and you can buy it.

He's going to do something inspired by Add N to X, next. There's also a quote from MES saying that the jacket is going to be what everyone's wearing in Manchester over christmas.



From some guide to the festival in the Guardian:

(sorry, it's actually from the *Best* of the Fest)

The Fall
Queen's Hall

Industrial post-punk-uh and grumpy surrealism-uh courtesy of Mark E Smith, the man with the amazing reverberating voice. Expect sacked band members, intelligible tantrums, poorly fitting 80s Marks & Spencer slacks, and a set lasting somewhere between three and four months.
August 22. Box-office 0870 907 0999

(Oh yawn... Don't tell us why we should go and see it or anything, will you? It sounds terrible!)


Here's a few reviews, put up by Bruce Tiffee:

From Rock Mag! #5

Review by Tim Ellison

THE FALL 27 Points 2XCD (Permanent) --This album puts all their music of recent years into a Fall-totality-perspective Live, it's amazing how much of it still sounds exactly like the original Brix Smith-era of the band (mid to late eighties), real propulsive post-garage-band music with a simple Steven Hanley or Craig Scanlon riff (excellent ones). Think of all those people who reviewed recent Fall lps and complained and how they will feel when they realize this to be true upon hearing this! Does this album seem excessive? Well, The Fall have always put out live albums! They're just do what they've always one, so think of it like A Part of America Therein and you use how The Fall work. (I compare It to that Instead of In A Hole, which it's more comparable to in terms of length, because there's not as much revelatory difference energy-wise with the songs.) The continuity of this music with the aforementioned period of The Fall is clearer in hearing their junk-y guitar sounds outside of the production techniques of all the albums from Extricate! on (which, don't got me wrong, I think are pretty darn good - the productions, that is). This in such a long set, and there are great, inspired versions of anthems "Big New Prinz" and "Free Range that Fall fans will recognize as totally awesome. Laffs on just about every track, though, as Mark E. Smith's devolution/evolution into the W.C. Fields of rock-and-roll-as bizarre-literature continues. This band is better than the band that made In A Hole. That band never did such an awesome Sister Sledge cover. Plus all this great stuff: "Bill Is Dead," "Ladybird," "Idiot Joy Showland." Some of their rambling, repetitious songs don't really match up with these good ones. It'd be better if they'd write all good songs instead. Additional note: Craig plays a guitar solo on their version of The Sonics' "Strychnine" and it's totally weird!


From Rock Mag:

by Tim Ellison -

The Fall Middle Class Revolt aka The Vapourisation of Reality (Matador) --
Having realized what a cool Fall l.p. 1991's Shift Work is only recently, some light has been shed on what was lost with the Fall's resurgence (two American tours and seemingly alot of lineup shake-ups): the journalistic, mature post-modern folk-rock style of a band settled in their esoteric scene. While some of that feeling is redeemed early on here with "15 Ways" and *Reckoning' (a particularly smooth, non-angular hook-oriented music which sounded a bit like The Kinks might have sounded had they not lost the way round about 1970 or so). This is great stuff, but it's just one element on their palette at this point.

Now there's no mistaking the now potential expansiveness ( in reaction to what they've been through business-wise with the band and, I guess personally, in the last few years) of space adding a more exhilirating energy, a sense that The Fall are blazing into new territory again. What this energy has often manifested itself into in rock history is punkrock, and lost we forget (and you could, considering the amount of great music The Fall have made in the last decade), The Fall were one of the greatest punk bands ever. So it's not coincidental that The Fall and up doing punk again! Very nice to hear, but again just one element on their palette, an eclecticism particularly evident on this new l.p.. The element of The Fall that the alternative rock reactionaries sometimes unfortunately focus on is their relationship to dance music forms. Along a related, also misguided, line comes accusations of an alleged over-production, no realization that Messrs. Scanlon and Hanley are still using amazingly cheap equipment Of course, the beat thing about the dance aspect (the synths, drum machines, the remixes, the generally dope beats) is that it's great to see them put themselves back underground to insert anti-dynamicism and literature into a youth X Generation scene, but it would be to miss the point to no see that this aesthetic has always been related to what The Fall do.

The Fall have always turned all their noise sources and sound functions into singular objects (why there's-rep-e-tish-un-in-the-mu-sic) so it's really no wonder at all that they would be influenced by (and choose to be contemporary by emulating) dance musics that rely on sampling and mechanical beats. And again, it doesn't mean it's not just another manifestation of their symphonic junkyard science-fiction clamor, or that there isn't room for plenty other stuff like rockabilly and '60's garage. Also., heartrending ballads!, funny little stylistic ambiguities ("Symbol of Mordgan"), self-referentiality to their tremendous ouvre. Great playing: 'The most original thing about The Fall is Steve on the bass,- said M.E.S. at one point, and Steve Hanley has always delivered--a solid rumbling with restrained intervallic choices and note placement, not to the point of the avant-garde innovations of early Holger Czukay or John Cale in The Velvet Underground, but The Fall are mostly a pop band and a rock band nowadays (compared with, say, 1983). And Craig, as always too is covering all ground with solid sheets of trebly fake-Fender solid State Bounds (Is it that he would trust no others?). Comparitive Fall album time (and remember, all Fall albums are (still) of approximately the same quality): not as awesome of a flow throughout as the last three albums. Curious how, as with Extricate!, when they have an eclectic amalgam l.p. shaping up they make it top-heavy.

The Fall - Cerebral Caustic (Permanent)--
The monochromaticness of The Fall is a different, less cosmic issue, as Fall music is more like philosophy and current events. They transcend the monochromaticness more than Royal Trux anyway, though, and you gotta remember that, hey, Hagerty is a Mothers of invention fan after all, right? Wall, The Fall, great band they are, actually cover a Mothers of Invention song on this album! The heavy concentration of wacky cute music, more importantly, makes this album more a collection of baubles than any album they've ever released before, and that is certainly a transcendental agent. Mark says cryptically that things can seem to come and go in seven-year cycles, and the rock energy that was suggested on Middle Class Revolt hem takes over in the form of the amazing return of Brix (1) and post-garage band music with repetitious minimalist hooks and higher energy melodies (sung laconically by Mark, of course). Their other styles gal nicer as respites from this now dominant element (so dominant that Craig Scanlon, seemingly another proponent of sixties-garage, is happy to contribute music in this vein as well) to help make a pretty cohesive album hare (one of their *best" in this regard). Mostly, though, those hook-laden songs rule tremendously and maybe they'll finally have a hit in England! SUMMATION: With the Mothers tune they cover ("I'm Not Satisfied' from Freak Out) being easily the greatest, most unique piece of garbage produced by any groups all year, plus amazing punk energy ("The Joke"), plenty of good sociological anecdotes, real repetitious Music composed by Carl Burns (1), and "One Day* being probably the most rocking rockabilly tune they've written since "Container Drivers" (!), this album shapes up as a real winner!

The Infotainment Scan (Matador) --
Fall long-players are always a long celebration. None of them have ceased being very richly fascinating documents to me. As an, I guess, standard record review tactic, I was originally trying to figure how this one fit in with and measured up to all the other albums in the Fall pantheon until I finally got to see my heroes play live and, thinking in context of their (impending?) re-found hip status, came to the conclusion that 1) all Fall albums are pretty much of the same quality anyway, and 2) The Fall are an avant-garde dance band unequalled since the (underrated) Virgin-era of Can, They're still doing all the stuff they've always done like playing modernist rockabilly on "Glam Racket,' or three-cbord Craigness punkrock on "The League Of Bald-Headed Men," with an awareness of the effervescence of non-cloying bubblequm.

And don't forget there's rep-o-tish-un-in-the-mus-ic-&-they're-never-gonna-lose-it so warhorses Hanley (Kevin Chiral's response to seeing Hanley play live: "No was tough!"), Scanlon, and Wolstencroft, and still-new electronics guy Dave Bush (and Karl Burns was actually back in the band for a while til they sent him home in the middle of their tour (!)) hammer it an home ad infinitum on top of which M E. S. can graft his literary soundscapes to keep giving you raw concepts of rook song structure, "It's A Curse"; tough sounding vast nothingness used awesomely by Mark to put slags, slates, and tap" in their place, "Tryin' to get over ... bargain vampires; their frog-like chins ready to burst. I ton ya it's a curse.' More anti-girlfriend rants?, "Ladybird"is bold as hell and "Glam Racket" is quite amusing (and dark throws in the lira "Don't try to cheat me. I'm fragile.') "Ladybird," "Service," at 'I'm Going To Spain" serve to give you plenty of the huge Fall heart, archetypal Hanley and Scanlon stuff (no no man's land ever Aid this ... ), The latter is a fascinating Everyman statement from Mark, identifying with a guy who just wants to quit his dumb job, take his Elton John tapes, and head off to Spain cuz they say it doesn't rain. Ironic and funny coming from Mark, sort, but also certainly an evocation of the beauty of fragility, of true spiritual sentiment being found in the banal.

Thou later in the album is "Service" and I'm thinking, hmm , maybe they really do like Elton John ... Kind of a similar situation here to bow R.E.M.'s Mark On The Mon" sort of sounded like a Christopher Cross song or something but worked cuz hey, we're all postmodern creatures like it or not. We've all endured the greet infotainment scan like it or not and it's there in the subconscious so we're gonna have to deal with it somehow. So it's great that "Service" turns out to be the best song on the album, wherein the lonely nature of the man who runs the HEXAN school, who created the Mythical Thingy, is revealed in all its. glory. And I ask you, what else but a Fall record would make you wonder if you truly are worthy of being in the company of the wolverines (as Winter '93-'94 approaches)? "The League 01 Bald Ended Ken": Good to see they're still exhibiting a Monks influence, oh?

From Jay Hinman's Superdope

10. THE FALL "It's The New Thing / Various Times" (from a special issue - "Forty-Five 45s that Moved Heaven and Earth"

There are Fall singles -- many, in fact - and then there are FALL singles. The band had a string of tremendous 45's in the late 70's and early 80's, most notably the "Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul", "Look, Know" and "Kicker Conspiracy" discs. I'll go with this early one, however, thanks to the bleak and unrelenting b-side "Various Times". While "It's The New Thing" is an uptempo junkyard bounce complete with a fabulously tinny organ that I'll bet they mostly used to piss people off, "Various Times" is as bereft of hope as anything that's been waxed. Imagine Manchester at the height of British unemployment - the air is filthy, the sky has been overcast for six months, the miners' union is chanting in the streets, the loo is stopped up, and all you can afford to eat is a soggy, greasy kidney pie. Now what subjects would you write about? The Fall chose to try & explore the psyche of a confused, frightened German at the dawn of Nazism. The tension and bile in this song is just unbelievable, and it is certainly among the band's most moving paeans to the darker half of humanity. The Fall of those years were an inventive and mysterious collective who spurned the punks and the poseurs, and who in an odd way were paying a great, class-conscious tribute to the commoner ( partially manifested in those crooked-teeth Polaroids of themselves that were clumsily pasted up on their LP sleeves) while also playing the untouchably haughty, sneering artist. One doesn't see that sort of well-crafted ironic detachment any longer, unless it's been blatantly copped from The Fall. The strong, as they say, must always lead the meek.

THE FALL "The Legendary Chaos Tape" CD

Years ago I saw a particular musician's "ten best" list and it included an apparently commercially-available tape called Live In London 1980. As if Fall material wasn't holy grail enough! I'm still looking for Room To Live and A Part Of America Therein LPs, but "Live In London 1980" - well, we can all have that now. The label was Chaos tapes, the show was recorded 8/11/80 at Acklam Hall in London, and it is The Fall at their sneering, rhythmic, repetitive peak. It captures the band at the time of their Grotesq , Slates and Hex Enduction Hour records, with many favorites of that watershed era well-represented: "Prole Art Threat", "Jawbone + The Air-Rifle", "New Face In Hell", "Leave The Capital", etc. The Fall were exploring a less jagged, more expansive terrain during this time, incorporating an ultra-minimalist, almost dancefriendly edge into their previously harder material. Songs routinely pushed the 7+ minute mark, including this disc's 9:47 "Spectre Versus Rector" (an earlier, thenshorter track from Dragne ). Mark E. Smith's invectives reach for a dark hole in the soul, with a very English, take-the-hand-dealt perspective. This lyrical and musical landscape can be awfully desolate and lonely, yet ultimately totally cathartic and great. Bravo to the folks who rescued this gem from oblivion. (Feel Good All Over; P.O. Box 148428, Chicago IL 60614)

From Rock Mag! - by Tim Ellison

The Light User Syndrome LP (Jet) --Coming back with another eclectic long LP after Cerebral Caustic's surprising overall simple catchy nature, this is maybe the most dense Fall LP of the nineties, mixing in the half-written catchy songs, with the minimalist /experimental soundscapes, symphonic minimalist Rock tunes, techno tunes, referential songs ("Secession Man"), and covers (one of which is a Johnny Paycheck song about how it's tough to stop abusing that ol' cocaine). Catchy songs as always have great riffs and M.E.S. is amusing when decipherable, but all types of songs remain in fine, impeccable shape in this post-Craig Scanlon period. (As to the techno songs, the value's clearly in the cool arrangements and silly sounds-) Pretty weird album structure, actually--never summed up stylistically but rather simply through its eclecticism through the second half of Side Two. As a result, while most every other nineties Fall LP had a pretty particular sense of genre (of which nobody but The Fall was a member of its corresponding social group), this one seems more like an out-of-leftfield work of genius. Good that a version of "Chiselers" is included, blasting the LP structure all out of course . "The Ballad of J. Drummer" is the only question I can see, as it also seems half-finished (?).

From the Spin Guide to Alternative Rock (by Mike Rubin)

With new Fall albums coming as frequently as seasonal changes for the last 16 years, it's easy to take the consistency for granted, At least once annually, the band offers up its atavistic squall as a soapbox for the scabrous commentary of dockworker turned rock worker Mark E. Smith (the E stands for Endurance), who on each album delivers a heavily accented "Fuck you" to those who have forgotten his band (Manchester, Class of 1977, one year before Joy Division) in favor of newer Northern flavors and prescriptions.

Like no one since James Brown, Smith and his accomplices have tirelessly reworked variations of their trademark groove: an electrified avant-skiffle that combines scruffy prole artpunk, Teutonic trance-dance, and a rockabilly backbeat. Bassist Stephen Hanley takes it to the bridge, guitarist Craig Scanlon paints the lines in the toll lane with shards of noise, and Smith stands in the middle of the road hollering at passersby, replacing Brown's deep-gut "hunh" with a nasal "ah"-a rhythmic device that allows him to ensnare any word in his metered grasp. While the Fall has evolved from amateurish anti-performers into poppy denizens of the English charts, it's taken American audiences a little longer to discover that Smith's got a brand new bag, so he has to say it loud, he's wack and he's proud, all over again-no problem for a guy who staked his career on the dictum "repetition, repetition" way back on the Fall's 1977 debut single, or for a band that can do more with two or three notes than most groups can with a whole scale.

"We're still one step ahead of youll still believe in the R'n' R dream/R'n' R as primal scream" recites Smith in the title track of the Fall's 1979 debut album Live at the Witch Trials, offering a brief statement of the band's intent. Then again, given his stance as a selfproclaimed "Slang King," one can never be sure exactly what Smith is blathering about (the E stands for Elliptical). Smith-speak is always the same type of flat, dysfunctional drawl and tone-deaf locution, whether spoken, snarled, or shouted through a megaphone. On the haphazardly recorded Dragnet and Grotesque, the Fall clangs out a ragged, lo-fi, and occasionally highvelocity drone ("Dice Man," "Pay Your Rates") that Smith termed "Country & Northern." Scanlon is fond of camping out around a simple riff while Smith does all the adventuring and exploring, his verbal exclamations darting out from between jagged guitar interjections in a sonic stichomythia on rambling narratives like "C 'n' C/S. Mithering." Early Years 77-79 gathers singles like the frenetic "Rowche Rumble" and "Bingo Masters Breakout" (while the later Palace of Swords Reversed collects 45s from the '80-'83 era, including the speedy "Totally Wired"). The band began to leaven its crude clatter on the six-song Slates EP which showcases more refined deployment of both harmony and noise, from the (toy?) piano plinking of "Fit and Working Again" to the relentless guitar crunch of "Slates, Slags Etc." Hex Enduction Hour continues the evolution, with the spare, hypnotic guitar stutter of "Winter" and the rubber-bassed, double-drum funk of "The Classical" revealing Smith's love ofGerman astroKrauts Can, later saluted on This Nation's Saving Grace's "I Am Damo Suzuki."

Then Smith fell in love with a California girl named Brix. Their marriage, and her absorption into the band as a guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter, beginning with the excellent Perverted By Language, helped shift the Fall from droning, atonal minimalism to droning, atonal melodicism. The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall heralded the arrival of a full-blown pop sensibility with hummable ditties like '2x4" and "C.R.E.E.P," but the band's songwriting really reached its fruition on This Nation's Saving Grace, ranging from singalongs like "What You Need" to the huge, echoing riffs of "L.A." Smith's spouse experiment would culminate with Kinks covers and ballet scores on the thinner Bend Sinister The Frenz Experiment, and / Am Kurious Oranj. The collection 458489 A Sides is an excellent chronicle of what a great singles band they had become, from "Oh! Brother"and "Couldn't Get Ahead" to inspired covers like "Mr. Pharmacist."

The original "Dice Man" long before A.D. Clay, Smith is one of pop music's more charming cantankerous cranks"The Classical"'s introductory remark, "There are 12 people in the world; the rest are paste" makes for a great greetingcard salutation-and has shown little sign of mellowing with age (the E stands for Eccentric). Besides being an enormous influence on the likes of Pavement and Barbara Manning (whose Lately / Keep Scissors included a tribute called "Mark E. Smith and Brix"), the Fall has particularly inspired the musicians of Iceland and New Zealand (one of the first releases on Flying Nun was the double-album Fall bootleg Fall in a Hole, the best of the band's several live albums, which include Totale's Turns and A Part of America Therein, 1981).

As Smith sortied with private demons and public enemies over drummer Simon Wolstencroft's diatribal rhythms, the Fall's late '80s and early '90s dynamic centered on the contested encroachment of keyboards upon Scanlon's guitar work. The Smiths' divorce and Brix's departure in 1988 (the E stands for Ex) left a vacuum that Smith filled with Dave Bush's synthesizer. The keyboards won out temporarily on the British-only Shift-Work and Code: Selfish, threatening to supplant Smith's raving with a full-scale rave, but on The Infotainment Scan the synths rightfully take a backseat to Scanlon's vintage scraping and scratching. Only on "Service" and "A Past Gone Mad," where electronic drum beats start exploding like those panting, gear-shifting ten-speed bikers in Kraftwerk's "Tour de France," do the keyboards seem capable of setting off a disco inferno.

Perhaps chastened by his busted marriage or the ignominy of being dropped by the band's British label (the E stands for Entropy), on Infotainment Smith seems to be confessing more, singing less from a character (like his old alter ego R. Totale) than from himself. In "Paranoia Man in Cheap Sh*t Room" he might even be dissecting his rantprone persona, describing a "paranoid man in his mid-30s/At the height of paranoia/At the zenith of his powers" from beneath a great big meaty Scanlon riff. 1994's Middle Class Revolt is even better, lowering the volume of the keyboards further and restoring the dense bass and guitar brawn to its full power. After an absence from domestic record bins of almost four years, finding the Fall fit and working again is a big payback indeed.


John Howard:

Exclusive Review from CMJ
Mumble E. Smirk and his merry band return with the follow-up to last year's import-only Code: Selfish, the first domestic release of a Fall album in three years. There's something about Mark E. Smith's ennui-induced rambles that make The Fall one of music's most distinctly English creations, every bit as much a product of the times and their own Britness as the Kinks or Roy Harper. Like a slouching, sarcastic alter ego to Ray Davies, Smith turns his dark-circled eyes onto the Anglo milieu, from the most grandiose aspects to what he sees with the tiniest and most insignificant, and dissects vigorous derision and dashing aplomb; you can't pull anything over on him, and if you dare to commit folly or trend-following, you certainly won't escape his jaded wrath. Just like The Fall's past ironic flirtation with musical trendiness (using a Manchester drumbeat at the height of that craze, etc.), parts of Infotainment seem to comment on current musical events-Smith seems almost obsessed with one popular English band in particular, repeating the word "suede" about 10 times in "Glam-Racket No. 3." Meanwhile, other parts of The Infotainment Scan so masterfully parody the public's inanity that they're virtually incoherent (the mindless banter of "I'm Going To Spain" or the mumbo French of "Lost In Music"). Also Scan: "Paranoia Man In Cheap Sh*t Room," "Service" and "The League Of Bald-Headed Men." © 1978-1999 College Media, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Michael Flack:

> This 'Mcartney vs MES' conjures up only one image for me. That being a > bloody good fist fight between the two.

They're very similar actually:

1. Girlfriends in bands, keyboards, co-writing etc

2. Both sing songs about their love for a particular part of Scotland

3. Both are well known as musical dictators - both hide this tendency under a charming exterior

4. Both from the North West of England

5. Both been arrested abroad and slung into jail

6. Both have sung on A Day In The Life

7. Er...

8. ...that's it.


Letters, this month's Wire:

Fallen Standards

Very disappointed that Tony Herrington let Mark E Smith get away with trying to rewrite Fall history again (The Wire 183). Whatever happened to investigative journalism? And by the way, the name of  the new band formed by ex-Fall members is ARK.

Steve Hanley (ARK) via e-mail


Letters to the Editor - The Wire, June 1999

Fallen angel

If you ask me, Mark E Smith (The Wire 183) is a very dangerous individual. He has all the hallmarks of some sinister cult leader. He constantly goes on about how he is the only credible lyricist in the Western world and implies that everyone else is some kind of pseud/ plagiarist, And about being working class - he doesn't seem to do a fat lot of work to me. You meet all these Fall fans (of whom I was once one) who seem to hang on every piece of gibberish he spouts. To me, now, the only enigma surrounding him is why people still find him interesting. My parents come from a generation where drug experiences were very unusual. I mean, I could ask my Dad about how to set valve clearances on a motorbike or how to weld a sheet of steel without burning holes in it, but he would have no data on what happens to your mind if you take LSD, for example - he's never tried it. If you do want to research drug experiences and fathom out what other people think, the next obvious step is to listen to the music produced by people who imply that they know a bit about it. This is where MES fits in. Next you're on some bullshit mission to decode all this drivel he comes out with and finally you realise you've strayed into some kind of psychic mind control experiment. Anyway, I've lost interest in the whole scene but I'll tell you this for nowt: there's more to life than reading meanings into the gibberish output by that drug-addled freak.

---- Guy Heatley Preston

Mercurial Mark should be entitled to his freedom of speech, but your decision to highlight his Bismarckian statement about 'the bloody Serbians", as a subject of specific reader interest, surely detracts from the ethos of global eclecticism that you attempt to present. As I would gather, the theory behind such an ethos is to promote some sense of mutual understanding between cultures. Statements such as Mark's, that apply a blanket terminology upon a whole race, are the antithesis of this approach, Your attention to detail in pursuit of the hidden depths of Smith's personality are certainly extensive, but they shed comparatively little light upon his music. May I suggest that, placed next to The Wire's purportedly 'relentless' pursuit of new horizons in sound from a wealth of cultural angles, an imbalance of information is starting to take effect? Could the Persona be claiming precedent over the 'overall context' (music as a living, breathing entity with vast crosscultural implications)? Would a similar statement concerning, for instance, "the bloody Germans" or "the bloody Iraqis" have been promoted in like manner? I don't want to anticipate a form of journalism that works as a vehicle for a narrow hierarchy of musical visionaries, their wider context curtailed by a dread of exploring music's diversities - perhaps for fear of the cultures perceived to lie behind them.

---- Nicholas Barrett via e-mail

I feel you have to be commended for your article on Mark E Smith - he seems positively upbeat. But wouldn't it be relevant (and interesting) for The Wire to hear out those members of The Fal I who were unceremoniously dumped last year? It is fair to say that from the heady days of the late 70s they had a large creative role in the output of this seminal Manchester band.

---- N Pastry Brighton



Subject: <fallnet> "Elastica's comeback invasion continues" from Melody Maker

On Mr Agreeable's page this week, a hilarious list of things which Elastica members have been working on in the last four years (as well as "a whopping great *six* songs...and even *singing* on three of them!")

These include:

"Final proof that if you do put five monkeys in a room with some musical instruments and feed them bad drugs for long enough, they will write the complete works of The Fall!"

Recent news.... logo-a-go-go

990726 Glow Boys reviews
990720 Dutch, Belgium tour dates
990711 TBLY #16 details
990704 bits & pieces
990624 Meltdown reviews, Calvin Klein rubbish
990613 not much
990606 NME Forum review
990526 Wire interview, more reviews...
990517 Salisbury, Sheffield, Cheltenham, Cambridge, Southend, Luton, London reviews
990509 Leicester, Leeds, Birmingham, Brighton, Salisbury reviews; NME fave songs bit
990426 Guardian interview, Brix interview, more album reviews, MES' radio session
990419 more Marshall Suite reviews, NME chat, live at Sound Republic XFM session, tbly#15 out
990411 Couple of Marshall Suite reviews, Live 77 details, 1985/1987 interviews
990330 Touch Sensitive reviews, Marshall Suite details
990320 Shake-off lyrics, tour details
990314 MES Escape interview
990308 Ashton Tuesday reviews, Falling Through Time part 1, Dragnet reissue
Ashton Sunday and Monday reviews
990221 LP announcement, Inch reviews
990214 not much
990207 various stuff
990128 Peel Sessions CD review
990118 Uncut pieces, Marcia interview, NZ art collection
990110 NME LA2 review, modern rock sociology
990103 Manchester Ritz reviews

Old stuff: Nov 1997 - Dec 1998

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