Fall News - 1 November 1999

The Fall play Manchester Planet K (Oldham Street) on Thurs 2 December. Also Ashton Witchwood on 21/22 December

(Ashton booking details, thanks Graydon:

Ticket price is 9 GBP.
Witchwood tel: 0161 344 0321
Credit Card hotline : 0161 832 1111

By post:
Cheques payable to "Inventive Leisure"
Post cheque and SAE to :
The Witchwood
152 Old St.,

Oh, and the TBLY merchandise is now only available overseas to TBLY subscribers. Sorry, just not worth it otherwise.


Paul S:

It's from a little book called "Rock. 100 Essential CDs. The Rough Guide.", price: five pounds only. The title gives it away but it is very illuminating. For instance, did you know that Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic is "essential"? Anyway, The Fall's essential entry is Grotesque.


The Fall have issued at least an album per year since 1978, and their indisputable influence on the punk and indie scenes on both sides of the Atlantic stems more from accumulated impact of two decades in the avant-garde than from any specific release. Grotesque is however among The Fall's most powerful statements, and was recorded by the most inventive of the band's constantly evolving line-ups. Rapidly outgrowing the conventional definition of a punk combo, The Fall created a dark, disjointed, at times swaggering sound that looked for inspiration beyond plain vanilla rock 'n' roll to the stranger flavours of Can and the Velvet Underground. The music has always been challenging, there are no lyric sheets to crib from, and Smith's delivery of them is characterised by a strong Manchester accent. You need to work at it. 1980 was the year The Fall really got into their stride. The speed driven paranoia of their first two albums had given way to an edgy, tense, yet self-confident music to support Smith's newly matured venom, and they kicked off the new decade with three challenging singles. The music veered from slow and ominous one - or two-chord riffs through to "Mancabilly", a diseased, rocking rhythm that Smith himself described as "Country 'n' Northern". These new songs revealed him to be a bitter caricaturist who, like Hogarth, used his art to reveal the sleaze and brutishness of the British underclass. Thus Container Drivers shatters the stereotype of the noble trucker, depicting a world of loudmouthed ignorance and bowel-rotting gluttony; Pay Your Rates excoriates small-minded conformity; and In the Dark tells of sordid al fresco sex in the chilly twilight. The Fall had moved away from the constrictions of the three-minute snapshot song format of standard punk. To build up a more complex emotional atmosphere takes time, and Grotesque features several longer pieces, like New Face In Hell and The NWRA (i.e. The North Will Rise Again), on which themes are explored in more detail. The first is a paranoid tale of sinister government agencies "disappearing" innocent amateur radio hams, the second an epic vision of rebellion doomed to failure. Other songs are crammed with enormous detail and multi-layered stories. For example, C'n'C - S-Mithering begins as a steadily-paced, if oblique, history of the band, starting with a gig played at a cash 'n' carry company's staff party, then moving on to tricks played on engineers at early recording sessions, and a meeting with "Big A&M Herb" Alpert. While Smith grows progressively more enraged, the song takes on and dismisses the group's musical contemporaries, sneers at their shameless pursuit of big-time success, and features a poisonous sketch of sexual violence on mainstream television. Impression of J. Temperance is a stark, mud-stained tale of cloning gone horribly wrong, while Gramme Friday is a Thursday morning come-down hymn to amphetamines, that also draws in the willingness of Hitler's personal physician to prescribe the Fuhrer something for the weekend. Elsewhere, as in W.M.C. Blob 59, fragments of taped rehearsals and conversation flutter in and out of the mix, adding to that sense of everything being on the brink of collapse into mayhem that had beome The Fall's trademark. Deep down, Mark E. Smith is a romantic who'd rather not articulate his vision of Utopia, and prefers to illuminate the gloom and injustice of everyday life. Grotesque may be far from easy listening, but that's exactly what the band had in mind. (We almost chose: Hex Enduction Hour)



In today's Guardian G2 there's a piece about a sculptor who works in radioactive materials - the only private individual (it says) who is allowed to own and handle radioactive material.

According to the piece, he is contributing to an exhibition called Atomic, at Woolaton Hall near Nottingham. One of the two other contributions is a 15 minute film about contract workers in a nuclear plant called Glow Boys.




GlowBoyZone Pauline

Who can forget their first nuclear film? For those growing up in the 1980s, TV-films such as The Day After and Threads left no psychological security intact. More than a decade later, artist Mark Waller has embarked upon something more contemplative, if in no way less dark. Glow Boys, Waller's fourteen minute film, sets its sight on the longer term: the West thinks it has moved beyond the nuclear arms race, but the show - capitalism - won't go on without electricity, and a significant percentage of electricity is dependent on nuclear power. Glow Boys is set in an English nuclear facility and gradually unpicks some of its most salient characteristics - the elimination of 'natural' time cycles (see the illuminated motto "Where Science Never Sleeps"), the covert disregard for workers' bodies (i.e. lives) and the creeping mutation/mutilation of surrounding 'wildlife' - to talk about money, time, power relationships and human frailty. A deceptively simple story of canteen workers (including a singing 'n' dancing Mark E. Smith), a local couple who like to hunt and an employee who thinks he's invincible, Glow Boys tells it like it is: 'Science Fiction Realism'. Glow Boys will be premiered in London in October 1998

From: http://www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/inhalt/sa/3303/1.html

Mark Wallers Beitrag schließlich, der 16mm Film "Glow Boys" (15 min.), leidet am Dilemma der meisten Künstlerfilme, die sich an einer Spielfilm-Form versuchen. Das Getue von Schauspielern und die filmische Umsetzung sind viel zu amateurhaft, um wirklich ein Identifikationsmoment auslösen zu können, was wiederum die Grundlage wäre, um irgendeine Botschaft vermitteln zu können. Die Story von den Wissenschaftlern im Atomkraftwerk, die nebenbei auf die Jagd nach mutierten Zombies gehen müssen, versackt in gewollter oder ungewollter B-Picture meats zeitgenössisches Fernsehspiel Banalität. Auch ein grantig krächzender Mark E.Smith, Gründer der Aushängeschild-Punkband The Fall, als "The Caterer" in diesem Kurzdrama, kann daran nicht viel ändern.

And from the John Foxx lyric site:

@SONG: Dancing Like A Gun Oh, do you get the smell of burning metal? Can you feel that heartbeat under the sea? Well it's just me and Oppenheimer waltzing With crowded streets in chromakey And all the glow boys in their lipstick and shadows And gold leaf on their delicate skins Well they can filter through your curtains like nerve gas They leave their laughter on the wind



Has anyone mentioned how prominently our old friend Simon Wolstencroft featured during Ian Brown's performance on TFI Friday? I think the reason the camera lingered on him must have been that he appeared to be the only player on stage who was actually alive. That is, the only one exercising anything other than his own ego.

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Old stuff: Nov 1997 - Dec 1998

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