wReck thiS meSS ~ Radio Patapoe 88.3
Amsterdam ~ Ethno-Illogical Psycho-Radiographies
28.11.11 // 17.00-18.30
“Ill omens of the permanent underclass. Twenty-five and all your ideas gone.”
“Drinkers have a good sense of the absurd. I like that.”
“They’re so middle class they put pebbles on the beach so they don’t get any sand between their toes.”
WTM ME Smith ID > B/art vs ME Smith
Living Too Late > The Fall
Extricate > The Fall vs Adrian Sherwood
ME Smith Writing Guide Day 1 > B/art vs ME Smith
Hit the North > The Fall
Who Makes The Nazis > The Fall
Birmingham School of Business School > The Fall [Code Selfish / Cog Sinister]
Bourgeois Town > The Fall [Are You Missing Winner / Cog Sinister]
So-Called Dangerous > The Fall [Code Selfish / Cog Sinister]
Rebellious Jukebox > The Fall
ME Smith Writing day 2 > B/art vs ME Smith
Telephone Thing (Alternative Version) > The Fall vs Coldcut
I’m in Deep > Coldcut vs ME Smith
ME Smith Writing Day 3 > B/art vs ME Smith
Fit & Working Again > The Fall
Paintwork > The Fall [ This Nation’s Saving Grace / PVC]
ME Smith Writing Day 4 > B/art vs ME Smith
Glitter Freeze > Gorillaz vs Mark E Smith
2 x 4 > The Fall [The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall / Beggars Banquet]
WTM ME Smith ID > B/art vs ME Smith
Black Monk Theme 2 > The Fall vs Coldcut
Eat Y’self Fitter > The Fall
Edinburgh Man > The Fall [The Less You Look The More You See / Snapper]
ME Smith Writing Day 5 > B/art vs ME Smith
Hard Life In Country > The Fall
Oswald Defence Lawyer > The Fall [The Less You Look The More You See / Snapper]
Paranoia Man In Cheap Sh*t Room (Peel Session) > The Fall
Bill Is Dead > The Fall
ME Smith Writing Day 6 > B/art vs ME Smith
Prole Art Threat > The Fall
Arms Control Poseur > The Fall
WTM MES ID2 > B/art vs ME Smith
Liking Mark E. Smith is not like being a fan of an ordinary artist or pop star like Paul McCartney or Bono. There’s a lot of confusion, moral dilemmas; he’s complex, out front about his contempt for things as they are. He spouts incorrect opinions, turns expectation on its ear. Something of a crypto-misanthrope-socialist with grumpy old manisms who appreciates that issues are never totally as they seem. Appreciating the vision of Smith is like digging Mingus or Miles Davis, both brilliant angry men. Visceral, fleeting, improvisational, ad hoc, unique … A bastard who actually calls it correctly: the media is often full of nitwit followers of fashion, of surfacey descriptives, of genres and categories, clichés and… Anyway, he has paid the price or reaped the harvest of his contrariness, his holy grumpiness. Grumpy in my book is the backside of upbeat, grumpy sees the possibility for great things ruined by small minds in big suits. He’s like this great grandson of Celine, delving dark and working class without the populist Woody Guthrie-isms [Strummer, Springsteen, Bragg].
You don’t have to agree with all of his opinions half of which may be the liquor talking but what you do have to admire is his unwillingness [maybe genetically incapable of] to cowtow, to patronize, to be hypocritical, diplomatic. He says what he says may the damage come to hinder his career, which it no doubt has.
Would he be Smith without the bludgeoning amounts of liquor? Probably not. Would he be as gifted a nonchalant poet of incredible allusionary [delusionary also comes close] lyrics. That he is literate is not in doubt, that he is literary he often denies although in the denial you sense that admitting to precious literariness would undermine his subversive, his declamatory effect. His songs often side with the working man, a socialist in heart and kidneys as the Dutch say but also no romantic as far as the working class goes. He is at heart a misanthrope, a purposeful one who denies his utility at any chance he gets.
Me and first wife Valerie drove down to Trenton c. 1983 to see the Fall in the then promising new City Gardens, but Trenton, the City that Makes While the World Takes [how pathetic a city motto is that!?] is perhaps one of the most glaring examples of failed urbanity. It makes downtown Beirut [the city] 1983 look like a safe tourist destination by comparison. This was the kind of weird demographic magnet place – rock club in the middle of a devastated bombed-out city, abandoned by both capital and humanity. The night was stark as we rumbled there in our white Datsun B-210 with custom dash courtesy of Val. And a rattly cheap tapedeck with medium-so-so speakers that distort just at the moment the tune gets loud and menacing.
The place is bleak but fitting. The Fall are in fine musical form and ME spends almost the entire concert with his back to the audience but the sound, the tunes and the garbled mumbled babble that must serve as charmed banter just as gravel might serve as candy if you think hard enough.
The good thing about the audience was these were real fans that came from all of the distant cardinal directions because it was worth an hour and a half on the turnpike or I 90 and willing to enter the war zone [no-go zone] in their full punk gear and insouciant pants. Not like the NYU wankers who scan the Voice entertainment pages and choose this over say Cats or Cage at the Guggenheim or some retro-chic B-movie fest. The ride back we sing along to a homemade mix cassette full of his and grime including “Hit the North”
The government say, the government says
All estate agents alive yell down nights in hysterical breath
Those big big big wide streets
Those useless MPs
Hit the North
Manacled to the city, manacled to the city
Hit the North
And “Totally Wired”
You don’t have to be weird to be wired
You don’t have to be an American to be strange
You don’t have to be strange to be strange
You don’t have to be weird to be weird.
at the top of lungs losing our voices before we get home in staid Ocean Grove where the Republican women hand out fliers with a certain presumption of power.
The Ritz in NY was always a pain in the ass. No matter how many times I’d been on the press list and written about concerts for the East Village Eye, there was no amount of indignity the bouncers and gate keepers were capable of meting out if their lives were indeed as unsatisfying as their faces seemed to reveal. Every time you put your name on the guest list, confirm a day before the concert, show up on time, show your [sanctioned homemade press pass], there was no guarantee – sometimes you were in and sometimes you were an asshole and the more you begged the more likely you’d be blacklisted for life is how fickle it all was here. I hate the Ritz although great concerts were seen here despite the venue. This was a great evening seeing the Fall here, like in Trenton, they played – if memory is not fucking with the rest of my brain and any lingering esteem.
The contempt ME Smith has for clear rhetoric and dogma is evident in the densely almost schizo-dyslexic lyrics that gain a dignity, character and acerbic meaning over time. It works like Mingus, like Calvados, like the difficult art he seems to disdain – if produced by upper-middle-class art school wankers.
From the liner notes of 50,000 Fall Fans Cant’ Be Wrong..”..about an office party where the participants die after the gas has been left on and someone lights a fag (cigarette)” I animated the story part. It lasts for about 1 minute and 10 seconds. i also have a picture that i think will be my trade mark for my future filming company.=) Enjoy video 12! the dialogue is:
His auto-bio-rant Renegade is a delightfully cantankerous screed of illuminated and comic contrariness. Any trend involving illusory hipdom is instant fodder for his disdain – the Manchester scene, Factory records, all the foppy faux punk art bands and on and on but he holds music journalists in particular contempt especially those working the frilly edges of trendiness. That he is a misanthropic socialist with enough poison-penned Celine in him to go on drunkenly raving and ranting for another 20 years seems a given. His seeming public self-destruction at his own hand is related to a complex working-class but self-learned literariness where writing one’s best lyrics/poems come from under a pint of lager, written on a moist beer coaster in a smoky pub is how he establishes himself as the real thing [not without periodically taking the piss out of himself, mind you. But what you truly get is a witty snarling genius who does not compromise for PR purposes. Authenticity is as authenticity does and he will sink or swim with that around his neck.
That I sense a kind of Dylan Thomas-like otherworld created by the sound of language that is based on connections in the world not always evident to more linear and conventional thinkers is how he establishes a world of ragged discumbobulated and noisy lyrics that seem to crash and tumble all over the place on their way to some kind of higher perception, which is then further undermined by Smith’s raison d’etre, that of taking the piss out of all declamation, even his own allusional work.
He sets himself up in opposition to all the hype and pomposity that surrounds rock and stardom and positions himself with the factory worker and The Fall as a work unit that goes out and works hard doing what they do…
Comments like this are so down to earth and tender in a way: “In a strange way I’m still very clerical about most things I do. I suppose I’m still in the Fall because it forces me to make something of myself, which in its own way is a very desk-job attitude to have. … If it wasn’t for the Fall, I’d be at home right now trying to motivate mysself to write, but probably doing every other thing possible not to write. Fucking around with this and that. Going to the pub…. It’s that old writer’s dilemma. Unless you’re forced to work, you find yourself cleaning out the backyard as an excuse.”
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