Albion Beatnik


Things have gotten quiet around here (again!). I’m just back from a restorative week-long jaunt to the UK, where I saw my friends Scarce play a triumphant show (more on that a bit later), visited friends in London and Oxford, and generally had an amazing time.

While in the UK I missed by a hair’s breadth a new dance from Michael Clarke, who frequently drew inspiration from the Fall’s music for his choreography. His troupe even collaborated with the Fall on a ballet —the score of which turned into the Fall classic I Am Curious Oranj. (You can watch selections on YouTube, beginning with this cheeky adaptation of “Spectre vs. Rector.”)

I adore Mark E Smith’s way with words, even if half the time I have no idea what he’s even saying. “New Face in Hell” is one (of many) I’m still working out — piecing it slowly together like the world’s most complicated puzzle. The song unfolds with amazing verbal dexterity, unspooling like a John le Carré spy thriller, dense with paranoia. “A prickly line of sweat covers enthusiast’s forehead as the realization hits him…”

While not every MES song works as a densely layered short story, many do, rewarding repeated, careful listens with “a-ha!” moments of clarity. (And confusion, too, but working through it is part of the fun.)

Fellow blogger Jon Underneathica must have a better handle on translating Mark’s splenetic rantings, and he’s turned it into a fun game. I give you Underneathica’s Mark E Smith Mix n’ Match.

Hours of fun! Collect all twelve! Let’s see, there’s the Peel Session version, the Brix Years, the Step Forward Years, the Brownies Blow-up Years, the post-Reformation Years, etc. etc.

MP3The Fall, “Psykick Dancehall” (from It’s the New Thing! The Step Forward Years, 2003)



Now You’re Older, Silver Girl


Haunted Radio

1 Comment

  1. Jon

    Thanks for the kind words! It sounds like you haven’t seen “The Fall Lyrics Parade”, a collaborative effort of Fall fanatics who have been piecing together MES lyrics for the past 15 years! “New Face in Hell” and many others await you at — though sometimes it’s more fun to figure it out yourself, and I prefer a few of my misheard interpretations over the general consensus as to the “real” words.

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