Monday, 16 March 2015

Recent reading 1 - Steve Hanley's The Big Midweek

There are quite a number of books related to The Fall - biographies of Mark E Smith, books about all the people who used to be in The Fall ("The Fallen").  One of my recent reads has been Steve Hanley's recent autobiography of his time in the band.

I saw The Fall about half a dozen times in the early to mid 1980s and, though I continued to roughly follow the band since, I do tend to look on that period as being the "golden age", especially as the track Smile is probably in my all time top ten (my preference is for the Peel Session version).  This corresponds to much of the period that Hanley was in the band.

I was particularly struck by the effort it seemed to be to keep the band going - the day-to-day stuff.  Indeed it remains something of a mystery how the band is still going.  As I write this I am listening to quite a recent LP by the band, Ersatz GB, not a record I know well.  And yet the current version of the band is the most stable there has ever been - I assume that is due to Mark E Smith's current wife.

Some years ago, there was a great documentary about The Fall in which Paul Morley wondered aloud whether we had all been fooled by Mark E Smith.  Whether he might not be the genius we all think, but instead was just a drunken tramp who we had all been tricked by.  Hard to tell at the moment I would say.

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