It’s been four years since Mark Edward Smith passed away and I can’t think of many curmudgeons who inspired so many bands and people, despite being such a divisive figure (Moz, maybe).
My favourite lyrics by Smith can also be found in some of my favourite Fall songs. He’s particularly scathing when it comes to other bands, his narcissism such that no-one could hold a candle to The Fall. And with a few exceptions few could.
Gut Of The Quantifier:
“I’ll tell ya now and I’ll tell ya this/ But all the groups that made it big/ Made the Kane Gang look like an Einstein chip/ Chip”.
The Kane Gang were an insipid, plastic soul band from Northern England who had quite gentle hits like Please Yourself and later, the theme tune to kids’ TV show Byker Grove. Bit of an easy target.
Idiot Joy Showland:
“Idiot groups with no shape or form/ Out of their heads on a quid of blow/ Their shapeless kecks* flapping up a storm”.
This is a swipe at Baggy, the early 90s phenomena in the UK, personified by Happy Mondays, Northside, The Stone Roses and The Farm. Soon to be replaced by Britpop, these blokey bands were danceable, took Es and wore *baggy jeans or flares. Smith had in particular no truck with The Stone Roses. “They were fookin’ Goths, now they’re dancin’ around”, he moaned to the music press. Never mind that he later collaborated with the very groovy Inspiral Carpets, Coldcut, Gorillaz and Mouse On Mars (as Von Sudenfed) later himself. Hmmm.
Bad News Girl
“Goodbye… my… dear”.
Horrible this, allegedly about Brix. And she performed it for Curious Orange. Chicago Now and Hilary are also said to be about her. Brix is so lovely, but she got her own back by naming her post- Fall band The Extricated. And they’re brilliant.
Arms Control Poseur
“You wouldn’t know the sun was up unless there was a press release on it”.
A killer line. Who it’s about, I’ve no idea. I’m not even sure this is the right song. I’m tired. Does anybody know?