The Fall on a Friday

“I think it’d be a sad day when The Fall packed up”

I have an erratic thing of posting the Fall on a Friday over on Facebook (where three or four people see it, soon to be one with the new tweaks to the newsfeed). It seemed I could hardly slack off on it this week. Here’s a cracking performance on The Tube, following a pretty decent interview with Muriel Gray in which Smith ponders the workings and future of The Fall. This would have been Friday tea-time/early evening when The Tube pumped a fair amount of unprecedented live music straight into the nation’s living rooms. It was erratic but also brilliant. I remember watching this and it’s almost certainly the first time I ever laid eyes on the group. I don’t remember the first time I heard them but I knew who they were and this added several new layers to my fuzzy conception of what The Fall was. Still, I’d be lying if I made out this was a hugely impactful thing or some kind of revelatory moment for me in the way people are prone to do in these situations. It’s never felt like one, not even now, but the interview was completely unlike others on the show and the black trenchcoat was striking in a somehow very ordinary way. I think I found it more like a puzzle I couldn’t solve than something different and exciting. I’ve no recollection of their first appearance on the show (below) introduced by an oddly attired John Peel and a still young and enthusiastic Jools Holland, although it’s possible I had seen that too. What I find weird about this is that ‘Cruiser’s Creek’ was the first newly released, current, Fall single I bought. It came out just before this appearance and either I’d already bought it and would have been thrilled to see them on telly or, more likely, I went and bought it afterwards because it was brilliant but I really can’t remember, it just refuses to sit in a normal time frame. The Fall are outside time. I’d heard Peel play stuff off ‘The Wonderful and Frightening World of…’ and ‘This Nation’s Saving Grace’, The Fall were always there, they just crept up on me. This idea of them being ‘outside’ is touched on in the interview and no-one seems quite sure how or why it works or what it is. In the mid eighties they had a few contemporaries who would go on to slowly lose direction, make dreadful records or stop altogether. The Fall never really did any of those things did they? Few slightly sub par moments but always moving forward. Thirty years on it’s a lot clearer just how great they were and it’s a sad day that the Fall have packed up.

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R.I.P. M.E.S.

The sad but inevitable end has come. The Fall never were going to retire, he was always going to go to the death wasn’t he? Seems a little too soon though. New Facts Emerge is a fierce and still great record, had hoped against hope to see them again next year, fit and working again. Sadly not to be. The media eulogies are blankly amusing mostly because of the scorn he would plainly have had for them. So here he is baffling some afternoon festival crowd in Scandinavia with a tirade about how murderous doctor Harold Shipman could have maybe spared some of them drugs for ol’ M.E.S.

all the info you could wish for – thefall.org

official – thefall.xyz

The Singing Saw at Christmastime

Could hardly be more plain. I can’t imagine we haven’t posted this up in previous years but here it is again, Julian Koster plays festive favourites on a singing saw. Odd and beautiful. Julian is probably best known and certainly best loved for his multi-instrumentalising behind Jeff Mangum in Neutral Milk Hotel but also for dressing like one of santa’s elves all year round. For those of you not feeling the seasonal vibe right now here’s a wonderful clip of the two of them a few years back doing the title track off In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. If the crowd singing the brass parts doesn’t make your shrivelled heart soar well then I just don’t know friends, I really don’t.

“where did everybody go? where did they go?”

because of course, it’s that time. It’s the god damned Burt Howells Singers doing a nice spot of caroling. Would you really have thought 30 odd years back that this bunch of acid damaged clowns would still hold such a powerful sway in the underground? Probably have got some pretty long odds on them all being still here, never mind thinkin’ about a new record next year. In a recent Rolling Stone thing they were surprisingly lucid and sanguine about the chances of it being all that good of a record at this late stage. It’s nice to see they’re stumbling into this burning building with their eyes open but really they ought to be the drunk guy watching tv in his pants IN the burning building. So we’ll see. Has anyone called them ‘Elder Statemen’ yet? That’s always a nail in the coffin, maybe we can be first. Although it doesn’t ring true. The Elder Statesmen of Misrule. Looks like another one for the worryingly long list of fictional bands . . .

Looking at this great old pic here it weirdly seems time has taken less of a toll on Gibby than the others, maybe he really is watched over by angels or somethin’. Look at lil’ fresh faced J there. Right then, where’s the Bourbon?

Christmas At The Zoo

Into the home stretch now and this is not just one of my favourite Christmas records but one of my favourite Flaming Lips records too. ‘Clouds Taste Metallic’ is probably our most loved and played of their records, at the perfect midpoint of their scrappy early days and later grandeur and even amidst such impressive company this sweet little song shines, it’s a gem. I saw the Lips again this year and I have to say – they still put on a damn good show for all that they seem stuck in a rut. ‘Do You Realise?’ still made me cry, Drozd got behind the drum kit a couple of times and ‘Are You A Hypnotist?’ was incredible as a result. Didn’t play more than a couple of songs released in the past ten years which helped the show but also underlined the problem. Perhaps it’s the pint of (festive and medicinal) whiskey I had for lunch or the general goodwill to all men in the air but I still wouldn’t bet against them having one last good record in there somewhere.