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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“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.

 

Riding On A Bison Sleigh

Double helping of Shonen Knife Christmas joy today because even bitter, cynical, black-hearted old curmudgeons such as we can’t help but smile at these tunes. And they’re coming back over to tour in the new year. Squeeee! as I believe the young interwebs folks are given to say. As a little bonus, a great little pic of the Knife with Thurston Moore.

Low Christmas

 

Just about unbeatable really. ‘Just Like Christmas’ now turns up, slightly unexpectedly, playing over the p.a. in high street retail outlets from late November but it hasn’t dimmed its beauty. I particularly like that bandcamp lists track 4 as ‘If You Were Born Today (Song For Little Babby Jesus) as if Low were from Birmingham.

Santa Doesn’t Cop Out On Dope

Fat Santa ringing his bell on a New York street corner is just about as ‘christmas movie’ as it gets right? Unless the movie is ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ I guess, hold that thought. Anyway, today in the ramshackle Hickeysonic advent calendar countdown it’s New Yoik art noise elves Thee Sonic Youth and a chaotically fun reading of a seasonal tongue in cheek anti drugs number. There aren’t a lot of those around really. Unless you count all the ones about drinking, of which there’s no shortage. The Youth’s version is fun while it lasts for sure but I’ve tacked on the Martin Mull original at the bottom because I think it just edges it in my affections. Mull was a 70’s musical comedian who really only came to be known by British audiences when he played Roseanne’s boss. He’s also in Arrested Development at some point comedy fans, which is just as well because I’ve never felt any need to investigate his earlier career and I doubt that many of you will be rushing to check out some 40 year old, allegedly amusing, songs either. It’s not promising is it? This one’ll do fine, let’s not push it. Mull is also credited with first making the old ‘writing about music is like dancing about architecture’ witticism. Make of that what you will but I can’t help feeling it’s become beloved of ‘real music’ bores who seem to miss that he was taking the piss. Elsewhere I thought the omnipresent, ever changing Goo cover meme might throw up something festive for us. I mean surely it should right? Damned if I could find one, and too lazy to make one myself, so here’s my favourite recent version featuring the kids from Bob’s Burgers who, if we want to tie things up with a neat bow, are a TV family not all that far away from the Connors.  (apparently the new xmas special is great but I’ve not seen it yet)