01. Various Times (Single B Side November 1978)
02. Frightened (Live At The Witch Trials LP January 1979)
03. Underground Medecin (Live At The Witch Trials LP January 1979)
04. Rowche Rumble (Single A Side July 1979)
05. Before The Moon Falls (Dragnet LP October 1979)
06. New Face In Hell (Grotesque LP November 1980)
07. Hip Priest (Hex Education Hour LP March 1982)
08. Eat Y’Self Fitter (Perverted By Language LP December 1983)
09. Oh Brother (Single A Side June 1984)
10. No Bulbs (Call For Escape Route EP October 1984)
11. My New House (This Nations Saving Grace LP September 1985)
12. Hey! Luciani (Single A Side November 1986)
13. Big New Prinz (I Am Kurious Oranj LP October 1988)
14. Glam Racket (The Infotainment Scan LP April 1993)
15. Cheetham Hill [For Dan Abnormal] (The Light User Syndrome LP June 1996)
16. Birthday Song (The Marshall Suite LP April 1999)
17. (We Are) Mod Mock Goth (We Wish You A Protein Christmas EP December 2003)
18. Blindness (Fall Heads Roll LP October 2005)
19. Fall Sound (Reformation Post T.L.C. LP February 2007)
20. 50 Year Old Man (Imperial Wax Solvent LP April 2008)
If you live by the sword and die by the sword, then Mark E Smith was surely a sword swallower, the proud recipient of a lifetime award for services to amphetamine abuse, bevying, smoking and general cunty behaviour. In fact, reaching the grand age of sixty last year must rank as one of his greatest achievement because I would hazard a guess that his long illness and subsequent death weren’t entirely unexpected, least of all by the man himself.
Like many of the more enlightened music fans from my generation, I first heard the dulcet, Mancunian tones of Mark E Smith and the pulverising racket of The Fall on John Peel. I must have been 18 years old. Apart from a strange case of indifference in the late eighties and early nineties I’ve not looked back since. But my God, being a Fall fan could be an exhausting business. Unlike the other touchstones from my fucked up teenage who have long since died, given up or continued as meaningless ghosts of their former brilliant selves, Mark E Smith carried on regardless, his light undimmed, raging at the moon and anything else that happened to piss him off over primitive, two note tunes, taunting the audience with his refusal to fit in while threatening to drain our meagre cash supply with suitably erratic shows and unnecessary live albums recorded on old cassette recorders.
But then Mark E Smith always did occupy a space that was completely his own, with a style so distinctive that to nick any of his ideas was tantamount to heresy, not that it stopped a whole bunch of indie groups from trying, one or two building ignominious careers from ‘Rowche Rumble’ alone. In those early days of his more punk than punk tank tops and bowl haircuts, as a perennial malcontent haunting the backstreets of Prestwich, Mark E Smith believed it was his prodigious speed consumption that had him in a permanent state of paranoia. Yet he also seemed to know instinctively that once the arrogance of his youth began to fade, the minutiae of the everyday had enough in it to inspire a more significant terror. In his early twenties, he was already old.
When age finally began to catch with him the less compromising he became, although weirdly, unlike his contemporaries, he remained more relevant than ever. We got used to hearing his restless imagination plugged into that inimitable voice, wrestling with the horror and hilarity of a life lived beneath the neon glare of this nation’s second city. We knew that no matter what he would come out fighting. We may not have known exactly who or what he was directing his wrath at, but we knew they almost certainly deserved it.
Mark E Smith was a lone voice of defiance digging around in the detritus of whatever ‘England’ is supposed to be. The last of his kind from a lost time before music culture, like everything else, became gentrified, he was never afraid to ridicule and expose the bullshit we insist on surrounding ourselves with, focusing not on the big topics or the grand conspiracies but on the day to day irritants. At various times he was my personal, hip priest, my visionary shaman. Other times he was just as funny as fuck. Yet no matter what, whether I needed his wit or his wisdom, Mark E Smith was always there or thereabouts. It won’t be the same without his constant mithering or the prospect of a new Fall album to look forward to. How could it be? Still, it was brilliant while it lasted and forty years is a long, long time to be a part of anybody’s life.
Chris Green. 25th January 2018.