"Lurries. Containers that deliver your fucking food to your fucking house, alright?"
November 23, 2010 2:04 PM   Subscribe

Two classic contentious discussions featuring the great Mark E Smith: discussing Situationism [wiki] with Tony Wilson, Stewart Home, and Jon King, 1996; discussing Nietzsche, acid house, and other topics with Nick Cave and Shane McGowan, 1989.

Stewart Home's comment on the discussion about Situationism points out that it's not likely a perfect rendering of the conversation, but the transcript is nonetheless notable for being the only apparent record of an infamous meeting in which Mark E Smith attempted savagely to take the piss out of that most beatified of Manchester institutions, Tony Wilson, by claiming that Richard Branson is a Situationist and complaining: "You remind me of Stalin at Yalta."

The NME interview between Mark E Smith, Nick Cave, and Shane McGowan is probably more well-known, but still deserves attention, as it is (in my estimation) one of the most entertaining interviews in rock history. Shane McGowan does not seem to have enjoyed the interview much, and averred years later that "I thought Mark E. Smith was an idiot. He’s not very nice. He was going on about the IRA and he didn’t know what he was talking about."

Finally, a bonus regarding Mark E Smith's feelings about squirrels:

"My sisters are animal lovers and they had been leaving food out for these squirrels. They've got rats in the bloody house now. Serves 'em right.... [I would] happily set about an endangered red squirrel with a set of professional hedge-clippers. Squirrels mean nothing to me. I killed a couple last weekend actually. They were eating my garden fence."

(The RSPCA was not amused.)
posted by koeselitz (19 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
At this summer's Primavera Sound festival in Spain, Pavement's Spiral Stairs mentioned, after playing 'Two States' (their most blatant Fall rip-off), that he'd run into MES in an elevator but was not recognized by the cranky old master. I got a kick out of that.
posted by item at 2:10 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


koeselitz, we're now tied even as users of the markesmith tag. He is not fucking appreciated!
posted by item at 2:13 PM on November 23, 2010


Mark E. is a thoroughly objectionable drunken Manc gobshite.

I love that man like a brother. I love The Fall even more.
posted by Decani at 2:25 PM on November 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ha! That's awesome about the elevator.

I really do love the Situationism panel – most of all for two things: first, the accusation he lobs at Jon King that the Gang Of Four tried to "pinch my bass player" in 1983; second, the revelation that Mark E Smith left a message on Tony Wilson's answering machine at 5am one morning in 1990 in which he tried to convince him to quit putting out Happy Mondays records, saying: "Tony, this has got to stop." I don't remember exactly where, but I know that Mark's said several times that the Happy Mondays are a bunch of unmusical thugs. I actually don't see any reason to disagree with that estimation. Meanwhile, Mark seems to claim, somewhat inexplicably, that this message was regarding "plagiarism" on Tony's part.
posted by koeselitz at 2:30 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reading MES is nowhere near as fun as hearing him, alas. Hilarious though he can be. I'd kill for MP3s of these.
posted by mykescipark at 2:36 PM on November 23, 2010


The McGowan and Cave thing is legion and legendary amongst fuckface fans. The others I haven't seen. But just when I think I've had enough of that obnoxious twat, he comes around with another product from his weird expanded hall of knives reversed elastic SPECTRE VS RECtor type intellect.

Also, I have the drumsticks from the last show the original FALL line-up with Hanley and Wollstonecraft and that other dude, here in NYC at a place called Brownies sometime in 97 or 98. Beat that Koeslitz.
posted by Skygazer at 3:49 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, at that final show Smith handed me the mic during the drink the long draught down icymbal intro for Hip Priest and I got to do my best falsetto Mark imitation of ...He is not.....appreciated....

HIP PRIEST!!!
posted by Skygazer at 3:53 PM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


So do you count as a former member of the Fall then? You lasted longer than some.
posted by twirlip at 4:20 PM on November 23, 2010


Skygazer, are you talking about the show where the band got into a dust-up on stage, later resulting in Smith's arrest? The show documented here?
posted by item at 4:34 PM on November 23, 2010


Things fall apart. The unholy trinity climb on the pubstage. MacGowan on drums, Smith on guitar and Cave on the organ. A jam of sorts ensues- The Velvets meets Hammer Horror with a hint of Acid House. Totally wired. Summit mental.
posted by ovvl at 4:52 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The situationist one reminded me somehow of discussion in a student union bar.
posted by carter at 5:11 PM on November 23, 2010


Mark E Smith once gave me a hug. True story.
posted by unSane at 6:08 PM on November 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I thought we were going to talk about French writers.
posted by Abiezer at 7:35 PM on November 23, 2010


Much as I like the Gang of Four, I wonder whether the other Jon King isn't more of a Situationist, when all's said and done.
posted by Grangousier at 2:35 AM on November 24, 2010


So do you count as a former member of the Fall then? You lasted longer than some.
posted by twirlip at 12:20 AM on November 24


Sooner or later, everyone will have been in The Fall. I know I have.
posted by Decani at 4:01 AM on November 24, 2010


I certainly intend to be.
posted by unSane at 5:03 AM on November 24, 2010


Maybe I'm biased because I love the other two to death, but Mark E Smith really does come off as a total asshole in this.
...and I don't get the impression that any of them really wanted to be there. Especially Nick Cave.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:35 AM on November 24, 2010


Maybe I'm biased because I love the other two to death, but Mark E Smith really does come off as a total asshole in this.

Yeah, that's 'cause he's an asshole.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:59 PM on November 24, 2010


Item: Skygazer, are you talking about the show where the band got into a dust-up on stage, later resulting in Smith's arrest?

Yes. That's the show, and actually Wolstencraft had recently left the Fall during the Levitate sessions and was replaced by former drummer from the early 80s, Karl Burns. Smiths' wife, Julia Nagle was on Keyboards, the god-like and incredible Steve Hanley was on bass and Tommy Crooks had been enlisted to play guitar to replace the basically, irreplaceable Craig Scanlon.

Mark had a black eye from having gotten into some sort of fight with his wife Julia, back at the hotel they were staying at (the Gramercy) and her decking him in the face with a telephone. God, she must've really clocked him, he looked a mess and was drunk and belligerent on stage, fucking with the amplifiers and unplugging guitar cords and messing around with Burn's drumkit and generally being a complete dick, and it went on for most of the show, Hanley, Crooks, and Julia ignoring him and going about playing, but Burns was losing it and calling Smith a "cunt,' and finally jumped out from behind his kit grabbed Smith by the neck, pushed him against the wall stage right and nearly tore his head off, if Hanley hadn't pulled him away from Smith and got between the two.

And that was that. Burn's quit the stage raging mad, and so did a disgusted Hanley and Crook, with only Julia Nagle up there steadfast, Smith meanwhile is acting like a complete lying coward, saying to the audience that we'd all been witnesses to his being "attacked" and "assaulted by a drug addict." It was just such a disappointment and a mess. I literally worshiped that band, and Smith was a hero to me.

Anyhow, Smith did a few more songs with only Julia on keyboard for accompaniment and they ended the show.

A friend and I stayed awhile drinking at the bar stunned by what we'd seen (and I went on stage real quick amd snagged Karl Burns battered splintered cashe drum sticks which were on the , when about a half hour later Smith and Julia appeared from back stage, with Julia in front ignoring SMith who was totally wasted barely walking straight as he pushed her roughly and shouting after her that she was a "fookin' cow."

There was going to be another show the next night, but upon arriving at Brownies we learned that Smith had been arrested on assault charges and Crooks, Burns and most devastatingly to me because I think he's just as responsible, if not more so in some ways than Smith for making the Fall such an incredible band and having some of the most amazing songs ever written due to his genius bass playing Hanley was through with The Fall.

So Smith wound up in the tombs, the jail near City Hall, cooling his heels for a week or two. Bandless, Wifeless, friendless and pennyless....

And The Fall was finished forever it seemed like and I lost a lot of respect for the man, and just even stopped listening to them for a while. I was pretty amazed when a couple of years later a new Fall record was released with an entirely different crew, and Smith has been putting out music pretty steadily now. I think he's on his like second or third, post Hanley line-up and there's even been a couple of good songs, but none of them come near the wonderful and frighteningly brilliant sound of Steve Hanley's bass playing. Also Smith himself seems to sound like an old man, his voice hasn't lost it's strange ticks and it's beguiling tonelessness and-ah the endless fantastic-ah "ahs" at the end of every sentence, but it just sounds depleted and drained and whiny.
posted by Skygazer at 9:46 PM on November 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


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