"If it's me and your granny on bongos, then it's the Fall."
January 24, 2018 12:28 PM   Subscribe

RIP Mark E. Smith, one-off, legend, lead singer, song writer and only constant member of the Manchester band The Fall posted by fearfulsymmetry (129 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
 
My fave MES bit from the last few years...
Smith complains about playing festival shows with bands comprised of "ass lickers." Then, this: "We were playing a festival in Dublin the other week. There was this other group, like, warming up in the next sort of chalet, and they were terrible. I said, 'Shut them cunts up!' And they were still warming up, so I threw a bottle at them. The bands said, 'That's the Sons of Mumford' or something. 'They're number five in charts!' I just thought they were a load of retarded Irish folk singers."
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:30 PM on January 24 [39 favorites]


.

Right now I'm playing one of my favourites, "Hit the North."
posted by Kitteh at 12:33 PM on January 24 [6 favorites]


What a loss. Goddamn.
posted by kittensofthenight at 12:33 PM on January 24


RIP MES. Damn.
posted by grubby at 12:36 PM on January 24


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posted by prolific at 12:37 PM on January 24


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posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:38 PM on January 24


"... *ah!" - he could make almost any two lines rhyme with that one trick.
posted by King Sky Prawn at 12:39 PM on January 24 [13 favorites]


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posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:39 PM on January 24


.

This one hits me hard. I've loved the Fall for decades, and just in the middle of The Big Midweek right now, to be followed by Renegades soon.

Favorite MES memory: seeing them at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in 1994, with Mark wandering around the stage, and inspecting the goddamn curtains while in the middle of a song!
posted by saintjoe at 12:40 PM on January 24


Yeah fuck this.
posted by howfar at 12:41 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


.
posted by dogstoevski at 12:45 PM on January 24


UGH
posted by potrzebie at 12:46 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


oh wow, what?
this is madness.
posted by chococat at 12:48 PM on January 24


MES memory from Bristol, early 90's: one radio mic in a pint glass at the front of the stage, another in his back pocket, calling to the wings for a mic. Still a legendary rocking show and broken poetry galore. Two drummers!
posted by grubby at 12:49 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I only saw the Fall once. In a deconsecrated church in Cardiff. Some friends of mine were on as second support. Mark's band were on time, but we had to wait about an hour for him to show up. Apparently he'd made someone drive him around to different off-licences until they found Holsten Pils in bottles. He wouldn't take it from a can.

It was a surprisingly tight and engaging show once he actually bothered to get on stage. He fucked off unannounced and left them playing at the end.

The guy was a prick, entirely brilliant, and entirely unique. We had not seen his like before, and never will again.
posted by howfar at 12:52 PM on January 24 [8 favorites]


fuuuuck
posted by Golem XIV at 12:53 PM on January 24


.

Aw fuck. What a perfectly shitty week. Hide your famous people.
posted by Artw at 12:58 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Well, fuck it. I was hoping that cranky genius would live forever.

I was interning at a radio station in Chicago when a promo vinyl copy of The Frenz Experiment made it into my hands. I gave it a listen along with the rest of my haul from that week and tossed it aside. Interesting, I guess, but kind of, I don't know, lazy, I guess.

The next week I mentioned this to one of the other interns I was getting to know, and he stopped cold.

"No," he said, "you've completely missed it. You need to go back and listen to it again."

So I did, unenthusiastically. It had bored me the first time and I expected it would bore me again. And it did. BUT. I would find myself in class humming one of those drony bass lines. I'd be in the cafeteria eating dinner and I'd chuckle when I recalled "the steak place" (I still do). I'd mentally compare the Fall's version of "Victoria" to the Kinks' original.

Next thing I knew, I started collecting.

A quick note about Smith's phrasing: he reinvented the wheel. Successfully. Classes could be taught on Smithian phrasing, and I hope they are.

If there's a jam session in heaven right now, I hope he's up there fucking with Prince's amp.
posted by vverse23 at 1:01 PM on January 24 [12 favorites]




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posted by FrauMaschine at 1:03 PM on January 24


Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
posted by doornoise at 1:03 PM on January 24


oh for fuck's sake
posted by gorbichov at 1:03 PM on January 24


.
posted by senor biggles at 1:03 PM on January 24


I think my friend John and I saw every London gig The Fall did in the 80s. There was never a bad show. So long you crazy northern bastard, you've finallly stopped mithering.
posted by w0mbat at 1:06 PM on January 24 [5 favorites]




dammit dammit dammit dammit
posted by heurtebise at 1:14 PM on January 24


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posted by Berreggnog at 1:15 PM on January 24


.
posted by destructive cactus at 1:18 PM on January 24


solid advice
posted by naju at 1:20 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Hasn't been said yet, so someone has to:

Always different, always the same.

.
posted by stannate at 1:20 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


First Fred Cole and now this. I'm done with rock and roll. Since I was a teenager, time was marked by Fall records. They were like annual newspapers. RIP, Bad Head. There will never be another.

Hup!
posted by SystematicAbuse at 1:27 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


.

He is in a car boot moving away.

Speaking of football, David Squires from the Guardian is also a fan of The Fall and managed, somehow, to work the most perfect cartoon of Mark E. Smith into a bit on Leeds United.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:28 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


RIP Mark E. Smith

I know it's not meant literally, but (as Danny Baker pointed out) he'd fucking hate resting in peace.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 1:30 PM on January 24 [8 favorites]


Oh my. I heard his former band-mate Marc Riley announce the sad news on the radio an hour ago. A few of my Fall favourites: Eat Y'Self Fitter; Hit The North; Glam Racket-Star (Peel session version).
posted by misteraitch at 1:31 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


.

English Scheme
posted by maggiemaggie at 1:32 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


All the good times are past and gone
Wipe the tears from your eyes some

They found full credit in the bathroom
The presence was luminous ...

Yarbles
posted by octobersurprise at 1:33 PM on January 24


.
Actually saw The Fall at the most unlikely venue, a place called the Record Bar in Kansas City, MO. A club in a strip mall with a Half-Price Books and Home Depot. A bit surreal to go hear MES and the band (the Heads Roll group, I believe, shortly before most of them jumped ship) in such a suburban setting.
posted by cottoncandybeard at 1:33 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


MARK E. SMITH IS GREAT!
posted by mc2000 at 1:40 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


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posted by Beardman at 1:44 PM on January 24


2018 can fucking stop with this shit right now.

.
posted by daveje at 1:50 PM on January 24


Rock and roll is truly dead now.
posted by Kosmob0t at 2:00 PM on January 24


.

Needs to be announced with a town cryer in Manchester, as was famously done for Ian Curtis.
posted by lagomorphius at 2:04 PM on January 24 [7 favorites]




So, this year's off to a shit start.

.
posted by From Bklyn at 2:11 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Goddamn it. Only time I ever saw the Mighty Fall, Mark left the stage after about two songs and Brix wound up having to do lead vocals for the rest of the set.

. - ah, indeed.
posted by queensissy at 2:14 PM on January 24


> Always different, always the same.
> Nearly an hour of John Peel introducing The Fall.

Previously-ah.
posted by ardgedee at 2:17 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


.

Only got to see them once and MES wasn't great but dammit that was some great music. I can't say why I like a song like The Classical so much but I just keep putting it on.
posted by N-stoff at 2:25 PM on January 24


Heard the news.

Switched on 6 Music. Yep, playlists cleared. Hip Priest (Peel session) on right now.

Mark E Smith has left the capital.
posted by Devonian at 2:28 PM on January 24



posted by Smart Dalek at 2:29 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


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posted by mustard seeds at 2:34 PM on January 24


My first exposure to The Fall: Kicker Conspiracy
posted by ardgedee at 2:35 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


"66 current and former members of The Fall have vowed to keep the band going after the death of frontman Mark E. Smith. 'Nobody is irreplaceable,' they chorused. 'It's what he would have wanted-ah.'"
posted by rory at 2:37 PM on January 24 [16 favorites]


.
Someone has probably said this elsewhere, but it seems like this is just month 25 of 2016. Neverending obituaries.
posted by detachd at 2:43 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


.
posted by crocomancer at 2:47 PM on January 24




.

Well fuck 2018 already.

Although I guess I'm in that cool person who's seen The Fall and anyone who hasn't by now isn't ever going to get to club?

(But I'd rather not be in that dumb club and still have Mark E. Smith around.)
posted by elsietheeel at 2:51 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


*tries to decide which Fall song to post in tribute*


*picks drunken fight with coworker instead*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:53 PM on January 24 [10 favorites]


.
posted by faceplantingcheetah at 2:58 PM on January 24


.

The Fall and Mark E Smith shaped my understanding of music, of love and romance, and gave me lots to sing along to.

“What really went on there?
we only have this excerpt!”
posted by lasagnaboy at 3:14 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


I only saw the Fall once. In a deconsecrated church in Cardiff.

Was it deconsecrated before the show started? Because it certainly was after.

Mark E. Smith is, was, and shall be one of the few truly inexplicable phenomena in all of music, which is high praise indeed.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:14 PM on January 24 [10 favorites]


The Fall's influence on today's popular music, and in particular so many bands I love, is too great to be counted. We lose an incredible mind today.

.
posted by capricorn at 3:28 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Dammit.
.
posted by carter at 3:29 PM on January 24


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posted by cazoo at 3:30 PM on January 24


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posted by djseafood at 3:31 PM on January 24


.

I'll leave my dot, but it won't be a moment of silence,

I'm totally wired!
posted by jontyjago at 3:42 PM on January 24


It's too hard to pick my favorite Fall song, but I always loved the video for Theme From Sparta F.C.
posted by mcmile at 3:42 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I seem to have spent my evening making posters of MES lyrics. It started with "The only thing real is waking and rubbing your eyes" and got as far as "I was very disappointed/It was the fault of the government/It was the government's fault".
posted by Grangousier at 3:51 PM on January 24 [8 favorites]


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posted by interrupt at 3:58 PM on January 24


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posted by Joey Michaels at 3:59 PM on January 24


.
Fall quote generator
posted by blixapuff at 4:12 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


NONONONONNONO

Mark E Smith was supposed to live forever. I don't like a world without Mark E Smith.

One of the times I saw the Fall it was in the Knitting Factory in New York. There was someone up front singing along with all the songs, so MES handed him the mic and fucked off to the bar. He let him sing the next couple songs while he drank and laughed.

It's impossible to pick a best song by The Fall because the are all canonically the best song. But listen to this Bremen Nacht

There's an infamous story about the guy from Badly Drawn Boy pulling his car up to the front of a venues after opening for The Fall. MES assumed he was a cab and jumped in and demanded to be driven home. Rather than argue, he just drove MES home. Then found MES had left his false teeth on his back seat.

Two Librans Reflect Forever.
.
posted by lumpenprole at 4:15 PM on January 24 [16 favorites]


Heee iiis nooot - ahppreciated...
.
posted by progosk at 4:31 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


"I thought you were rabbit prey, or a loose sex-criminal..."
posted by hototogisu at 4:34 PM on January 24


.
posted by lapolla at 4:41 PM on January 24


One of my fonder memories of Mark E. Smith was his cameo in the British series Ideal, as Jesus.
posted by Ashwagandha at 4:42 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


.
posted by rhizome at 4:46 PM on January 24


What?!

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posted by droplet at 4:46 PM on January 24


.

aav
posted by the sobsister at 5:01 PM on January 24


"66 current and former members of The Fall have vowed to keep the band going after the death of frontman Mark E. Smith. 'Nobody is irreplaceable,' they chorused. 'It's what he would have wanted-ah.'"

The Fall to continue as Yer Granny on Bongos.
posted by lagomorphius at 5:09 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


A difficult guy to admire sometimes, but a fixture of my music life for a long, long time - thanks and goodbye MES.
posted by ryanshepard at 5:11 PM on January 24


My fave MES bit from the last few years...
Smith complains about playing festival shows with bands comprised of "ass lickers." Then, this: "We were playing a festival in Dublin the other week. There was this other group, like, warming up in the next sort of chalet, and they were terrible. I said, 'Shut them cunts up!' And they were still warming up, so I threw a bottle at them. The bands said, 'That's the Sons of Mumford' or something. 'They're number five in charts!' I just thought they were a load of retarded Irish folk singers."


I post the link to that article every time someone brings up Mumford & Sons on Slack.
posted by lagomorphius at 5:11 PM on January 24 [9 favorites]


Haven't seen the best picture here yet.
posted by lagomorphius at 5:15 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


HE IS NOT APPRECIATED

.
posted by JoeZydeco at 5:18 PM on January 24


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posted by monkeymike at 5:24 PM on January 24


well, shit. MES was the best and The Fall were the greatest band of all time between 1977-1985.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:25 PM on January 24


None more tireless, visionary, irascible, quixotic, and unfuckwithable. Irreplaceable in the universe as a lyricist and a sheer force. A terrible fucking day. Thank you, sir.
posted by mykescipark at 5:28 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Terrible news. Shane MacGowan, somehow, you've got to keep going.
posted by Kafkaesque at 5:33 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


.

so who's Damo Suzuki now then?
posted by philip-random at 5:37 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


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posted by talking leaf at 5:43 PM on January 24


Wow. I was such a huge fan in my youth and then in recent years it was rather heartbreaking to see how the hard living had obviously taken its toll on him. This will take awhile to process.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:54 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Well fuck.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:54 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Man, sixty. So young.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 6:00 PM on January 24


Everyone in heaven has just joined The Fall
posted by porn in the woods at 6:03 PM on January 24 [16 favorites]


.
posted by evilDoug at 6:10 PM on January 24


Everyone in heaven has just joined The Fall

And then when Ron and/or Russ Mael die they can join and all truly record The Number One Song in Heaven.

OH MY GOD I JUST REALIZED THAT RON IS 72 AND RUSSELL is 69 AND DON'T YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT TAKING SPARKS AWAY FROM ME 2018. DON'T YOU DARE.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:22 PM on January 24 [9 favorites]


If you have access to a local college radio station, chances are they might play a tribute set. If you were wise enough to bookmark that 'Radio Garden' web-radio-tuner posted on here about a month back then you have access to almost every college radio station in existence, and if they are in any way good then they are currently playing nothing but The Fall and related. I've been tuning between shows since I heard the news.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 6:32 PM on January 24 [5 favorites]


Just dropped in to say: The Fall fans, you are my people-uh!
posted by sjswitzer at 6:48 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Fucking ouch-ah.
posted by OmieWise at 7:36 PM on January 24




*tries to decide which Fall song to post in tribute*


*picks drunken fight with coworker instead*


Of course it helps to be your own boss...

And then when Ron and/or Russ Mael die they can join and all truly record The Number One Song in Heaven.

QUIET YOU FOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by gtrwolf at 9:34 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]



Everyone in heaven has just joined The Fall

and their granny on bongos
posted by philip-random at 9:36 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


The live version of “US 80s 90s” (live in Bremen) on the “Backdrop” compilation is the one you want.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:38 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


(“I’m the original bigshot rapper, but it’s time for me to get off this crapper.”)
posted by Burhanistan at 10:09 PM on January 24


but seriously ...

Cruisers Creek
The Man Whose Head Expanded
posted by philip-random at 11:20 PM on January 24


I did the lights for the Fall at the Irish Centre in Leeds some time in the 90s!

Actually my friend Joe did the lights. I pressed a few buttons while his back was turned.

Anyway, sorry to see MES go. Irreplaceable.
posted by ZipRibbons at 11:29 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Everyone in heaven has just joined The Fall

... and immediately been fired.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:43 PM on January 24 [11 favorites]


I never even listened to the Fall that often but this kinda fucks me up - I think because he seemed like a guy who'd been around forever and thus would be around forever?
posted by atoxyl at 11:49 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]




@matosman (of Suede):
I have a Mark E Smith story actually. Back in the day Suede got asked to support The Fall on a couple of dates. To a man we were massive fans and VERY excited to be asked. Everyone told us he could be rough on support bands but he was great. Lots of time to soundcheck.

He was friendly, helpful, told us to come straight to him with any problem. The shows were great, his crowd were great, The Fall were great. On our way home in the van we were listening to Richard Skinner and he had an interview with Mark. We listened in intently.

Especially when Skinner asked, "Do you like any of the new bands who are calling you an influence."
Mark said "Like who?"
Skinner asked "Well, like Suede."

There was a perfectly timed beat.

"Never heard of them."
posted by mahershalal at 1:43 AM on January 25 [28 favorites]


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posted by drnick at 1:49 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Can't link properly but my favorite Fall song, Disney's Dream Debased gets explained here:

http://annotatedfall.doomby.com/pages/the-annotated-lyrics/disney-s-dream-debased.html

Who knew? Read the notes. You can't make this stuff up.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:08 AM on January 25 [5 favorites]


Listening to Couldn't Get Ahead

I remember getting a strong craving for The Fall after spending a few months in the USA back in the 90s and listening to corporate radio stations play band after band that they thought fitted their listener demographic - where the bands themselves sounded so keen to fit the bill. The Fall were the antitheses of that approach - they sounded the way they wanted to sound - they were going to carry on that way and listeners or programmers who didn't like it could fuck off because they weren't going to change; or go away.

The world needs more bands like that.
posted by rongorongo at 4:32 AM on January 25 [5 favorites]


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posted by filtergik at 5:09 AM on January 25


Hug Pat Fish today.
posted by aspersioncast at 7:05 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Apart from the astounding magnitude of their oeuvre, one of the other remarkable features of The Fall was their utility as a shibboleth. Not to get too High Fidelity about it, but when I met someone who liked (or was even aware of) The Fall, I knew I had found a fellow music freak.

.
posted by whuppy at 7:37 AM on January 25 [6 favorites]


.

Come get yer chips!
posted by scruss at 7:53 AM on January 25




The Quietus has republished a pub summit of sorts with Mark E. Smith, Shane McGowan and Nick Cave from 1989. It's a great read.


Interviewer: Mark, of the three of you, would you admit to being the professional cynic?

MES: No. Cynicism and defensiveness are two things constantly levelled at me. Look, I've got time for people, I'm good mannered. I usually find that when you're down, nobody has a bloody minute for you. If I was a nobody, you wouldn't even talk to me.

SM: You are nobody.

MES: Fuck off. It's bloody true. Neither would you, Nick.

NC: Bullshit! That's bullshit. I take offence at that.

MES: I'm not levelling anything at you. People, in general, don't like you being upfront and civil. They hate you for it. They label you a cynic 'cos you're reasonable.

SM: You're not reasonable, though. You're a rude bastard. That's fair enough.

MES: OK, I'm cynical. But I'm not defensive. I'm slightly paranoid which is healthy.
posted by vverse23 at 9:00 AM on January 25 [10 favorites]


Get your suits off, get your jeans on!
posted by porn in the woods at 9:55 AM on January 25


Listening to Hip Priest.

(More accurately: Heee iiis nooot - aahppreciateduh)
posted by progosk at 10:21 AM on January 25


It's not a Fall song, but the video version of Inspiral Carpets' "I Want You" (and even more so the ToTP performance) is like watching a particle accelerator from the inside, as a good chartworthy mid-90s Manc-band song gets bombarded with Mark E. Smith. Code: Selfish had already chewed up some of the Baggy scene, and The Infotainment Scam came close to being accessible, though my introduction to The Fall was I Am Kurious Oranj and that's what I go back to.
posted by holgate at 11:08 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


My favorite time seeing them was at the UU Church basement here in Philly. MES did...all the MES things, and the show was great, and the room was a pungent mess, and I loved it.
posted by desuetude at 12:29 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]




Guardian: Brix Smith Start on Mark E Smith: 'He shook up the snow globe every day'

Mark E Smith’s former bandmate and wife talks about of his ‘multidimensional’ creativity, his channelling of chaos, and the sausage rolls at their wedding
posted by porn in the woods at 10:06 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


Too soon?

And, as a coda, a Pavement tribute.
posted by sjswitzer at 5:18 PM on January 26


The Wire magazine has made their Fall archive available for public viewing/nonsubscribers.
posted by porn in the woods at 11:16 AM on January 29 [3 favorites]


I will miss Mark E. Smith.

.
posted by Skygazer at 11:22 PM on February 3


Late to the party, but a big fan here.

Some memorable moments:

- Having bought Palace of Swords Reversed on nothing but a tip that The Fall were OK, placing the needle on the vinyl and hearing PINK PRESS THREAT! and being all OMG WTF is this, and I *LOVE*
it!

- There being no Fall t-shirts to buy, I painted myself a shoddy version of The Wonderful & Frightening World of The Fall. They were playing in the worst suburban shithole of a venue here in Sydney. Got there early. MES & the band were sitting around having drinks. I didn't dare approach them, and in hindsight I think I dodged a bullet. When I listen to Fall in a Hole (a much earlier live New Zealand album) I can't help thinking of that shithole of a venue and how sad that such a great band were reduced to playing there.

- On another tour, they were playing endless Extricate. MES does this. No back catalogue or fan favourites. Just the latest record. I kept yelling STOP MITHERING! MES didn't respond. At least I picked up a 7" of Lie Dream of a Casino Soul with City Hobgoblins on the B-side. It features the line "Ubu le Roi is a home hobgoblin". Who'd have thought that?

- And sometimes they say 'Hey Mark, you're spoiling all the paintwork'. And sometimes they say 'Your thumbprints are on the paintwork'

I'm endlessly happy about all that spoiled paintwork.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:30 AM on February 4 [3 favorites]


Mark E Smith's family disclose cause of death (lung and kidney cancer)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:55 AM on February 13 [1 favorite]


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