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Albion Beatnik


Things have gotten quiet around here (again!). I'm just back from a restorative week-long jaunt to the UK, where I saw my friends Scarce play a triumphant show (more on that a bit later), visited friends in London and Oxford, and generally had an amazing time.

While in the UK I missed by a hair's breadth a new dance from Michael Clarke, who frequently drew inspiration from the Fall's music for his choreography. His troupe even collaborated with the Fall on a ballet —the score of which turned into the Fall classic I Am Curious Oranj. (You can watch selections on YouTube, beginning with this cheeky adaptation of "Spectre vs. Rector.")

I adore Mark E Smith's way with words, even if half the time I have no idea what he's even saying. "New Face in Hell" is one (of many) I'm still working out — piecing it slowly together like the world's most complicated puzzle. The song unfolds with amazing verbal dexterity, unspooling like a John le Carré spy thriller, dense with paranoia. "A prickly line of sweat covers enthusiast's forehead as the realization hits him..."

While not every MES song works as a densely layered short story, many do, rewarding repeated, careful listens with "a-ha!" moments of clarity. (And confusion, too, but working through it is part of the fun.)

Fellow blogger Jon Underneathica must have a better handle on translating Mark's splenetic rantings, and he's turned it into a fun game. I give you Underneathica's Mark E Smith Mix n' Match.

Hours of fun! Collect all twelve! Let's see, there's the Peel Session version, the Brix Years, the Step Forward Years, the Brownies Blow-up Years, the post-Reformation Years, etc. etc.

MP3.jpgThe Fall, “Psykick Dancehall" (from It's the New Thing! The Step Forward Years, 2003)



Thanks for the kind words! It sounds like you haven't seen "The Fall Lyrics Parade", a collaborative effort of Fall fanatics who have been piecing together MES lyrics for the past 15 years! "New Face in Hell" and many others await you at http://fall.byethost13.com/lyrics.html — though sometimes it's more fun to figure it out yourself, and I prefer a few of my misheard interpretations over the general consensus as to the "real" words.

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