Author Topic: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread  (Read 2862 times)

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

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Inspired by Jockice's XTC thread, and the entertaining bantz from himself and Brundle-Fly therein. (I quite like The Fall, to be honest; although I prefer The Outsider !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!odin)

the science eel

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2019, 01:29:36 PM »
I think the band managed to put out some extraordinary music over several decades working from fairly simple musical ideas.

MES was no genius and his lyrics were only good (and they really were good) for a few years at the start, but he managed to sell himself well, he played the critics well, talked a good game, did the Lou Reed nasty bastard thing which tricks people and soft fellas go for. He was my hero when I was 19 and I've slowly began to realise there isn't much to admire about the man, really - there were lads I went to school with who could have managed to do what he did. It's just that...he did, they didn't.


SteveDave

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2019, 01:37:04 PM »
Yes. All their good songs were covers.

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2019, 01:38:21 PM »
I'm in a similar position to the science eel (except for giving him hero status at 14, rather than 19 ), and right to the end, The Fall Gruppe were capable of coming out with some extraordinary stuff (check out "Couples Vs. Jobless Mid 30s" on their final album), and without the driving force of Smitty wouldnae have sounded anywhere near as remarkable (listen to any composition by Marc Riley and the Creepers for compelling eveidence of this).
Howsoever, he was a bad man, and I was thoroughly saddened to see him on that patronising Channel 4 news report thing from about three years ago, talking a load of old UKIPpy bollocks, whilst knocking back the beer and whisky, and looking like the avoidworthy chronic alcoholic you see down your local boozer.
He treated women appallingly (particularly his last Tracy Barlow lookalike wife, who got a hard time even for showing up at his funeral (not from Smitty, admittedly )) , and drank and smoked himself to death. Ah, well.

Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2019, 01:56:24 PM »
I'm in a similar position to the science eel (except for giving him hero status at 14, rather than 19 ), and right to the end, The Fall Gruppe were capable of coming out with some extraordinary stuff (check out "Couples Vs. Jobless Mid 30s" on their final album), and without the driving force of Smitty wouldnae have sounded anywhere near as remarkable (listen to any composition by Marc Riley and the Creepers for compelling eveidence of this).


Have to strongly disagree on this one. Marc Riley and The Creepers are bloody fantastic. I always make the opposite argument to you by comparing the 'diss' tracks they released about each other after the split: The Fall performed the lyrically brainless and incredibly obvious Bo Diddly plagarism 'Hey Marc Riley!' whereas The Creepers parried with the zippy 'Jumper Clown' and this jazzy bit of subtle lyrcied tuneful brilliance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7yfdW07GbE

MES the idiotic schoolyard bully here, Riley the thoughtful nuanced genius. Not saying it was always like that mind but still....

Of course, Creepers records have been out of print for 30 years and will never come back into print anytime soon thanks to Riley somewhat disowning that era of his life. A real shame.


Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2019, 03:08:05 PM »
Probably the greatest thing MES ever did was to keep the listener/fan at a distance, partly though being a colossal twat, with whom it's near impossible to identify, and partly through being a career contrarian, making not giving the people what they want seemingly his main aim. It meant that you were constantly on the back foot with The Fall, and constantly justifying to yourself what it was you were getting out of it, constantly challenged to walk away. But you stuck with it because, beyond the greatness of the records, there's something addictive about never being comfortable and coddled by art. Call me pretentious, but I think that has more in common with the progress of visual art in the twentieth century than pop music, or the ideas of the Theatre of Cruelty.

It was always anti-pop in this sense, meaning that sense of idolising and losing yourself to music you get with everything else was just not present. It was always about you, the listener, and what you got out of it, never about the artist and performer and your love being fuel for their hungry ego. 

Whether he intended it or it was just a natural by-product of his character I don't know, but I think that's what it added up to. It's interesting how few people there are who knew him personally - multiple ex-wives included - who have bad words to say about him. It's possible the public and private MES were very different people, making me think that his cantankerous public profile was all artifice, designed specifically for this purpose. Or he just had dirt on a lot of people and was a master blackmailer, I don't know.   

Also, Wonderful and Frightening World is an absolute banger, and it was funny when he pissed his pants on telly.

purlieu

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2019, 03:28:12 PM »
They were definitely a right load of old bollocks.

wosl

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2019, 03:53:16 PM »
Not that it's their fault, but Peel's abject hero-worship of them did them no favours, at times causing you to resent that gristly, yawping gobshite and his lackeys by extension.

non capisco

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2019, 03:54:50 PM »
Great post, sweeper.

Garam

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2019, 04:05:42 PM »
Well, I'd say their stretch from 77 to 90 is damn near unparalleled. They had good stuff after that too. Also some of the worst music ever made.

Their early stuff sounds like found artifacts from an alternate timeline where Germany won the war. Madness touched screeds from a decrepit gang of mushroom gobbling maniacs living in falling apart factories in an endless winter. Mixed with banal kitchen sink realist comic moments. The early stuff is timeless and about as evocative of 'the north' as Wu Tang is to NYC. Hex is a masterpiece.

Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2019, 04:10:25 PM »
Not that it's their fault, but Peel's abject hero-worship of them did them no favours, at times causing you to resent that gristly, yawping gobshite and his lackeys by extension.

I think that's true to an extent, but it was partly Peel's worship of them that made me persevere, because I hated The Fall when I heard them on his show at first. Just could not understand what was going on. But trying to work out why this chuckling, friendly grandad was so fiercely loyal to such a warped vision of music was part of the process, seemingly.

Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2019, 04:15:10 PM »
I'll willingly hold my hands up and say I don't get the big deal about them. Admittedly, I've only listened to one of their albums (Post TLC Reformation, from 2007) but it didn't inspire me to check out any of their others. Smith made Ian Brown sound like Shirley Bassey.

I was annoyed when he acted the goat on Newsnight, after John Peel died. I can see the funny side now, though.

Yes. All their good songs were covers.
I remember someone on here being surprised that Victoria was a cover because, to them, it sounded like a quintessential Fall song. This struck me as a bit of a backhanded thing to say, since it implies that The Fall's whole sound was basically just ripped off from The Kinks.

the science eel

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2019, 04:16:10 PM »
There is no Fall cover that beats the original, and most of them are rubbish.

I'm not sure I really buy into all this stuff about him being a bit of a cunt. In the wake of his death the most unlikely individuals came forward to praise him for his generosity and good humour - and there was really a LOT of this. OK, once somebody dies their virtues are exaggerated and their flaws temporarily forgotten, but still - you did get a sense that he was kind of a good person. Friendly, loyal, kind...

It's not pointed out to the same extent as it is with Shane or Ozzy or whoever, but he was an alcoholic and this explains (but does not excuse) a lot of what he did.

wosl

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #13 on: January 11, 2019, 04:24:40 PM »
trying to work out why this chuckling, friendly grandad was so fiercely loyal to such a warped vision of music was part of the process, seemingly

Delicately nurtured, conflicted posh lad in thrall to fearless, working-class autodidact agit-art provocateur, I had it down as, to a fair degree.

the science eel

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2019, 04:29:00 PM »
I'll willingly hold my hands up and say I don't get the big deal about them. Admittedly, I've only listened to one of their albums (Post TLC Reformation, from 2007) but it didn't inspire me to check out any of their others.

I'm not surprised! That's one of their worst.

Listen to any of their first six or seven albums (maybe not Room To Live) and you'll hear magic.

Jockice

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2019, 12:24:45 AM »
Couldn't sing, couldn't play, he looked awful. He went a long way.

non capisco

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2019, 01:34:21 AM »
he looked awful

I'd argue he was quite handsome for a bit in the Brix years, in that way you are when you're a naturally scruffy get in love letting your lass buy clothes for you.




pigamus

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2019, 01:47:30 AM »
I'm a fairly boring and conservative man, but I started listening to he Fall on Spotify a few months back, and I loved every minute of it. I found nothing to hate, nothing to sneer at, nothing to call overrated, nothing to piss on in any way really. I just really liked it. More power to his elbow in this and the next world.

the science eel

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2019, 02:24:10 AM »
Well, I'd say their stretch from 77 to 90 is damn near unparalleled.

You can draw a line at 1987 - everything before then was dark, strange, evocative. Then the synthetic 'Hit The North' (which honestly would have been unimaginable even two years earlier), and then the first really shiny (and terribly half-arsed in the ideas dept.) Fall LP in The Frenz Experiment. They were wildly inconsistent from then on.

But they barely put a foot wrong before then, and they were touched by the hand of something for the whole of 1980 and 1981. Incredible music. The 'Elastic Man/Hobgoblins' 45 is a peak on top of a high plateau. I envy anyone who saw them then.

Lisa Jesusandmarychain

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2019, 04:26:36 AM »
I saw them in February 1981, when they played a lot of " Grotesque" material, along with " City Hobgoblins". Go on, have a ruddy good envy at me.

Jockice

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2019, 08:34:09 AM »
I saw this one. Mark spent most of the gig with his back to the audience and had a rant at a couple of gothic-looking girls who were shouting abuse at him.

Friday, September 4 1981   Sheffield Polytechnic

Slates, Slags, etc. / Lie Dream of a Casino Soul (soundcheck)

Slates, Slags, etc. / Look Know / Fortress / Deer Park / Hip Priest / Lie Dream of a Casino Soul / Fantastic Life / Cash 'n' Carry > Prole Art Threat / Leave the Capitol / Who Makes the Nazis? // Put Away / Winter

With Past Seven Days and Disease. A free gig for the unemployed courtesy of South Yorkshire County Council.

Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2019, 08:37:31 AM »
You can draw a line at 1987 - everything before then was dark, strange, evocative. Then the synthetic 'Hit The North' (which honestly would have been unimaginable even two years earlier), and then the first really shiny (and terribly half-arsed in the ideas dept.) Fall LP in The Frenz Experiment. They were wildly inconsistent from then on.

But they barely put a foot wrong before then, and they were touched by the hand of something for the whole of 1980 and 1981. Incredible music. The 'Elastic Man/Hobgoblins' 45 is a peak on top of a high plateau. I envy anyone who saw them then.

Agree with all of this and I am envious of the two posters below you.

Jockice

  • I really have red hair. And a **********.
Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2019, 08:43:47 AM »
You can draw a line at 1987 - everything before then was dark, strange, evocative. Then the synthetic 'Hit The North' (which honestly would have been unimaginable even two years earlier), and then the first really shiny (and terribly half-arsed in the ideas dept.) Fall LP in The Frenz Experiment. They were wildly inconsistent from then on.

But they barely put a foot wrong before then, and they were touched by the hand of something for the whole of 1980 and 1981. Incredible music. The 'Elastic Man/Hobgoblins' 45 is a peak on top of a high plateau. I envy anyone who saw them then.

I'm very fond of The Frenz Experiment I'll have you know. 1990 (I never liked Extricate much) was when the rot set in, although of course tempered with many moments of genius, just not as many as previously.

Jockice

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2019, 08:44:33 AM »
Agree with all of this and I am envious of the two posters below you.

I certainly wouldn't be envious of me mate. You don't know the half of it.

the science eel

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2019, 10:17:16 AM »
I saw them in February 1981, when they played a lot of " Grotesque" material, along with " City Hobgoblins". Go on, have a ruddy good envy at me.

Oh, I'm green to the gills!

I didn't see them until 1987 (MES in a silver shirt, about nine of them on stage, kicked off with 'Fiery Jack') and they were very good.

I'm most proud (if that's the right word) of seeing their last-ever gig in Glasgow in November 2017.

Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2019, 11:05:41 AM »
I've listened to people raving about The Fall for decades but every time I've given them a try I've really disliked what I've heard. Someone will give me a list of their own personal faves that they think will finally get me hooked and I've listened and thought "This is a load of tuneless bollocks" every time. I've given up trying now.

the ouch cube

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2019, 11:43:58 AM »
Considering the first Fall I bought was 'Levitate', it's a wonder I stuck with them really, but I did.

Cuntbeaks

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Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2019, 11:44:12 AM »
I drew the line at Extricate, but as many have said before me, almost everything before then was sprinkled with pixie/hobgoblin dust.

Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2019, 11:48:54 AM »
Are there any full recordings of the I am Curious, Orange Ballet? I've seen bits on a BBC documentary that looked like it was professionally filmed, so presumably it's either out there or sat in an archive.

Re: The "The Fall Were A Right Load Of Old Bollocks, Weren't They ?" Thread
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2019, 11:53:36 AM »
I've given up trying now.

If you expect conventional thrills, you’ll likely be frustrated. The joy comes from the lack of what’s expected from music. It verges on primitivism at points, like they’re making songs from junk and logs and things. They’re a great leveller in that respect.

Friend of mine once saw them at a festival and was disgusted, proclaiming it ‘the same chord for ten minutes’, the inference being that The Fall were so stupid that they hadn’t learned how to do music properly. I didn’t argue.

Having said that, Wonderful and Frightening and Nation’s Saving are wall to wall pop bangers.