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(A nod to Stefan Cooke whose Bibliography was the source for a lot of this material)


'Alongside The Fall, almost every other band in the world seems absurdly trivial'.

(Melody Maker 1980)

'In a constant flowing stream of creativity, through each consecutive fad fantasy and fashion The Fall have always strived to go against the grain to design music purely of their own making. Fall music, music that demands to be heard pumping through every chamber of the heart possessed with a spirit that is impossible to hold back'.

(Sounds 1980)

'Write to your local MP now; hit him or her with three non-negotiable demands: Scrap the Channel Tunnel! Pay The Nurses!, and please, Force The BBC to Playlist The Bloody Fall!'.

(NME 1988)

'The Fall will never play Wembley Stadium, will never appear on the same bill as the Eagles and will never be awarded medals by the Queen, even though theysell a healthy number of discs around the world.They just aren't mainstream. Listen carefully to any of their albums though and, if you don't run screaming from the room, you'll be addicted for life. Welcome to the Wonderful and Frightening World ofThe Fall.'

(The Rough Guide To Rock)

'Fifteen Rounds in and yet to falter, Mark Smith is a seasoned pugilist, a self-proclaimed street-fighting champion wheezing into his whiskey in backstreet bars but returning time after time with the hard punches.'

(NME 1991)

'The Fall are one of God's little hobbies. In his spare time; at weekends, holidays and during breaks, heglues a couple more awkward corners, a few opinions, a few more un-hip wrinkles onto the box marked "Mark E. Smith". Then he boots him out on tour and shouts requests from the back of the hall.

Mark E. Smith is old, and he is wise, and he is grumpy. He is also a genius. it's handy to have one around'.

(Melody Maker 1992)

'If such praise seems over-blown for a band still largely unknown to the general public, it does bearwitness to The Fall's enduring influence on pop's alternative sector. Started in 1977 by Smith(then 18) and a bunch of younger friends in Manchester, they never comfortably fitted the mould of punk and have continued to escape categorisation ever since'.

(The Observer 1993)

'On stage he often gives the impression that he'd rather be down the pub, but tonight-perhaps soothed by the sound of his own voice on the between-song backing tapes-he seems almost happy to be here. One hand hooked gently around the outside of his trouser pocket, he leads the band through most of their excellent current album 'the Infotainment Scan', and returns for four encores. the sound like the stage is a well organised clutter, Ska and disco elements are cleverly welded onto a sound garage-rock chassis. "I do not like your tone", he mithers memorably at someone, possibly himself, "it has ephemeral whinging aspects" but there's a few miles left yet in this beautifully customised ego-vehicle'.

(Independent on Sunday 1993)

'Mark Smith is a cynical, bitter critic of English Society. He's also a rude and sarcastic man...I disliked him intensely...'

(RAM Magazine, Australia)

'He's a surprisingly charming bloke in conversation, a hilarious ranconteur who tends to look past yourleft ear when he's talking. When he hits upon a particularly savage idea he doubles up and wheezes with laughter, grabbing onto your elbow for support. It's hard not to wheeze with him. You get some cigs in, even though you've given up'.

(Select 1993)

'Mark E. Smith is an odd person. Extremely odd. Very shifty. Very clever. The afternoon he meets me in London it looks like he's just cut himself shaving.Six or eight times. It's difficult to look directly at him. He reeks of beer. He's chain-smoking. He looks more like a dock worker than a former dockworker who's been an iconoclastic rock icon for 16 years. Several conspiracies seem to be transpiring around him at any given moment. But not to worry. The Fall foreman is perpetually in control'.

(SPIN 1993)

'At times, Mike Leigh's Naked could be a fly-on-the-wall documentary about Mark E. Smith. It's the way David Thewlis' character picks on strangers, corners them and then bludgeons them into complete confusion with a stream of skewed logic, unscrewed madness, acidic invective, prophet without honour preaching and nasty Manc sneering. Repellent but compelling'.

(Melody Maker 1993)

'The Fall's intelligence addresses, scours and liberates us all'

(Wire 1997)

'It may have been acknowledged that The Fall began indie, but they also began Acid House. In fact they began modern music.'

(The Times 1997)

'Mark E Smith must be knackered. For 21 years, the maverick, mouthy singer has been flying in the face of fashion, following a musical path all of his own and fighting with anyone brave enough to take him on. Throw in the fact that, as frontman ofThe Fall, he has written and released over 30 albums and his stamina should impress even the harshest critics'.

(Dazed and Confused 1998)

'For twenty years he and his group have stood outside the mainstream of popular music, sustained by inovation, genius and a stern command of the protestant work ethic. They have been everything from amphetamine rockabillies to mithering techno-futurists-their one constant has been their leader. Easy to impersonate but impossible to emulate, his style is hugely influential...'

(Part of Eddie Izzard's speech before presenting Mark E Smith with the Godlike Genius award for Unique Services to Music).

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