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A Quietus Interview

We Only Have This Excerpt: Mark E Smith Of The Fall Interviewed
Kevin E.G. Perry , November 24th, 2011 09:29

Mark E Smith has a drink with Kevin EG Perry and tells him about literary influences and Ersatz GB. Photograph by Valerio Berdini

“It’s a shopper’s paradise, isn’t it?” says Mark E Smith as he surveys ‘Smoak’, the inexplicably Texan-themed bar in Manchester’s Malmaison hotel. It’s a Saturday afternoon a month or so before Christmas, and both the hotel bar and the adjacent lobby are crawling with families laden with expensive-looking carrier bags. We collect our beers, chosen at random from a long list of imports, and Smith spots a quiet corner on the other side of the lobby: “We’ll go over there.”

He moves in a shuffling gait, and already seems older than his 54 years, but his wit and his work rate haven’t slowed. In the 35 years since he and a handful of mates formed The Fall in an apartment in Prestwich he has released 29 albums under that name. Although his bandmates have long since become the subject of regular rotation, over the years Smith has crafted for himself a complex, literate authorial voice which is as unmistakable as his own Salford anti-vocals. The new record, Ersatz G.B., is out in time for the Christmas shoppers, at his own insistence.

Is he happy with it? “Yeah!” he grins as we get settled on a sofa, “but I wouldn’t mind a copy! Have you got one?” He lets out a cackle. Over the course of the evening, Smith laughs long, and hard, and often. It’s an expressive laugh, and depending on the subject at hand it ranges from a chesty death rattle to whooping back in his seat. His tongue emerges regularly. It looks like a gila monster, and in his long career it seems to have gotten him in and out of trouble in roughly equal measure...

...The full version of this article is available in Point Close All Quotes: A Quietus Music Anthology. Buy it now in the Amazon Kindle store.

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