"Where punk was pure showbiz, international entertainment, The Fall’s eyes do not seek your love. Of course, to have Fallen is a "posture" like any other, but it is not a posture that appeals by any "style". And of course, Smith is not exactly "our Mark", his is not the face of a coal miner’s son, and maybe the very greasy hair and pullovers are a bit of a con. But it’s important that Smith remains indeterminate, for it is his quality of alienness that is so striking. He is the problem, the one who fends off the images people lower benevolently onto his shoulder – all that white crap about the white crap...
"Live, The Fall encounter the immediate problems of having to keep face without betraying an image. On record, Smith’s vision surrounds one, untarnished by a visible audience. In concert, tremendous concentration is required, even though the group is superb.... In his unhealthy, strangulated way, Smith is singing a kind of folk music, which is why the subdued but grating rockabilly beat that often supplies the accompaniment to his voice is so apposite.... The songs flow into one another until the sound – coarse and undanceable as it is – becomes literally entrancing. At this point The Fall is a frozen spectacle: Smith’s indifference to his audience and neglect of stage persona mean that one starts to concentrate on his concentration, listen to his words, absorb the work of his vision."
Barney Hoskyns, live review of The Fall at North London Poly, NME,
"What Smith was really singing was a kind of folk music, a ranting and raving poetry which demanded ears rather than eyes. "In the poetry of the folk song," wrote Nietzsche, "language is strained to its utmost that it may imitate music; continuously generating melody scatters image sparks all round, which in their variegation, their abrupt change, their mad precipitation, manifest a power quite unknown to the epic and its steady flow..."
"And that "steady flow" holds good for everyone from Yes to The Sex Pistols to Joy Division. For the entertainment industry of "Rock" and "Pop" (and they are not antithetical) is a monolithic, epic construct, an enormous self-servicing scheme of comfort, hierarchy and identification, however "powerful" or "passionate" the music.
"In this absolute sense, The Fall do not belong in the same universe as your average favourite alternative pop groups. They do not fit in the market place of mild equivalences. They show up virtually the whole of the rest of rock as a gross, illusory hype."
Barney Hoskyns, interview with Mark E. Smith, NME ,
Out of hovel, cum-coven, cum-oven
And all hard-core fiends
Will die by me
And all decadent sins
Will reap discipline
I curse your preoccupation
With your record collection
New puritan has no time
It's only music, John"
You are bequeathed in suede
You are entrenched in suede
You've got celluloid in your genes dad
You are Glam Rick
You've cut my income by one third
You are working on a video project
You hog the bathroom
And never put your hand in your pocket
You're Glam Rick
-- Mark E. Smith / The Fall, "Glam Racket"