... Issue 1
19 Lard's tour
diaries 12 noon: Gig starts. First group on are
called the Hamsters. They are great. They have a brilliant
song called 'I'm a C**t', which should be a number one
record I think. They will go far or I will show my arse in
Richard Burton's window, or summat.
2pm: Really enjoying meself so far,
though a bouncer's just broken me nose in three places.
Meanwhile on stage are a band called the Frantic Elevators
who are rubbish. They have a spotty red-headed git singing
for them called Rick Hucknall or summat. He can't sing for
toffee and they have a terrible song called 'Holding Back my
Ears'. Ha, don't give up your day job Rick!
The Biggest Library Yet 15.1
Broadcast over a week on Mark and Lard's late-night Radio One show, 1995. Spoken by Marc Riley, with comments by Mark Radcliffe.
9am: It's an all-day gig, so we... I have to load the gear into the venue very very early.
12 noon: Gig starts. First group on are called the Hamsters. They are great. They have a brilliant song called 'I'm a C**t', which should be a number one record I think. They will go far or I will show my arse in Richard Burton's window, or summat.
2pm: Really enjoying meself so far, though a bouncer's just broken me nose in three places. Meanwhile on stage are a band called the Frantic Elevators who are rubbish. They have a spotty red-headed git singing for them called Rick Hucknall or summat. He can't sing for toffee and they have a terrible song called 'Holding Back my Ears'. Ha, don't give up your day job Rick!
3pm: Next up are some ladies called the Liggers. They are great. I introduce myself to the lady singer and tell her I know Mark Smithy and I am in The Fall. She tells me to get f***ed. If only, eh?
4pm: Next on are a local group called Joy Division. I have seen this lot before and they are quite funny. The bass player has a beard but is a very friendly man. But the guitarist is called Bernard and he always looks cross and he frightens me. I decide to tidy up the van whilst Joy Division are on, cause they're rubbish.
5pm: We're on!
5.05: We're off! Oh no. I've forgotten to put a plug on the extension lead. So I ask the friendly man from Joy Division with a beard if I could borrow his plug off him for half an hour. He told me to f*** off. Sure he had a good reason.
10 July 1978: Hiya!
12 noon. Treated myself... will you turn that f****n' music down a bit...
12 noon: Treated myself to a lie-in today for two good reasons. Firstly, it is my 17th birthday today. I am 17. And I'm a rock star already. Life is good. The other reason for my late slumber is due to the fact that I had a late night out on the town with Mark Smithy last night. It was great. Mark told me stories about how he writes his songs and about a new song he's written called 'Drastic Man'. I told him that was a coincidence and how I wrote elastic man... which was a song I wrote, which was rubbish.
I also told Mark that I thought he was this nation's saving grace. After that we went to Blackpool for a dance. We were unsure about which part of the prom to go to, north or south.
I told him I thought we should hit the north. So he hit me, and we went to the south.
1pm: Enough about last night. What's in my rock diary for this, my 17th birthday? F*** all. You see, Mark and the rest of the band are having a big party tonight to celebrate the first Fall EP, Bingo Master's Take-out' or summat, selling over 900 copies. As I didn't play on that record I'm not invited to the party. which is fair enough I think. That reminds me I must start blowing up the balloons and making sandwiches. Ha, no rest for the wicked, eh.
Preliminary ramble: You've got to understand that at the time I did this I was 16 years old, I was only a slip of a lad you know. I was suffering from confusion, I was suffering from exhaustion, I was suffering from panic attacks. Piles, everything, it was terrible. So basically the job was a bad 'un.
These are sort of memories of being erm... the times of being in a rock 'n' roll band when you're a hapless tosser really. That's about the size of it.
Hiya! 18 September 1981. 7:30am. Woke up. Got out of bed. Mopped up the mess and went downstairs to whittle some drumsticks out of an old log for our drummer Karl 'Burnsy' Burns. It's not that we can't afford proper drumsticks or owt, it's just that Mark likes to keep me busy during the day so that I don't go off the rails and start taking drugs and stuff. I feel I am in good hands with a boss like Mark, he is very mature.
4:30pm. Finished whittling eight pairs of sticks and am presently rubbing some Germolene on the blisters on my fingers. Ouch.
5 o'clock: Off to the gig.
7:30pm: Arrive at the gig. You've got to take the ups and downs in pop music and tonight is going to be a down for a few reasons. Firstly, I'm in Mark 'Smithy' Smith's bad books at the moment cause I stupidly rubbed blood from my blisters all over his famous black pullover with white diamonds on it when I was carrying him from the van to the dressing room. I must do better! The second reason I'm not looking forward to tonight is because we are in Birmingham which as everyone knows is a shithole. (Lard, be quiet!) Sorry... as everyone knows is a shithole. (Lard, we're in Birmingham now you tosser!) Oh, in Birmingham which is gorgeous. (Don't overdo it you great twonk.)
9pm: An hour to showtime and I'm excited. I'm even more excited when Mark lets me wear his really cool thick leather gloves to keep me blisters from getting worse as I rub Body Shop peppermint foot lotion on his bunion. The gloves are a bit tight but they look great.
9:30pm: Blimey these gloves are tight.
9:33pm: Ha ha, much hilarity ensues as I find out that Mark has put Superglue in the leather gloves and I can't get them off.
10:05pm: I'm on.
10:06: I'm off. Chuffing gloves! Can't play the guitar at the best of times but this is impossible - and it's all my fault.
I must do better!
Preliminary ramble: Basically, I was a bit of a heartthrob when I was young. And I was in a dead successful pop band. And I had a lot of great times, a few ups and downs, and showbusiness and stuff so I thought I had to document it for the kids.
Hiya! 12 October 1979. Money is tight. I don't know what's wrong with me these days, I seem to fritter me earnings away on nothing. It's only Monday and I'm skint already. Yet only two days ago I picked up my £10 wages - shameful.
13 October, 11am: I am forced to take up a job advertised by a local cleaning agency to make ends meet. I soon get a regular job and slip into a routine. I start by cleaning Mark Smithy's kitchen, then through to his front room, his walk-in wardrobe and finish on the art-deco vestibule. It seems to be going quite well so far, Mark hasn't hit me with his crowbar so I must be doing something right, eh?
12:30pm: Mark's just hit me with his crowbar. At first I thought hew as just mucking about but when I collapsed I realised he was serious. And then it dawned on me, I'm so stupid. Whilst I was hoovering, I picked up Mark's rare promotional copy of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds album, and put it by the window, and it could have been warped by the sunlight. If it was sunny. Or the dog could have pissed on it, or something. If he had a dog. Anyway, I have learnt my lesson.
2:30pm: I packed in the cleaning job. By the time I paid Mark £80 for the replacement record, and give me agent 50 per cent of me earnings, I am £85 out of pocket. I feel so useless. Mark did a great job as me cleaning agent, and I've let him down again.
I must do better! Alan Parker 'Urban
Warrior' interviews MES, March 95
Confused transcript of 'comedy' interview on Radio One FM.
Alan Parker: ...and so on. Dent, he was a stu-dent. He studied dentistry and cooked stew in his bedsit room.
MES: What's that supposed to be?
AP: It's like playing on words.
MES: What? Is that a ------ lyric?
AP: It's not good enough for that is it.
MES: Are you [deleted] saying that's going to be one of my lyrics?
AP: Tenner. Fiver.
MES: Is that what you think my lyrics are like?
AP: No.  Right, that's enough Fall stuff interview, let's play the last song...
MES: What do I think of him?
MES: I think he should realise he's in Manchester and not in France.
AP: Yeah. Yeah, well presumably he does realise that otherwise he'd have real trouble.
MES: I don't think he does.  ... he's French.
AP: Yeah but I'm English but if I go to France I'll realise I'm there. He's not mad.
MES: Every time I go to France I get beat up.
AP: By the French or by the country. Do you think it's right for him to kick that bloke in the chest?
AP: Fair enough.
MES: Because er... Manchester United is a religion.
AP: Yeah, that's an excerpt from an interview I did with Mark E. Smith of The Fall on the Cantona issue there. I'll be playing the rest of that interview after the news so that's something to look forward to, and then when you've heard it, to, you know opposite of not look forward to, look back on sadly.
[rambles on a lot more] Now, I was in a pub last week and I recorded myself there so over to me.
AP: I wanted to interview Mark E. Smith. To do that I had to go to Manchester on a train to meet him in a pub. What I had to do was, we had to... up on the train, we had to basically... [plays Hit the North] Had to Hit the North, yeah.
Cheers hello, you're Mark E. Smith, I'm Alan Parker.
MES: Hi Alan.
AP: Good start yeah, getting the names out the way, what's your name, what's my name, names - important. We should use each other's names before it's too late. But you know as so often after a good start things start to go wrong. Just in the same way that after a bad start things get worse, that's true generally. Listen to this.
AP: What are your views?
MES: On what?
AP: Sorry I'm new to the interviewing thing, I thought I'd ask what your views were, and then you speak a bit and I'll speak a bit more.
MES: What are your views? Is Hackney near Maida Vale?
AP: Well, in... yeah.
MES: I've been there about 12 years and I still can't make out where I'm going when I go there. It's a medieval village.
AP: It's a city.
MES: No it's not. [unintelligible]
AP: Very well, and it's got all the things and that. It's got a tube system, you haven't got nothing...
MES: Everybody dies on it.
AP: No, not everyone. Less than one in ten, and it's a transport system not a death network but maybe you're right, you're getting the government...
AP: Yeah, you see the problem is it's just a bit dull. I didn't know what to say, he didn't know what to say back and it just went on and on and I've got about two hours of this interview and obviously I can't play the whole thing, I just don't know how to make it more interesting. It's so slow as well, so I thought I'll play it a bit faster.
AP: [plays tape at double speed] But that doesn't make it any less dull, just faster. It's like high speed dullness and that's not an improvement. My next idea was like, what if there was an audience there? Maybe that's the problem. So I dubbed on a few audience effects from the BBC sound archive, whatever.
AP: Do you agree with Sham 69 when they say 'You are me and I am you'? What are your views on Sham 69 generally as a band and as a force?
MES: I liked the first EP very much.
AP: What was that?
MES: Dunno. [mumbles]
AP: How can you like it if you don't know what it was?
[dubs on wild cheers]
AP: Yeah, it didn't really seem to work that. It didn't seem real and it didn't make it anymore interesting either. You didn't get that sense of being a vast crowd there but then I thought what if there was one other peson taking an interest in it, then that might help you the viewer, listener to take an interest yourself. So I'll try that with another bit.
AP: What does the E stand for in Mark E., in your name?
AP2 [editing in his own voice saying 'Mmm, interesting' a lot.
AP2: Mmm, that's strange.
MES: And Edward.
AP: Stands for two things, its should be E.E then.
MES: Edward or Egbert.
AP: Not both.
MES: Edward. As in potatoes.
AP: That didn't seem to work either really. So I thought I know I'll just get the best bits and put them over a Fall song. [warning - do not trust answers to correspond to questions]
AP: Would you describe yourself as an ordinary decent working class member of the proletariat?
MES: Er, no.
AP: What is the point in living?
MES: You can't beat two cold cans of Pils in the morning.
AP: Do you think they should ban boxing?
AP: Er, good point.
AP: What do you think about music?
MES: I enjoy music.
AP: Right that's got the best bits out the way. Problem is, still got loads to play so what I'm going to do is play bits of the interview and intersperse it with bits of relevant Fall songs, in case you ever happen to be in the position of interviewing Mark E. Smith and then you can learn from my mistakes.
AP: I'm against the whole football/team thing, you should support referees because they're trying to get the two sides to come together, and agree on...
AP: It's more the sort of thing.
MES: Well it's very overbearingly north London at the moment in't it. Soccer.
AP: Well basically everywhere is London or is gonna be. You've got that Leave the Capitol. [plays excerpt]
MES: I quite like London, apart from the north end of it.
AP: How do you travel?
MES: Taxi of course. [Cab it up excerpt]
AP: What's your favourite band? Colour.
MES: Group, you mean?
AP: A group's a band.
MES: Yes please.
AP: But why?
MES: It's a group of people innit.
AP: Yeah but they're in a band.
MES: No, bands are something that your listeners parents listen to, you know.
AP: Yeah right. Group.
AP: Well we know what we mean.
MES: What's your favourite band?
AP: Yeah, group. Group of bands. Band group.
MES: Fall, yeah, Fall.
AP: Fall? Sorry I have real trouble understanding.
MES: It's The Fall, and they are a group.
AP: The Fall, and they are a ...
MES: Group. Not Fall, the band.
AP: When I introduce your songs I'll be real careful. The Fall group. I know some songs...
MES: Get on with it.
AP: This distinctive style of singing which involves going 'uh' at the end of words.
MES: I don't do that.
AP: Right. Well that seems to be basically a lie and I can prove that by playing records later and cutting it with this interview [Big New Prinz] and then you'll see.
MES: So there's an A. H at the end of every line.
AP: Not every, I'd say about 30 per cent.
AP: At this point I'd sort of run out of things to say which isn't a common problem for me. But when you do that in an interview situation, what I suggest you do is rely on a pre-planned question, get back to the issues. That's what I did.
AP: How should we fight homophobia, sexism, racism in this society? It's a tricky question.
MES: Well let's take it one by one. Homophobia - is that a fear of being in the house?
AP: Ha ha ha, no. You're kidding there, it's hard tell because you don't smile and that. No it's er... gays and that.
MES: Right. What in fact that it's fascism at the tail end.
AP: It's what?
MES: You said it's homophobia, racism and fascism or something.
AP: To be honest.
MES: You can't remember. You just can't hack it can you.
AP: Hack it, no. Sorry. Do you want to ask me questions?
MES: Er, homophobia I don't know. Well, fascists are homophobics anyway aren't they, I mean sorry er... . All fascists are gay anyway aren't they.
Alan Parker 'Urban
Warrior' interviews MES, March 95