Idles’ Joe Talbot remembers Mark E Smith, and selects his top 5 favourite songs by The Fall

"It was at that very moment I vowed to never pretend in my art again..."

A week ago today (24 January) one of music’s great antagonists passed away – The Fall’s Mark E Smith. It’s been pointed out in numerous eloquent tributes – not least by Andrew Harrison, Luke Turner, and, of course Brix Smith Start – that Smith didn’t abide by anyone else’s rules bar his own; a bloodyminded outlook that over four decades defined his reputation as a volatile, intimidating, outsider statesman of alt. rock. As Dan Dylan Wray wrote, when he met Smith for a Loud And Quiet feature in 2014, “like the music that he conducts with autodidactic, anti-conventional venom, he too is completely unpredictable”. Here, he’s remembered by Idles frontman Joe Talbot, a long time fan of the group and a man whom shared a stage with The Fall. He’s also chosen his top five favourite songs which you can listen to below.

Joe Talbot: “Whilst I’d never try to assume I know who Mark E Smith was, he is someone that emits a real sense of humane certainty. I feel like he may well have been one of the last true idiosyncratic people in this generation, one of the few remaining bastions of mythology because he was so true. I know that. I realised I knew that the moment we were asked to support The Fall; my heart skipped a beat of futile excitement before the dread pummelled: this occurred because at that moment I knew that being in the presence of a genuine artist who had spent a lifetime fearlessly challenging the normative belt, I’d be caught out in a fucking heartbeat as a tepid fraud flapping around the ether. It was at that very moment I vowed to never pretend in my art again, at the very least, I owe him that. It is maybe now that we truly live in a post-truth world.”

5. ‘Telephone Thing’
It really shouldn’t have worked with Cold Cut but it did.

4. Eat Y’self Fitter
Funny and dark. I think where we find humour he finds doom.

3. It’s The New Thing
Just a corker of a song.

2. Totally Wired
It’s his opus as a song.

1. Jawbone And The Rifle
It’s my favourite song and my favourite The Fall album.

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