Saturday, 27 January 2018

A few memories of Mark E Smith

A long time ago the band that I was in got a call from our manager informing us that we had some tour dates supporting The Fall. We were excited and also a tad nervous, there were all sorts of rumours about how Mark E Smith (depending on his mood) would treat his support bands. A few days later at a newly reformed Bunnymen gig, we were chatting to Les Paterson (Bunnyman Bass) and mentioned that we were playing with the Fall, and did he have any advice for us? Les Paterson laughed and said "He's alright is Mark" "Don't show no fear"
We were told what time to get to the venue, and arrived at that time, we said hello to everyone and were polite. Steve Hanley (Bass The Fall) was very chatty and friendly, but there was a strange atmosphere in the hall. Mark E Smith was late, but on his way…….When he finally arrived he walked into the hall and looked at us and instantly spoke "Who the Fuck are theyeerrrrr?" He was informed that we were the support band, and we were duly informed to Fuck of to the dressing roomeerrrrr. We sat in the dressing room waiting to be summoned. About 5 minutes before doors we were told to sound check.The atmosphere in the hall was even worse than before. At the end of the night as we were leaving we briefly saw MES, the look we received.... or maybe did not receive???
(maybe we were not even worth a MES scowl…who knows) was chilling.
The next date with them we again arrived on time, MES and band were already there and set up, we sheepishly entered the venue and were greeted by Saffron Prior who at the time was running Cog Sinister. MES saw us and said "alright lads", we headed to the dressing room but were told we could stay in the hall and watch the soundcheck. After the show MES was chatty funny and cheeky, managed to get a lot of cigarettes out of us and when we left said goodbye.
The final time we played with The Fall, we felt brave and decided to knock on Mark's dressing room door and say hello. This we did , and after a short wait Mark Smith came to the door. At first he looked like he was about to verbally rip us apart and  just stared at us for what seemed an eternity, then his face crumpled he smiled and said "Hello lads" we chatted he almost cleaned us out of cigarettes, lit a fresh cigarette with the one he was putting out, he took the piss, he was funny and very charismatic. After a while he said he had to get on, shook hands, patted patted a couple of us on the upper arm and disappeared into the dressing room muttering/mumbling. That was my Mark E Smith experience.
RIP Mr Smith
1957 - 2018

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