This week saw the release of The Fall‘s new album, Imperial Wax Solvent. What, this must be their 50th or 60th album? I haven’t heard it yet, but I hope to soon. I’m not a huge fan, but Mark Smith does manage to crack me up sometimes. He serves as another reminder of my potential future self — a reclusive, opine contrarian who can still handle his drink.
More intriguing than the album, in my view, is Smith’s new rant/autobiography, Renegade: The Lives And Adventures Of Mark E. Smith. From what I understand, the book contains more heartfelt convictions than tales of mud sharks or shitting oneself on an airplane and convincing your roadie to swap pants. Here are two excerpts I’m happy to endorse:
"What gets me is the lack of lyrical effort shown by bands nowadays. Me and the wife use that thing on the telly with the subtitles to read some of the lyrics. Jesus Christ! ‘I’m going up the hill, you’re going to leave me, I’m going to leave you, why did you leave me?’ It’s pathetic: all meek and self-absorbed. I’m just not interested in hearing about some lad’s break-up with some college girl. . .
. . .lads today are a bit too open like this anyway: going to the doctor’s every five minutes telling them how depressed and distanced they feel. I think it’s because they’ve got too much time and space to think about themselves. You don’t get lads like that in Russia. It’s not part of the culture there. It’s a uniform, if you ask me: an identity. You can hear the whingeing in their music. It’s stale. They should stop hiding away in their bedrooms with their computers and get out a bit."
"Degrees have a way of warping people — it’s not good for people to spend that amount of time at university, acting like rock stars on weekdays. They get so distanced from the real world that they haven’t a fucking clue what’s needed. It’s a luxurious prison, almost. Once they get out, once they’re released, they’re good for nothing other than having weekly reunions with their old housemates, getting jobs with their old housemates, or staying on to receive more educational therapy or forming piss-poor bands. And they’ve all got foppy fringes."
I happen to be a student, myself, for the moment. Somehow, I managed to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. I’ve been an enemy of University and Academia for some time. I tend to stand on the side of Education, which I feel has detached itself from those self-contained/self-justifying islands in the sky. One of these days I expect to stumble upon a School of Comparative Irrelevancies offering courses such as "Urban Planning for Gypsies or Morse Syntax" (titles stolen from Umberto Eco). For a more brutal and honest critique of the current academic arena, check my satirical novel yet to be written. Due out in a couple years.
Just for kicks, you’ve got to see this ’80s training montage from No Retreat, No Surrender. Hold out for the black kid eating ice cream on the guy’s lap. What the fuck?: