Friday, 14 September 2018

Brix Smith: The Rise The Fall and the Rise

NEW FACTS EMERGE: I wonder if the final Fall album was titled as a reflection on the books written by Brix Start, Stephen Hanley and Simon Woolstencroft? Brixton’s fascinating book “The Rise The Fall and the Rise” is certainly full of revelations about the character of various Fall members especially Mark E Smith. Primarily I learnt these things:

1      When she was a teenager Brix was brutally anally raped by a guy she thought was gay who lured her to a jam session. She never revealed this to anyone until she wrote the book.

2    Mark E Smith seemed to have been in a worse state of mental collapse than I’d imagined when Brix quit for the second time and tried to hit him with her guitar after he threw her handbag at her on stage. Mark insulted some rappers playing the same festival as The Fall by calling them “boy” and got a good beating for it. He was so deranged he became convinced he’d caught a disease from being touched by a person in a wheelchair that he started cutting his hands to “let out the disease.” I feel very lucky I completely failed to replace Brix as guitarist at this time, as I think I’d have probably lasted half a rehearsal. Stephen Hanley seems to be the most patient, dependable, humble nice gentleman you could hope to meet, but Mark even drove him out in the end. Brix’s replacement “Scotch man” Tommy Crooks didn’t last long.

3.       Marcia Schofield was obsessed with hardcore porn that disgusted Brix.

4.       All “the lads” except the happily married Mr Hanley and Simon Rogers would pay for prostitutes whilst on tour.

5.       Mark started cheating on Brix earlier in their marriage than I thought, and also cheated on Lucy Rimmer.

6.       “Hotel Bloedel” was a real hotel in Germany near Auschwitz where Mark and Brix stayed. It had its own abattoir, where cows were slaughtered to feed the guests, which disgusted Brix. Bloedel is German for stupid person and it was run by a strange family of that name. Mostly stupid people work in abattoirs don’t they?

7.       My first impression of Brix when I met her whilst the Fall were recording a video for “The Chisellers” was correct: she is a really nice person. My first impression of Karl Burns was also pretty much spot on: he’s a right cunt. Brix bought him a birthday cake which he just threw at a wall! I never met either of them again but had several strange encounters with Mark E Smith in the years that followed. It’s possible that I was at least partly the inspiration for the lyrics and Mark E Smith impressions on the song “Everybody But Myself” and the character of the Crying Marshall.

8.       Leigh Bowery “simulated” rape on Brix (without her consent) but she put it down to being part of his “art” as there was no penetration. Considering Agenda Item One, this must have been very disturbing and terrifying for her.

9.       Brix has a very low opinion of “The Frenz Experiment” especially “The Steak Place” and “Oswald Defence Lawyer.”

10.   Brix came up with the title “The Wonderful and Frightening World of the Fall” as a homage to “The Wonderful World of Disney.”

11.   We are in total agreement that “This Nation’s Saving Grace” is the best Fall album. Her critical analysis of Fall music is mostly spot on.

12.   Brix drew the CREEP character that I have on a very old poster, originally for a book of Mark’s lyrics. CREEP has a lobster claw hand “because creeps always pinch you on the ass.”

13.   There should be another 14 or 15 points so that there are 27 points, just like the double live album that was the final Fall recording to be released featuring Brix, until the deluge of demo/live compilations like “Oxymoron” and “Sinister Waltz.” I will just have to read the book again to find the points.

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