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Renegade Paperback – March 24, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Global (March 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141028661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141028668
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Possibly the funniest music book ever written'. --Andrew O'Hagan, The Observer

About the Author

Mark E. Smith was a founder member of Manchester band The Fall in 1977, one of a great trio of bands (with Joy Division and the Buzzcocks) to come out of the city at that time. They have released a remarkable 79 albums and still continue to tour at a punishing rate. Having survived punk, 80s indie, Madchester and Britpop, they continue to have a near-religious following. When not on the road, Mark E Smith lives in Manchester.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lovblad on August 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
As expected this makes an excellent read: Mark E Smith is again on excellent form and recounts his adventures and misadventures in the music business. Of course he ends up criticizing everybody and nobody really comes out unscathed by his criticism. Highly recommended. It is a very entertaining read and irt is extremely funny.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. A. Laity on November 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
Fantastic! I am a huge fan of The Fall and MES is sheer genius. Sure, it's probably been edited together from some pub ramblings, but no matter. It's a comprehensive look at an amazing career (so far!) that's full of unexpected delights and revelations. See my longer review at the blog: [...]
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John S on April 16, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mark E. Smith and The Fall are acutely phenomenal in the world of pop music and that alone would be enough for me to pick up their proper biography.

After countless brilliant interviews and on-spot snippets of wit and anger, we finally get an autobiography of Mark E. Smith himself. Considering MES's graphomaniac ability and his long-forgotten aspiratinos to be a writer, one would expect something stylish and literary, or maybe revolutionary. At least, I was inclined to believe so. Wrong. Instead, MES simply rants about this and that, wisely led by the co-writer Austin Collings, whose job, I assume, was to keep everything in order. The cover picture of a drinking MES doesn't help: was the book being made at some Manchester pub over a moutain of beers?

The book starts with settling account with a recently departed member of The Fall, Ben Pritchard, who had given a tell-all interview about MES's attics. It's awfully lame for MES to do so, but I see the point. In July 1977 Elvis Presley's bodyguards published an outrageous book exposing the King's behavioral atrocities. Presley was ill-mad at the publication but never had a chance to oppose it as he was announced dead a few weeks later. Luckily MES didn't die before completing the book.

Throughout the book, MES constantly bemoans about England and "these days" and gloriously paints Bo Didley's America and the old socialist Manchester of the 1970s (which is a striking contrast to the attitude of Tony Wilson & the Factory crowd).

In the end, I found myself to prefer these short brisk outburts of revelation that MES gave us throughout the years: they were different from each other, increasing contradiction and intrigue; once you put it out in form of a book, it is set and Mark is never set.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are folks out there for whom MES is kind of a godhead. I've listened to him for 30 years, and have thoroughly enjoyed all the albums of the Fall, a huge part of my growing years in the 80s and I'm still purchasing them now. I've compared Smith to Dylan Thomas.

But this book is one loopy read, he never makes a statement, and seems contented to just ramble sort of aimlessly and contradict himself at every turn. I get a big problem with any entertainment industry is that being on the inside of it takes part of the magic away. Making Dragnet and enjoying Dragnet (the Fall album) are completely different things, I understand that, I understand that a magician cannot really enjoy the trick the way the naive audience does, that's not always obvious. But, hell, his dismissal of our interest in the likes of Hanley and Scanlon are incredible, to spend so much time telling us we shouldn't give a s***, and then sort of give us these half-wad ideas about what went on - well, I suppose I needed to follow it in the tabloids. I don't. And as an American he and his band are just NOT well known!

What was I looking for? Maybe something a bit more interested in the music, instead of him rambling about the way he feels people should or should not behave. Instead of such a big deal about pride of hometown, maybe something interesting about his working process? Smith is going to do what he wants and justify it in any means he sees fit, today one way, tomorrow another, and you're a fool if you think he'll do anything else!

On the other hand we/ve gotten as much from Bob Dylan over the last 60 years as well, so maybe eventually MES will do a boxed set called "biograph" or something and he'll finally let us in a bit on his inspiration dreams and muses. Good luck though, we're apparently useless for being his fans!
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