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3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  615 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
Reams of stuff have been written about me in the past, but never in my own words: this is the proper one’ Mark E. Smith Still going after thirty years, The Fall are one of the most distinctive British bands, their music — odd, spare, cranky and circular — an acknowledged influence on The Smiths, The Happy Mondays, Nirvana and Franz Ferdinand. And Mark E. Smith IS The Fall. ...more
Paperback, 236 pages
Published March 24th 2010 by Penguin Global (first published January 1st 2009)
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Mar 14, 2015 Tosh rated it liked it
This book is very much like sitting in a bar, and having Mark E. Smith (The Fal) in a rant mode. The thing is his rants are pure gold. He's funny, quite a character, and often correct in his thoughts regarding the essence of vinyl listening. I imagine anyone who is in a band, would benefit from his wisdom on band life/touring. Even though, he is kind of bad at it. Nevertheless an enjoyable read, and the only surprising aspect that I came upon this book is his respect for the British writer Micha ...more
MJ Nicholls
A slender and typically unrepentant diatribe from MES, stretched into the only ‘official’ book we’re likely to get on The Fall. Dave Simpson’s book The Fallen gets to the heart of the fan’s obsession with the group, providing a more compassionate look at a band so beloved among writers and word-lovers. It’s a little more, um . . . balanced.

This book acts like an extension of the MES myth, sprinkling a few surprises here and there among the liquored ramblings of the great man, transcribed (and no
this guy is such a dick and a TOTAL eeyore, but he's also totally hilarious. only for upper-level Fall fans, i'd say.
j. ergo
May 14, 2012 j. ergo rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fall fans
He is the Hip Priest. He is the Cockney James Brown. He is the Diceman, Squidlord, and the Big Prinz. He is the man whose head expanded, the great M.E.S. He is Mark E. Smith. He is the Fall.

The Fall are unequivocally my favorite band forever, and I actually think about shit like that. This year the Fall became 35 years old. Mark E. Smith is the only surviving original member, and not by a close margin either. Upon forming in 1977, the group soon became a vehicle for Smith’s personality and his t
Sep 06, 2015 Caleb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I honestly don't know why it took me so long to read this book. I've been a rabid Fall fan since high school, devouring every album, every Peel session, and virtually every MES interview on YouTube. I admit, the guy fascinates me. He's never been afraid to call it like it is, and as an artist he always takes the road less traveled. He's an icon and an enigma at the same time.

For fans of The Fall, RENEGADE is more than a tell-all autobiography. It's a treasury. In it, MES reflects on his working
Drunk Manc Threat-uh.
Mark Desrosiers
Aug 23, 2008 Mark Desrosiers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music, memoirs
This reads like a combination of I Lived to Tell it All, and KISS and Make Up. Like George Jones, Mark E. Smith doesn't seem to know where his gifts came from (or even what they are), but gives himself ample room for cranky old-fogeyisms and bibulous self-handicapping. And like Gene Simmons, Mark regrets nothing, defends his vices, snipes at ex-bandmates, and comes across like a cocksure (or maybe "tonguesure") asshole. (But unlike Gene, Mark's knack for lucre obviously ain't all there, consider ...more
Mar 04, 2012 Caroline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
Well, I guess it's no surprise that this book is entertaining, and lacks focus. Meandering doesn't even begin to describe the journey each page takes. And I even skipped the poetry/prose interludes. The thousands of pints Mark E Smith has had over the years have done nothing to dull this man's ego or judgmentalism. Thankfully for us it hasn't dulled his drive for The Fall. But on the prior points there is a lot of shit talking in this book, and very little praise for anyone outside of Mark's pub ...more
Simon King
Quite disappointing if you want to read a coherent, well-parsed biography of his career. Enlightening if you want 300 pages of continuous ranting (no different from a run-of-the-mill Fall song, come to think of it). Seeing that he didn't actually sit down to write it, don't blame MES, blame the ghost writer. (Apparently he had a nervous breakdown whilst typing up this protracted diatribe. Poor soul!)

I'd really like to see MES produce a literary work some day. I recall reading a 80s interview (m
Flyss Williams
Sorely lacking a narrative thread. This came across to me as a series of drunken rants and excuses and no where near as funny as it promised. Disappointing.
Jul 01, 2008 Cole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fuckfaces (Fall fans pet name for themselves)
Ostensibly the memoirs of The Fall's lead vocalist, my guess is that the writing process consisted of Mark E. Smith sitting down in a pub and spewing volumes of autobiographical vitriol to some journo with a micro-cassette recorder. Which was subsequently transcribed verbatim...

Which could've been any day in the life of Smith... but in this instance, he got paid.

Sample quote: "Degrees have a way of warping people -- it's not good for people to spend that amount of time at university, acting like
Aug 10, 2014 Albert rated it really liked it
You're a bit barmy if yr not planning on reading this lot. The philosophies and pre-cogs of the drunken-grump of post-punk noise rockers, The Fall, Mark E. Smith tells it like he sees it, mostly how it is and some how it should be. He's not as flowery as his fellow Mancunian Morrissey, but he is Norman Mailer compared to Mozzer's Gore Vidal. Unapologetically drunk and literary, with a penchant for taking the piss out of palaver-slinging twats mithering in their own stupidity. He tends to show a ...more
Eric Auld
Jan 25, 2014 Eric Auld rated it liked it
A little rough to get through at first, until I got used to the rambling tone. Mark E. Smith obviously sat down with a tall glass of whisky and told another Manchesterite his stories and strong opinions on just about everything, from the music scenes he's been in to the drunken interviews he's given to the faults of every single person he's ever met.

M.E.S. is a curmudgeonly old bastard, but he thrives in his role. There's obviously some narcissism at play here, and the inability to take respons
Matt Suder
Dec 14, 2011 Matt Suder rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1/2 as long as Keef's bio & 2x as fun...
Guy Mankowski
Apr 08, 2013 Guy Mankowski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The memoir takes the form of a 250 page rant, in which a loose narrative following The Falls career is interjected with sequences in which Smith vents his spleen at critics, former band mates and tendencies he perceives in our culture. These are interspersed with asynactic sequences of stream of consciousness which seem more reflective of The Fall's mystical lyrics than a straight narrative does. By his own admission, Smith’s aim for the book is to ‘create a Mein Kampf for the Hollyoaks generati ...more
Margaret Cooney
Aug 18, 2013 Margaret Cooney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have to confess I am something of a fan girl and have loved The Fall for longer than I care to remember, so I will get that out of the way first. But I'n no obsessive in the 'he is not appreciated' camp. The last few albums have been crap and lately, Mark E Smith, as much as I love the man, has become self parodying. I really do wish he hadn't dissipated all his genius on booze, so was worried this might just be a rambling, bitter reminiscence of a drunk, but I need not have feared. It is hila ...more
Jonathan Hutchins
Never liked The Fall much (and I was listening to Peel solid from 1979 for a few years) but there's no denying Mark E. Smith can't be ignored. I want to pigeonhole him as a smart-mouthed alcoholic has-been, and I can't. It's in large part a class thing - much of what he says about working-class vs middle-class attitudes in the North is absolutely spot-on. His self-comparison to Alex Ferguson is not as hubristic as it sounds - yes he routinely fucks off band members and has left traumas and lifel ...more
Jan 26, 2011 Benjamin rated it really liked it
Ghostwritten stream-of-consciousness diatribes and a few chapters of prose poetry with ellipses galore in this very entertaining volume by Mark E. Smith. What can I say? It's not a history of The Fall, it's not an autobiography or memoir in the classic sense... I guess it's closest to books like Please Kill Me or Mike Watt's Spiels of a Minuteman. It's got a lot of entertaining stories, a general outline of the impetus behind a few of The Fall's projects, some personal philosophy, and a bit of l ...more
t o n y
Nov 06, 2009 t o n y rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you've ever wondered what goes on inside the head of Mark E Smith look no further than this book. The "Back in my day this would never have happened..." and "...of course I was right all along" attitude could be a complete turn off for some people, but I loved the dark, grumbling and hilarious reminiscences of (love him or hate him) a very clever, witty man.

From a historical point of view, Renegade offers a brilliantly alternate portrait of Manchester's music scene, well outside the overly ch
Aug 09, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you expect anything different from Mark E. Smith than dry barbs of cutting humor and working-class intellectualism, you probably don't know enough about Mark E. Smith to have picked this book up. As an American, some of the finer points of his music and his references in this book are lost on me, but the personality, the wit, and the constant jabs at Oasis never fail to win me over.

Much as you'd expect, he comes across as both familiar enough to be an old guy you'd have a beer with down at t
Aedan Lake
Apr 04, 2011 Aedan Lake rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great fun: partly an autobiography, partly an extended rant against a music industry (and more generally, a Britain) dominated by middle-class, London-centric poseurs. MES has a talent for skewering hypocrisy and pretentiousness, and opening the book to any random page guarantees iconoclastic wisdom.

Page 154: Brighton is "The Guardian's version of The Prisoner" with Julie Burchill and Paul McCartney as the screws.

As well as the rock'n'roll insights (Noel Gallagher checking what brand MES's shir
Feb 20, 2014 Rob rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Like Doctor Who and James Bond, people's favourite Fall albums tend to depend on the age they were when they first got into the subject. Hence, it's interesting to see which Mark E. Smith rates the highest. That apart, however, this is as rambling and incoherent a book as you would expect from the man while targets vary widely and Morrissey seems chilled out in comparison when it comes to axes to grind. The result, sadly, is tedium and inconsequence.
Feb 25, 2013 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't want to gush over MES, but he's had an incredibly long career with a massive win/loss ratio. Even the duds have some gems on them. In this book, he gives you some kernels of wisdom from his years leading a band and being on the road plus some insight into his creative process and what he thinks the high points of his career are. It's written in a very fresh, MES-staccato style not unlike his best songs (Green Eyed Loco-Man, Container Drivers, Totally Wired). His 3 personal faves seem to ...more
Paul Saxton
Smith should have written this book a few years earlier, when he was sharper, cooler, more focused and less of an embittered drunk. Still, this collection of transcribed interviews is entertaining enough, with Smith obviously playing to the crowd a bit and living up to his image of an avuncular, although often belligerent, tyrant. Which is why it's perfect for the Guardian-reading, casual Fall fan who wants to just dip into the strange world of MES.

For those of us, however, who are a little more
Oct 28, 2014 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been a Fall fan for almost my entire adult life so it can only be 5 stars.
If you like the Fall then you need to read this but i guess if you are a fall fan you have already read this. I had to wait until it came out in ebook form and i really enjoyed the book it is written like the conversation that all fall fans would wish to have had with Mr Smith.
Aug 07, 2015 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very funny - loved this book.
I am a fan of Mark E Smith & The Fall however anyone could pick up this book and enjoy a great insight into a great mind. If you are failed to be entertained by this book I would be greatly surprised.
Colin Milligan
Sep 06, 2009 Colin Milligan rated it really liked it
A real rollercoaster read. Entertaining, and eloquent, you quickly get caught up with MES's 100mph mind and spend a couple of hundred pages playing along in his private drinking game.

Throuhg the eighties and nineties I bought many Fall singles as they came out - though I never bought their albums - so I was able to follow the different phases of his career easily enough. But the best bits of the book were the personal diatribes and preaching - if there's one thing MES knows, it's what's wrong w
Apr 29, 2009 C.J. rated it it was amazing
For everyone that thought The Fall's lead singer, Mark E. Smith, was an overly opinionated, arrogant bastard, this book will not change your mind. What it will do give you at least some insight as to why he thinks and acts the way he has done for his entire professional career.

The only caveat is, for all his talk in the book and elsewhere about liking to write - as if his lyrical output for the past 30-plus years wasn't enough evidence - it is too obvious that the book itself is the product of
Aug 08, 2014 Oscar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very obviously one sided and hilarious view of what The Fall have been in a somewhat less cynical (or apparently less self aware) view than Luke Haines's Bad Vibes.
Jun 12, 2011 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
About what you'd expect from Mark Smith's (ghost written) autobiography. It reads like a drunken self-justifying rant but it's quite good when Smith's writing about his tastes in literature (he's a big fan of Arthur Machen,he prefers Ginsberg to Burroughs, he was taught English by an ex-roommate of Tolkien, leading to a protest to administration about having to read The Hobbit) and it gets laugh out loud funny after he winds up, and deservedly so, in Riker's Island on assault and battery charges ...more
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“If you're going to play it out of tune, then play it out of tune properly.” 31 likes
“There was a lot of pretense floating around; not just with aunties and all that but with emotions and how people saw you. They had a point. There's a lot to learn from that generation -- the stoic approach. I think it's disgusting how they've been forgotten about in this way. It's the American hippies' fault, they saw an in there, a way of making money out of bad moods. That's all it is most of the time. You can't expect to feel cock-a-hoop every minute of every day. My mam and dad's generation understood this. They were just thankful the bombs had stopped threatening their lives. They just wanted to get on with living.” 13 likes
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