Falling and Laughing

18 01 2015

The Big Midweek: Life Inside the Fall by Steve Hanley


The first insider’s account of life inside The Fall, Steve Hanley’s story unfolds like a novel; from 1979 when he joined his schoolmates Marc Riley and Craig Scanlon in The Fall, he puts us right in the heart of the action: on stage, on the tour bus, in the recording studio, and up close and personal with an eccentric cast of band mates. These vividly drawn scenes give unprecedented insight into the intense, highly-charged creative atmosphere within The Fall and their relentless work ethic which has won them a dedicated cult following, high-art respectability and a unique place in popular music history.
It’s a detailed, comprehensive and largely dispassionate record of an extraordinary musical journey in one of the world’s strangest bands. Steve Hanley does a remarkable job in making this rock autobiography sound almost like the story of someone following a normal career. But, of course, it isn’t. One of the great pleasures of this book is in the deadpan descriptions of the bonkers goings on and the miraculous longevity of one member in an ever-changing cast of artists in what is often viewed as Mark E Smith’s musical dictatorship.


(Also, nice to notice the credit to “The Professor”, one Michael Nath, whose first novel has previously been reviewed here.)





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