Painting for MES, 2018

Painting for MES, 2018, Acrylic paint and watercolour pencil on canvas, 80 x 80 cm


This painting is dedicated to Mark E Smith of The Fall. It was begun when he was ill and while I was working on it he died. There’s no real connection to Mark in either idea or execution (except of course that The Fall have been playing in the background since 1983 when a friend lent me Perverted By Language).

The only time I met MES was at a mini-gig at the HMV on Oxford Street in London to launch the album The Frenz Experiment. The group played a short set and then sat behind desks signing albums for the fans. Mark was friendly and polite (which was a surprise given that the music press portrayed him as a kind of fierce, cantankerous despot).

Over the years I’ve grown to love The Fall and Mark’s gnarled, dazzling poetry – from their first album, Live At The Witch Trials (1979) to their last New Facts Emerge (2017) there have been very few duds (although if you’re thinking of collecting their albums, steer clear of the live albums and compilations until you’re well and truly obsessed). And Mark E Smith went out as brilliant as he came in – the final album’s a stunning culmination, along with Sublingual Tablet (2015), of his work with Dave Spurr, Keiron Melling, Peter Greenway and Elena Poulou – a golden run of albums that started in 2008.

When I’m dead and gone
My vibrations will live on
In vibes not vinyl through the years
People will dance to my waves

Mark E Smith, Psykick Dancehall (thanks to The Annotated Fall)

If you are interested in learning more about The Fall a great place to start is The Fall Online Forum.

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Ashley Lily Scarlett and I are engaged in a conversation in pictures called Between Scarlett and Guest. Check it out.

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11 Comments Post your own or leave a trackback: Trackback URL

  1. Mary says:

    A lovely tribute Richard.

  2. rabirius says:

    The picture is brilliant…
    …and The Fall I liked as well. I remember seeing them perform live some time in the early 90s.

    • Thank you my friend…
      Ah, that’s a period I missed – wish I’d seen them then – the latest incarnation was one of my favourites though – incredibly versatile, but unshowy.

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