Revisit Mark Fisher’s perceptive writings on Mark E Smith

In 2016, Mark Fisher released a book titled The Weird and the Eerie, in which he analyses The Fall’s 1980 album Grotesque (After the Gramme).

In commemoration of frontman Mark E Smith, who passed away yesterday (24 January) aged 60, the publisher, Repeater Books, has reshared an extract from Fisher’s book. The extract articulates the ways in which The Fall’s third studio album manages to “draw out a cultural politics of the weird and the grotesque”. Furthermore, it extends the album’s themes to The Fall’s 1982 album, Hex Enduction Hour, which, Fisher notes, is also “saturated with references to the weird.”

The extract reads: ‘The sound on Grotesque is a seemingly impossible combination of the shambolic and the disciplined, the cerebral-literary and the idiotic-physical”.

“It is on the track The N.W.R.A. (The North Will Rise Again) that the conflict between the claustrophobic mundaneness of England and the grotesque-weird is most explicitly played out. All of the album’s themes coalesce in this track, a tale of cultural political intrigue that plays like some improbable mulching of T.S. Eliot, Wyndham Lewis, H.G. Wells, Philip K. Dick, Lovecraft and le Carré.”

“The album is structured around the opposition between the quotidian and the weird-grotesque. It seems as if the whole record has been constructed as a response to a hypothetical conjecture.”

Read the full extract here.