Published Apr 18, 2008Out of all the rock stars out there to write their memoirs, you can bet Mark E. Smith is either at or near the top for most music enthusiasts. The notorious front-man for the Fall has led one hell of a life - which you can read more about here - and now he's about to release his own account to the public.
Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith, penned by the crotchety Smith himself, is set to hit UK shops on April 24 through Viking Books. The 256-page book is Smith's attempt to set the record straight, or as he words it: "Reams of stuff have been written about me in the past, but never in my own words: this is the proper one."
Just recently, the Guardian ran an appreciation piece on the author titled "My rise and Fall", which included excerpts from the book. As you can expect, they're pretty enlightening. The best one, involves the influence he commanded over his "five sisters":
Twelve going on 60 - that's what people used to say about me: a 12-year-old wanting to be a 60-year-old man. I couldn't stand music when I was that age. I hated it, thought it was vaguely effeminate. Music to me was something your sisters did.
And I couldn't stand my sisters. Sometimes in the school holidays when my mam and dad were at work, I'd be looking after five fucking girls: my three sisters, this adopted kid, and another whose parents were abusive to her. This was late the 60s or early 70s, and they'd have been about four or five at the time.
I devised this thing called "Japanese prison camp". I'd make them sit in this room under a table with a big cloth over them because the air force might be coming. I'd be the Japanese guard. "You can't go out. You must stay under there," I'd tell them. Then I'd shut the door, say I was going to the bridge on the River Kwai, have some pop, go out with my mates and, half an hour before my mam and dad came home, I'd return, saying, "Japanese prison camp is now over."
If they escaped, the punishment would be "No lemonade." They used to love it. Throw sweets under the cloth. Good laugh.
They always remember it, my sisters, when they get a bit pissed: "We remember Japanese prison camp. You don't fool us, you pop star." And my mam's going, "What's Japanese prison camp?" Today, we'd probably get investigated by the social services.
The Fall "Victoria"