The Fall, Globe, Cardiff

Sour. Bitter. Misanthropic. That’s just me, on the day I learnt redundancy was not just looming but appears to be a near-certainty some time later this summer.

A points assessment so low that, hey, just fucking sack me, I’m a danger to society on this evaluation let alone the papers I work on. I should never have been taken on. I ought to be locked up for being a disgrace to literacy, design, perhaps even humanity.

After 28 years of journalism it seems I’m a ponderous, no-talent liability useless at the job despite having worked on national newspapers and been entrusted with the keys at Teletext at nights for seven years (it was just me and the flies on those night shifts – we had a lot of long, deep conversations).

A relatively happy bunny this time around. Pic courtesy of Biffo, (Nigel Bowen)
A relatively happy bunny this time around. Pic courtesy of Biffo, (Nigel Bowen)

Rant over. It was time to see the only other person in Britain who could be in a worse mood. Mark E Smith.

Mark E Smith has been in a fearful bate the last three times I’ve seen him play. Last time in Cardiff , in autumn 2011, he stayed on stage for barely 25 minutes before stomping off to leave the band on their own to play the gig. He was lucky he wasn’t lynched and there were many aggrieved fans at the end.

Would he make it through the night?
Would he make it through the night?

Not me, I had review tickets and thought it was funny but if I’d paid I wouldn’t have thought it was funny. Yes, hypocrisy is a funny creature.

£22 for a ticket was a bit pricey given the cantankerous star attraction might flee at any second. Would it be a £1-a-minute gig? Or would we get Full Monty Mark – an hour of glorious bile and a masterclass in sneering sarcasm?

And even if he stayed on stage, would it be any good? In the late 90s he turned up late for a concert in Brighton, pissed off his own bandmates so much they transparently played for the money, glaring straight ahead and never directed their gaze at him.

Almost the worst gig I’ve ever seen. Only the appalling Sigue Sigue Sputnik (Dunstable 1986) and the Virgin Prunes (Stafford 1982) rival it. Only the Scorpions (Dubai 2004) – surely the worst band in the history of music – surpassed it.

But this time – about time – we got value for money. It’s been a long time coming for this fan – their gig in Dunstable 1986 or 87 to be precise, since that happened.

A storming opener set a nice pace and introduced us to the band before he strolled on in nice, new, shiny, shimmering blue shirt.

Instead of 80s-style cranking out of songs, we got fluid bass lines, crisp drumming, beguiling guitar and interesting beeps and honks from the keyboards. The Globe’s sound is invariably good, probably the best in Cardiff, and for those who felt short changed in 2011 it was some sort of recompense.

Indebted to a poster at for the set list which was – Victrola Time/ Strychnine/ Jetplane (full version!)/ Chino/ Sir William Wray/ I’ve Been Duped/ Hittite Man/ Bury/ No Respect/ Loadstones/ Sparta// Kinder Of Spine/ Blindness// White Lightning// Mr Pharmacist

photo (25)

Not many I recognise – still hope somehow they’ll slip Totally Wired or Rowche Rumble in just for shock value but they never do.

And, crikey, Mark even smiled. Almost giggled at the end when dealing with smitten punters down at the front. Biffo started the night by asserting: “I keep expecting him to spit on us.”  And I felt they might be wise words.Well we called that one wrong.

You could argue that was a  let-down. Just when you’re anger quotient is cranked up to 11, the sour, miserable so and so was full of the joys of spring. Wonders never cease.

Perhaps now he’s a lightweight he could step aside, cos it looks like I’ll need a new job. Glasgow vid found by Biffo

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