Mark E. Smith (1957 – 2018)

Mark E Smith, “The Year Of The Toadies”

New Musical Express, 12/1983

THIS YEAR, the group that sneers at laughing fate, broke down in a quaint place three kilometres outside Dachau for five days skint and starved escaping only through the use of a bogus credit card to get to Yugoslavia, not worth it at all despite what these leftist musicians say. (Of course gigs are packed!) Returned home to bankrupt record co. then slipped again into a more sinister one. Went abroad and developed xenophobia. Marriage saved vocalist’s neck. Attacked for tax. Spurned retrospect. future very bright, hiding retirement. Now number 6, age average 22.5.

OTHERWISE, it’s the cyclical tone of 1983 that strikes me the most. Viewed through miserable eyes, much familiarity here: Music Vaudeville still. Manned as ever by cockney musicians in disguise, supplemented by Lancashire-Scotch deserters. But there’s more to it. Loads of crafted ‘good pop’ lyrics, Serious, Pal, in their statement of non-conviction in this living desert etc. but subtly appealing to humanity in the same way as a hospital does. Nothing new, except this is of groups’ own accord! So, I have to proclaim 1983-THE YEAR OF THE TOADIES. A good laugh though was seeing all the serious/literal musicians go ‘Lite’ (in wake of lager and cigarettes) as the scrambling for market position heated up. A musical version of the GOD-JOB Interviewer hoax practiced on schools TV – i.e. declining market etc. look at so & so, he did it – this paid off to ‘those concerned.’ Competition fierce, and groups as clean and accommodating as never before! Independent labels feel secure enough to pick, choose and shove around even. Early senile fantasies of groups sure to be quenched for their staff, who’re comfy in the knowledge that the Y.T.S. of rock is the Soviet conscription-well of GB.

More disturbing was this panic hitting journalist too – semi established hacks and even their betters fighting for and adopting name scattering with redick prose, bruise purple and its insecurity. Smash Hits realise this I think.

Also funny is the proliferation of faggots in the top pop lot. I have a theory that this is due to AIDS scare, resulting in said groups having more energy derived from celibacy.

Be seeing you.

A prompting Xmas to our friends.