The Fall of the Typewriter
Posted on May 23, 2014
I settled on a mildly apocalyptic title rather than “Typewriters of The Fall”, which is what the title of this post should be since it attempts to relate two things:
- Albums by English post-punk band “The Fall”
Recently I was pleased to finally get my hands on a CD copy of “Levitate”, a self-produced (and manufactured in America) album that was released by The Fall in 1997 – and which had previously been hard to find except at ridiculously extortive eBay prices.
Levitate was the only studio album (thus far there have been 30) that I didn’t own a copy of.
The rise of The Fall (if that isn’t an oxymoron) began in 1977 when the eighteen year-old Mark E Smith and his newly-formed group issued an E.P. “Bingo Master’s Breakout” on the Step Forward punk label. Apparently, Smith typed out all the lyrics on a typewriter during his lunch hour while working at the Manchester docks as a customs clerk.
Right from the outset there’s a typewriter association, and I’m happy to report that that association has continued.
On the inside of the CD sleeve of The Real New Fall LP (2003), for example, there’s an illustration which might have something to do with the original name of the album …
“Country On The Click”
A less abstract typewriter appears on this cover for the 1985 CD single “Couldn’t Get Ahead” (a track from the album “This Nations Saving Grace”) …
But best of all, is the following image taken from my copy of “Paintwork: A portrait of the Fall” by Brian Edge (1989) …
Missing ribbon cover = creative genius?
I don’t know whether this typewriter was owned by Smith himself, or what make of typewriter it is (the Tab keys on the top row suggest Adler to me) but given the fact that Smith’s lyrics often reveal an obsession with the now defunct German Democratic Republic, I’d like to think they were written on a typewriter that was made in the GDR.
“Athlete Cured” (Frenz Experiment 1987)
Above image from http://50watts.com/#It-Was-the-Time-of-the-Giant-Moths
Whether Smith still uses a typewriter I have no idea, but when you look at the notes on the covers and sleeve notes of various studio albums, it’s clear that the typewritten word was an important part of The Fall’s trash aesthetic …
“Room to Live” 1982
Perverted by Language 1983
Code Selfish 1992
The legendary Mark E Smith: Musician, Poet, Typewriter Insurgent?