Look Who's StalkingThis week I'll be doing one-a day posts about songs included in my latest novel "Time After Time", how the music fits into the narrative and where the band or the song fitted into my life.
The first is "A Figure Walks" by The Fall. This song announced itself very early on in the process of writing the novel during a comic stalking/pursuit scene I was writing. The assassin has finally sighted his target and starts following her, while he himself is being pursued by a gang of youths with murderous intent in their eyes at this outsider to their estate. The drumming and bassline are suitably menacing for that horrible feeling that you're being followed, but don't dare turn round and engage their eyes...
"Is he following me? Can't be!... He is! Matching me step for step. Oh god, now you've done it girl. You and your big mouth. They got websites full of that sort of thing. Pregnant is the new virginity in the sicko stakes... Don't... turn... around. Keep walking. Don't break into a run. Just look straight ahead. Clenched fists and tight buttocks. Just wants to put the wind up you a little... and he's succeeding... well, cross the road then you bastard! Oh god, sounds like there's a whole pack of them now."
Ah The Fall. Probably the band I saw play live more than any other. They used to play absolute toilets of venues as per Mark E Smith's legendary perversity. I saw them a few times at a North London Polytechnic, in the days when they were still called that rather than Universities. It wasn't even a campus, just some Hall owned by or attached to the Polytechnic. We were all sat there on the pavement waiting for the doors to open, when Marc Riley, erstwhile Fall guitarist (before a vicious falling out with Smith so that the latter changed the lyrics to a song and baited Riley from the stage at a later gig I attended) and the man who would later be known as "Lard" as Radio ! DJ Mark Radcliffe's sidekick, anyway that same Marc Riley approached us from the shops on Holloway Road with his placcy bag sagging under the modest weight of what looked like a fourpack of convenience store beer. No fancy riders backstage for The Fall as Riley cut a path through our outstretched arms and legs on the concrete. No one bothered to salute or even greet him, for that was The Fall and their fans. Unrock and roll as you could get.
I once saw them in February, when they played a set of unfamiliar songs as was their wont. These songs then turned up on the new album released a week later, so fair enough you think, they were showcasing the new album just ahead of time. Then having worn the vinyl out playing that album and committing every song to the pith and fibre of my body, I was ready to belt out the anthems full voce when they returned to the same venue a month later... Only for them to unfurl a completely new set of yet more unfamiliar songs that would later go on to form their next album. Not for The Fall to bother plugging an album less than a month old! And that cussedness towards the record business endeared them in our hearts forever I would suggest.