Mark E Smith, the singer, leader and sole constant member of The Fall, has died. While his cause of death has not yet been announced, last year he was forced to cancel tour dates due to what the band’s manager Pamela Vander referred to at the time as “bizarre and rare medical issues.” The phrase ‘bizarre and rare’ could equally serve as an epitaph for his life and singular body of work.
Smith was born in Broughton, Salford in 1957 before his family moved to nearby Prestwich while he was still young. He attended Stand Grammar School, which he left at 16. He got a job in a meat factory, and later worked on the Manchester docks as a shipping clerk. He experimented with drugs at a relatively young age, once claiming to have taken LSD even before he drank alcohol or started smoking.