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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, April 19, 2008
    Drink the long draught, Dan
    I wrote about what was around me; that was the whole point - to get down the experiences, scenes, people, etc. But some people are so daft they don't understand that writing about Prestwich is just as valid as Dante writing about his inferno.

    There's nothing stranger than the things you know but don't quite realize. Pointing it out is the difficult thing. But you can bet that once they get it the world has changed in a weird little way; it's an altered state. But it works the other way as well. And it happens in a flash. It empties you a lot more than you think. I've been lucky in that respect. But I've known people who've returned from London after a week or two, or even just a night, and their entire creative mind-state has altered beyond recognition. All at once they're rootless. The London body-swap has skinned them.
    In Renegade; The Lives and Tales of Mark E. Smith the master contrarian devotes just five pages to 'disgruntled ex-Fall members' because 'you can read all that shit everywhere else' (undoubtedly true, and Dave Simpson is due to publish a whole book on the subject later this year) and also because 'I say to everybody who enquires about this side of The Fall - do you work with the same people you worked with ten years ago?'

    Instead this book (which I picked up from the shop this afternoon and am already halfway through) is full of clear-eyed insight and tarred-finger wisdom like that quoted above. About reading the everyday. About a very specific work ethic. About the mystical in the mundane. Of course writing about Prestwich is just as valid as Dante writing about his inferno. Mark E. Smith: one of the most rooted inspirational figures of this or any time.