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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Mark E Smith: wonderful and frightening

"Perhaps Smith's face is so distinctive, because it is always pulling in two directions; you can never be sure if it is half-open or half-closed. But sitting beside him in a hotel bar in Manchester, as he drinks Malaysian beer and takes dark-brown snuff to beat the smoking ban, I am struck by a new thought. In the barrel-chest that he holds up high; in the gaunt, boxy head with its wide mouth and narrow lips; and most of all in the nose, which is pugnacious yet honest; Smith looks rather like Johnny Cash.
Cash is one of the few people Smith admits to admiring in his new autobiography, Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E Smith. In the best tradition of celebrity memoirists, Smith has not yet read his book, so when I say that he cites Cash as an influence, he groans and looks towards the exit, through which his ghost-writer has just disappeared. 'Oh no, he hasn't put that in, has he?' Smith says of the Mancunian journalist Austin Collings, who compiled the memoirs from hours of taped conversations, mostly in the pubs of Smith's home town of Prestwich, Greater Manchester. The result would make a useful pub-crawl guide, from the Church, to the Forresters and on to the Woodthorpe. ...."

Mark E Smith: wonderful and frightening, talks to Telegraph's Nicholas Blincoe. (via Up-Tight)