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80's posterier pierced by non pretension,
This review is from: Grotesque - After The Gramme (Audio CD)
Wilfully peverse, the autodidact shows you do not need to be university trained to brim and buckle with ideas. All you need is zest and front. Spare yourself the expense.
Mark rooted himself in the north when it was seen as an alien land in the south. A world of shell suits, taches, unemployment cheques and lumpen moorlocks covered in tattoos. In the 70's/80's; rust, woodworm, damp and moroseness pervaded the north. The south headed by the conservative regime wreaked a cull of vitality, essence and culture. In the south the non stop erotic cabaret entailed stripey shirts and red braces to bob to the Human League, ABC, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran and countless other pointless ablutions. There was a party going on and I wasn't invited. As it happened I gate crashed numerous May Balls where this undiluted effervescence was bubbling the night away. I can report back it was bahhrin dahhhlin.
In the north as work poured out, cheap lager/cider and heroin moved in. Football teams and music were the only flags waved in a desolate soulful land being culturally cleansed of pigeons, whippets, allotments, camaraderie and neighbours. All the old forms of collective identity bulldozed under the guise of modernity. In its wake shopping centre meccas arose to cater for John Quays; status, clothes, retail and narco.
Meanwhile in the south the arty deserted punk as the fighting broke out with pitched political battles on tubes, buses, street, clubs becoming the norm. Just as well they were all useless when it came to the ruck. Class alliance of the surreal shifted into a prole leather jacket mohican moorlock on one divide and an effete Bowie/Roxy Eloi on the other. Once again class divided and ruled the world.
Mark's take was to retreat from it all and affirm a northern identity based on the surreal. Ploughing his own lonely piece of allotment he had enough charisma and pizzaz to gather a group of like minded souls. Snubbing the synthesised non stop ennui of the southern party. He also steered away from the lumpen screams into the collective hardcore glue bag. He gazed at the world around him and articulated the peverse.
Harnessing white workng class outre sounds; country and western, rockablly, 60's punk he mangled them in the iron. This followed a tour with Lux and Ivy. He then produced this album, a northern musical. Drawing on surrealistic observations embedded within working class northern culture, blasted through the sieve of lysergic acid, pumped along with strong THC, bathed and matured with light and bitterness out it all pops at the end. Ramshackle rangalonga ding dong sapper sounds undermining, puncturing, posturing and pretence.
Comic, surreal, peverse, bitter, it's all there in the groove. Mark became a lone voice single handedly saving one aspect of northern culture from a drop into the abyss of disintegration and denigration. This is a frozen document of time, more chips on his shoulder than a McDonalds Awayday he transcends oblivion, production to root his vision at a time when everything he stood for was seen as outre darling.
Whilst all the make up has been cleansed and the faces of the effete have cracked and bloated you will never see Mark on an 80's revival tour along with Banarama, Spandau, Human League, Tears for Fears and ABC. For all of their spin of a new pop dream, ultimately strip the fakery, they were Thatchers cultural shock troops. In cahoots with greasy pole ascending journos they all weaved a collective lie. Now they herd together to recreate the non stop sugar sweet gut chundering pleasure for the middle aged socially autistic.
Mark sells out venues by himself having stuck to his own vision contained in this album. Whilst they may have turned up their collective noises at the pringle jumpered snarl of the whippet man, ther art is mass remaindered in the collective bargain bin boot sales up and down the land, at 50p per copy. Early Fall singles however are treated as works of art.
There lies a lesson in essence Dr. Faustus.