Five minutes and forty-six seconds: I would like to tell you that when I first heard The Fall - and this was the first thing I ever heard by them - I was dumbstruck, amazed, revolutionised. But I wasn’t. Because - the power of criticism! - I’d read bits about them and their abstract ever-changing always-the-same primal sound and what I’d constructed in my head was FAR more terrifying and forbidding than any music could actually possibly be. I was honestly a little bit scared of hearing The Fall.
So I wasn’t surprised by how odd it was. Instead I was surprised by how clean it was - I wasn’t to know that 1988 was the end of “the Brix Smith years”, where the band had teetered toward the commercial, had actually (tough to imagine even now) placed a song in the Top 40. “Guest Informant” wasn’t that song, and was certainly on the fringe of my then taste. But it was brash and bright enough that the only real difficulty I had was in working out what they were singing. And eventually I gave up and just enjoyed those mischievously roaming basslines.
A few months after hearing it - by which time I’d bought The Frenz Experiment - it was my turn to bring a favourite piece of music into my music lesson at school for discussion. My classmates had not been radical in their choices - Tracy Chapman was as cutting-edge as things had got, otherwise it was Pink Floyd, Dire Straits… I thought bringing in “Guest Informant” would shake things up a bit, show the squares what time it REALLY was.
It was a long five minutes and forty six seconds, because I realised in under sixty of those seconds exactly what the first thing I would be asked was, and I also realised that I still had not the first clue. Bostin’…stay cog….analyst?
This is, quite often, my favourite Fall record.
What would your 5’46” track have been?