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Stokes's Bristol Nightclub incident in detail (From: The Comeback Summer by Geoff Lemon)

IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a place where misadventure could begin, you can’t go past Mbargo. The nightclub’s streetfront is painted a purple so bright you’ll see it in your dreams. Strings of giant sequins shimmer in the breeze. Its phonically inventive name is spelt in silver letters that climb its three-storey terrace facade. Inside are strips of burning neon, a few booths, floorboards so marinated in drink that they have an ingredients list. Bristol is a student city on England’s south coast crowded with music and nightlife and street art. This is Banksy’s home town, and the tourism board suggests in rather strong terms that ‘you would be a fool not to see his amazing work firsthand’. The same organisation describes Mbargo as ‘intimate’, which is fair for a place where you can catch an STI standing up. Students cram into its modest dimensions while people with names like DJ Klaud battle for billing with £1.50 drink deals over seven sloppy nights a week. To get a sense of the story about to come, consider that it’s the kind of place open until two o’clock on a Monday morning, and that at two o’clock on a Monday morning, Ben Stokes still thought it had closed too early.
The Ashes of 2017–18 had disciplinary bookends. It was after that series that Australia’s two leaders went off the rails in South Africa. It was a few weeks before that Ashes tour that England’s biggest star windmilled his way into his own disaster.
In the early hours of 25 September 2017, Stokes and teammate Alex Hales were barred from re-entering Mbargo after a night out on the piss. A Sunday thrashing of an abject West Indies in an ignored series at the fag-end of the season apparently required ample celebration. After arguing with the bouncer and hanging about at the door for a while, they wandered off to find a casino in the hope of more drinking. They’d barely made it around the corner before getting in the middle of a conflict between four locals. As is said on the internet, it escalated quickly.
The 26 September reporting was bloodless. Withholding names, police stated that a man ‘was arrested on suspicion of causing actual bodily harm’ while another went to hospital with facial injuries. England’s director of cricket Andrew Strauss separately confirmed that Stokes was the arrestee, adding that he had been released without charge and that Hales had gamely offered to ‘help police with their enquiries’. Administrators had a good chance of hiding behind that investigation, and the next day Stokes was named in the upcoming Ashes squad as expected. But that night the video emerged.
Bristol student Max Wilson had shot it on his phone, then offered it to The Sun. What he thought was playing hardball was actually lowball: his opening price of £3000 was snapped up by a tabloid that would have paid ten times that. The Sun went on to make a mint by syndicating the rights worldwide. From a window above the fray, the vision showed six men on the street below performing the muddled choreography of a melee. One was right at the centre of it. One was waving a bottle, one dipped in and out, one tried to calm it. Two others floated around the edges. The central figure was unmistakable: red hair burning even in the streetlight as he launched into a series of blows against two of the men, falling to grapple with them on the ground, then following both across the street, swinging punches the whole way. Hales trailed behind, repeatedly and impotently shouting ‘Stokes! Stop! Stokes! Enough!’ The ECB could fudge issues that existed only in thickets of legalese, but not those captured in moving colour. Stokes was stood down from the next West Indies match, then suspended indefinitely. It emerged that he had broken his hand during the fight, something he’d done twice before while punching objects in dressing rooms.
The response in Australia was fierce: Stokes was a thug, a lowlife, a selection that would disgrace England. It was not entirely coincidental that a ban for England’s best player would be handy for the Aussie team, but there was also a cultural split. In England, plenty of people still minimise pub fights as lads letting off steam. In Australia, heavy media coverage as a succession of young men were killed had inverted that tolerance. The discourse now saw any punch as potentially deadly and accordingly reckless. This was more poignant in a cricket context given that David Hookes, the dashing Test batsman and state coach, was killed in 2004 by a pub bouncer’s fist.
The PR situation was bad for Stokes as details emerged of the injuries to the men he’d hit, and that one was a young war veteran and father. Stokes wasn’t officially removed from the Ashes squad through October but stayed behind when his teammates left, hoping for police to dismiss the matter in time for a late dash to Australia. His annual contract was renewed on the due date in case that came to pass. Then 29 October brought a twist in the tale.
‘Ben Stokes praised by gay couple after defending them from homophobic thugs,’ ran the headline. Kai Barry and Billy O’Connell had emerged. Not entirely out of nowhere: while Stokes had made no public comment, this story in his defence had initially been leaked to TV host Piers Morgan after the fight, as soon as the video appeared. Police body-camera footage played in court would later show that Stokes had given the same story to the arresting officer on the night. But no-one knew the identities of the fifth and sixth men in the video, and police appeals had turned up nothing.
It was The Sun again with the breakthrough. Kai and Billy were perfect for a readership not keen on nuance. ‘We couldn’t believe it when we found out they were famous cricketers. I just thought Ben and Alex were quite hot, fit guys,’ said Kai, who was memorably described as a ‘former House of Fraser sales assistant’. The paper had the pair do a full photo shoot: layering the fake tan, showing off chest waxes, mixing Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton into a range of outfits. Their best shot had them standing back to back, heads turned to the camera, in a mirror-image Zoolander moment.
Suddenly The Sun was the England team’s best friend. ‘Their claims could lead to the all-rounder being cleared over the punch-up and freed to play in the First Test in Australia next month,’ it gushed, then gave a tasting platter of quotes: ‘We were so grateful to Ben for stepping in to help. He was a real hero.’ ‘If Ben hadn’t intervened it could have been a lot worse for us.’ ‘We could’ve been in real trouble. Ben was a real gentleman.’ Would it be known forever as Kai and Billy’s Ashes? No. While the Bristol boys provided spin for Stokes’ reputation they didn’t influence the police. With charges still pending there was little choice – not given Strauss had previously sacked Kevin Pietersen for being annoying. Stokes remained suspended through the Ashes and a one-day series in Australia, and lost the vice-captaincy. It was January 2018 before the Crown Prosecution Service laid a charge.
That charge surprisingly came in as affray, a crime that can carry prison time but is classified as ‘a breach of the peace as a result of disorderly conduct’. The men he had punched, Ryan Ali and Ryan Hale, faced the same count, charged as equal participants in a fight rather than Stokes being charged with assaulting them. Alex Hales was not charged, despite being seen in the video to aim several kicks when Ryan Ali was lying on the ground. Given the underwhelming standing of the offence, Stokes was cleared by the ECB to tour New Zealand, and kept playing until his trial in August 2018, which he missed a Test to attend. None of the three defendants would be convicted.
The reasoning behind the charges was never released and was attributed vaguely to ‘CPS lawyers’. The service gave the case to Alison Morgan, a prosecutor of a class known as Treasury Counsel who usually handle serious criminal matters. Morgan had a scheduling clash and never ended up court for the case, but in 2018 and 2019 she would go on to win damages and admissions of libel from The Daily Mail, The Times and The Daily Telegraph variously for incorrectly reporting that she had been responsible for the inadequate and inconsistent charging decisions.
Morgan’s successor on the case was Nicholas Corsellis QC, who on the first day of trial was permitted by the CPS to request two assault charges be added against Stokes. ‘Upon further review,’ claimed a CPS statement, ‘we considered that additional assault charges would also be appropriate.’ This was patent nonsense from the service that eight months earlier had chosen the lesser charge. Any lawyer knows that no judge will allow new charges once a trial has begun, because the defence hasn’t had time to prepare. But such a request could deflect criticism of the prosecution service by technically making the judge the one who disallows the charge.
Working through the story from the trial and the tape is complicated. You had a Ryan and a Ryan, a Hale and a Hales, a Billy and a Barry and a Ben. You had several versions of events as to who knew whom, who was drinking with whom, who had insulted whom and who had merely engaged in ‘banter’, a word that in modern Britain has to do an unconscionable amount of lifting. The reporting had constantly mixed up the Ryans as to who had which injury, who was in hospital, who had played which part in the fight, and whose mum had which stern words to say about it.
Let’s agree that from now Ryan Ali is Ryan One, the firefighter who ended up with a fractured eye socket and a cracked tooth. Ryan Two can be Ryan Hale, the soldier who scored concussion and facial lacerations. Mr Barry and Mr O’Connell are best known per The Sun as Kai and Billy. In scorecard parlance we’ll leave the cricketers as Stokes and Hales.
Amid the confusion, Stokes and his lawyers built his case in a straightforward way. The UK legal definition of affray is ‘if a person threatens or uses unlawful violence or force towards another person, which causes another person of reasonable firmness present at the scene to fear for their safety’. That means it doesn’t account for violence that harms a target, but violence that might frighten a theoretical bystander. The wiggle room for Stokes was with ‘unlawful’, because the charge excuses violence in defending oneself or others.
This interpretation hinged on the beginning of the video, where Ryan One waves a beer bottle about and takes a swing at Kai. The version from Stokes was that he was minding his own business walking down the street when he heard homophobic abuse. He intervened verbally and was threatened verbally by Ryan One – something that Ryan One denied but that couldn’t be proved or disproved. In fear for his safety Stokes had to nullify that threat by bashing Ryan One before it went the other way. He registered Ryan Two in his peripheral vision as another possible threat, and again had only one recourse.
Stokes also had to convince the jury to disregard testimony from Mbargo’s bouncer that he had been looking for a fight. A solid lump of a man, Andrew Cunningham had not enjoyed his patron’s attempts to get back into the club after the bouncer declined an offer of a bribe. ‘He got a bit verbally abusive towards myself. He mentioned my gold teeth and he said I looked like a cunt and I replied, “Thank you very much.” He just looked at me and told me my tattoos were shit and to look at my job.’ Cunningham described these words as coming in ‘a spiteful tone, quite an angry tone’, and said that Stokes still seemed angry as he walked away.
These were details the doorman had nothing to gain by inventing, but each of them Stokes denied. By his own accounting he had drunk a beer at the game and three pints at his hotel, then ‘potentially had some Jägerbombs’ along with half a dozen vodkas at the club. He insisted that after all of this he was not drunk.
If I may take a moment here to call upon the wisdom of experience – a person who cannot definitively say whether they have had any Jägerbombs has definitely had some Jägerbombs. A Jägerbomb is an experience that does not pass one by. Further to that, a person who says they have ‘potentially’ done something has definitely done that thing and doesn’t want to admit it. A person who has had between 15 and 24 standard drinks in one evening is shitfaced. A person who tries to bribe a bouncer £300 – three hundred quid! – to get into Mbargo – Mbargo! – is beyond shitfaced.
If Stokes admitted that he was drunk then the prosecution could say he was out of control. He claimed clear recall of assessing a threat, feeling fear and deciding to protect himself with force. He confidently denied details from the bouncer’s testimony, like using the word ‘cunt’ or mentioning gold teeth. Yet on other details he claimed a ‘significant memory blackout’. He didn’t remember the punch that saw Ryan One taken away by ambulance. He didn’t remember what the Ryans had said to Kai and Billy, only that those words were homophobic. With no head injury, as one of the few people who hadn’t been hit, he had supposedly suffered this memory loss despite being sober.
The version from Kai and Billy was compatible but vague: they had been walking along, they ‘heard … shouts’ of abuse from an unspecified source, then Stokes ‘stepped in’ and thus they avoided possible harm. They claimed to have been bought a drink by Stokes at Mbargo, although CCTV showed them meeting outside. The overall implication from both accounts was that the cricketers had been pals with Kai and Billy, while the Ryans as per The Sun’s headline were a roving band of thugs.
The reality though is that the Ryans were the ones hanging out with Kai and Billy at Mbargo. Police discussed CCTV from inside the club in questioning and at trial. On that footage the four Bristolians bought drinks for one another, danced together, and Kai was noted to have variously touched Ryan Two’s crotch and Ryan One’s buttock. Ryan One told police that all of this was taken lightheartedly and wasn’t a problem. Indeed, when the Ryans called it a night the other two left with them.
This much is clear from footage out the front of Mbargo, which shows Kai and Billy exit the club and start talking with a subdued Hales and a demonstrative Stokes, who are stuck outside. The vision was played in court to determine whether Stokes was antagonistic towards Kai and Billy, as he appears to impersonate them and to throw a lit cigarette their way. More interesting is that after a few minutes the Ryans emerge, and all six actors in the fight video briefly form a prequel in the one frame.
Ryan Two pats Billy on the chest in friendly fashion with his right hand before clapping him on the back with his left. He moves past and does the same to Kai before leaving the shot. Ryan One stops to speak to Kai. They lean in for a moment, talking, then Kai turns and they walk out of frame together. Billy hangs around for a few seconds at the door and then looks after them and races to catch up. Stokes and Hales remain outside the club to remonstrate further with the bouncers. Whatever discord develops around the corner is between four men who left amicably together minutes earlier.
There’s no way to know what caused that friction. If Ryan One did use homophobic slurs, he might have been drunkenly obnoxious for no reason. He might have had an insecure macho response to some extra flirtation. He might have thought unkindness was funny – ‘banter’ once again. Or he might have said something that was misunderstood, as both Ryans insisted in court that they had not used nor had the impulse to use any abusive language.
What clearly didn’t happen was an attack by bigots on random passers-by. This kind of crime is regular enough that an audience understands the horror of it, and this is what was evoked by the public accounts of Stokes, Billy and Kai. All we know is that there was some verbal dispute among the Bristol locals, and that Stokes came along behind them and put himself in the middle of it. Ryan One responded to the interference aggressively and away they went. There are plenty of reasons to look sideways at the idea that Stokes was a saviour. Foremost, neither Kai nor Billy was called upon as witnesses in court. You’d think it would be ideal to have Stokes’ story backed up by those who benefited from his selflessness. But his defence team had developed the impression that the pair had shown a changeable recall of events amid a hard-partying lifestyle, and would be dismantled by the prosecution on the stand.
That raises the question of whether The Sun coached their quotes for the 2017 interview. Despite missing court, Kai and Billy clearly enjoyed the attention. In 2018 after the trial they did a follow-up spread in the same paper about how poor Ben had been mistreated. They got a television spot on Good Morning Britain and glowed about his heroism. In 2019 The Sun wheeled them out once more to say that Stokes should get a knighthood. In 2017 they had ‘never watched cricket’ but by 2019 were supposedly volunteering sentences like, ‘He saved us, now he’s saved the Ashes.’ Whether they were paid for these appearances is not known, but the chance to be famous for a day can be lure enough.
If you find this cynical, consider that on the night in question, the Bristol boys were so deeply moved and thankful for Ben’s intervention that they left him to be arrested and never attempted to find out who he was. Seconds after the video ended, an off-duty policeman reached the scene. You might think that someone grateful to a saviour would speak on his behalf. Instead, said Kai, ‘it all got a bit scary so we walked off. It was too much for me and we went to Quigley’s takeaway for chicken burgers and cheesy chips.’ They didn’t give their hero a thought for over a month while police issued multiple appeals for witnesses.
As for Stokes, he told his arresting officer that ‘his friends’ had been attacked. After three minutes of chat outside a nightclub, these friends were so dear to him that he has never contacted them again: not after the newspaper piece, not after the verdict. He didn’t want to see how they were or thank them for their support. He didn’t mention them by name in his solicitor’s statement after the trial.
The Stokes defence rested on Ryan One’s bottle, which he had carried out of Mbargo to finish a beer, not to use in a Sharks versus Jets amateur production. But once he turned it over to hold it by the neck it became a weapon. Intent and interpretation can change the material nature of things. Part of Stokes’ justification in court was that the bottle implied that the two Ryans might have ‘other weapons’ hidden away. You can understand how a jury could decide that created doubt.
Not being convicted, though, doesn’t give the contents of the video a big green tick. It does not, as his lawyer claimed, vindicate Stokes. Looking in detail, Ryan One is belligerent but his movements telegraph a bluff. Hales is the person he’s gesturing at, but they’re several metres apart when Ryan One cocks his arm ostentatiously, showing off the bottle rather than bracing to swing. He skips forward but Hales skips back and Ryan One doesn’t follow. Kai stretches out an arm to impede Ryan One, who has a drunken stumble, nearly eats pavement, then staggers towards Kai and hits him in the back. That hand is still holding the bottle, but his strike is a side-arm cuff on a soft part of the body. It’s all pretty tame.
This is where Stokes gets involved. Having moved across to protect Hales, he now takes three large steps to run around Kai and booms his first punch at Ryan One. They fall to the ground and the bottle clinks away. Stokes gets to his feet to punch down at the fallen man, while Hales arrives to kick him ineffectively then runs off across the street for some unknown reason. Ice-cream van? Stokes is soon back in the grapple having his shirt pulled up to show off his Durham tan. Ryan Two steps in for the first time to pull Stokes away, prompting a couple more random punches at this new target, then Stokes trips backwards over Ryan One and sprawls in the street. Hales chooses this moment to return and aim some solid kicks at the head of the man on the ground. Nothing so far is a triumph of moral philosophy or the pugilistic arts. But if it all stopped here, perhaps you could say it was somewhere approaching fair. Ryan One has behaved like a turnip and it’s not an entirely unjust world that would give him a whack across the chops. The antagonists have disentangled, Stokes has some distance, it’s time to dust off and go home. Ryan Two steps forward for this purpose with his palm raised in conciliatory style and says, ‘Settle down, stop.’
So Stokes punches him.
It’s roughly his fifth punch overall, and he really winds up into this one. He misses so hard that he stumbles away into the shadows of the shop awnings along the road.
Hales starts shouting for him to stop. Ryan Two backs into the street, still holding his palm up. Stokes closes on him from about five metres away, six large steps, to where Ryan Two is standing on his own. Stokes pushes him a couple of times, as Ryan Two keeps trying to placate him and saying ‘Stop.’ Stokes throws his sixth punch, largely missing as his target ducks.
Ryan Two keeps pulling away and reversing, into the middle of the street now. Stokes follows him, grabbing his sleeve to drag him back. By this point Ryan One has found his feet and walked around behind his friend. Both of them are in the same line of sight for Stokes, and both are backing away. Stokes aims his seventh and his eighth punches, which Ryan Two tries to deflect, as Hales walks up behind Stokes to grab him.
Stokes yanks away from his friend and switches to Ryan One instead, taking seven paces to grab him before throwing his ninth punch of the night. He grabs again; Ryan One blocks that arm and pushes himself back away from Stokes. Ryan Two again intercedes, putting himself between the two with his palms up and his arm extended.
Stokes throws his tenth punch, a right-hander at the face of Ryan Two, then shoves him backwards. Ryan Two backs away once more, four paces. Stokes follows, steadies, lines up, then launches his strongest punch yet, his eleventh, a proper right hook from a solid base, one that cracks across the man’s head and gives him concussion. Ryan Two ends up flat on his back in the middle of the street, his hands still outstretched for a moment in useless protest until they twitch and drop to the blacktop.
Stokes isn’t done. He once more shoves away the restraining Hales and follows Ryan One, who keeps backing away saying, ‘Alright, alright, alright.’ Five more paces from Stokes before another blow at the man’s head. Kai and Billy are now standing over the poleaxed Ryan Two. The video ends, but seconds later Stokes will punch Ryan One hard enough to knock him out too, before off-duty cop Andrew Spure arrives on the scene to bring down the curtain. When the body-camera footage kicks in some minutes later, Stokes is in handcuffs but Ryan One is still laid out in the street. Ryan Two has regained consciousness, folded his shirt under his friend’s head and is asking police for an ambulance.
‘At this point, I felt vulnerable and frightened. I was concerned for myself and others.’ This was how Stokes described that sequence to the court. An elite athlete with years of gym work and training to snap a bat through the line of a ball with astounding power and precision, swinging fists as hard as he can at men with none of those advantages. Punching so hard that he breaks his hand, and repeatedly shoving away a friend so he can punch some more. Frightened and threatened by two targets shouting ‘Get back!’ and ‘Stop!’
The off-duty officer testified that Stokes ‘seemed to be the main aggressor or was progressing forward trying to get to’ Ryan One, who was ‘trying to back away or get away from the situation’. The student who filmed the video can be heard on the tape at one stage exclaiming ‘Fuck!’ and testified that it was because ‘I felt a little bit sorry about the lad that had been punched and it looked like he had his hands up’. That tallied with the prosecutor’s depiction of ‘a sustained episode of significant violence that left onlookers shocked at what was taking place’.
The defendant stuck to his strategy. ‘No, my sole focus was to protect myself.’ All up, in the 33 seconds of footage after he falls over, Stokes takes 35 steps forward to keep hitting two men who keep trying to get away. Not once is he hit back.
After the verdict, Stokes’ solicitor positioned him as the victim. It had been ‘an eleven-month ordeal for Ben … The jury’s decision fairly reflects the truth of what happened that night … He was minding his own business … It was only when others came under threat that Ben became physically engaged. The steps that he took were solely aimed at ensuring the safety of himself and the others present …’ The statement was impossibly self-righteous and self-absorbed.
If there was anyone to feel sorry for it was Ryan Hale, the second of our two Ryans. He’s the one who emerged from the club with a friendly arm around the shoulder for Kai and Billy. He’s the one who interposed himself to end the fight, then kept putting himself back in the firing line, trying to calm an intimidating stranger while dodging blows. For his show of restraint he got laid out regardless, concussed in the street, then was issued a criminal charge equal to that of the man who hit him, and described in national media as a violent bigot in an untested story to support that man’s defence.
Lawyers for Ryan Two made a more convincing post-trial statement, noting that Kai and Billy, ‘neither of whom were relied upon by the prosecution or the defence team for Mr Stokes, have taken the opportunity to speak with various media outlets about the alleged homophobic abuse that they received in the early hours of September 25. Mr Hale has passionately denied this allegation throughout the course of this case,’ it continued.
‘It is upsetting to Mr Hale that although he was acquitted, the accusation that he was the author of such abuse remains. Both Mr Hale and Mr Ali were knocked unconscious by Mr Stokes, and although Mr Stokes has been acquitted of an affray, Mr Hale struggles with the reasons why the Crown Prosecution Service did not treat him as a victim of an unlawful assault.’Good question. Avon and Somerset police were the investigating force, and they were frustrated by the decision. Ryan Two was filmed clearly not hurting anyone, but police were instructed by the CPS to proceed with a charge. Hales (the cricketer) was filmed fighting but ‘a decision was made at a senior level of the CPS’ not to proceed. Police expected Stokes to be charged with assault but the CPS declined. It doesn’t take a wild cynic to think that placing the same lukewarm charge on three men for vastly divergent behaviour might ensure that none would be convicted, even as the trial would maintain the pretence that a defendant of influential standing had not been given a free pass.
A couple of years down the line, the original interview with Kai and Billy has disappeared. All traces have been scrubbed from The Sun website, its social media history, and even from the Wayback Machine internet archive. Given its headline of ‘homophobic thugs’ and text that names Ryan Two but not Ryan One, the libel liability isn’t hard to spot. Later interviews with Kai and Billy take the passive voice – they ‘suffered homophobic slurs outside a Bristol nightclub’.
The article that was once claimed to exonerate brave Ben Stokes now links only to a missing content page, with a picture of a dropped ice-cream cone and the phrase ‘legal removal’ inserted into the web URL. In terms of consequences, Stokes missed one tour. When he resumed his career in January 2018, the Australians hadn’t yet ruined theirs. Their year-long bans looked much more stringent. But the Stokes case dragged on in other ways. With no criminal liability, the Australians confessed promptly enough for the sporting world to give them the full length of the lash. Their situation was ugly but there was closure. Stokes got stuck in legal stasis, unable to be fully backed or condemned. Instead his issue was always present, a browser full of open tabs that the ECB swore they would read any day now.
Through 2018 Stokes was back but he wasn’t back, in the sunglasses and finger-guns sense. In his return one-day series he nearly cost England a match with 39 from 73 balls in Wellington. His first Test hit was a duck as England got rolled in Auckland for 58. At Trent Bridge while Stokes was injured, England posted a world record 481 against Australia. With Stokes three weeks later at the same ground they made 268. He crawled to 50 from 103, the second-slowest any Englishman had reached that milestone in 20 years. That span covered Alastair Cook’s whole career. It was apologetic batting, acting out responsibility via the scorecard. Stokes was creeping back into the team like he’d been kicked out in a blazing row and was hoping to tip-toe to the sofa.
It was December 2018 before the ECB disciplinary committee ruled on him and Hales. In a ‘remarkable coincidence’, wrote Simon Heffer in The Telegraph, ‘the punishment both players faced in terms of bans from playing at international level was covered by the amount of games they had already missed when dropped by England’s selectors, in the furore that followed the incident’. The verdict compounded the omissions around the case by not addressing the violence at its heart. Nor did Stokes, apologising only ‘to my team-mates, coaches and support staff’, and then ‘to England supporters and to the public for bringing the game into disrepute’.
The implicit next step was to rebuild that reputation. It might have been easier had his court defence not meant that he wasn’t game to admit any fault at all. It might have been easier if he or his advisers had been willing to change tack once the trial was done. Imagine a world where Stokes had stood outside court and apologised for overreacting, for the injuries he’d caused, and for the time and energy he had sucked out of other people’s lives. That would have been a show of responsibility beyond a scorecard. When the time came around to assess forgiveness, it might have meant forgiveness was deserved.
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Looking back on a year of Nano development - Presented by NanoLinks

I think this list speaks for itself. Thank you for this year Nano community and see you in 2021 for even more fun! We are only getting started 🚀


u/iB0mmel
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The USA PATRIOT Act: The Story of an Impulsive Bill that Eviscerated America's Civil Liberties

The USA PATRIOT Act provides a textbook example of how the United States federal government expands its power. An emergency happens, legitimate or otherwise. The media, playing its dutiful role as goad for greater government oversight, demands "something must be done." Government power is massively expanded, with little regard for whether or not what is being done is efficacious, to say nothing of the overall impact on our nation's civil liberties.
No goals are posted, because if targets are hit, this would necessitate the ending or scaling back of the program. Instead, the program becomes normalized. There are no questions asked about whether the program is accomplishing what it set out to do. It is now simply a part of American life and there is no going back.
The American public largely accepts the USA PATRIOT Act as a part of civic life as immutable, perhaps even more so than the Bill of Rights. However, this act – passed in the dead of night, with little to no oversight, in a panic after the biggest attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor – is not only novel, it is also fundamentally opposed to virtually every principle on which the United States of America was founded. It might not be going anywhere anytime soon, but patriots, liberty lovers and defenders of Constitutional government should nonetheless familiarize themselves with the onerous provisions of this law, which is nothing short of a full-throttle attack on the American republic.

What’s Even in the USA PATRIOT Act?

What is in the USA PATRIOT Act? In the Michael Moore film Fahrenheit 9/11, then Rep. John Conyers cracked wise about how no one had actually read the Act and how this was in fact par for the course with America's laws. Thus, before delving into the deeper issues surrounding the PATRIOT Act, it is worth discussing what the Act actually says. Here’s a brief look at the 10 Titles in the PATRIOT Act:
Most of the provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act were set to sunset four years after the bill was passed into law. However, the law was extended first by President George W. Bush and then by President Barack H. Obama. The latter is particularly scandalous given that, at least in part, a rejection of the surveillance culture that permeated the Bush Administration was responsible for the election of Obama in 2008.

Passing the USA PATRIOT Act

Next, it’s important to remember the environment in which the USA PATRIOT Act was passed: Post-9/11. It is not the slightest bit of exaggeration to label the environment in which the PATRIOT Act was passed as “hysterical,” nor is “compliant” a misnomer for the Congress of the time. Opposition to the Act was slim and intensive review of one of the most sweeping Acts of Congress in American history was nonexistent.
All told, Congress took a whopping six weeks drafting, revising, reviewing and passing the PATRIOT Act. That’s less time than Congress typically spends on totally uncontroversial and routine bills that don’t gut the Fourth Amendment. The final vote found only 66 opponents in the House and one (Wisconsin Democrat Russ Feingold) in the Senate. The entire passage of the PATRIOT Act, from start to finish, took place behind closed doors. There were no committee reports or hearings for opponents to testify, nor did anyone bother to read the bill.
“Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism” is the bloated and overwrought full name of the bill, crafted by a 23-year-old Congressional staffer named Chris Cylke. This ridiculous name puts the focus not on the surveillance aspects or the erosion of basic civil liberties enshrined in Western society since the Magna Carta, but on patriotism. At the time of its creation, the messaging was very clear: Real patriots support massive intrusions on civil rights. As President George W. Bush said at the time, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” This sentiment very much seemed to apply to American citizens.
While the argument that if you have nothing to hide you shouldn’t fear investigation is anathema in a Constitutional republic with regard to citizens, it should be standard operating procedure when it comes to our organs of government. If we cannot expect transparency from the United States Congress – elected officials charged with representing the will of the people and protecting the Constitution – then we certainly can’t expect it anywhere else.

The Unfortunate Growth of the USA PATRIOT Act

It’s no surprise to those in the liberty movement that given an inch, the government (in particular the military-intelligence community) took a mile. Even the nebulous definition of “terrorism,” largely centered around a long litany of acts rather than the motivation behind them, has expanded to include receiving military training from a proscribed organization (without actually committing any terrorist acts or even acts of violence of any stripe) as well as “narcoterrorism” – the latter particularly convenient, as the United States government continues its losing “War on Drugs.”
Indeed, in many ways, the War on (Some) Drugs was the template for the War on Terror. Both wars have no defined enemy, no defined terms of victory. Instead, they are waged against a nebulous concept, while enjoying bipartisan support for their ever-expanding budgets. What’s more, it didn’t take long for the Feds to start using the USA PATRIOT Act for things it was never intended for, including prosecuting the War on Drugs.
Perhaps the silliest application of the USA PATRIOT Act is the prosecution of Adam McGaughey. McGaughey maintained a fansite for the television series Stargate SG-1. The Feds charged him with copyright infringement and computer fraud. In the course of their investigation, the FBI leveraged the PATRIOT Act to get financial records from his website’s ISP. This was made possible by the USA PATRIOT Act amending the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, allowing for search and seizure of ISP records.
The New York Times discovered in September 2003, that the USA PATRIOT Act was being used to investigate alleged drug traffickers without what would otherwise be sufficient probable cause. These were investigations into non-terrorist acts using a law ostensibly designed to investigate terrorism. There was some suspicion that the Act was being used to investigate crimes occurring before the Act was passed, violating the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution.
In one of the biggest power grabs (excluding virtually everything we know from Edward Snowden – more on that below), the FBI sent tens of thousands of “national security letters” and procured over one million financial records from targeted businesses in Las Vegas. These businesses were primarily casinos, car rental bureaus and storage spaces. The data obtained included financial records, credit histories, employment records and even people’s personal health records.
The FBI maintains and databases this – and, indeed, all information collected through the USA PATRIOT Act – indefinitely. In the good old days before the PATRIOT Act, the Feds were compelled to destroy any evidence they collected on someone later found not guilty of a crime. Note that the aforementioned data collection brought to public attention by Edward Snowden (which, again – we’re getting to that) falls under this provision. Not only is the government collecting obscene amounts of private and personal information about you, they’re also storing it indefinitely with no plans to stop.
What’s more, the FBI has approached public libraries to turn over the records for specific terminals, collecting information not about specific users who might be under investigation, but about anyone who has ever used the computer at the public library. Libraries, to their credit, have been very much at the forefront of resistance against the PATRIOT Act, with some litigating compliance despite operating on small budgets and others posting “canary letters,” which effectively say “The FBI Hasn’t Been Here Yet.” The removal of such a letter would warn patrons that the FBI has been sniffing around in their records.
Indeed, the greatest criticism of the PATRIOT Act is the simplest and perhaps most obvious: Why does an Act ostensibly passed to fight terrorism so drastically expand the government’s power to investigate virtually everyone else? The PATRIOT Act is not merely unconstitutional, it is an unprecedented expansion of state power in the Anglosphere, a culture based on restricted government and the primacy of individual rights.
An excellent example of this is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) expansion. Most people are familiar with the term “FISA court,” but very few people actually know what it is – a special federal court created under the Carter Administration that grants approval of electronic surveillance of both citizens and resident aliens in the event that they are accused of acting in the service of a foreign power. The last part of this sentence is very important: The FISA courts are not simply for allowing surveillance of anyone that it might be expedient to collect information about. The scope of their powers is very, very limited.
Or was.
The PATRIOT Act lowered the burden of evidence required to obtain a FISA warrant for electronic surveillance and expanded the overall scope of the FISA courts. Any savvy federal agent can now drape his charges in the garb of (what else?) “national security” and obtain electronic surveillance privileges hitherto only dreamed of by investigators. FISA courts have become pliant tools in the hands of the Feds, gladly approving their requests to monitor phone and internet surveillance, as well as access to medical, financial and educational records.

The Future of the USA PATRIOT Act

Do we still need the PATRIOT Act? Did we ever? All laws are certainly a product of their times. But this seems much more acutely true of the USA PATRIOT Act, which was passed in a rush and under duress without due consideration.
Particularly in light of the revelations from Edward Snowden – that the government is spying on everything they possibly can – it’s worth asking if there’s any walking back. He points out that the police state apparatus was originally for drug dealers, then for terrorists, but ultimately ended up being applied to anyone and everyone.
What’s more, Bob Bullard notes another frightful aspect of the USA PATRIOT Act: Terrorism-related cases are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. This means that there is little or no oversight. There is no surer hallmark of a police state than an all-powerful domestic surveillance agency with no transparency or oversight. While the USA PATRIOT Act might not create an American Stasi as such, it certainly paves the way for one.
Continue reading The USA PATRIOT Act: The Story of an Impulsive Bill that Eviscerated America's Civil Liberties at Ammo.com.
submitted by ammodotcom to Libertarian [link] [comments]

Another 10 Overlooked Single Player Indie Games

There are also some links within the first link that discuss indie local multiplayer games as well.
Introduction
We're all familiar with the Hotline Miami's, Hollow Knight's, and Celeste's of the world. These are some of the indie games that hit the big time. Of course, for every one of these games, there's 100 other indie games that have been glossed over, relegated to a spot in a digital store few people will ever find themselves in. I wanted to bring attention to some of these lesser known indie games once again.
Details About the List
I'm going to order them according to Metacritic Critic Ratings. Steam is the only one on the list with all 10 games featured (Steam has 10 of them, Switch has 9 of them, PlayStation 4 has 7 of them, and Xbox One has 5 of them), but the Switch gets more reviews than the other platforms, so I will it use the Switch version of all the games for their review scores, except #8, where I will use the Steam version, since that’s the only version of it available. The two bottom games have pretty low critic ratings (60% with 1 Critic Review and 53% with 2 Critic Reviews). I personally disagree with the low scores of these two games, but it's only fair that you hear from more than just me. Keep in mind that games with only one or two User Ratings on Metacritic will not show the score. A game needs at least three User Ratings on Metacritic before the score will be shown. This is not the case for Critic Reviews.
Currently 9 of the games are on sale on Steam right now, and 5 of them are on sale on Switch. None of them are on sale on the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One at the moment.
For the purpose of this post, I’m just going to stick with saying “achievements” and “getting all achievements” instead of “trophies” and “platinum trophy” since Steam has all 10 games on the list. You can basically substitute these with “trophies” and “platinum trophy” if you’re a PlayStation gamer. I will make mention of the two games on here that don’t include a platinum trophy however.
Platforms will include a link to the U.S. store page of the game for each platform. Price is in U.S. dollars.
1. Ultra Hat Dimension
2. Bot Vice
3. Valfaris
4. Inertial Drift
5. Golf Peaks
6. Horizon Shift ‘81
7. Pato Box
8. Primal Light
9. Tamashii
10. Neon Drive
Special shoutout to Valfaris which is my favorite game on the list and, again, one my favorite 2D run & guns ever.
Have you played any of these games? What are some other overlooked single player indie games?
submitted by Underwhere_Overthere to Games [link] [comments]

The Fall were a group from Manchester founded by the enigmatic Mark E. Smith in 1976, after seeing the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall. The group would go on to influence many bands over it's 40+ years of existence, such as Pavement and LCD Soundsystem. (Click link for write up on band)

The Fall was founded by one Mark E. Smith back in 1976, after seeing the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall (The same gig attended by Ian Curtis and Peter Hook of Joy Division, Morrissey of the Smiths, and Tony Wilson, who founded the highly influential indie label Factory Records. Basically, Mark was at one of the more important gigs of the past 50 years, as this gig inspired all of those previously mentioned to either start bands or get involved in the punk scene, and changing the course of British indie music.). Over their 40+ years of operation, the band had Mark E. Smith at its helm as the sole constant member throughout it's existence. The band would become known for its classic assortment of records, with the tight musicianship by members such as guitarist Craig Scanlon and drummer Karl Burns (shown in the beginning of this clip from MTV's Cutting Edge) and Mark's esoteric lyricism, the witty, while often-times volatile and difficult, personality of Mark E. Smith, and the constant changing lineup of its members as a result of Mark's volatility. They would also remain to be the favorite band of legendary DJ John Peel, with the band holding the record of the most Peel sessions by a band, which is 24 sessions. The Fall would ultimately come to an end with the untimely death of Mark E. Smith in 2018 due to kidney and lung cancer.
The Fall are a significant band in the history of Post Punk, with a wide catalog of music to listen to released throughout the different eras of the band. I have decided to make a write-up going through the many eras of the Fall, while giving some recommendations from each era to start you off.
(1976 - early 1979 - Early Beginnings: The Martin Bramah Era)
during these years, the Fall were just getting their start with their sound. Their early material leans more towards the punk side of the sword rather than the post punk of their later years, but the embryo of the Fall's sound is clearly present. This can possibly be attributed to the guitar style of Martin Bramah in their early releases, which has a high pitched and trebly sound to the guitars. Their first recorded released came on a live album on the last day of operation for the Electric Circus, then they released their debut EP Bingo Master's Breakout then a single called It's The New Thing all in 1978. They finally released their debut album Live at the Witch Trials in March 1979 before Martin Bramah left in April 1979 due to increasing tensions with Mark E. Smith. He would then go on to found a band by the name of Blue Orchids with another former Fall member Una Baines, who he was dating at the time. Martin would prove to not be the only member to leave because of Mark's controlling demeanor in the band's future.
Here's some tracks to introduce you to this era's punky edge:
Last Orders
Bingo Master's Breakout EP (The entire EP's good to check out)
It's The New Thing
Rebellious Jukebox
Futures and Pasts
Mother-Sister
(mid 1979 - 1982 - The First Golden era: the Marc Riley Era)
I'm calling this the Marc Riley era because, even though Marc Riley was a part of the Bramah era, after Martin Bramah left, Riley would become the main guitarist instead of his previous role as bassist. This would open the door for members like Craig Scanlon to join on rhythm guitar and Steve Hanley on bass. This would end up transforming the sound of the band into the post-punk sound most people are familiar with the band. After releasing Rowche Rumble and the album Dragnet in 1979, the band would end up releasing a string of classic singles in 1980, such as Fiery Jack, How I Wrote Elastic Man, and probably their most well-known song, Totally Wired, as well as releasing the great album Grotesque (After the Gramme). 1981 would also prove to be a good year, with the release of the single Lie Dream of a Casino Soul and the 10-inch EP Slates. The band would end up travelling to Iceland for a string of gigs, which would lead to the recording of some songs for probably their best album Hex Enduction Hour, with tracks like Hip Priest and The Classical displaying the Fall's power in full force. The band would also released the album Room To Live and the single Look, Know. However, this year would prove to be the last with Marc Riley on lead guitar. After learning of their chart success in New Zealand (which was about 300 copies sold to get in the top 20), the band travelled there to play a few gigs in Australia and New Zealand. While there, increasing tensions between Smith and Riley came to a head in Australia when Riley punched Smith in the face for slapping the band for dancing to the Clash (yes, really). There is even a television interview where Mark's black eye is visible (even with heavy makeup). This tour would end up being released as a live album by the legendary New Zealand label Flying Nun Records as the album Fall in a Hole in 1983 (Which Smith would eventually threaten legal action for and forced Flying Nun to pay all of the revenue from the record, effectively almost killing Flying Nun in its infancy). Marc would end up being sacked by the end of the year. This left a hole to be filled for the lead guitar role, and that would be filled after a trip to America.
Here's some tracks to check out to introduce you to the classic Fall sound:
Rowche Rumble
How I Wrote Elastic Man
Totally Wired
New Face in Hell
Prole Art Threat
Lie Dream of a Casino Soul
Hip Priest
The Classical (N-Word Warning)
Iceland
Winter
Marquis Cha-Cha
(1983 - 1989 - The Second Golden era: The Brix Smith Era)
The band would soldier on without Marc Riley into 1983, with Craig Scanlon taking his place on lead guitar. This period would lead to the release of singles like The Man Whose Head Expanded and the Kicker Conspiracy EP. During the Fall's first American tour without Marc Riley, Mark E Smith was introduced to Brix Smith after a gig in Chicago in April. Within three months, Brix would move to England and end up marrying Mark. She would eventually join the band in September of that year and would first appear on their album Perverted by Language, albeit with minimal involvement and only appearing on one track. Her introduction to the band would end up bringing a pop sensibility to the band, as she would eventually become a major songwriting contributor along with Mark and she would try and push the Fall into a more commercially viable direction.
This period would lead to some of the band's most critically acclaimed,as well as their most commerically successful, material. early singles like C.R.E.E.P and Oh! Brother in 1984 display the early shift into the pop sphere for the band. The band would also release the album The Wonderful and Frightening World Of in 1984. By 1985, the band were starting to hit their stride in the commercial sphere, with singles like Cruiser's Creek and Couldn't Get Ahead appearing in the singles charts and the great album This Nation's Saving Grace receiving critical acclaim and decent sales. The band would continue to release increasingly pop-oriented records between 1986-1987, with singles like Mr. Pharmacist, Hit the North and Hey! Luciani reaching the lower ends of the charts, There's a Ghost In My House giving the band their highest singles chart peak, and the album Bend Sinister reaching the Top 40. However, 1988 would prove to be a banner year for the band, with the album The Frenz Experiment reaching the top 20, and the single of the Kinks song Victoria also reaching the top 40. However, this era would eventually come to an end in 1989, when Mark E Smith and Brix Smith ended up divorcing and Brix left the band. Her last record in this era would prove to be the album I am Kurious Oranj, a collaboration with the Michael Clark dance group. However, the trajectory that Brix set the band upon would let their success continue into the 90s, With the band eventually reaching their peak in commercial popularity. However, not all good things are meant to last.
Here's some songs to check out to introduce you to this era's pop-leaning sound:
The Man Whose Head Expanded
Kicker Conspiracy
Eat Y'self Fitter
C.R.E.E.P
2 X 4
Cruiser's Creek
No Bulbs
Spoilt Victorian Child
My New House
I am Damo Suzuki
Shoulder Pads #1
Mr. Pharmacist
Hey! Luciani
There's a Ghost in my House
Hit The North
Victoria
Big New Prinz
Dead Beat Descendant
(1990 - 1994 - The Peak, followed by the Fall: The Major Label years)
After Brix left the band, Martin Bramah was brought back into the fold to fill in her place, and would be featured on the album Extricate, which led to songs like Telephone Thing, which shows influence from the Madchester scene of that time period, which included the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays, and the love song Bill is Dead, which possibly reflects upon his divorce the previous year. However, Martin Bramah would not be staying for long, as he would end up being kicked out of the band that same year for having a relationship with the keyboardist. This album marked the period when the band would be featured on a major label, with the band being signed to Fontana. The Fall would continue on to have success during this period, with the aforementioned Extricate reaching the top 40, albums like Shift-Work and Code: Selfish reaching the top 30, and singles like White Lightning and Free Range reaching in the single charts, with Free Range being the bands last top 40 single. Their commercial peak would come with the album The Infotainment Scan, which contained a cover of Lost in Music by Sister Sledge, giving the Fall their first and only top 10 hit album. Mark would also be featured on a top 20 single, which was I Want You by the Inspiral Carpets. However, Mark E. Smith's speed and alcohol addiction, which persisted over the previous decade, started to take its toll. The bands fortunes started to dwindle with the album Middle Class Revolt, Which only reach number 48 in the charts, a far cry from their previous Top 10 success. With this album, the Fall would begin to go downhill, both in their commercial performance and their critical stature.
Here's some songs to check out from this banner period for the Fall:
Telephone Thing
I'm Frank
Bill is Dead
Edinburgh Man
Free Range
Lost in Music
Hey! Student
15 Ways
(1995-1998 - The Low Point: The Brownies Years)
By this point, Mark E. Smith begins to go downhill with the previously mentioned drug and alcohol addiction, and its effect on the music shows. Brix Smith returns around this time period and would come back on the album Cerebral Caustic. Even with her involvement in the band, the album got middling reviews and performed worse than Middle Class Revolt. Smith would also dismiss the long time guitarist Craig Scanlon, who had co-written 120 songs with Smith over the previous 16 years. Smith would later say that he regretted this decision. By the time of The Light User Syndrome, Brix had enough of Mark E. Smith's degrading state and behavior due to alcohol abuse, and would leave on the tour supporting this album. This period would be wrought with increasing tensions in the band and financial troubles, which ultimately came to a head on the US tour supporting the album Levitate at an infamous gig at the New York venue Brownies in April of 1998. Smith ended up appearing drunk at the gig, and did everything in his power to make it hard for the band to play. It came to a head when drummer Karl Burns, who returned to the band when Middle Class Revolt was made, ended up shoving Smith for messing with his drum kit. Burns and long-time/essential bassist Steve Hanley would end up leaving the band and never returning. After this gig, the next few years are marked with the band remaining a low profile for the most part, where would eventually return to form by 2003.
Here's some tracks to check out (if you want to) from this era:
Don't Call me Darling
Rainmaster
D.I.Y Meat
The Chiselers
Powder Keg
Masquerade
(1998 - 2002 - Touch Sensitive: The Long Lull)
During this period of the Fall, the band was just starting to be put back together by Mark after the debacle that was the Brownies gig. The band was able to achieve some form of critical favor with their album The Marshall Suite in 1999, with Touch Sensitive being a particular standout on the album and being featured in a Volkswagen commercial. The band would then release their album The Unutterable, which also started to gain the critic's favor back. The next album Are You Are Missing Winner, however, didn't do the band any favors, as it was recorded when the band was tight on funds. It was considered a misstep by the Fall after the acclaim that the last album received. However, this would ultimately lead to the start of a new era of the fall that would effectively renew their relevance as a band in the public's eye.
Here's some tracks to check out from this transitional period of the bands history:
Touch Sensitive
W.B
Sons of Temperance
Dr. Bucks Letter
Bourgeois Town
(2003 - 2009 - A return to grace: The Third Golden Age)
This era of the fall proved to be a rebirthing of the band's relevance and quality, with Mark writing some of the best material the band had in years. This era starts with the album The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click) in 2003, which provided the band with some late era classics, such as Mountain Energei and Theme From Sparta F.C. Around this period, the DJ John Peel, who was one of the band's biggest supporters from the beginning, died of a heart attack, but not before the Fall could release one more Peel session a couple months before his death. The Fall would then release Fall Heads Roll in 2005, which also provided the band with another late-era classic in the form of Blindness. The band would also release albums like Reformation Post TLC and Imperial Wax Solvent within the same period. Imperial Wax Solvent would end up being the first Fall album in 15 years to reach the top 40. This would lead into the final era of the Fall leading up to Mark E. Smith's untimely death.
Here's some tracks to check out from this era:
Mountain Energei
Theme From Sparta F.C.
Blindness
Clasp Hands
Fall Sound
Latchkey Kid
Is This New
Strange Town
(2010 - 2018 - The Witching Hour: The Domino and Cherry Red/final years)
In 2010, the Fall would release Your Future Our Clutter on Domino Records, the same label that releases records by the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, Two bands heavily influenced by the Fall. Mark E. Smith would also end up recording vocals for Glitter Freeze on the Gorillaz album Plastic Beach, which was released in 2010. The band would eventually move to Cherry Red records, which would remain the label of the band until its dissolution. On Cherry Red, the Fall would release album such as Ersatz GB, Re-Mit, Sub-Lingual Tablet, and New Facts Emerge. The latter album would prove to be the band's last record. Over this period, Mark began to develop significant health problems, and would eventually be diagnosed with terminal lung and kidney cancer. This is probably due to the fact that Mark E. Smith was a heavy smoker for most of his life, and his previous problems with drugs and alcohol didn't help either. Mark would perform his final gig with the Fall in November of 2017, and would eventually succumb to his illnesses on January 24th, 2018. Mark E. Smith would leave behind a long history of innovation, wit, and volatility and large catalog of great music for others to be inspired by.
Here's some tracks to check out from the final era of the Fall:
Bury Pts. 2 + 4
Nate Will Not Return
Loadstones
Fibre Book Troll
New Facts Emerge
(Final Remarks)
So that's my write-up for the Fall. I discovered this band about 3-4 years ago and I have fallen in love with them ever since, and I just felt like that they deserved some attention. I wrote this post for anyone who may be interested in checking out the band and giving them a place to start from no matter the era. May Mark E. Smith rest in peace, for he wrote "Northern white crap that talks back" and dug repetition.
P.S: For any fans of the fall, what is your favorite album/song by the fall and why?
If you want to, you can come check out my subreddit Collectionhauls, where I've been posting vinyl finds I've had at the flea market, and have been posting music to check out since March. If you want, you can come post something from your collections to show to others. Anyway, goodbye and I hope you enjoyed my post and possibly enjoy the Fall even more.
submitted by ryuundo to CoreMu [link] [comments]

I am 36 years old, make $66,900, live in Portland OR and work as a Data Coordinator.

Section Zero: Background
Hello all, happy hoildays! I stumbled upon this subreddit not long ago and have enjoyed the commentary and experiences everyone's shared. Wanted to add another perspective from a mid-30s first-gen American. I've had some missteps regarding careers and finances, but I feel like I'm in a slightly better place now. I tried YNAB in the past but I wasn't consistent enough with it. These days I use Mint to monitor my finances and have a "Finance Friday" each month to review all my accounts and spending. I currently live with my partner TJ and his dog RR. We do not combine finances, but he has been unemployed since March. I have helped him with some bills and basic necessities here and there until he finds his next job or career.
My current financial goals are to just maintain a status quo and not get any debt until pandemic times are over. Then I will focus on a house remodeling fund and savings for taking care of my parents.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances? My parents taught us about money from a frugal perspective. They are immigrants who worked in food service/factories. There was always this “save save save” mentality. Even when they started their own small business, we saved like there was no tomorrow. In high school, my calculus teacher bought us all “The Millionaire Next Door” book and had us read it as an assignment - that was my first structured introduction to finances.
Did you worry about money growing up? No, there was always food on the table and a roof over our heads. I knew that our extended family would support us if needed.
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it? Yes. My dad didn’t finish the high school-equivalent in their country, while my mom did finish high school, but no college. My older and younger siblings took a different path in life after high school. I am the first and only in my family to graduate from college. My parents covered all tuition for my two bachelor degrees with the agreement that I support them fully during their retirement and send them gifts/extra money whenever I can. I feel very lucky and privileged that they were able to provide that education for me.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net? 24 when I went on a work holiday abroad. My family was always available to help when needed, but the experience abroad helped me stand on my own feet. As an adult, I also inherited that “save” mentality and put a lot of my earnings towards savings. I didn’t date until my 30s, lived frugally, didn’t go out to eat/hangout with people, shopped thrift stores, and had very few hobbies. I am starting to “live a little” now though.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? Aside from the tuition, my parents have helped with a down payment for my first house and living costs during periods of unemployment.

Section One: Assets and Debt
Retirement Balance
If the place I was working at offered a 401k, I would always contribute up to the company match. I started my IRA in my mid-20s and would try to contribute the yearly max. I've stopped that the past 2-3 years though. My Other Brokerage is some play money, but I got tired of staring it and switched to index funds. I haven't contributed anything to it in a few years.
Equity if you're a homeowner
Purchased my first home for $382,000 with 20% down, right before lockdown earlier this year. Perfect timing, right?? I plan to live here until my retirement. My parents contributed $15k while I used most of my savings for the rest.
Savings account balance: $3,073
Checking account balance: $7,800
Credit card debt: I charge everything on my credit card for the points, then pay it off each month using my checking account balance.
Student loan debt: Traditionally no student loan debt as mentioned in Section Zero.

Section Two: Income
Income Progression (listed as gross income with cost of living area):
High School
College and first “career” job
Mental health break
College (again) and second “career” job
Third “career” jobs

Main Job Monthly Take Home:
Monthly Net (paid bi-weekly): $2,758
Deductions:
Side Gig Monthly Take Home:
No side gigs at the moment, but I am thinking of signing up on Upwork.com and doing Excel/data entry projects to help pay the mortgage.
Other Income: TJ’s friend will be staying with us for a month in January, who will pay rent of $800 including utilities. Depending on how that goes, we may take on a roommate in the spare bedroom long-term.

Section Three: Expenses
Mortgage - when I bought the house, the plan was that I would charge TJ a portion of the mortgage costs as “rent”, but since his unemployment I am now covering it all myself.
Regular Monthly Payment: $1677.57
HOA: $30/year
Retirement contribution: Nothing additional than what's been mentioned.
Savings contribution: I used to do $50-100/month, but since COVID I’ve stopped contributing to my savings account.
Investment contribution: None at this time.
Debt payments: $100/month towards TJ's credit card balance of $2,307.
Donations: $10-20/month, usually towards Omaze or Planned Parenthood.
Utilities:
Cellphone: On my parents plan.
Subscriptions:
Gym membership: Pre-COVID I did Orangetheory for a year. I started to pick up free exercise equipment from Craigslist this year, so we have a small garage gym now and utilize YouTube exercise videos instead.
Pet expenses: $10/month. TJ has stockpiled some Costco canned dog food before unemployment, but once that runs out I will likely cover the costs. We also started to make homemade dog food to help supplement.
Car insurance: $460 every 6 months. Car is paid off.
Regular therapy: I will start in the new year. Not sure what the costs are yet, but I will use my HSA to pay.
Vitamins/Medications: $20/month
Groceries & household items: $75/month
Miscellaneous (eating out, house purchases, gifts, etc): $100/month

Section Four: Money Diary
Monday
6:30am Neighbor starts up their truck. We joke that it's our natural alarm clock. They idle for about 15 minutes before heading off. I go back to bed.
9am My real alarm goes off. I put the electric kettle on for some morning tea. While it's boiling, I do my morning routine: drink glass of water, take synthroid, use bathroom, brush teeth, quick shower. I then make tea - Jasmine Pearl English Breakfast with dark forest mix. I started ordering loose leaf tea in large amounts back in March instead of small bags or single serving packets. Seems more economical since I drink it daily. I let the dog out into the backyard so he can do his morning routine.
9:30am I go through my daily tasks for work. They entail checking processes and reports to make sure they ran successfully overnight. I then answer some emails and catch-up on Slack channels.
12pm Lunch is leftover roast chicken and quinoa from Saturday. I heat it up in the instant pot. Love that thing! Almost every meal of ours involves the instant pot. We hardly use the stovetop. We then walk the dog to the business park across from our neighborhood. There's a very short trail that runs along a drainage creek by the business park. It's quite muddy, but has a nice woodsy feeling. Over the summer, we saw sumac trees there as well. Free sumac spice!
1:30pm Department meeting on Zoom. Our director announces his resignation on the call. Everyone is shocked! Layoffs were announced for next year but this was not a part of it. I think it's a good move for him and he doesn't have to have this worry of layoffs over his head.
3pm I meet with an engineer from another team and talk about a data source they are in charge of. He helps me out in understanding it and we identify most of the fields that I need for a project I’m starting.
5:30pm I check in with my partner. He's been watching LinkedIn tutorials on internal recruiting, job coaching and general computeoffice skills. It's a career change that he wants to make - something where he can talk to and help people. He doesn't have a bachelor's, only an associates, and hopes these tutorials will get him a leg up in the job search. I sent him some entry level HR admin roles the other day and remind him to apply. I then heat up leftovers: homemade chana masala and rice. I add some butter and coconut milk to thin it out, so there's enough for both of us.
10:30pm I take some magnesium, vitamin D and Airborne. I say goodnight to the dog who sleeps in the office. Then I say goodnight to TJ. He sleeps in the spare bedroom on weeknights due to his snoring keeping me up. I'm a light sleeper while he is a pretty deep sleeper.
Daily total: $0
Tuesday
9am I check Reddit Secret Santa. My match seems like a really good person. Not sure what to get, but most likely will purchase something off their wishlist. I wish I was more creative with my gift giving.
11am Meeting with business stakeholder. She submitted a few changes to an existing data process about a month ago. I make the change while on the call and have her test. Success! Marking it off the todo list. I love when we can finish things directly on a call.
12:30pm I come out of my office to make lunch. I notice my partner is not home. I check my messages and see that he's stepped out to pick up a few things. I ask for celery, carrots, and kombucha. $17. I make a quick charcuterie board for lunch: Costco salami, cheese, homemade hummus and Triscuits. It's a simple, fast meal that’s always in our rotation.
2pm My partner is back and we take the dog out for a walk and quick round of disc golf at a nearby park. We mask up and play only a few holes. Disc golf is a pretty frugal activity, you only need 2-3 discs to get started. TJ remarks that my throws are getting better, but then again they weren't great to start with. We talk about Christmas/Birthday gifts on the way back home since he was born on New Years Day. He mentioned snowshoeing but asked to not spend that much. I'll do some research!
5pm I think about personal career projects. Should I put up a portfolio of projects somewhere? I decide to try and pull some Yelp data. There’s not a lot of data points that I was interested in. Regardless, I tinker with it for an hour. TJ asks if I'm hungry. I said not so much, but felt thirsty. Maybe some ginger soup tonight?
7:30pm Dinner is served - ginger carrot soup made in the instant pot. We eat some rice crackers with it. Lately I feel like we've been eating more vegetarian dinners. It definitely helps stretch our food budget. We end the evening by finishing Fargo season 3 on Hulu.
Daily total: $17
Wednesday
1:30am I'm woken up by the dog. He's been sneezing a lot and wheezes at random intervals. TJ doesn't have the money for a vet visit but I've offered to pay as long as he calls to make the appointment. I give the dog some coconut oil, rub his belly until he seems better and go back to bed.
7am Garbage day. We usually put it out the night before but I forgot. I get up to go, but TJ handles it. I think, at least. I'm too sleepy to pay attention and go back to bed.
9am I wake up and rinse some dishes that have piled up and put them into the dishwasher. We both grew up in households that had a home dishwasher, but forbade from using it. It was drilled into us that hand washing saves more water, unless you had a restaurant/industrial dishwasher. I think with modern home dishwashers, that's changed, so I wanted to try it out with our dishwasher and monitor the water bill. Don't have any dishwashing pods or powder, so I put some OxiClean in it.
12:30pm I overhear TJ on a call with a recruiting agency. It seems to be going well, lots of laughing. I heat up some taco lasagna that I freezer meal-prepped last month.
2pm Collaborate on a project at work with an engineer. My manager put me on this project since I was asking for an assignment on a more technical team. I'm learning tidbits here and there, but I don't feel like it's structured enough.
5pm I do an Orangetheory-At-Home workout and try to break a sweat. It's not the same as going to their studio.
6pm Charcuterie for dinner. Our fridge is full of store-bought and homemade pickles that go super well on a charcuterie board.
Daily total: $0
Thursday
7am I wake up tired. The house has been feeling more cold, which woke me up a few times. We keep the temp at 72F during the day, at night around 68F since we thought the bedrooms keep the heat in pretty well. My mistake!
9am I do my usual morning routine and login to work. My team mostly spends the morning sending each other emojis.
11:30am Lunch today is mini quiche, frozen chicken and veggie entree, and hot dogs. Not the most cohesive meal, but it fills the belly.
12:30pm TJ heads out to his mailbox that's 30 minutes away. He is still waiting on his tax return and a 401k withdrawal. His taxes had to be filed by mail for some reason, then the IRS office shut down due to COVID. So he wanted to see if it arrived yet at the mailbox. He also takes the dog to the vet's urgent care on his way. They didn't have any regular openings available until the end of the year, and the dog seemed to be getting worse. I give TJ $40 to mail a gift package to a friend in France and also reiterate that I'll cover the vet bill when he gets it.
4:30pm I pay some bills, my favorite activity (not)! Sewer bill: $59.44 (billed every 2 months). Geico bill: $459.60 billed every 6 months. Then I follow up with my mortgage officer over email. I had sent her some documents for a refinance quote last week, but haven't heard back. Rates keep dropping, so I'm told, but what does that really mean? I do some research on realestate.
5pm TJ messages me and says he'll be back for dinner. I ask him to pick up some Popeyes via drive thru since we both don't feel like cooking today. Popeyes is currently our fancy “going out to eat” food. $24.17 for a 4pc dinner meal and a 2pc dinner meal.
Daily total: $583.21
Friday
8:30am Busy morning at work. My phone is buzzing with emails and Slack messages. I try to answer them while I make tea.
10am Zoom Department happy hour. We reminisce about our director and then play those Jackbox party games. Some of them are hard!
11am TJ asks if he can make me anything for lunch. He suggests savory oatmeal, quick and easy. I tell him that I really appreciate him making meals/doing chores/etc without me prompting. We've been having conversations about "house project management" and mental load because I did most of the chores or I had to continually remind/tell him to do it. I'm really happy to see us progress on this front. I decide to work through my lunch break so I can end the day early. I don't often do that, but I'm ready to get the weekend started.
2pm I check on TJ in the spare bedroom and ask if the dog has been fed yet, since he was nipping at my feet. I notice something off about TJ and ask how he is doing. TJ is depressed about his personal life, career, finances. He doesn't know what to do, spends half the day meditating and reflecting on past trauma. I've been prodding him to get a therapist but he is confused about his insurance. He makes an appointment with a primary care doctor first. I feed the dog some homemade dog-friendly beef stew.
4pm My mom swings by the house (but doesn't enter). She currently works at a school who distributes free USDA food boxes since March. There's often many boxes leftover that would go to waste, so she will grab a box for us. Onions, potatoes, beets, turnips, eggs, cheese, butter, frozen veggies and frozen chicken. She also brought her vintage pasta maker. I asked last week if she ever used it these days and her reply was “no, feel free to have it”. I love pasta and noodles and figure it would be great to make it ourselves as a frugal hobby.
8pm We catch up on Mandalorian and watch silly Youtube videos before heading off to bed.
Daily total: $0
Saturday
9am I open up my web browser and look at Craigslist and NextDoor for free stuff. I've been scouring for free landscape rocks, pegboards, and wood for house projects. I had this grand ambition to redesign our backyard. It faces our neighbor and currently the fence is pretty low. They can see into our kitchen and bedroom and we can see them. But y'know, COVID and going from dual income house to single income means it all has to be put on hold. So I've been looking for free items in the meantime. Over the past months, I've gotten planter pots, plant cuttings, a raised bed, stepping stones, all from free listings. I don't see anything worthwhile so I go and make some tea.
11am I look at Amazon and make some purchases for Reddit Secret Santa. A foodie kit, DVD of their favorite movie, and some cute pens for their writing hobby. $54. I hope they like it!
12pm TJ heats up leftover stir-fry for lunch for us. I put on some Binging with Babish and we watch how to make pasta. We have a plan - TJ makes the pasta, I make the sauce. Perfect date night activity at home. We watch some more videos on pasta and noodles to educate ourselves.
4pm I start prepping veggies. Big batch of onions, canned tomatoes, ground beef and butter in the instant pot. Meanwhile, TJ works on the pasta by following Babish's instructions.
7pm We gorge on fresh made pasta and bolognese sauce. It's so good! We end up watching Fargo.
11pm Usually I'll be in bed by now, but it's a Saturday and not tired yet (probably because of all that pasta). We play some Kirby's Dream Course on the Switch.
Daily total: $54
Sunday
10am Quick walk around the neighborhood with the dog. He's on a new routine now with the medicine he's taking. It seems to be helping his breathing issues.
11am The pasta maker and flour is still out since we didn't clean up yesterday. There's some old pie crust in the fridge so I roll it out with the pasta machine for mini quiches. (Sally's Baking Addiction blog is my go-to place for her all-butter crust and quiche recipes btw). TJ helps by mixing up the eggs.
3pm I play some Genshin Impact (GI) on my phone while TJ plays Starcraft in the office. I don't usually play gacha games, but the Zelda BotW-style of GI appealed to me. A gacha game is a game with randomized characteitem boxes that you use real-money to purchase a “pull” or to spin the wheel. I know the gacha parts of the game can be a real money sink if you get addicted to them, it’s almost like gambling. My main team is Fischl, Bennett, Barbara and Noelle. I level up to AR 22 and look up free-to-play tutorials for the game.
6pm There's some leftover pasta from yesterday, enough for both of us. I throw in some roasted beets to round out the meal. We watch more Fargo while eating. Almost done with Season 3!
10pm I find a tour operator who offers a small, socially-distant snowshoeing tour up on the mountain. I reserve for two people - this will be TJ's Christmas/birthday gift. $75. Off to bed for another workday.
Daily total: $75
Weekly Total: $689.79
Section Five: Reflections
Aside from the car insurance bill, this was a typical week for me, COVID or not. We make the majority of our meals at home and usually splurge on drive-thru/delivery once every other week. I may have overspent on the Secret Santa gift, but I don't often give gifts out to friends. It's not something our family does either. For TJ’s Christmas/birthday gift, we usually talk upfront about costs. I’ve gifted him fancy restaurant experiences the past 2 years, since we can share that experience, but obviously can’t do that now. Snowshoeing is a nice change of pace.
The conversations with TJ this week have given me thought on how to approach him differently about finances and working together in a relationship. I’m still unsure about the future financially, particularly as my parents near retirement age and that TJ has pulled out his 401k to pay his debts. I don't know if I can support both my parents and TJ together, so I am finding ways to upskill and/or side hustles without becoming a workaholic or bogged down by stress.
Writing this money diary was also the first time where I really paid attention to my past income and current income. I might be contributing too much into ESPP that could go towards the 401k or mortgage instead? I also seem to have been underpaid for what I did in past jobs, even in a LCOL area.
submitted by throwaway_md_182481 to MoneyDiariesACTIVE [link] [comments]

Lets Talk: The Fall

The Fall was founded by one Mark E. Smith back in 1976, after seeing the Sex Pistols at the Lesser Free Trade Hall (The same gig attended by Ian Curtis and Peter Hook of Joy Division, Morrissey of the Smiths, and Tony Wilson, who founded the highly influential indie label Factory Records. Basically, Mark was at one of the more important gigs of the past 50 years, as this gig inspired all of those previously mentioned to either start bands or get involved in the punk scene, and changing the course of British indie music.). Over their 40+ years of operation, the band had Mark E. Smith at its helm as the sole constant member throughout it's existence. The band would become known for its classic assortment of records, with the tight musicianship by members such as guitarist Craig Scanlon and drummer Karl Burns (shown in the beginning of this clip from MTV's Cutting Edge) and Mark's esoteric lyricism, the witty, while often-times volatile and difficult, personality of Mark E. Smith, and the constant changing lineup of its members as a result of Mark's volatility. They would also remain to be the favorite band of legendary DJ John Peel, with the band holding the record of the most Peel sessions by a band, which is 24 sessions. The Fall would ultimately come to an end with the untimely death of Mark E. Smith in 2018 due to kidney and lung cancer.
The Fall are a significant band in the history of Post Punk, with a wide catalog of music to listen to released throughout the different eras of the band. I have decided to make a write-up going through the many eras of the Fall, while giving some recommendations from each era to start you off.
(1976 - early 1979 - Early Beginnings: The Martin Bramah Era)
during these years, the Fall were just getting their start with their sound. Their early material leans more towards the punk side of the sword rather than the post punk of their later years, but the embryo of the Fall's sound is clearly present. This can possibly be attributed to the guitar style of Martin Bramah in their early releases, which has a high pitched and trebly sound to the guitars. Their first recorded released came on a live album on the last day of operation for the Electric Circus, then they released their debut EP Bingo Master's Breakout then a single called It's The New Thing all in 1978. They finally released their debut album Live at the Witch Trials in March 1979 before Martin Bramah left in April 1979 due to increasing tensions with Mark E. Smith. He would then go on to found a band by the name of Blue Orchids with another former Fall member Una Baines, who he was dating at the time. Martin would prove to not be the only member to leave because of Mark's controlling demeanor in the band's future.
Here's some tracks to introduce you to this era's punky edge:
Last Orders
Bingo Master's Breakout EP (The entire EP's good to check out)
It's The New Thing
Rebellious Jukebox
Futures and Pasts
Mother-Sister
(mid 1979 - 1982 - The First Golden era: the Marc Riley Era)
I'm calling this the Marc Riley era because, even though Marc Riley was a part of the Bramah era, after Martin Bramah left, Riley would become the main guitarist instead of his previous role as bassist. This would open the door for members like Craig Scanlon to join on rhythm guitar and Steve Hanley on bass. This would end up transforming the sound of the band into the post-punk sound most people are familiar with the band. After releasing Rowche Rumble and the album Dragnet in 1979, the band would end up releasing a string of classic singles in 1980, such as Fiery Jack, How I Wrote Elastic Man, and probably their most well-known song, Totally Wired, as well as releasing the great album Grotesque (After the Gramme). 1981 would also prove to be a good year, with the release of the single Lie Dream of a Casino Soul and the 10-inch EP Slates. The band would end up travelling to Iceland for a string of gigs, which would lead to the recording of some songs for probably their best album Hex Enduction Hour, with tracks like Hip Priest and The Classical displaying the Fall's power in full force. The band would also released the album Room To Live and the single Look, Know. However, this year would prove to be the last with Marc Riley on lead guitar. After learning of their chart success in New Zealand (which was about 300 copies sold to get in the top 20), the band travelled there to play a few gigs in Australia and New Zealand. While there, increasing tensions between Smith and Riley came to a head in Australia when Riley punched Smith in the face for slapping the band for dancing to the Clash (yes, really). There is even a television interview where Mark's black eye is visible (even with heavy makeup). This tour would end up being released as a live album by the legendary New Zealand label Flying Nun Records as the album Fall in a Hole in 1983 (Which Smith would eventually threaten legal action for and forced Flying Nun to pay all of the revenue from the record, effectively almost killing Flying Nun in its infancy). Marc would end up being sacked by the end of the year. This left a hole to be filled for the lead guitar role, and that would be filled after a trip to America.
Here's some tracks to check out to introduce you to the classic Fall sound:
Rowche Rumble
How I Wrote Elastic Man
Totally Wired
New Face in Hell
Prole Art Threat
Lie Dream of a Casino Soul
Hip Priest
The Classical (N-Word Warning)
Iceland
Winter
Marquis Cha-Cha
(1983 - 1989 - The Second Golden era: The Brix Smith Era)
The band would soldier on without Marc Riley into 1983, with Craig Scanlon taking his place on lead guitar. This period would lead to the release of singles like The Man Whose Head Expanded and the Kicker Conspiracy EP. During the Fall's first American tour without Marc Riley, Mark E Smith was introduced to Brix Smith after a gig in Chicago in April. Within three months, Brix would move to England and end up marrying Mark. She would eventually join the band in September of that year and would first appear on their album Perverted by Language, albeit with minimal involvement and only appearing on one track. Her introduction to the band would end up bringing a pop sensibility to the band, as she would eventually become a major songwriting contributor along with Mark and she would try and push the Fall into a more commercially viable direction.
This period would lead to some of the band's most critically acclaimed,as well as their most commerically successful, material. early singles like C.R.E.E.P and Oh! Brother in 1984 display the early shift into the pop sphere for the band. The band would also release the album The Wonderful and Frightening World Of in 1984. By 1985, the band were starting to hit their stride in the commercial sphere, with singles like Cruiser's Creek and Couldn't Get Ahead appearing in the singles charts and the great album This Nation's Saving Grace receiving critical acclaim and decent sales. The band would continue to release increasingly pop-oriented records between 1986-1987, with singles like Mr. Pharmacist, Hit the North and Hey! Luciani reaching the lower ends of the charts, There's a Ghost In My House giving the band their highest singles chart peak, and the album Bend Sinister reaching the Top 40. However, 1988 would prove to be a banner year for the band, with the album The Frenz Experiment reaching the top 20, and the single of the Kinks song Victoria also reaching the top 40. However, this era would eventually come to an end in 1989, when Mark E Smith and Brix Smith ended up divorcing and Brix left the band. Her last record in this era would prove to be the album I am Kurious Oranj, a collaboration with the Michael Clark dance group. However, the trajectory that Brix set the band upon would let their success continue into the 90s, With the band eventually reaching their peak in commercial popularity. However, not all good things are meant to last.
Here's some songs to check out to introduce you to this era's pop-leaning sound:
The Man Whose Head Expanded
Kicker Conspiracy
Eat Y'self Fitter
C.R.E.E.P
2 X 4
Cruiser's Creek
No Bulbs
Spoilt Victorian Child
My New House
I am Damo Suzuki
Shoulder Pads #1
Mr. Pharmacist
Hey! Luciani
There's a Ghost in my House
Hit The North
Victoria
Big New Prinz
Dead Beat Descendant
(1990 - 1994 - The Peak, followed by the Fall: The Major Label years)
After Brix left the band, Martin Bramah was brought back into the fold to fill in her place, and would be featured on the album Extricate, which led to songs like Telephone Thing, which shows influence from the Madchester scene of that time period, which included the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays, and the love song Bill is Dead, which possibly reflects upon his divorce the previous year. However, Martin Bramah would not be staying for long, as he would end up being kicked out of the band that same year for having a relationship with the keyboardist. This album marked the period when the band would be featured on a major label, with the band being signed to Fontana. The Fall would continue on to have success during this period, with the aforementioned Extricate reaching the top 40, albums like Shift-Work and Code: Selfish reaching the top 30, and singles like White Lightning and Free Range reaching in the single charts, with Free Range being the bands last top 40 single. Their commercial peak would come with the album The Infotainment Scan, which contained a cover of Lost in Music by Sister Sledge, giving the Fall their first and only top 10 hit album. Mark would also be featured on a top 20 single, which was I Want You by the Inspiral Carpets. However, Mark E. Smith's speed and alcohol addiction, which persisted over the previous decade, started to take its toll. The bands fortunes started to dwindle with the album Middle Class Revolt, Which only reach number 48 in the charts, a far cry from their previous Top 10 success. With this album, the Fall would begin to go downhill, both in their commercial performance and their critical stature.
Here's some songs to check out from this banner period for the Fall:
Telephone Thing
I'm Frank
Bill is Dead
Edinburgh Man
Free Range
Lost in Music
Hey! Student
15 Ways
(1995-1998 - The Low Point: The Brownies Years)
By this point, Mark E. Smith begins to go downhill with the previously mentioned drug and alcohol addiction, and its effect on the music shows. Brix Smith returns around this time period and would come back on the album Cerebral Caustic. Even with her involvement in the band, the album got middling reviews and performed worse than Middle Class Revolt. Smith would also dismiss the long time guitarist Craig Scanlon, who had co-written 120 songs with Smith over the previous 16 years. Smith would later say that he regretted this decision. By the time of The Light User Syndrome, Brix had enough of Mark E. Smith's degrading state and behavior due to alcohol abuse, and would leave on the tour supporting this album. This period would be wrought with increasing tensions in the band and financial troubles, which ultimately came to a head on the US tour supporting the album Levitate at an infamous gig at the New York venue Brownies in April of 1998. Smith ended up appearing drunk at the gig, and did everything in his power to make it hard for the band to play. It came to a head when drummer Karl Burns, who returned to the band when Middle Class Revolt was made, ended up shoving Smith for messing with his drum kit. Burns and long-time/essential bassist Steve Hanley would end up leaving the band and never returning. After this gig, the next few years are marked with the band remaining a low profile for the most part, where would eventually return to form by 2003.
Here's some tracks to check out (if you want to) from this era:
Don't Call me Darling
Rainmaster
D.I.Y Meat
The Chiselers
Powder Keg
Masquerade
(1998 - 2002 - Touch Sensitive: The Long Lull)
During this period of the Fall, the band was just starting to be put back together by Mark after the debacle that was the Brownies gig. The band was able to achieve some form of critical favor with their album The Marshall Suite in 1999, with Touch Sensitive being a particular standout on the album and being featured in a Volkswagen commercial. The band would then release their album The Unutterable, which also started to gain the critic's favor back. The next album Are You Are Missing Winner, however, didn't do the band any favors, as it was recorded when the band was tight on funds. It was considered a misstep by the Fall after the acclaim that the last album received. However, this would ultimately lead to the start of a new era of the fall that would effectively renew their relevance as a band in the public's eye.
Here's some tracks to check out from this transitional period of the bands history:
Touch Sensitive
W.B
Sons of Temperance
Dr. Bucks Letter
Bourgeois Town
(2003 - 2009 - A return to grace: The Third Golden Age)
This era of the fall proved to be a rebirthing of the band's relevance and quality, with Mark writing some of the best material the band had in years. This era starts with the album The Real New Fall LP (Formerly Country on the Click) in 2003, which provided the band with some late era classics, such as Mountain Energei and Theme From Sparta F.C. Around this period, the DJ John Peel, who was one of the band's biggest supporters from the beginning, died of a heart attack, but not before the Fall could release one more Peel session a couple months before his death. The Fall would then release Fall Heads Roll in 2005, which also provided the band with another late-era classic in the form of Blindness. The band would also release albums like Reformation Post TLC and Imperial Wax Solvent within the same period. Imperial Wax Solvent would end up being the first Fall album in 15 years to reach the top 40. This would lead into the final era of the Fall leading up to Mark E. Smith's untimely death.
Here's some tracks to check out from this era:
Mountain Energei
Theme From Sparta F.C.
Blindness
Clasp Hands
Fall Sound
Latchkey Kid
Is This New
Strange Town
(2010 - 2018 - The Witching Hour: The Domino and Cherry Red/final years)
In 2010, the Fall would release Your Future Our Clutter on Domino Records, the same label that releases records by the Arctic Monkeys and Franz Ferdinand, Two bands heavily influenced by the Fall. Mark E. Smith would also end up recording vocals for Glitter Freeze on the Gorillaz album Plastic Beach, which was released in 2010. The band would eventually move to Cherry Red records, which would remain the label of the band until its dissolution. On Cherry Red, the Fall would release album such as Ersatz GB, Re-Mit, Sub-Lingual Tablet, and New Facts Emerge. The latter album would prove to be the band's last record. Over this period, Mark began to develop significant health problems, and would eventually be diagnosed with terminal lung and kidney cancer. This is probably due to the fact that Mark E. Smith was a heavy smoker for most of his life, and his previous problems with drugs and alcohol didn't help either. Mark would perform his final gig with the Fall in November of 2017, and would eventually succumb to his illnesses on January 24th, 2018. Mark E. Smith would leave behind a long history of innovation, wit, and volatility and large catalog of great music for others to be inspired by.
Here's some tracks to check out from the final era of the Fall:
Bury Pts. 2 + 4
Nate Will Not Return
Loadstones
Fibre Book Troll
New Facts Emerge
(Final Remarks)
So that's my write-up for the Fall. I discovered this band about 3-4 years ago and I have fallen in love with them ever since, and I just felt like that they deserved some attention. I wrote this post for anyone who may be interested in checking out the band and giving them a place to start from no matter the era. May Mark E. Smith rest in peace, for he wrote "Northern white crap that talks back" and dug repetition.
I personally believe that the Fall, while revered in Post-Punk circles and UK indie music, I feel that they are still highly underappreciated in popular music. I feel that they should have been on the same level as the Cure or Joy Division in their cultural significance to music in general. However, what we do have from the Fall is great and I can say that I love them dearly.
For any fans of the fall, what is your opinion on the significance of the Fall to popular music? What do you find to be your favorite aspect of the Fall's music?
submitted by ryuundo to LetsTalkMusic [link] [comments]

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