The Fall: 458489 A Sides

(Beggars Arkive)

White Vinyl LP 

Released 10 August 1 2018

Beggars Arkive re-issues 458489 A Sides, a supreme anti-primer for The Fall, showcasing their 45s from 1984 to 1989.

Of 458489 A Sides there is so much to say of so little of consequence. Anti-band of continually variable personnel, “always different, always the same” as John Peel said. A singles collection from most band’s commercial zenith is sufficient to present the essence if not the definitive flavour of their oeuvre. 458489 A Sides is a roll of the die, an upturned face never revealed again in the subsequent 30 years of The Fall and not really intimated prior to 84. In that respect, 458489 A Sides is essential Fall. In that respect, Live At The Witch Trials is essential Fall. In that respect, Sub-Lingual Tablet is essential Fall. 

You catch glimpses of video tape as a roving camera spills across your Chart Show screen. Saturday morning becomes Saturday afternoon. A man with a notable face rolls across a map of the U.K.  He yelps. Monocles, estate agents, hysterical breath? You pick up the football and head out to the school field. Saturday morning becomes Saturday afternoon. The man with the notable face rolls around in your brain, swirling in the periphery of your consciousness like an infection. You kick the ball. It goes in off the post. Hit the North! 

You are at the bottom of the steep steps to the sixth form common room and Jon presses the mix tape into your hand. You are on the back of Jon’s motorbike in the darkness. You are in Chester Northgate Arena. You are in your room in the winter. You are listening to Dead Beat Descendant. You press stop. You press rewind. You press play. You press stop. You press rewind. You press play. “Enter at your peril.”

It is late. There is no party. You listen to the Festive 50 in the darkness. It is 1992. It is The Infotainment Scan on the CD on repeat. Repeatedly thereafter. You do not yet know, you cannot yet imagine how much Fall there has already been. You do not yet know, you cannot yet imagine how many Falls there have already been. 

The girl from the open day presses a tape into your hand in Whitworth Park. Of course, she knows The Fall. You listen to 458489 A Sides. You are lost in words, deluged in a snow globe of ideas, smashed across the tracks, glittering, glistening, glimmering beneath the ravenous Manchester night.  Perverted hymns, angry laments to a lack of domestic lighting, two letter psychedelic experimental Krautrock wig outs, Hey! and Brix’s vocals, urgent, insistent C.R.E.E.P. and Cruiser’s Creek and here it is: Hit the North! 

You are in the Roadhouse for several three night residencies, mid 90s. Nothing is played from 458489 A Sides. You are in Oldham Queen Elizabeth Hall, mid 90s. Nothing is played from 458489 A Sides.  You are at The Phoenix Festival, the Hacienda, Jilly’s Rock World… You are at Sanky’s Soap, several night residencies at The Witchwood, the CIS Tower, the Footage and Firkin, the Academy, The Castle in Oldham, Planet K, Boddingtons Brewery. Dead Beat is treated to a rare outing. In the final years, Big New Prinz returns and eventually, Mr Pharmacist, a cover version, resurfaces as a live staple, a thin sliver of testament to a Fall that no longer exists.  

You are on a walking tour of Manchester City Centre. You walk along the river. You are told about the half timber buildings built up on its banks, long gone. You are told how different it would look today had they been preserved, like York or Chester.  You are reminded that this is not a heritage city. This is not a theme park. This is not the past. This is the blink and you miss it vibrancy of the now. As for The Fall circa 84-89: “What really went on there? We only have this excerpt…”

Check out the video for Hit the North Part 1 here:

The official The Fall website


All words by Lee Ashworth. More writing by Lee Ashworth can be found at his author’s archive. Lee Ashworth is also on twitter as @Lee_Ashworth_ and has a website here.

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