'Three Short Poems About Mark E Smith' by Andy N is Poem of the Week

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‘Three Short Poems about Mark E Smith’  by Andy N is Write Out Loud’s Poem – or poems - of the Week. These poems represent the three occasions – at a gig, in a pub, and at a bus station - that Andy encountered the frontman of The Fall, who died last month aged 60. Andy N is a writer, performer, creative writing workshop tutor and sometimes experimental musician from Manchester. He regularly attends meetings at Write Out Loud Stockport, and also runs a spoken word podcast series, Spoken Label.


What got you into writing poetry?

I started as a child at my first school (I have poems from when I was 10 which are terrible, it has to be said) but got into it more seriously after university, joining a writing group in 2006, and then co-running my own from 2008 to 2016, fronting bands, writing a few books etc.


How long have you been writing?

Since I was about 10, like I said above. Prior to going to university, I had always written but over more recent years have taken it more seriously I guess and constantly looked to push myself with my words. For example, my current poem on Write Out Loud was a way of reflecting memories in a slightly different way of a gentleman who I met three times over a number of years each in completely different environments, the gentleman in question being Mark E Smith, the singer of the legendary group The Fall.


Do you go to any open-mic nights?

Several, regularly. I am a regular member of Write Out Loud Stockport, and currently regularly go to Word Central, Speakeasy, Cuckoo (run by Gordon Zola) and others. Even if I do or don’t read – I love hearing people read poetry which is part of the reason why I also run my own spoken word podcast series Spoken Label.


Your favourite poet/poem?

Numerous. I’m currently re-reading Paul Auster’s selected poetry but there’s so many - I would be hear for ages listing writers I like.


You’re cast away on a desert island. What's your luxury?

Would be lost without my Kindle, to be honest, if I couldn’t have a library of books with me!




by Andy N 


Starting off with an instrumental
Blazen in a fragmented fury;
Their first song stumbled along
In a bass heavy nervourness
as the band looked at each other worried
Like they were throwing
accidental thunder at the crowd
With a mellifluous speed
Until the words ‘I am coming out of the toilet’
Could be heard going through the crowd
Ricochetting eventually onto the stage
Where he sang two songs
Then fell through the drummers kit
And collapsed backstage drunk. 
Popping into the Duchess for a quick pint
After missing a train home
turned into three 
when Pat bumped into his brother
who worked for the NME
and was interviewing Mark
who had already gone through
four and a half pints already
and insisted he added us to his tab before adding 
‘I can’t stick musicians
Like journalists you know’
And sat there pissing Pat’s brother off
With as many anti journalist jokes
As he could remember for the rest of the interview. 



Clearly ruffled,
lost in the wilderness of memory
he stood there at the other side
of the bus station 
his hands fluttered 
with his paper
like a paper clown 
lost in the upswing of a sigh
before looking at his watch
and me 
and walking off
scraping insults in the wind
almost like it was 
the only person left 
who was listening. 



There will be a poetic celebration of Mark E Smith and The Fall at the Poetry Cafe in London on Monday 12 February. More details 



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Andy N

Sun 25th Feb 2018 10:53

thanks Linda and Martin. Proud to read it out at WOL Stockport the other week.

Thanks also Natasha. The accidental thunder was a bit of a accident as i was originally going to write something there but it kinda stuck (:

and Jeff - thought you would like this one. Makes me proud being fromManchester when we have characters like him (:

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Jeff Dawson

Sat 17th Feb 2018 17:26

Nice one(or 3) Andy, the 1996 poem tipifies the unique events that some Fall gigs were, an experience to say the least! 'I am coming out of the toilet' class mate ?

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Martin Elder

Wed 14th Feb 2018 22:37

Yes I agree with Linda, it was really good to hear you read it Monday night. It's a great poem form a great poet. well done my friend. Congratulations on POTW

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Linda Cosgriff

Wed 14th Feb 2018 14:52

Well done, Andy, on PotW!

It was great to hear you read it on Monday night but your poetic voice is so strong in this one, when I read it Monday day, I could hear it in my head in your actual voice. Really enjoyed this.

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Andy N

Tue 13th Feb 2018 19:42

thanks gents. glad you all enjoyed this.

certainly not a friend but a interesting gentleman the three times i met him.

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Tommy Carroll

Tue 13th Feb 2018 15:16

Stu + Colin + John
spot on

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Tommy Carroll

Tue 13th Feb 2018 15:15

I have not read the 3 poems yet but it is not possible to write a poem about Smith and NOT be true.

M E S gone and still with us. xx


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John F Keane

Tue 13th Feb 2018 11:49

Fascinating poetic snapshots of a curious life.

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Stu Buck

Mon 12th Feb 2018 09:01

read with great amusement about the scraps that broke up at his funeral. he would of found that most satisfactory indeed. great little snippets these.

<Deleted User> (13762)

Mon 12th Feb 2018 08:45

Congrats on POTW Andy. Must admit I was never much of a Fall fan but I did once own The Man Whose Head Expanded on 7"! I like the way you have gone about constructing this poem in three parts to represent the three times you met the man himself, a bit like a triptych portrait viewed from slightly different angles. All the best, Colin.

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