All joking aside, I'm beginning to think that I really must be in league with the devil. Try this one on for size (apologies in advance, it's a bit convoluted, so I've split it into bullet points—bear with me on this one):
- I live in Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire;
- I am not a smoker, but I am a strong advocate of smokers' rights. I think they've been persecuted quite enough. Stopping them smoking at work was all well and good, but now the Health Nazis want to stop them smoking in all public places—even when the owners of those public places want to accomodate smokers. As far as smoking in pubs is concerned, I positively welcome it: it's traditional, it adds to the atmosphere (both literally and metaphorically), and it discourages thick-skinned parents from bringing their brats into the bar;
- quite a few of my friends are smokers. Last year, for a bit of fun, I sent one of them, Ann, a set of amusing pro-smoking sticky labels I had made to stick over the legally mandated anti-smoking propaganda on cigarette packs. They were well received by everyone who saw them;
- one of my stickers said Non-Smokers Die Too, You Know. This has become a favourite quote of mine and Jen's when winding up anti-smokers;
- the best band on Planet Earth is The Fall;
- despite being a total tosser at times, The Fall's frontman, Mark E Smith, is a British institution. He should also probably be in one. His lyrics are often totally incomprehensible;
- The Fall recorded 24 live sessions for the late, greatly lamented John Peel. They were his favourite band. He once described them as "a band by which, in our house, all others are judged". Mine too;
- earlier this year, The Fall released their entire Peel Sessions in a magnificent, six-volume boxed set. In my opinion, the track Blindness from their final Peel Session was The Fall's finest moment in a very large number of very fine moments;
- this week, The Fall released their 25th studio album, Fall Heads Roll. It is very good. It contains a new recording of Blindness (not quite as good as the Peel Session version), with many of the original lyrics changed;
- yesterday, full of anticipation, I slipped Fall Heads Roll into my car's CD player on the way into work. Blindness was track 7. Three minutes and fifty-eight seconds into it, I nearly crashed the car when I heard the following lyrics wafting out of my speakers (brace yourself, this is going to do your head in):
…And, from Hebden Bridge,
Somebody said to me,
"I can't understand a word you say."
He said, "99% of non-smokes die"…
So there you have it: I must be in league with the devil, because my favourite song-writer has made reference to me in a re-worded version of my favourite Fall song—even though he probably doesn't even realise it.
Well, that's my theory, and I'm sticking to it.
See also: Fall Heads Roll (photo)