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And so the saga continues. Just when you think [B]Mark E Smith[/B] has done the decent thing and disappeared to grow old gracefully, up he pops again to punch someone or mumble mindlessly before anoth

London WC2 LA2

And so the saga continues. Just when you think Mark E Smith has done the decent thing and disappeared to grow old gracefully, up he pops again to punch someone or mumble mindlessly before another crowd. But, really, does anyone care any more?

The crowd tonight consists of students and 35-year-old blokes who like to pretend they're still students. Many of them don't seem pleased to be here, looking like they're dutifully fulfilling a bizarre obligation and smiling patiently at Mark's little peculiarities.

And they have plenty of opportunity for that. Mark, round-shouldered and old enough to be NME's dad (honest), spends as much time offstage as on. It's well into the second song before he deigns to appear and he still sings plenty out of sight. In over an hour, he doesn't say one word to the audience. Occasionally, he turns his back on them to read his lyrics off a scrap of A4. And, of course, everyone still smirks affectionately.

That's because The Fall are now such an irrelevancy that it barely matters what they do. And, of course, what they do is roughly: strum, strum, grumble, grumble. Nobody would want it any other way because then we might actually have to bother forming an opinion on The Fall. As it is, we can just laugh at them. Maybe this can finally be the end of it.

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