The Fall’s Mark E. Smith is regarded as one of the leading figures of post-punk as well as a prominent cultural icon whose impact on the landscape of music and art was very significant. Known for his incisive wit and irreverent artistic sensibilities, Smith has influenced a lot of younger artists who have continued to cite his work as a revelatory source.
Like many other musicians, Smith drew inspiration from other forms of art, including literature, cinema and art, in addition to being moved by other great music legends like Johnny Cash. During his final years, Smith devoted a significant portion of his time to writing and became really obsessed with a growing DVD collection which he cherished.
In the last interview that he ever showed up for, Smith confessed: “I write a lot. I’m getting into DVDs. I’m not a box set man, Breaking Bad and all that, that’s going fucking nowhere.” He also revealed that he had been researching a lot about old science fiction journals as he had always been a huge fan of the genre.
Among his favourite films, Smith even named Roger Corman’s 1963 sci-fi horror flick X: The Man with X-Ray Eyes as one of his top picks. He was a devoted fan of the great sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick, whose impact on the world of science fiction was almost unprecedented, leaving behind unforgettable classics such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.
That novel served as the basis for Ridley Scott’s mesmerising 1982 film Blade Runner, which raised piercing questions about the future of humanity while constructing a cinematic universe that still holds up even after all of these years. However, Smith was not a fan of Blade Runner and even insulted the film in the worst way possible.
“I think the original Blade Runner is the most obscene film ever made; I fucking hated it,” Smith said. Even modern adaptations such as the series based on The Man in the High Castle rubbed Smith the wrong way: “The Man in the High Castle is one of my favourite books; how they fucked that TV show up I don’t know.”
Smith even denounced Richard Linklater’s acclaimed adaptation of A Scanner Darkly, claiming that it made him physically sick. According to Smith, there is only one good Dick adaptation as far as he is concerned which stays true to the writer’s vision: “The only good Philip K Dick film is Total Recall, it’s faithful to the book. Arnie gets it.”