As mentioned last week, none of the tracks on Hex Enduction Hour made it onto Peel’s Festive rundown at the end of 1982, although this later single did scrape in at #58 (one place ahead of Happy Talk by Captain Sensible).
The second 45 to come out on Kamera Records was released some five weeks after Hex. I mentioned in a previous edition of this series that Mark E Smith had a tendency to get any finished songs down on tape in a recording studio almost as soon as he’d written the final word and hated hoarding or stockpiling material for the future. Look, Know was no different, although its eventual release would be some seven months after its recording…..and while it would find its way into the Peel Festive 50 of 1982, it had in fact had its very first airing back on 15 September 1981 as part of a Peel Session:-
This was broadcast while the band were in Iceland, initially playing a few gigs and then recording some tracks intended for what would become Hex Enduction Hour. It was while in Iceland that a rather different version of the song emerged from a studio session, seemingly in one take which MES decided wouldn’t be improved on. From the same Casio-keyboard intro that would soon make temporary superstars of the German group Trio, into giving space for other members of the band to take the mic up front, it was unlike any other Fall song in their canon at this point in time:-
mp3: The Fall – Look, Now
Steve Hanley has since said that there was a sense of astonishment when MES decided to go with the first take and that nobody knew at that point whether it would appear on the album. There was also a belief that they might return to it again, perhaps looking to record it in a way similar in style to the Peel Session, for future use as a b-side. There was certainly never any thought that it would be suggested as an actual single, especially on the back of Hex Enduction Hour, as its sound was very much at odds with the tracks which made the cut for that album.
Listening now, and I say this as someone who quite likes the single, but this was just another curveball thrown by MES, partly to ensure the label was sticking to its agreement to issue material in the shape and form he wanted, but also to further confound the writers on the music weekly papers, who were surely bemused when they played their promotional copy on the office stereo system. It could almost be regarded as a novelty single, of sorts.
As for the b-side:-
It’s one of the funniest and most entertaining of the early(ish) songs by The Fall. The writing credits are given solely to MES and one can just imagine him manically and frantically directing things in the studio – it was recorded at the Hitchin Cinema in December 1981 at the same time as much of Hex.
The subject matter may, on the face of it, seem a strange one for MES to take any great interest, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that, until late 1981, CB Radio was always an illegal form of broadcasting in the UK. There was no licensed frequency and its users were often referred to in the media as ‘bandits’ with the suggestion that they were lawless. It surely would have appealed to MES’s sense of humour, not to mention justice, that a harmless individual, sitting at home with a form of self-entertainment, would be facing the full brunt of the law bearing down on them when there were real criminals out there getting away with all sorts of high jinks.
Oh, and with the fear of stating the bleedin’ obvious, the 4+ and 6+ on the front of the sleeve refer to the running times of the two songs.
Look, Now was another 45 which hit the top end of the Indie Charts, reaching #4. The Fall, in 1982, remained a band not recognised by anyone who didn’t read music weeklies or listen to John Peel.