Fall on your feet

You wanna be in Mark E Smith’s 93097

Meeting one's heroes can be a crushing experience, but when Tommy Crooks ran into Fall frontman and fiihrer Mark E. Smith, on Leith Walk, early one morning, it was quite literally life-changing. A Fall fan for ten years, Crooks couldn’t let the moment pass and spoke to Smith, who was resident in Edinburgh at the time. A couple of pints later and the pair were bosom buddies.

Smith then asked Glasgow-born Crooks, a designer by profession, to produce the cover for The Fall’s Twenty Seven Points album, and when Smith returned to his native Manchester, they kept in touch. Then last May, out of the blue, Smith called Crooks and asked him to join The Fall as rhythm guitarist, replacing the recently departed Craig Scanlon. It was a once in a lifetime offer which Crooks couldn't refuse.

'A letter arrived from Mark saying come down to Manchester for a concert in two weeks time,’ says the still gobsmacked Crooks. ’So I really had to put the hours in practising. When you’ve been a fan of a band for ages, working in that band changes your perceptions of it because you have to be really professional about it.’

Now Crooks is about to make his debut on home turf when The Fall open this year's Planet Pop festival at the Cas Rock, a venue whose meat and two veg ambience

Anthony Michaels-Moore hits the high notes in Macbeth

The Fall: apparently Smith doesn't suffer fools gladly

compliments The Fall’s snarlingly luddite rock sound. ’Mark loves Edinburgh,’ says Crooks, revealing the hitherto unimagined sensitive side of the man he describes as a Svengali figure. 'He’s not so much a dictator as a conducter. One day in rehearsals we were trying out this new song and when he came into the room the atmosphere completely changed, and suddenly it was total Fall. He's the most creative person I've ever met, but he doesn't suffer fools at all.‘ Assessing his own position, Crooks figures he's still on probation. ‘l have to be professional. I mean, it's not everyday you get to play with the best band in the world.’ (Neil Cooper) I See Hit list, right, for details.

disappomtment and anger at the lateness of the change,’ explains Michaels-Moore. 'But it at least meant that this has been better rehearsed musically than any concert performance I have ever been involved in at Covent Garden, and we have been able to bring in a semi-staged element to our performance]

Macbeth was the first opera to be staged at the inaugural Edinburgh Festival in 1947, With American singer Francesco Valentino as Macbeth and the legendary Georg Szell as conductor. Edward Downes takes the baton on this occasion, while Michaels- Moore and Bruno Caproni (16 Aug only) share. the demanding role.

'l see Macbeth as noble man seduced by a lust for power, and that made the tragedy even more distinct than if he had just been an out and out villain,' says Michaels-Moore of his




Macbeth does not carry the same fearful superstitions in opera as in the theatre, althmigli as tenor Anthony Michaels-Moore wrny observes, it may do now. The singer Will take the title role in the original 1847 vers‘ion of

Verdi's opera, but in a concert staging which replaced the planned full production at an advanced stage That was the last thing the troubled Royal Opera needed, but the Singers and

musicians resCued them With a performance which won gloWing praise.

‘There was a great deal of

role. ’The sheer length is challenging, With SOirie scenes which are harder on the voice in this version, While the other major difficulty is that you finish With a highly lyrical aria at the end of a very long evening.’ (Kenny Mathiesonl

I See Hit list, right, for details.

gigs - recitals '

Hit list

Pln back your lug holes and 4.1%.; listen up. i sf; Budapest Festival Orchestra Ivan Fischer conducts and Andras Schifffiiii

mans the piano for two nights-of Bartok and Stravinsky. One of the top ensembles in the world, the ' Budapest Festival Orchestra prom' f“ passion and excitement in spades; Budapest Festival Orchestra (International Festival) Budapest V, Festival Orchestra, Usher Hall, 473 4.1.3:; 2000, 12 Aug, 8pm; 13 Aug, " 7.30pm. Macbeth See preview, left. Macbeth? (International Festival) Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 473 2000, 12, 15, a? 16 Aug, 7.15pm, £5—f50. - The Fall See preview, left. The Fall,

Cas Rock, 229 4341, 9 Aug, 8pm, £9. Michael Nyman and Divine

Comedy Possibly Britain's foremost composer teams up with the pure pop sensibilities of Neil Hannon’s Divine Comedy for two nights of cross-fertilisation. This is the , opening gig for the Flux new music-jg,"


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Michael Nyman festival. Aiming to be a festival within the Festival, Flux hopes to fuse cutting edge contemporary music with intelligent pop. The Divine Comedy/Michael Nyman (Fringe) Flux, Jaffa Cake (Venue 7) 226 5 138/477 8222, 72 & 13 Aug, 8pm, f 12.

The'Song Of The Gael This is a superb series of concerts examining several aspects of the Scottish Gaelic tradition. Celtic harp, fiddle, bagpipes and the human voice all explore the legacy of Gaelic culture as well as its future. The featured artists include Art Cormack, lshbel Macaskill, Flora MacNeill and Karen Matheson. The Song Of The Gael (International Festival) Reid Hall/Queen's Hall, 473 2000, 12, 14, 18, 20, 24, 26 Aug, 10.30pm; 16 Aug, 7.30pm; 23 Aug, 7pm. Sharon Shannon The ex-Waterboy straps on her accordion and limbers up her tonsils for some rootsy entertainment. Euphoria and deep emotions are likely to be much in evidence. Sharon Shannon (Fringe) Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, 8 8 9 Aug, 11.45pm, £90510.

8—14 Aug 1997 THE usres