A NEW book about The Fall reveals the huge influence Prestwich had on the songwriting of frontman Mark E Smith.

Excavate! The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall compiles never-before-published essays and rare ephemera of the legendary post-punk band supplied by fans and collectors.

In the book, Elaine Harwood, an architectural historian with Historic England, writes about how the brutalist architecture of Mark’s hometown impacted on his lyrics and outlook.

Mark, who died in 2018 at the age of 60, grew up in Sedgley Park and an indication of his love for the area and its local mythology is indicated by the number of Prestwich buildings featured on The Fall’s early record covers. “Writing about Prestwich is just as valid as Dante writing about his inferno,” he wrote in his autobiography

“The Fall are not a conventional rock band in any way,” said Bob Stanley, who edited the book with Tessa Norton. “Mark was careful not to give too much away so we thought the best thing to do was write around them and the things that influenced him.

“One of Mark’s major lines of thinking was that the strangest things appear in what seem to be the most banal surroundings. One of his best-known songs, Rebellious Jukebox, was about a jukebox in The Wilton pub in Prestwich and as he got older he took a pretty hard line about only drinking in Joseph Holt pubs locally.”

Mark, who attended Stand Grammar School, would later move into a flat on Kingswood Road with his girlfriend and early Fall member Una Baines, who worked as a psychiatric nurse at Prestwich Hospital.

“Mark met a lot of the band’s future members in pubs in Prestwich,” said Bob. “It was like he was trying to draw as much out of the area as he could. It was like he wanted to make Prestwich seem like this mystical place and when the ‘Madchester’ scene started kicking off in the late 80s he was very keen to point out he was from Prestwich or Salford rather than Manchester.

“He said the only decent band to come from Manchester was Freddie and the Dreamers.”

While Mark himself may be no more, the cult of The Fall continues to fascinate with Prestwich central to the band’s mythology. A huge mural of the man himself can even be found on the side of Chips@No.8 on Clifton Road and there is even a pub crawl for fans who want to take in Mark’s favourites The Foresters, Red Lion, The Ostrich and The Woodthorpe Hotel.

“Mark’s songs were like an education,” added Bob, whose favourite Fall song is Spectre Vs. Rector. “You could find out about writers like M R James or H P Lovecraft or places like Accrington or Haslingden. There is a complete body of work there now for people to discover and The Fall are so completely unique I can’t see how they can’t be anything but more influential as time goes by. There is really no one like them and they can inspire you to be creative in pretty much any art form not just music.”

Excavate! The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall is out now published by Faber.