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'Mark was a true artist - he defied definition and convention' ex-wife pays tribute to fall frontman who died aged 60.

Byline: ANDREW BARDSLEY andrew.bardsley@men-news.co.uk @ABARDSLEYMEN

MARK E. Smith's ex-wife and former bandmate has told of her deep sadness at the death of her 'first love.'.

Brix Smith Start was married to the iconic frontman of Manchester post-punk band The Fall for six years.

She paid tribute on Twitter after Mark died at home on Wednesday morning aged 60.

She said: "Mark defied convention and definition - he was a true artist.

"When I arrived in Manchester - a young American - he introduced me to pickled onions, pubs and punk.

"He was my music mentor, my cultural anchor and my first love.

"I feel deeply saddened by his passing, but I feel greater joy for having shared his journey.

"He never once compromised, how many others can leave this life with such a singularity of vision? "Check the guy's track record, he is not appreciated, now at last he is."

Mark first met Brix, born Laura Salenger, at a Fall gig in Chicago in 1983.

After a whirlwind romance, Brix moved to Prestwich with Mark and they married in July that year.

Brix, named because of her love of The Clash's song the Guns of Brixton, then became a member of The Fall and played the guitar.

She was with the band for the release of six albums from 1983, until she and Mark divorced in 1989.

During that time, Brix was credited with making the band's sound more commercially accessible.

In 1987 The Fall secured their highest-ever charting single, at No 30 with a cover of popular Northern Soul track There's A Ghost in My House.

Despite separating, Brix returned to the line-up for 1995's Cerebral Caustic and 1996's The Light User Syndrome, but again left the band.

More recently, she and other former members of The Fall joined together as Brix and the Extricated, performing some of her old band's songs as well as new compositions.

Mark would later marry again twice, firstly to Saffron Pryor - who had run the band's fan club - during the Nineties before meeting Elena Poulou in Berlin in December 2000. She joined The Fall as keyboardist in 2002.

A statement released by The Fall's record label yesterday read: "It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Mark E. Smith. He passed this morning at home. A more detailed statement will follow in the next few days. In the meantime, Pam & Mark's family request privacy at this sad time. Pam Vander, The Fall - manager."

Yesterday, tributes continued to pour in from the world of entertainment. Comedian Vic Reeves wrote: "My good friend and my hero. You'll be so terribly missed by me and millions others. Your words meant more to me than anyone."

Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh wrote: "Mark E. Smith was a complex, driven man. I greatly admired him as an artist and - both despite and because of his eccentricities - really liked him as a person. Riot in Righteousness, Mark mate."

Broadcaster Danny Baker wrote: "Like Bowie, Mark E. Smith's death is being mourned by all ages. I think of him as the gunpowder of the late 70s.

"Others claim him in the 80s. Yet more for the 90s and then there's those who caught up with him in this century. That tells you everything."

Artists Bob and Roberta Smith wrote: "Mark E. Smith was an artist. Probably more important than any Turner Prize-winner in the time he was around."
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Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Date:Jan 26, 2018
Words:571
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