People have been misquoting Mark E Smith over Doncaster 'Nuke Russia' comment

An infamous quote by late music legend Mark E Smith suggesting ‘nuking Russia’ and comparing Doncaster to Communist East Germany has resurfaced and gone viral once more following the attack on Ukraine.

By Darren Burke
Friday, 18th March 2022, 8:43 am

But it seems people have been getting it wrong for nearly 40 years – because it has emerged The Fall frontman never actually mentioned Doncaster – and instead talked about Middlesbrough in the interview with music magazine NME back in the 80s.

Smith, lead singer of the Manchester post-punk band and who died in 2018, was famed for his acerbic wit and quotabiliity.

One of his most famous pearls of wisdom supposedly namechecked Doncaster and has taken on a new lease of life following Vladimir Putin’s deadly attack on neighbouring Ukraine.

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Mark E Smith, the late lead singer of The Fall.

The remark, which the singer made nearly four decades ago, reportedly saw him compare Doncaster to Communist East Germany – and people have been sharing it widely online to show solidarity for Ukraine.

But archive cuttings from the interview, published in November 1984, show the singer was actually talking about Middlesbrough rather than Doncaster.

Being quizzed on the politics of the day by a music interviewer back, he replied: "Nuking Russia might not be a bad idea as far as the bleedin’ world is concerned.

"They’ve plunged a lot of people into miserable lives.

"You’ve only got to be in East Germany to see it. It’s a horrible way to live. It’s like Middlesbrough.”

A Fall fan who has copies of the original source material said: “Mark E Smith didn’t in fact compare Doncaster with East Germany.

“The idea that he did is based on a misquotation from the New Musical Express. The misquotation keeps getting repeated, presumably because nobody bothers searching for or checking the original source.

“What he actually said about East Germany was: “... it’s horrible, horrible way to live. It’s like Middlesbrough.”

The singer died at the age of 60 four years ago.

Famously curmudgeonly and cantankerous and responsible for firing a string of musicians from The Fall, his lyrics were often composed in a clipped and abbreviated style and delivered in a trademark slurred, drawl.