The Big Midweek: Life Inside The Fall

Book cover. Early 80s photograph, with left to right: MES, Steve Hanley

The Big Midweek: Life Inside the Fall is the 2014 autobiography by the Irish born, English rock bassist Steve Hanley, co-written with Olivia Piekarski[1] and published by Route Publishing.[2] Hanley was the long-term bass player and a core music writer in The Fall from 1979 to 1998, and is widely regarded for shaping the band's hugely influential sound. With Peter Hook, Andy Rourke and Gary Mounfield, he is considered one of the most important bassists of his generation.

Despite his huge contribution to late 20th century alternative music, Hanley has shied from the limelight, and has been rarely interviewed. The book received widespread acclaim for its intelligent, engaging, conversational style, revealing insights, and dry, stoical humour.[3][4]


The autobiography dissuades that Fall musicians were interchangeable; in the band, Hanley was second only to the often tyrannical,[5] founding vocalist Mark E. Smith in longevity. Hanley wrote the music for over 100 songs[6] on more than a dozen Fall albums; including the tracks "Rowche Rumble", "Fiery Jack", "Container Drivers", "Lie Dream of a Casino Soul", "Totally Wired", "Winter", "The N.W.R.A.", "I Am Damo Suzuki", "U.S. 80's-90's", "Carry Bag Man", "Jerusalem", "Van Plague?", "Yes, O Yes", "Bad News Girl", "Free Range", through to the 90s classic "Bill is Dead".

The book details the Fall's steady rise to prominence in the late 1970 and early 80s, their song writing techniques, his approach to bass playing, and Smith's often acrimonious relationship with other core Fall members.[7] It ends in 1998 when Hanley led a walk off stage during an infamous incident when Smith interfered with the musician's monitor settings, leading to a punch up.[8]


Hanley's autobiography has received widespread acclaim from music critics, literary critics, and fans. Speaking of the book's tone, co-writer Piekarski said, "We did have to have a winge-ometer when we were reading through the first draft”. Hanley wryly concedes that by the end of his tenure in the FALL he felt institutionalised, and that early drafts of the book had "more moaning than Morrissey".[9]


  1. ^ Lee, Simon. "After The Fall". Los Angeles Review of Books. Preview: 11 Dec 2014
  2. ^ Media, Quba New. "The Big Midweek - Paperback : Route Online". Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  3. ^ Robb , John. "The Big Midweek: Life Inside The Fall by Steve Hanley: book review". louderthanwar, 17 September, 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2017
  4. ^ Walters, Sarah. "Steve Hanley, bassist with The Fall for 20 years, tells all in a new book - and he took out 'more moaning than Morrissey'". Manchester Evening News, 18 September 2014. Retrieved 9 April 2017
  5. ^ Skolnik, Jes. "The Rise, the Fall, and the Rise of Brix Smith". Pitchfork. Retrieved 9 April 2017
  6. ^ Life in The Fall. Interview with Hanley, Brix Smith and Mark Riley, 11 October 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2017
  7. ^ Gilbey, Ryan. "Totally mired: The Big Midweek reveals the dark side of The Fall". New Statesman, 12 February 2015
  8. ^ Hoskyns, Barney. "The Big Midweek: Life Inside the Fall". The Guardian, 1 October, 2016
  9. ^ Walter, Sarah. "Steve Hanley, bassist with The Fall for 20 years, tells all in a new book". Manchester Evening News, 18 September 2014


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