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! M)3)N2.0!)/0!)!O$:$4,!12,7$

Ursula E. Smith: Lamenting Legends (Book and Music Review) ! Within one day of each other, two legendarily unorthodox voices met their demise. Neither are household names, though one probably has more renown than the other, and yet her name - Ursula K. LeGuin - is more exotic than the rather pedestrian name of Mark E. Smith. Mark E. Smith's demeanor, of course, was anything but pedestrian, and both artists were known for their approaches that daringly defied convention. Their subject matter, of course, was different - author LeGuin speculatively explored anarchic alternaverses (mingling utopian and dystopian elements in seemingly equal measure), inspired by her mystical surroundings in Oregon, while The Fall's singer Mark E. Smith delved into topics related to working class England. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But where they intersected was with their voices. While Mark E. Smith's persona inhabited a perfect paradox of unhinged stoicism, his voice was delectably deadpan. LeGuin narrated her tales in a matter-offact way, preferring not to draw attention to the flamboyantly fantastical elements of the tales she was spinning, but rather intending to proffer them as practical alternatives to our mundane mundo. Too, Mark E Smith presented his sometimes absurd worldview in a way that normalized such an approach, with his aforementioned deadpan delivery bolstered by the Fall's pristine art punk. Both were ultimately anarchists, following their own internal dictates, urging us to consider a world far beyond our own conformist cosmos with its straitjacket ideologies and deadend dogmas. It may seem out of left field to link these two artists, but the world is more impoverished without their vital voices. Thankfully, both Ursula K. LeGuin and Mark E. Smith made an indelible impact on our cultures and in society, so we will always have their words - both sung and written - to cherish.

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