3 Sep 2003
The Peter Saville Talk 
The talk took place on the top floor of the Design Museum, overlooking the River Thames. A continually rotating slide sequence illustrated key design moments from his career but he didn't use the slides in anger save for a cursory comment on a Stella McCartney advertising campaign - "I don't know why I did that!"

Our hostess for the evening, one of the curators of the Peter Saville Show explained why this was in fact the second talk and not the first. The first one had taken place on Thursday 28 August which was the night of the big London blackout and many people had failed to make it. One chap apparently walked from Turnham Green and managed to make the last 20 minutes!

Looking as suave as ever in his trademark white jeans and black t-shirt, Peter Saville explained that when he was a young graduate back in the Seventies, he was not so much obsessed with music but the freedom to work that exists in the music industry. He calls the situation he found himself in with Factory Records "unrealistic" because most young graduate designers would have joined a studio and pursued a more conventional career. Peter found himself working for a record company that was never a record company. He says that Factory never functioned as a small business and that no decision taken in 14 years was based on profitability! But he conceded that it was Factory's ultimate disregard for profit that proved to be its downfall.

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Peter Saville colour wheel
Biting Tongues

In the grey days of late 1970s post-punk Manchester, youth culture was a serious affair: every musical performance was measured mostly by the conviction of its delivery. The term 'New Wave' opened up free vistas where acquired skills could once again be exercised after punk's monochrome blur. It could be applied to anything from a James 'Blood' Ulmer record to the latest Throbbing Gristle release, Magazine to Swell Maps. Move outside that terrain into Sun Ra, Parliament, Frank Sinatra and Martin Denny, and your options were suddenly without limit...

Then came Tony Wilson's Factory Club (at the Russell Club in Hulme) offering an open invitation to experiment that was taken up when Ken Hollings, Howard Walmsley, Eddie Sherwood and a few others decided to make some noise to accompany their 16mm silent epic Biting Tongues. A further performance followed a few weeks later, when Colin Seddon and Graham Massey disbanded their Post Natals project and joined up. The film itself, a flashing series of negative images, became a memory; the name remained.

- extract from the LTM Biting Tongues biography

Factory Records

The Durutti Column