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
A Certain Ratio

"Manchester, 1978. In the beginning there were four: Jez Kerr (bass), Martin Moscrop (guitar/trumpet), Peter Terrel (guitar/effects) and Simon Topping (vocals/trumpet). Four thin boys with a name borrowed from a Brian Eno record, the intense, drummerless quartet initially drew influence from Wire, Eno, the Velvets and Kraftwerk, and gained a manager in Anthony Wilson of Factory Records.

"May 1979 saw the release of their first ACR single, the dark All Night Party, although the sound and musicianship of the band would be transformed by the arrival of funky drummer Donald Johnson (DoJo) in August. Over the next few months the band gigged widely, often with Joy Division as part of Factory packages, and recorded demos with producer Martin Hannett as well as a Peel session. Their support slot with Talking Heads on their UK tour in December 1979 set David Byrne on a new course, and provided the compelling live half of their chic cassette package The Graveyard and the Ballroom. Post-punk, ACR now reflected the influence of Funkadelic, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, The Bar Kays and James Brown."

- intro to ACR Biography by James Nice (LTM)

The Durutti Column