31 May 2004
In a further extract from the Observer Music Monthly Fac 511, Vini Reilly of The Durutti Column recounts what Rob Gretton meant to him: "Two things stick in my mind about Rob. The first was an occasion when a dodgy friend of mine needed bail money to get out of Strangeways. The money couldn't appear to come from me. Rob passed no judgmental advice - he simply raised what was a large cash deposit, in about 20 minutes. I think his Catholic upbringing and his awareness of Manchester's underworld were somehow not at odds. The second thing I remember is his genuine concern for anyone slightly lost. If he spotted anyone not joining in - through shyness or whatever - Rob would gently but firmly ensure they became included. His care and almost parental affection for Nat Curtis after her father, Ian, had gone, is something Nat still remembers to this day. It's very telling that when Nat visited the set of 24 Hour Party People her favourite character was the actor playing Rob. Rob Gretton was a good and true man, a paradox - tough guy, sensitive and caring gentleman. A visionary who is very much missed."

In fewer words, but no less heartfelt, New Order on Rob Gretton: "He was a part of us, without him we would be like a piece of banoffee pie with a slice missing."

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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