22 Sep 2004
Craig Gannon* 
A cast of thousands attended the MDMA Seminar last night at Urbis in Manchester including:

Edward Barton
Rebecca Boulton (New Order management)
Sarah Champion
Hewan Clarke (original Haç DJ)
Simon Crompton (Digital Justice)
Natalie Curtis (taking loads of photos)
Guy Garvey (Elbow)
Jimi Goodwin (Doves)
Larry Gott (ex-James)
Lesley Gretton
Stella Grundy (Intastella)
Jan Hargreaves (Museum of Science and Industry Manchester)
Dave Haslam
Chris Hewitt (Deeply Vale organiser)
Phil Jones (Durutti Column's manager)
C.P. Lee (keynote speaker)
Graham Massey (Biting Tongues / 808 State / Tool Shed)
Bruce Mitchell
Gary McCausland (ex-Factory)
Moist (moist)
Rick Myers (artist)
Mat Norman (Seminar organiser)
Aidan O'Rourke (Manchester photographer)
John Pennington (Moby)
Mark Radcliffe (Seminar host and Radio 2 DJ)
Lindsay Reade
Vini Reilly
Dave Rofe (Doves manager)
Tosh Ryan (Rabid Records)
Jon Savage
Mike Shaft (DJ)
Andy Spinoza (City Life, SpinMedia)
Howard Walmsley (Biting Tongues)
... plus loads of others

Mark Radcliffe started proceedings by introducing the panel:

C.P. Lee (Manchester music historian and former frontman of Alberto Y Lost Trios Paranoias)
Jon Savage (celebrated author of England's Dreaming and other works)
Guy Garvey (lead singer of Manchester band Elbow)
Jan Hargreaves (Senior Archivist at MSIM)

A brief run through of the speakers:

C.P. Lee set the scene by detailing excerpt from Manchester's glorious musical history including the tragedy which led to the construction of the Free Trade Hall (which is sadly now a hotel).

Jon Savage described how in the mid-Seventies Manchester was "like a dead zone" under James Anderton, the infamous Chief of Police. He pointed out that the difference between London and Manchester is that the city of Manchester has always had a strong relationship with it music. He warned that the pitfalls of the Sheffield museum of pop music should be avoided. That project failed miserably and one of the main reasons was that it was too widely focussed, concentrating as it did on all pop music. He cited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio as a successful model of a music museum. Access to Manchester music archive material has always been a problem. Jon said that the project will mean that all different genres of music will be opened up to all including black music, women's music, Factory Records, Madchester and so on. It would also present an excellent opportunity for research. He concluded that whilst once upon a time there would be those who would resist the establishment of a museum as old hat. This was no longer the case and now was time to see "history reflected".

Guy Garvey, who maintained that his late arrival was symbolic of the wait for a museum such as the one everyone was gathered together to discuss, gave the point of view of a member of an active band. He championed Manchester's students and other young people's involvement in the Manchester music scene. He mentioned how Elbow career had been helped no end by some of the people in the room. He also argued that if the project could result in the commissioning of a bronze of Mark Radcliffe's head that it would a very good thing!

Finally, Jan Hargreaves explained how MSIM is working with the Manchester District Music Archive to establish the museum and how people could help. They are not interested in duplicating material provided elsewhere but they do want to hear from people who are willing to donate material. Manchester's music should be celebrated, studied and preserved.

Afterwards there were drinks and refreshments followed by one of Elliott Eastwick's legendary pop quizzes at Bar Centro on Tib Street. Cerysmatic's team featuring Larry Gott out of James, Ed "I've got no chicken but I've got five wooden chairs" Barton and Sarah Champion eventually won on a tie-breaker [* "He only played guitar in the Smiths for eight months - who is he?"] with splendid prizes being dished out all round. OK, it did help that the bonus round was "Name all of the albums by James"!

Thanks to everyone who turned up last night and especially Mat Norman for doing a splendid job organising. Cheers to everyone who said hi and who willingly or otherwise posed for photos.

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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