17 Nov 2004
Factory at the crossroads 
The 'New Factory', the Fac 251 headquarters building that Factory commissioned at One Charles Street in Manchester was quite an architectural landmark. Ben Kelly (also the designer of Fac 51 The Hacienda and Fac 201 Dry) and "co-designer" Elena Massucco brought on the style. In this excerpt from a City Life magazine article on the building (and also the Siemens building in West Didsbury), Elena Massucco explains some of the philosophy behind its design, in particular "the slot" (the front door, the exterior of which can be glimpsed in this photo of The Wendys): "there was originally a door there, and we just wanted to make an impressive gesture at the crossroads, bringing the building out into the outside world: it would tie it up for us." The slot allows you, on entering the building, to see up to the first and second floors, and vice versa. "It was important for the first floor (the office level) to have a feeling of people going in and out - they don't have to be cut off".

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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