2 May 2005
It's not only rock 'n' roll - it's art, literature and theory 
The Postpunk Panel, convened at the Boogaloo to celebrate the launch of Simon Reynolds's new book 'Rip It Up and Start Again', saw Richard Boon (ex-Buzzcocks manager), Gina Birch (ex-The Raincoats), Paul Morley (journalist and Zang Tuum Tumb founder) and Jon King (Gang of Four) join Simon for an hour or so's mostly decorous discussion of everything postpunk. Proceedings began with a completely unwatchable due to technical problems "screening" of a probably quite good music video with The Fall, New Order, Joy Division, The Pop Group, Dexy's Midnight Runners and many others.

A few highlights of the discussion itself:

Pretentious, moi?

In talking about the book, Paul Morley said that it was "odd to read it as it was" and, in responding to Simon's accusation, that "I reject your accusation of pretention, yet I accept it."

Mini-gangsters

Richard Boon explained how the first recordings by Buzzcocks came about: "it's not that difficult to press 1000 vinyl... you just need to borrow some money!"

Jon King explained why Gang of Four signed to EMI: "Small labels were generally run by mini-gangsters who didn't pay. It was entirely obvious (that we should sign). Fast Product was not a good idea. We never got paid. It was incredibly funny." King also explained how it helped that GoF owned outright all their recordings and that this enabled them to licence them to all and sundry.

Gloomy Blackpool Disco

Paul Morley put forward the notion that all records should be wrapped in sandpaper ("why isn't the new Rolling Stones wrapped in sandpaper?") and explained how he had been banned by the NME from writing about releases from Factory Records after endless reviews of "gloomy Blackpool disco".

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Hi to James (thanks for the dvd), Graham and Andy.

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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

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