5 May 2005
Martin O'Neill JD Bowdon Vale launch party 
The posh suburbs of Altrincham (itself a posh suburb of Manchester) were reminded of their gritty rock past (!) on Saturday night (30 April) as one-time Sale & Altrincham Messenger photographer Martin O'Neill opened his solo exhibition of photographs at Hale Library. The photos depict local Manchester band Joy Division's sweaty black and white gig at nearby Bowdon Vale Youth Club, some twenty-six years prior.

Not strictly in keeping with the spirit of the original alcohol-free gig, wine and beer was available on the night, though supplemented with free Vimto (one of Martin's photographs famously depicts drummer Steve Morris supping a can of this local fizzy beverage - other members of the band seeming to prefer the more sophisticated 'soda pop' 7UP experience).

Martin's guests on the opening night included a number of the original attendees of the gig itself including Nick Wraith and Andy Wake, along with local celebs Martin Moscrop (ACR etc), Lindsay Reade (Factory etc), Alan Hempsall (Crispy Ambulance), Karen Mason (Hacienda etc), various 'Fast Cars' and a special guest appearence of the original promoters of the gig itself: chiropodist Bob Jefferson and his wife Carol (owners of once-local record shop 'Streets Ahead').

Though the exhibition lasts only one week, plans are afoot to move it into Manchester proper in time for the 18 May anniversary of Ian Curtis' suicide (tbc).

Highlight of the evening was the lady who had diarised her early gig experiences, selectively quoting them at random : "Valentine's Day, 1979. Went to see The Fall. Wore red leg-warmers..."


Thanks to Moist.

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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)

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