20 Jun 2006
FAC 461 book launch @ Central Saint Martins 
Last night a packed Cochrane Theatre in central London played host to the launch event for the highly anticipated book FAC 461 Factory Records: The Complete Graphic Album.

The panel, chaired by Rick Poynor, comprised author Matthew Robertson, Anthony Wilson, Pat Carroll and Peter Saville. Proceedings started slightly late as the audience, which included Richard Boon, Jarvis Cocker, Mark Holt, Karen Jackson, Ben Kelly, Glen Matlock, Julian Morey, Gonnie Rietveld, Jon Wozencroft (Heart and Soul box set images, www.touchmusic.org.uk, Colin Taylor (FAC 329 Tasty Fish), et al (Jarvis) made its way into the auditorium.

Matthew Robertson explained the rationale for the book: "Not only was I interested in Factory as an enthusiast, I was interested in Factory as a graphic designer and I was really surprised to find out that no-one has ever tackled this whole period."

Saville on getting involved with Factory: "I was envious of Malcolm. Malcolm got involved very early on with the Buzzcocks and I was very envious. It was impossible not to want to be involved in what was happening. Pop music is fundamental to your world views when you're in your teens and when something as radical as punk happens you really want to be involved... I would frequently ask Richard Boon if there was anything I could do. Eventually Richard said to me one evening 'Go and see Tony'. I didn't know Tony but because he was on television every night you kinda felt that you knew him."

Pat Carroll's revelations included relating seeing Joy Division at Salford Tech, being envious of Peter Saville ("stylish design" rather than "over-the-top shit") and the fact that his brother Matt Carroll was an original member of Happy Mondays on guitar. The Bummed sleeve was discussed but blushes were spared by the non-appearance of the inner sleeve.

AHW gave the definitive (?) line on the Blue Monday money-losing story by stating that the 2p notional profit per copy was split between New Order and Factory but that Factory had to pay the 3.5p publishing out of their 1p.

Some of the "bad" Factory sleeves were shown on screen and the question of how they "got past" any quality control was raised. "Got past what!?" was Peter Saville's retort, indicating that there was no checking. Indeed, AHW could not recall a single sleeve that they ever turned down.

Afterwards, the panel signed copies of the book (which was on sale in both hardback and paperback at a reduced price).

In addition to appearing on the book itself, the designation FAC 461 appeared on posters and the ticket for the after-party at the Old Red Lion on High Holborn.

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Peter Saville colour wheel
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

The Durutti Column