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
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