27 May 2007
Just the fax 
Manchester International Festival Director Alex Poots talks to Matt Keating in Saturday's Money Guardian about five men who have inspired his artistic view, including Tony Wilson.

Alex recalls: "In my spare time I also managed a classical composer who was signed to a classics offshoot of Factory Records (Factory Classical). Prior to my first meeting with the company's founder, Tony Wilson, I'd phoned to say I needed a fax machine to help me work. Tony arrived wearing an Armani suit and trainers, and had a fax machine tucked under his arm for me. Evidently he had just ripped the Factory records machine straight out of the wall.

Tony cut through all the bureaucracy to find out what his artists wanted. In this instance it was just a fax machine, but I learned a lot from him, including how to help artists create an uncluttered area that allows them to work. I also learned his can-do attitude and easy approach to people."

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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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