9 Dec 2008
The Durutti Column Rehearçal 
In 1987 a video of a live performance by The Durutti Column emerged through the normal channels open to collectors. If you were in Manchester (in the pre-internet age), this meant a trip to the Record Peddler on Swan Street, VHS tape in hand.

The video itself features a full rehearsal by the band, comprising Vini Reilly (guitars, keyboards), Bruce Mitchell (drums, percussion) and John Metcalfe (violin, xylophone and drums), playing on the dancefloor of the Hacienda.

The technical details according to Rob Stanzel's (FAC 2.26) The Durutti Column - Vini Reilly site are:

Date: 16 August 1987
Duration: 68 minutes
Label: Structure Moderne SM16 (unreleased)
Tracklisting: Arpeggiator, What Is It To Me, Jongleur Grey, When The World, Miss Haymes, Jacqueline

In the notes it states "allegedly shot by Claude Bessy". Bessy was a French chap who was Factory's in-house videographer and Structure Moderne was a small French label so this has made sense over the years. However, it has recently come to light (courtesy of the internet age) that the video was not shot by Claude Bessy but rather by Pascal and Sylvie, two Parisians.

Aged respectively 48 and 51, and fans of the Factory Records label since its earliest days, they tell the true story of The Haçienda Rehearsal Footage:

"In August 1987, Pascal & I travelled by car thru the UK with three friends. We went to London, Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool and Glasgow. All of us were fans of the Factory label, so while in Manchester, we obviously made what we used to call "The Magical Factory Tour". Both Pascal & I had Sony V8 cameras, so we filmed a lot of places such as the old Factory club in Hulme, the 86 Palatine Road house & Marie-Louise Gardens in Didsbury, etc, etc, etc... and of course the Hacienda.

"Back then, our friends' project was to create an independent video label, called Structure Moderne. They had the idea, the project, but no cameras. Pascal & I had. So, with them or only for us, we filmed a lot of bands, both in UK and France. About a year and a half after this trip, we've lost contact with these guys, for various reasons too long to explain here, but in Aug 87, thanks to the various local contacts our then friends had managed to get, we got special authorisation to film, amongst many other things, the empty Hacienda in full daylight, and The Durutti Column, who happened to be rehearsing there on that day.

"I, Sylvie, had already met Vini Reilly twice before: in Paris at the Bains-Douches Club where I had interviewed him for a local fanzine, and briefly in London, after a DC concert at the Venue. I don't exactly remember how the whole discussion went on that afternoon at FAC51, but the band was OK for us filming their rehearsal. So, I shot their whole performance from the upstairs balcony, and Pascal from downstairs, walking all around them. Thus, in our archives, we have 2 x 68 min of rushes footage, which has never been edited since. Of course, the overall quality of this recording is not very good, especially the sound (80's analog cameras with built-in microphones...) but it's obviously a gem for any DC fan.

"Recently, we have started to transfer all our old 1980s V8 archives onto DVDs, and also created a YouTube channel so as to share them. Yes, these are good memories!"

Indeed, aside from the Hacienda rehearsal footage you'll find further rehearsals with A Certain Ratio and Happy Mondays, plus New Order live in Paris, plus much more.

Thanks to Pascal and Sylvie for getting in touch and sharing those good memories.

There are some video stills and two new stills (courtesy Pascal and Sylvie) on the Haçienda Rehearsal Footage page.

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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