10 Nov 2009
Photographing the unphotographed 
The Roundhouse in London was the perfect venue for last night's audio-visual book event for Manchester: Looking for the Light through the Pouring Rain by Kevin Cummins. There was a notable absentee in the form of a certain Mr Noel Gallagher but there was a notable substitute in the form of Stephen Morris. Paul Morley, having originally thought he was going to get out of hosting duties was called on to resume this familiar role.

The evening began with a 20-minute presentation of Kevin Cummins's photos set to original music by Graham Massey (Biting Tongues, 808 State) which set the evening off on the right note.

Paul Morley then steered a lively panel and audience discussion session which touched on influences, Manchester, architecture and fantasy bands.

Stephen Morris observed that Kevin Cummins had single-handedly romanticised Manchester the way it's never been romanticised before. That, and he made Joy Division look like they came from Eastern Europe...

On those famous "snow photos" Kevin reminisced that he feared that by setting the band so far away in the shot with the Manchester landscape in the background he feared that the best the shots would get in the NME would be that the Top 50 singles would be listed over the foreground. Fortunately the shots were used unfettered at first and it wasn't until Christmas that the Top 50 singles were added.

Afterwards Messrs Cummins, Morris and Morley signed copies of the book which was being sold in the foyer.

The Kevin Cummins tour continues on 21 November in Den Haag, 22 November in Antwerp (both with Paul Morley), comes back to London on 1 December at the Cochrane Theatre, London (with Paul Morley, Mike Pickering and Bez) before the year's events finish at A Factory Night (And then again) at Plan K, Brussels on 12 December.

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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)

The Durutti Column