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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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