21 Jan 2010
Music, not bars 
Hooky spoke passionately today at the FAC251 press launch of the reasoning and intentions behind his involvement in the reinvention of the former Factory Records head office as a live music venue and nightclub:

"Rob (Gretton) and Tony (Wilson) always used to say that we had to give back something into music. As a music lover, I couldn't say no. I want to give Manchester musicians a place to play."

Alongside Hooky in (what was once) the top floor boardroom, his partner in the (ad)venture, Aaron Mellor, revealed a bizarre twist of fate wherein a similar dramatic fall in property values that caused the loss of the building originally, has provided both the opportunity for the building to be redeployed - the previous owners having abandoned their plans for redevelopment of the site due to the current recession - and the availability of designer-in-chief Ben Kelly to 're-explore' the original design - Urban Splash having put 'on hold' their Kelly-to-be-designed Stubbs Mill apartment project (ring any bells?).

On running a club second time around Hook said: "I was always amazed that Factory had more accountants than bands. Whenever the Hacienda ran out of money, New Order would record another album. Even Aaron will have a problem making that happen! This time round I have 15 nightclubs to ruin!"

When asked if there were any plans to repurchase Dry Bar, Hook declined. "My interest is in live music, not bars."

Also in attendance, Freebass co-conspirator Mani likened FAC251 to the spirit of the original Factory nights at the Russell/PSV club rather than the Hacienda. "Although there will be a cheeky wink to the past, this will be more about the future. We want to give a chance to the next generation and say 'go take it'".

"Let's get to work."

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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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