26 Sep 2013
Facs In The Attic Part 2 
And so we continue with our trawl through the Factory rarities in order to dig out some valuables, some to be found in the unlikeliest of places. All prices are extracted from the 2014 Record Collector Guide, some eager Discogs listings and my own experiences.

Wim Mertens

Educes Me

Take one Belgian neo-classical composer and two simultaneously issued albums (on Les Disques Du Crepuscule), switch the logos and alter the labels and what happens? Er, very little. By the time Factory got its act together and added them to its catalogue, both Educes Me (FACT 190) and the soundtrack to the heavy Peter Greenaway art-house film Belly Of An Architect (FACT 195) had already sold as many copies as they could muster a few months earlier. To be fair, Belly did fairly well and shifted a few units off the back of the film's VHS release (on Palace, sigh) and via continued interest in Greenaway's work. Educes Me, on the other hand, didn't exactly benefit from being on Factory but it did get a curious re-release as a boxed-cassette. If you happen to have such an item - smartly packaged in a bright yellow hue with a colourful inlay booklet - then have a seat. Record Collector valuations clock in at an eye-watering £200. For a tape. No, really. Check out our Wim Mertens discography to feast your eyes on his other work (much of which fetches serious money - see Part 3 of our Facs In The Attic series).

Various Artists

A Factory Sample

Inevitably, that most frequent purveyor of releases comes up trumps when it comes to Factory valuables. Various Artists releases include the A Factory Quartet double-album (FACT 24 - £20), the Palatine box-set (FACT 400 - £40 to £100), particularly the vinyl and CD sets and two curios that don't feature in the RC book of dreams. The first is the 4 x 12" promo pack which has no number but comes loosely-housed in a PVC sleeve with each track's BPMs helpfully printed on it, plus four white-label copies of Pleasure Crew's I Could Be So Good For You (FAC 169), Fadela's N'Sel Fik (FAC 197 - worth a tenner on its own), The Hood's Salvation (FAC 182) and Meatmouth's Meatmouth Is Murder (FAC 196). I'd estimate a £15 price-tag, partly for at least two of the enclosed records but also for the attractive Johnson Panas sleeve. The second is Martin (FACD 325), a collection of Hannett's finest production work including Joy Division, U2 and A Certain Ratio etc.. I'd pitch this at £15 to £20 all day long for the CD and vinyl.

All of which is peanuts when compared to A Factory Sample. FAC 2 was the first release on the label, came packaged in expensive polythene outers, bolstered by some natty stickers and four sides of music. No wonder it's valued from around the £200 mark. Without the stickers, it's probably worth £100 - £125 and with a scruffy sleeve minus the polythene, around half that again.

The Wake

Harmony

Before jumping the sinking Factory ferry and high-tailing it to the Sarah label, Glasgow's The Wake released some of the most beautiful songs to ever grace the label. Vinyl copies of debut-album Harmony (FACT 60) and gorgeous (and delayed) follow-up Here Comes Everybody (FACT 130) command around £20 - £25 each, although the former has just been exquisitely reissued as a double-vinyl version on Factory Benelux which may or may not have an effect on prices. The band's singles aren't too hard to come by although the 7" of Talk About The Past (FAC 88) is trickier to track down (£8).

Stockholm Monsters

Happy Ever After

This under-rated outfit feature in this article due to their two earlier singles, Fairy Tales (FAC 41) and Happy Ever After (FAC 58), both capable of reaching £15 in top condition. There are two different-coloured sleeves for Fairy Tales, a burgundy and a green one, both as easy (or as hard) to find as each other. The band's only album, Alma Mater (FACT 80) is worth £10 of anyone's money, while their superb Partyline 12" (FAC 146) might scrape a few quid less (a travesty) with 7" test pressings doubling the price.

The best of the rest

Electricity

Dolphin's Spurt

Loved It

In no particular order are just some of the other least likely (and most probable) rarities worth seeking out.
The braille sleeved Electricity (FAC 6) by OMD - £60
The only Distractions single on Factory (FAC 12) - £15
The first (and only) reggae 12" by X-O-Dus (FAC 11) - £15
That infamous Sex Pistols cassette (with gold tape, pouch and card) (FACT 30) - £20 - £50
The one and only ESG 7" (FAC 34) - £30
The majestic Nightshift by The Names (FAC 29) - £15
The white vinyl John Dowie 7" with feather (!) (FAC 19) - £15
The two Dutch masters by Minnypops, Secret Story (FAC 57) and Dolphin's Spurt (FAC 31) - £12
The cassette version of Pigs and Battleships by Quando Quango (FAC 110c) - £18
The rare as hen's teeth CD promo and invite of The Other Two's Loved It (FACD 251) - £25 to £40
The first James single Jimone (FAC 78) - £12
The stand-alone Thick Pigeon album (FACT 85) - £40
The sleazy Crawling Chaos 7" Sex Machine (FAC 17) - £20
and the under-rated Chicken Rhythms by Northside on vinyl (FACT 310) - £12

Thanks to Record Collector and Discogs for prices.

Part 3 will feature rarities recorded by Factory artists and issued on Factory Benelux and Les Disques du Crepuscule.

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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