15 Nov 2013
Still Breathing 
Anthony and Christoper Donnelly - Still Breathing

Last night saw the London launch of 'Still Breathing - The True Adventures of the Donnelly Brothers' by Anthony and Christopher Donnelly with Simon Spence and interviews by Becky Seward. A healthy troupe of southerners and northerners (including Kevin Cummins, Mike Garry - who performed Saint Anthony and a new poem to commemorate the book) braved the lusty decadent delights of imperial Hackney for a night of planned (and not-so-planned-but-nevertheless-entertaining) entertainment at Casa Negra to celebrate the publication of the book about the remarkable story of the two brothers (the self-styled "Smooth Sex Pistols of the fashion industry") who brought you Gio-Goi, Your Own and much more in between.

The Donnellys had close family ties to Factory Records - their sister Tracey worked for Factory Records as PR Manager (and now works her magic at Donnelly 24) and at the Hacienda/Swing. Her "interview" for the job is famously documented in FAC 229! The Music Week Factorial thus: "There was me and a few other girls on the shortlist, and when we met up at The Hacienda, Tony Wilson sat me down with the others and then told them that I'd got the job, and then proceeded to talk to them about their Hacienda jobs and not a word to me about my new job! They'd already decided. Tony bought me a drink after and then said, 'see you in the office on Monday'."

Oliver Wilson's Foreword explains quite succinctly the significance: "Along with my dad, you had perhaps two dozen other people who made Manchester, 'Madchester'. Chris and Anthony were in at the ground floor on everything...".

Other Factory-related entrants in the extensive Preface include Alan Erasmus ("It seemed like a good idea at the time."), Mike Pickering ("Still lovable scallywags, but they're clever in their business dealings"), Keith Allen ("My first words to Anthony were 'Can you untie me, please' We have been close friends ever since."), Bez ("You can come from nothing and build something important that's relevant to the rest of the world".), Shaun Ryder ("Why not have a go. You know what we like to wear."), Pat Carroll ("They were fucking hilarious and proper ambitious") and many more.

The book covers the whole story from the Donnelly family first coming over from Ireland, setting up home and being scallywags in Wythenshawe, the rise and fall (and rise again in 2005) of Gio-Goi and now the advent of Your Own, all told in words of the main protagonists. The book is a veritable Who's Who of Manchester and it's a right rollicking read.

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Still Breathing - The True Adventures of the Donnelly Brothers
Black and White Publishing
Hardcover
288 pages

Available from Amazon

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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

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