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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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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