12 May 2017
Back in the cellar (Part 1) 
A Certain Ratio master tape

It's definitely not been a "No Factory" zone during Cerysmatic's 2-year hiatus which has just been broken. Just to prove it's definitely not all about designing web pages and doing blogposts, I was intrigued to get the call from the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester in late 2015 about a huge number of tapes in their collection that they would no longer be able to store due to cost and space restraints.

The tapes used to belong to Tony Wilson and represent his personal collection of audio and video from the Factory estate in a remarkable number of formats ranging from compact cassette to compact disc, VHS to Betacam and just about every type of studio audio master tape known to man. There were approximately 20 boxes which filled (with Colin Torr's help) a large car and subsequently a large portion of my storage unit.

I agreed to take the tapes with the proviso that I would return them to their rightful owners. However, some tapes went directly back to owner without leaving Manchester. In particular, Richard from Space Monkeys collected his direct from MSI and I took a couple of boxes to Bruce Mitchell's Manchester Light and Stage depot in Ardwick.

The Space Monkeys stuff included apparently the only known copy of 'Splinters' E.P recorded at Suite 16 Studios in Rochdale in February 1996 and two Hi8 videos of the first ever London gig at the Dublin Castle in March 1996 which were filmed by Tony Wilson on his camcorder.

The Durutti Column selection was quite varied and highlights included hefty video masters of When The World and Domo Arigato (U-matic), Last Kiss Remix c.1998, "Data DAT for Durutti" c.1998, Abbey Road audio masters for Valuable Passages, and so on. Hopefully some of it will see the light of day although FBN has already just re-released Domo so maybe not that one.

A Certain Ratio master tape

Masters to Rachel from Hopper and DATs to The Wendys and Khalique soon followed and I returned several masters to Gary Newby of The Railway Children when they played the 100 Club last November.

I will soon be returning a hefty box of Section 25, Cath Carroll and more to James Nice @ FBN/LDDC/LTM and then there's the A Certain Ratio, Happy Mondays, Fadela, The Distractions.

And then there's the Greif but that's another story...

See also: The Master Tapes (a story from 2008)

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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