31 May 2004
In a further extract from the Observer Music Monthly Fac 511, Vini Reilly of The Durutti Column recounts what Rob Gretton meant to him: "Two things stick in my mind about Rob. The first was an occasion when a dodgy friend of mine needed bail money to get out of Strangeways. The money couldn't appear to come from me. Rob passed no judgmental advice - he simply raised what was a large cash deposit, in about 20 minutes. I think his Catholic upbringing and his awareness of Manchester's underworld were somehow not at odds. The second thing I remember is his genuine concern for anyone slightly lost. If he spotted anyone not joining in - through shyness or whatever - Rob would gently but firmly ensure they became included. His care and almost parental affection for Nat Curtis after her father, Ian, had gone, is something Nat still remembers to this day. It's very telling that when Nat visited the set of 24 Hour Party People her favourite character was the actor playing Rob. Rob Gretton was a good and true man, a paradox - tough guy, sensitive and caring gentleman. A visionary who is very much missed."

In fewer words, but no less heartfelt, New Order on Rob Gretton: "He was a part of us, without him we would be like a piece of banoffee pie with a slice missing."

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29 May 2004
Bruce Mitchell of The Durutti Column remembers Rob Gretton (from 'The Observer Music Monthly Fac 511'): "The Durutti Column were recording 'Another Setting' in Strawberry Studios. Rob quietly entered, sat behind the desk, and settled into a smoking reverie. Thirty minutes passed before 'Are you still being managed by Wilson and Erasmus?' he asked. 'You need to get yourself better than that pair of monkeys.' He smiled, beaming around the room waiting for a reaction. But before we could offer him the job, he took a Jimmy Page drag on his cigarette, shouted 'Sorry, I'm busy', pushed his glasses up his nose and walked out gurgling happily."

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28 May 2004
Check out the new message board on Kevin Hewick's official website at kevinhewick.com which will feature news and "whimsical items" plus will act as a forum for any thoughts, questions and a place to plug your own albums / bands / gigs / club nights / books/ sites etc, etc.


Durutti Live Freaks 
The Durutti Column and The Grateful Dead are this week's "Live Freaks" on The Freak Zone with Stuart Maconie this Sunday 30 May from 10.00 (BST).

Don't forget to check out the live session by Doves including an acoustic version of Bizarre Love Triangle featuring Bernard Sumner on vocals on Marc Riley's Rocket Science as these will be disappearing from the 6 Music website tomorrow.

Thanks to Paul for spotting.

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Solid Wythenshawrian 
This article about Rob Gretton by Mick Middles appeared in The Guide section of thisischeshire.co.uk last week before Fac 511. It contains an amusing anecdote about Rob telling Rolling Stone's photographer how he was absolutely would not be getting a photograph of New Order at a date on their American tour.

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26 May 2004
Video Vote 
In the latest of its occasional series on the world's greatest (actors, sexy moments, etc, etc) Channel 4 is planning the 100 Greatest Pop Videos.

Obviously we can expect to see Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, Michael Jackson's Thriller in the running but what would you vote for from Factory's video back catalogue? New Order's 'True Faith'? or 'Blue Monday 88'? or even 52nd Street's 'Can't Afford To Let You Go'!!?

Have your say in The Cerysmatic Factory Video Vote

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Tony Wilson's Manchester converted printing press loft apartment in Manchester features in BBC Three's new six-part design and architecture series Inner Spaces. The series promises to take a look at the homes of "six design-conscious celebrities". Tony shares his architectural and interior design thoughts with presenter Lucy Jules. No doubt you will also be able to see his enormous collection of Factory posters, some of which can be seen in this interview which coincided with the release of 24 Hour Party People.

Of course Tony Wilson had a concept (which was given the Factory catalogue number Fac 101) for lofts way back in the Eighties. According to Wilson "We were visionary in that sense, that lofts would come one day. But we ran out of money - we were too busy with clubs and bars. We tried to explain lofts to people in Manchester and nobody understood it. We actually walked the Manchester Development corporation around a building in Sackville Street, which became lofts ten years later, and said 'These would make great lofts' and they went 'What are lofts?'"

With thanks to Conor and OMNY for suggestion and inspiration respectively.

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25 May 2004
Rob's review 
There's a short but entertaining review of the events at Fac 511 on the Guardian newspaper's website. The Guardian's sister paper, the Observer and in particular its Music Monthly was a partner in the production of the Fac 511 event and was responsible for a free booklet distributed at the event. This includes the reminiscences of various Factory and Manchester music luminaries on the life of Rob Gretton, a Q&A session between Tony Wilson and Peter Saville and, in the inside cover, a rather amusing advert for the paper itself featuring... guess who...

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24 May 2004
An article by Ian Herbert for The Independent newspaper details plans for a new museum to celebrate Manchester's fine music heritage.

He writes: "The museum will mark the city's place as a classical music mecca in the 1860s, show off relics from its 250 1960s beat clubs (more than any other city in the world, including Liverpool), its thriving 1940s jazz scene and - perhaps the finest of all - the Madchester days of the Happy Mondays, New Order and Factory Records.

A site for the museum has not yet been chosen but the company established to create it, 100% Cotton, is aiming for one of Manchester or Salford's iconic red-brick hotel buildings. The Heritage Lottery Fund is understood to be positive about contributing towards the venue's creation."

Read the full article here.

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The memorial gig for Rob Gretton at The Ritz, Fac 511 And You Forgotten, was a fitting tribute. Highlights included Tony Wilson's entertaining reading from Leaving The 20th Century, Bernard Sumner's appearance with Doves singing Bizarre Love Triangle, a storming set from A Certain Ratio climaxing with Hooky appearing to play with them on Heart and Soul. Pickering and Park then brought the house down.

Full report to come but for now check out the photo gallery.

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23 May 2004
Doves recorded a special acoustic version of New Order's Bizarre Love Triangle on Thursday, rushed the tapes over to Bernard Sumner to add his vocals and it was aired on Saturday's Rocket Science with Marc Riley on BBC 6 Music.

The replay will be available on the 6 Music website soon and will remain for the next week.


22 May 2004
FAC 511 Running order 
Running order for Fac 511 And You Forgotten at The Ritz, Manchester, tomorrow night:

7.30pm Doors open / Jon Dasilva
8.40pm Dave Rofe
9.00pm Tony Wilson
9.05pm Doves (acoustic set)
9.35pm Mr Scruff
10.50pm ACR
11.30pm Pickering and Park
1.00am Finish

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21 May 2004
Tonight would have seen Fac 51 The Hacienda celebrate its Twenty-Second Birthday.

Of course, the Haç is no more, demolished to make way for luxury apartments. A lot has been said about the way in which the new apartments have been sold. The advertising, at least in the initial stages, has leant very heavily on the hazard stripe motif used for the club by designer Ben Kelly, who is not best impressed. Since the block was completed, the developer, Crosby Homes, has toned it down somewhat.

For better or for worse, in an attempt to acknowledge the history of the site, the back wall of the Hacienda apartments, running alongside the Rochdale Canal, has a timeline carved out of the metal panels running along at towpath level. However, it's woefully inaccurate and even gets the year in which the Haç was demolished incorrect. Because you're all just gonna wonder what the highlights included are, here it is, inaccuracies 'n' all...

the hacienda opens may 21 1982 bernard manning
1982 - new order, boy george, simple minds
1982 - grandmaster flash, thompson twins, tears for fears
1983 - the smiths
1984 - the tube, madonna, dj mike pickering nude night
1985 - einsturzende neubauten banned after attacking cast iron columns with a pneumatic drill, the stone roses, the pogues, the associates
1986 - erasure, bad, the jesus and mary chain, dj dave haslam temperance club nights
1987 - five figure loss, zumbar
1988 - dj graeme park and mike pickering friday nude night
1989 - madchester rules, clare leighton
1990 - greater manchester police, george carman qc
1991 - the hacienda closes and reopens
1992 - take that, factory records collapses
1993 - new order republic london records, ten years old, ten years in front, dj boys own, dj andy weatherall
1995 - ben kelly
1996 - flesh ends
1997 - the 15th birthday party dj mike pickering, dj graeme park, sasha, laurent garnier the hacienda closes saturday 28 june 1997
1998 - the hacienda demolished
"Now that's finished. You won't see the hacienda. It doesn't exist. The hacienda must be built." Ivan Chtcheglov 1953

Huge thanks to Moist!

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FAC 511 preview 
Tony Wilson and Jon Dasilva were on BBC GMR last night talking about Fac 511: And You Forgotten - A Memorial Event for Rob Gretton which is this Sunday 23 May at The Ritz in Manchester and completely sold out.

There will probably be some other Fac-related radio fare over the weekend in the build-up to the event itself and Marc Riley's excellent Rocket Science on BBC 6 Music is worth a listen given its recent track record with The Durutti Column. And it's a damn good show anyway...

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20 May 2004
... a kind of rock 'n' roll 'Shine 
More news on the Variety website of the as-yet-untitled Ian Curtis biopic project. Amy Hobby ('Secretary') and Neil Weisman (a long-time friend and associate of Tony Wilson) are developing the project, with Moby as musical co-ordinator.

In the article, Weisman says: "Ian Curtis was a tragic romantic in the classic sense of the word," Weisman said. "He always thought he would be famous as some kind of poet and die by his mid-20s, and that's what happened. I see this film as a kind of rock 'n' roll 'Shine.'"

The BBC news site is also carrying a similar article on the project. And you don't need to register to read this one in full as you do with Variety.

The film is expected to start shooting next year.

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19 May 2004
Ian Curtis biopic 
According to the Metro newspaper's 'Cannes Diary', Moby is "executive producer of a biopic about Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, who committed suicide in 1980. There's no script as yet but the musician's main role will be to oversee the soundtrack".

Moby has previously played Joy Division tracks in his live sets, most notably New Dawn Fades. There's no word on casting yet but time will tell whether Sean Harris, who played Ian in 24 Hour Party People to great acclaim will get the nod. As for a release date, May 2005 would be the 25th anniversary of Ian's death.

Thanks to AJ for spotting. (How I don't miss getting the Metro now I cycle to work...)

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And so the myth continues 
"Plenty has been written before about Rob Gretton and his place in the Manchester music scene. Most of it focuses on his role as co-founder of the Haçienda, or his management of Joy Division and New Order. Very little has been said of his post-Haç career, and practically nothing about his involvement with Sub Sub/Doves."

So begins an excellent biographical website page on Rob which goes a long way to filling the very gap it mentions. It is required reading for those who did and didn't know Rob Gretton.

Thanks to Conor for the link.

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18 May 2004
And you forgotten 
And you forgotten to get your tickets for the sold out Fac 511 Rob Gretton Memorial Event this Sunday 23 May? Don't despair (too much), the Observer Music Monthly ran an article on the event (featuring the classic 'Disco Rob' photo by Kevin Cummins) last Sunday and has 20 tickets to give away. Closing date is today so rush to www.observermusicmonthly.co.uk.

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15 May 2004
Lone Ryder 
More details on the May 2004 edition of Grafik (the "Journal of the best in international design") which centres on design in The North. There's a small feature on Central Station Design, talking about Amateur Night In The Big Top / Clowns & Pet Sounds: "Things have been tough for Shaun Ryder since record company legal battles plunged him into penury. Not one to let the bastards get him down, however, Ryder is back with a solo project, Clowns & Pet Sounds, with cover art by Central Station Design (also responsible for Happy Mondays and Black Grape covers).

"The original idea for Clowns & Pet Sounds (or Amateur Night In The Big Top if you will) came from Shaun saying that he hated his future being in the hands of clowns in suits", Matt Carroll of Central Station says. "I came across an article saying that in 1936 The Daily Herald dismissed Hitler as nothing more than a clown. I loved the idea of the most evil man on the planet being mistaken for a clown." And lo, another unforgettable cover was born."

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Hacienda Top Ten Video Visions 
Hacienda Top Ten Video Visions (in no order) as selected by The Video Dude (Claude Bessy) from Hacienda members' newsletter number 5:

Scorpio Rising ("warped and funny as hell") - Kenneth Anger
Mad Max saga ("another manifesto of style")
Bugs & Daffy ("one of America's contributions to world mythology")
Daredevil Drivers (Japanese action film - "this orgy of deranged car stunts actually delivers again and again")
25 Years in Space (Television footage - "gravity free splendour")
Shogun Assassin ("poetic ultra-violence for that very special moment. Guaranteed to hypnotize random audience elements. In Japan this portable holocaust was released as a childrens' movie." As recently featured in Kill Bill Volume 2)
Chinese Gods ("Bruce Lee meets Rocket Robin Hood")
Nick The Stripper - Birthday Party ("tastier than 99% of what's around")
Haysi Fantayzee ("honest-to-god music company souped up promo slice of video")
Psychic T.V. ("this 23 minute VHS tape was a one-off for the Final Academy evening. Whatever ones makes of the contents this particular video has single handedly attracted more attention and reactions than all the other music cassettes put together.")

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Living in another world 
Last Saturday 8 May The Durutti Column appeared on Marc Riley's Rocket Science show, chatting briefly and playing two tracks: Guitar Woman (aka Sealine, apparently) and Requiem For My Mother.

During the band's own introductions Keir Stewart said that he played with The Durutti Column rather than being a member of the band, Bruce said "when the beat goes wrong, it's me going wrong" and Vini said "Thanks very much" but strongly object to Marc Riley's "You're Manchester's answer to Robert Fripp aren't you?". Vini's answer was "That's awful!"

Before the second number ('Requiem For My Mother' "It's a rock out tune"), discussion turned to the coffee and herbal tea ("excellent"), The Fall (Keir was a member for 4 gigs, Marc Riley for a bit longer), Factory Records ("the musicians owned their own music") and Morrissey (Vini - "We're still friends").

The live stream of the show is set to disappear from the Rocket Science page on 6 Music website so this is your last opportunity to listen.

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13 May 2004
Get on one 
Adelle Stripe went to see Shaun and Hooky on one at Get Loaded on Thursday 6 May:

"I saw Shaun DJing at Turnmills on Thursday with Peter Hook, he was doing a karaoke version of Wrote For Luck, but forgot the words whilst the crowd sang to him ... hilarious! He resembled a Kosovan binman on crack, but made some choice selections of northern soul and funk, top night!"

Thanks Adelle!

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12 May 2004
... shooting 
"For eight years, London-based award-winning photographer Amelia Troubridge has been shooting men who walk the line - from Bill Clinton to Howard Marks, Fidel Castro to Hugh Hefner. Here is her take on their world."

The Trouble With Amelia contains a great picture of Tony Wilson standing in the ruins of Fac 51 The Hacienda, New Order, Shaun Ryder and Bez 'Bez' Bez. About the only thing it doesn't have is anything from 24 Hour Party People on which Amelia was the official photographer.

The details: hardcover 192 pp (April 2004) :: Publisher: Booth-Clibborn Editions :: ISBN: 1861542674

Thanks to Adelle at Vibe Bar.

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Durutti Column support act 
The opening act for The Durutti Column at the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham this Sunday 16 May is a wonderful singer called Ruth Lewis who is a native of Nottingham. She is the genuine sender of a demo to Phil Jones, the band's manager. Phil says "[She] has got a result. She is the Sandy Denny of 2005."


Neo-modernist abstraction 
The May issue of Art Monthly contains a great article by Mark Prince on the crossover between the art and pop worlds. Factory Records was at the vanguard of this initiative with the commissioning of Lawrence Weiner as detailed in this extract: "In the early 80s, Factory Records boss Tony Wilson commissioned Laurence Weiner and Barbara Kruger to design posters to advertise bands from the label who were playing in New York. Despite the radical shift in context, Weiner notably retained the conceptual tenets of his other work as much as he departed from them. As in his installations, text is used in a temporary site-specific situation to denote a thing or event occuring elsewhere, but whereas the installations purposely limit design to the efficient transmission of a concrete but finally ambiguous information, the posters are decorative, engaging with a form of neo-modernist abstraction which the functional text deflates."

It goes on to explain the apparent influence of Saville's work on Weiner: "The 100% yellow horizontal stripes of Weiner's 1985 poster for Section 25 fitted the aesthetic which Peter Saville had already developed in the first Factory posters from the late 70s, when he was still studying in Manchester. His career trajectory has taken him in the opposite direction, with the recent attempts from various sides to appropriate his design for an art context; his collaboration with John Currin for Pulp's This is Hardcore sleeve, and the introduction of apparently non-commissioned computer-generated abstract 'paintings' in the latter parts of the recent survey of his work at the Design Museum. But the early album covers for Joy Division and New Order, with their willingness to delve into the past for material to reanimate, now seem closer to recent design-based art, than Saville's later work."

Read the full article here.

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10 May 2004
More lists, this time in Spin magazine which lists the sandpaper sleeve of 'The Return of The Durutti Column' as the second best ever 'Interactive Album Cover'. Interactive as in it scratches the rest of your records. Number 1 was 'Sticky Fingers' by The Rolling Stones with its zipper.

Incidentally, it turns out that Stephin Merritt of The Magnetic Fields and The 6ths, used to be the copy editor at Spin magazine.

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Northern Soul 
This in from Agent Nick of bitingtongues.com:

"Biting Tongues (well, Ken Hollings, Graham Massey and Howard Walmsley) will be performing at The Royal Insitution Of Great Britain on Saturday 22nd May 2004 - more info here.

Also, from 20 May to 18 July 2004, there will be a video presentation by Elliot Eastwick at the Urbis Centre, Manchester:

"the sound of two cities"

20 May to 18 July

"A video project by Elliot Eastwick.

The cities of Manchester and Detroit have many musical similarities, from the Northern Soul movement of 70s which adopted the Soul sounds of Urban Detroit, to the DIY nature of the early Detroit garage rock bands who influenced Manchester's punk era, the techno influences of the city on Manchester's club scene, which is still evident today. Both cities are renowned for emotive raw music that echoes the cityscape.

Eastwick's video explores the influence this huge catalogue of Detroit performers and music producers has had on artists from Manchester.

Featured are interviews with Manchester legends including The Hollies, Graham Nash, Carl Craig, Johnny Marr, 808 State's Graham Massey, Anthony Wilson, Doves and many more. Look through the 'hall of fame' to see musicians from both cities, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, George Clinton, New Order, Stevie Wonder, Morrissey.... the list goes on, the beat goes on.... and on.


The Sounds of Two Cities is an Urbis commission"

Many thanks to Nick. Sounds well worth checking out.

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This time of night 
Q Magazine's Top 100 Greatest Gigs Ever has two Factory entries:

#90 Joy Division at The Factory, Manchester on 11 April 1980. "It was the night they... played Manchester for the last time. The atmosphere before the band took the stage was bad and there had been some aggro in the crowd, but Joy Division matched them in aggression and intensity. At the end of their set manager Rob Gretton announced there was to be no encore and pelted with bottles. The band then reappeared to perform Atrocity Exhibition."

#75 New Order at Manchester Apollo, 4 October 2001. "It was the night they... revisited greatness. Always patchy live, this might have been a nervous return to their native city (they hadn't played there for three years). Instead, the Apollo's fans were treated to a virtual greatest hits set, including some seldom-aired Joy Division material."

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8 May 2004
New signing 
This recent article on DrownedInSound.com shows that Tony Wilson has finally got his finger out with regard to signing a new band to Red Cellars.

"Tony Wilson, the 52-year-old ex-boss of Factory Records, has signed his first band in over a decade – the first signing to his new label, Red Cellars.

The group are RAW T (Recognise And Witness Talent), four teenagers and a beats producer from Moss Side with an average age of 16. "They're post-Dizzee Rascal grime,” he told Teletext's 'Planet Sound', "Or so I'm told by my son, who knows about these things." He said it’s taken so long to sign another band because "it takes something special to excite me." Their debut single is due in August. He originally spotted them playing last year at his In The City music convention."

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A tribute in tune for Rob 
The Manchester Evening News reports on the forthcoming Fac 511: And You Forgotten - A Memorial Event for Rob Gretton: "Rob was a man who changed and shaped the Manchester music scene to such an extent that the past is now legend and the present still an ongoing part of the legacy," says a spokeswoman for the event.

Tickets are selling well so hurry up to get yours.

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7 May 2004
"Art offers pop music a stamp of legitimacy, pop music offers art a whisper of cult status", argues Mark Prince in his article in the latest edition of Art Monthly magazine which features celebrated artist and occasional Factory poster designer, Lawrence Weiner.

Are there any design magazines whose latest editions don't feature anything connected to Factory records...?

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More Factory-related design news in the new edition of Creative Review (the 'Annual edition with silver cover). This is from their official website: "Design consultancy Spin, in collaboration with Mark Holt, founding partner of 8vo and editor of type magazine Octavo, are to launch an exhibition celebrating the best in poster design from the last 40 years. Fifty Posters will be held at the Spin studio in London and features an eclectic mix of the most influential, ground-breaking poster design - with many of the posters coming from private collections and others even available to purchase."

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Hit The North 
The latest issue of Grafik magazine has a feature on design in the north of England including a section on Peter Saville's role as Creative Director for the North West, Malcolm Garrett on whether his northern roots have affected his work and much more.

Grafik magazine is available from branches of Borders and WHSmith.

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And you wondered why it is Fac 511...? 
And You Forgotten: A Memorial Event for Rob Gretton which will be held on 23 May 2004 at The Ritz, Manchester, was given the Factory catalogue number Fac 511 by Tony Wilson because Rob would have been 51 this year.

A number of posters for the event are now available from Colin at Vinyl Revival - contact him directly for more info. The posters (52" x 32" and [edit] A3 size) are designed by Peter Saville and Trevor Johnson and are £15 each for the large ones and a fiver for the small ones with proceeds going to the charity of the choice of Rob's wife Lesley.

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6 May 2004
Pieces of Stephin Merritt 
Just picked up the excellent soundtrack by Stephin Merritt (also known as The Magnetic Fields, furthermore known as The 6ths, known to dabble as Future Bible Heroes] to last year's US indie movie Pieces of April which starred Katie Holmes [Dawsons Creek]. The short but sweet album contains tunes from [the 3CD set] 69 Love Songs by The Magnetic Fields, a couple of tracks from Hyacinths and Thistles by The 6ths (or The Sixths if you prefer) plus some new Stephin Merritt tunes. It's ridiculously over-priced in the UK but can be had at a snip of around USD 12.99 in the States.

The new album by The Magnetic Fields, succinctly titled 'i' [Nonesuch] was released on Tuesday 4 May 2004 and to coincide The House of Tomorrow, the official website for all things Stephin Merritt has very recently announced that The Magnetic Fields are playing live in London on 10-12 June 2004 at the Lyric Hammersmith, King Street, London, W6. The shows will begin at 8pm. Tickets are priced 20 Euros [10 Euros for a limited number of concessions tickets].

Mr Merritt is certainly not one to rest on his laurels...

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The Return Of ... 
The Durutti Column are returning to London to play Ronnie Scott's on Sunday 26 September 2004. They last played (and sold out) Ronnies on Sunday 18 May 2003 when John Metcalfe made a surprise guest appearance.

Full details follow:

Ronnie Scott's
47 Frith Street
London WC2

Info: 020 7439 0747
Ticketweb: 0870 600 100
You should also be able to buy tickets at face value if you got to the venue and pay in cash

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4 May 2004
That was my idea 
The String Quartet Tribute to New Order and Joy Division [Vitamin Records, 12 August 2003] bears an uncanny resemblance to the recent album by Litmus. Both albums feature versions of Love Will Tear Us Apart, Bizarre Love Triangle and She's Lost Control. Litmus seem to have had the idea first as they were formed in November 2001 and have been playing their Manchester band cover versions on and off ever since.

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1 May 2004
Shaun and Hooky (and Vini) on one 
This Thursday 6 May, Turnmills in Clerkenwell, London hosts another of its occasional 'Get Loaded' night. Shaun Ryder will be MC-ing over classic Happy Mondays and Black Grape and New Order's Hooky will spin some top tunes.

If that's not your scene and maybe you're in the Midlands then why not get down to the Shrewsbury Buttermarket for the latest gig by new rock gods (shurely shome mishtake, Ed) The Durutti Column.

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