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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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