17 Nov 2004
Factory at the crossroads 
The 'New Factory', the Fac 251 headquarters building that Factory commissioned at One Charles Street in Manchester was quite an architectural landmark. Ben Kelly (also the designer of Fac 51 The Hacienda and Fac 201 Dry) and "co-designer" Elena Massucco brought on the style. In this excerpt from a City Life magazine article on the building (and also the Siemens building in West Didsbury), Elena Massucco explains some of the philosophy behind its design, in particular "the slot" (the front door, the exterior of which can be glimpsed in this photo of The Wendys): "there was originally a door there, and we just wanted to make an impressive gesture at the crossroads, bringing the building out into the outside world: it would tie it up for us." The slot allows you, on entering the building, to see up to the first and second floors, and vice versa. "It was important for the first floor (the office level) to have a feeling of people going in and out - they don't have to be cut off".

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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

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