16 Jan 2005
Praxis Makes Perfect 
A youthful Anthony H Wilson explained to New Order's Gillian Gilbert why he set up Factory Records in Channel 4's New Order Play at Home documentary first broadcast in 1984:

Gillian: "Can you tell me briefly about Factory Records, yeah, what's it all about?"

AHW: "What's it all about, the truth. I could give you 18 different truths or loads of different stories, but they all come down to Praxis. Do you know what Praxis is?"

Gillian: "Praxis? No."

AHW: "Have you ever heard 'Praxis makes perfect'? Praxis is the idea that you do something cos you want to do it. And after you've done it you find out all the reasons why you did it. I mean I could give you a hundred great reasons, political, ideological, aesthetic. I liked the friends I met working as a journalist in punk in '76 and '77 and didn't wanna lose them. I'm trained as an academic. I wanted to do experiments, laboratory experiments in popular art. Experiments on people like you, you see. Hmmm, you're experimenting with me in the bath. Er, I wanted to make political experiments, as to how you could function politically in the market place. But all those things, which I might say were the reasons, I've only found out they were the reasons for doing it by doing it. You just do it. I mean everything we did. Everything you've done. Everything we've all done. It's just cos you wanted to do it. I can think of great reasons afterwards but it would be dishonest."

Gillian: [laughs]

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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

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