5 May 2005
Martin O'Neill JD Bowdon Vale launch party 
The posh suburbs of Altrincham (itself a posh suburb of Manchester) were reminded of their gritty rock past (!) on Saturday night (30 April) as one-time Sale & Altrincham Messenger photographer Martin O'Neill opened his solo exhibition of photographs at Hale Library. The photos depict local Manchester band Joy Division's sweaty black and white gig at nearby Bowdon Vale Youth Club, some twenty-six years prior.

Not strictly in keeping with the spirit of the original alcohol-free gig, wine and beer was available on the night, though supplemented with free Vimto (one of Martin's photographs famously depicts drummer Steve Morris supping a can of this local fizzy beverage - other members of the band seeming to prefer the more sophisticated 'soda pop' 7UP experience).

Martin's guests on the opening night included a number of the original attendees of the gig itself including Nick Wraith and Andy Wake, along with local celebs Martin Moscrop (ACR etc), Lindsay Reade (Factory etc), Alan Hempsall (Crispy Ambulance), Karen Mason (Hacienda etc), various 'Fast Cars' and a special guest appearence of the original promoters of the gig itself: chiropodist Bob Jefferson and his wife Carol (owners of once-local record shop 'Streets Ahead').

Though the exhibition lasts only one week, plans are afoot to move it into Manchester proper in time for the 18 May anniversary of Ian Curtis' suicide (tbc).

Highlight of the evening was the lady who had diarised her early gig experiences, selectively quoting them at random : "Valentine's Day, 1979. Went to see The Fall. Wore red leg-warmers..."

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Thanks to Moist.

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