27 May 2007
Just the fax 
Manchester International Festival Director Alex Poots talks to Matt Keating in Saturday's Money Guardian about five men who have inspired his artistic view, including Tony Wilson.

Alex recalls: "In my spare time I also managed a classical composer who was signed to a classics offshoot of Factory Records (Factory Classical). Prior to my first meeting with the company's founder, Tony Wilson, I'd phoned to say I needed a fax machine to help me work. Tony arrived wearing an Armani suit and trainers, and had a fax machine tucked under his arm for me. Evidently he had just ripped the Factory records machine straight out of the wall.

Tony cut through all the bureaucracy to find out what his artists wanted. In this instance it was just a fax machine, but I learned a lot from him, including how to help artists create an uncluttered area that allows them to work. I also learned his can-do attitude and easy approach to people."

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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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