1 Nov 2008
History lesson 
Tractor were fortunate enough to have John Peel indulge them to write and record a suite of songs about Manchester's Peterloo Massacre.

Peel helped pay recording studio bills and even bought them equipment to launch several locations of recording studios around Rochdale where they continued to record themselves and other bands which has played a major part in Manchester's musical history.

They recorded a 21-minute suite of songs about Peterloo in 1973 and then, because of the campaign for a decent memorial to the victims of Peterloo, Tractor wrote new songs in the last few years to add to the suite of music which now runs as a whole album at around 41 minutes. The album will be released a few weeks before the 190th anniversary of the Peterloo Massacre which is on the 16 August 2009.

This Sunday on the NW regional segment of the Politics Show on BBC 1, Tractor play an extract from one of the songs and members of the band and their producer Chris Hewitt talk about the politics of Peterloo and the parallels with Thatcherism and today and their idea of a Peterloo concert in the open air in Manchester somewhere near St Peter's Fields.

BBC One NW is available on satellite TV.



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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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