1 Aug 2010
Today's Joy Division Plan K screening was abandoned after 30 minutes due to a power cable being cut by workers digging up the road outside the Heritage Centre in Macclesfield. With all power gone to the Cinemac cinema (which had played host yesterday to the triple bill of Factory Records-related films) the organisers had no choice except to cancel with full refunds being promised to the forty-odd people who had attended. The abandonment was taken in good spirit by most of those there, including Jon Savage who introduced the film, with the whole unlikely sequence of events being considered to be "very Factory".

It was a shame because the rarely-seen Plan K footage was highly gripping in all its fuzzy, raw, primitive glory. With both nights at the Manchester Apollo also on the programme it was just getting going when after about 35 minutes everything drew suddenly to a stop.

We decamped to the cafe downstairs and then to the Joy Division exhibition upstairs. Mark Reeder's stark black and white portrait of Ian Curtis was blown up to gigantic proportions on the far wall, various posters adorned the walls and display cases contained all manner of artefacts including contracts, setlists, invoices, press cuttings, photos, records, tapes, books, artwork and miscellaneous personal items (the best of which was a postcard from Steve Morris to Gillian sent whilst on a European tour which said how bad it was but how he thought it would only get worse!).

The one item which has probably generated the most interest is a handwritten letter from Ian Curtis to Rob Gretton about the release of Closer which reads:

"Judged purely on my own terms, and not to be interpreted as an opinion or reflection of mass media or public taste but a criticism of my own esoteric and elitist mind of which the mysteries of life are very few and beside which the grace of God has deemed to indicate in a vision the true nature of all things, plus the fact that everyone else are a sneaky, japing load of tossers, decree that this LP is a disaster. IK Curtis."

Every item tells a story and a lot of detail is crammed into a relatively small exhibition space and it's all well worth the two pounds entry fee. The exhibition continues at the Heritage Centre in Macclesfield until Sunday 8 August 2010.

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Anonymous martin63 said...

Yes indeed, a fascinating exhibition John. Good to see you and Amy.

02/08/2010, 13:00


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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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