30 May 2017
Alan Goes To Moscow 
Here's a transcript of a full and frank letter from Alan Erasmus to his contact "Yuri" ahead of his trip to the USSR which was famously commemorated by the FAC 126 poster 'Alan Goes To Moscow'. It it is quite unusual in that its stated aim is to "... explain more fully Factory's philosophy, and methods to present our art and ideas into a morally corrupt market place."

"Sunday 9th September 1984

Greetings Yuri

My apologies for the slight delay, but here is the letter you asked me to send you, outlining (briefly) the areas for discussion on my visit to Moscow (23rd to 26th October).

1. To discuss the feasibility of the importing, and/or license, of Soviet cultural achievements in the areas of:-

a) Contemporary Music
b) Film
c) Classical Music
d) Video Recording

2/ To hold talks with regard to, (though not necessarily on a reciprocal basis) the licensing, and/or import, of Factory (F.C.L) productions to the U.S.S.R. in the areas of:

a) Contemporary Music
b) Film
c) Video Recording

During these discussions I will explain more fully Factory's philosophy, and methods to present our art and ideas into a morally corrupt market place. In the west we are treated with a grudging respect, (the Americans admire our honesty and commitment, but find it difficult to relate to, or deal with, what they call "A Marxist Communications Company") but they cannot understand how we continue to remain successful, (2 to 3 million pounds per annum, rising, and yet, do not advertise (no hard sell, or promotion), divide equally the profits (Factory's share is used to finance the making of more films and music, or to fund socialistically aware projects, and has no written agreement, or contracts with the workers it represents (for years we have trusted the people we work for and they have trusted us).

I sincerely hope it is possible to arrange the appropriate meetings during my visit to your country, and look forward with enthusiasm, to my stay in Moscow, and your reply.

Contra Mundi

Alan Erasmus"

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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

The Durutti Column