30 Jun 2017
Caesar talks about the past (part two) 
Welcome to part two of Ian McCartney's interview with Caesar of The Wake.

Did The Wake socialise with any of the other bands on the label?

We didn't really socialise much with many of the other bands - mainly because we were based in Glasgow and only spent time in Manchester when we were down to record or play live.

Through some of the shows we did get to meet a few of the other musicians. We got to know Stockholm Monsters a bit. One time they were up in Glasgow - supporting The Smiths on tour - and they stayed with us. We had a game of football with them (boys only - our keyboard player Carolyn gave it a miss) - a Scotland against England thing - and they kicked lumps out of us. After The Smiths gig we were in the van waiting to go home and a couple of Japanese girls approached them with these beautifully packaged little gifts for Sir Morrissey. And of course they said oh yeah we'll make sure he gets them and proceeded to rip them to shreds in the van when the Smiths fans had gone. They were good fun in a slightly mad way.

Vini Reilly played on the Talk About The Past single. Tony brought him along to the studio and he just improvised his piano part instantly which was impressive to see and a great help to the end of the song. We played with The Durutti Column maybe a couple of times too. One of our favourite Wake gigs was supporting them at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London. We've done some soundtrack work with Vini in recent years too with our theatre company 12 Stars.

We met Donald Johnson and some members of ACR at different points - especially the Factory All Stars thing when there was an episode of that TV show The Tube from The Hacienda and Factory put together a collective of sarcastically named non-stars to perform. It was only meant to be Carolyn taking part on vocals and keyboards but I got roped in to sing Love Will Tear Us Apart at the sound check. Oh and Simon Topping added brilliant percussion to several Here Comes Everybody tracks - that was a great idea from our producer Oz.

Caesar sings live with the Factory All-Stars at the Tube at the Hacienda

Obviously we played live a lot with New Order but that was never really a social situation.

Did you share concerns about lack of promotion, and so on?

We did hear some discussions about the lack of promotion but other groups seemed more concerned about it than us. We'd always looked on turning away from conventional publicity as a bit of strength at Factory. The lack of promotion was a kind of promotion in itself if that‘s not too romantic a view. The label was known for not resorting to the usual round of desperate publicity - which in truth it couldn't afford anyway. For me, as someone who got into the label through the music and presentation of the music as something I could trust without any hype, it made a sort of sense, I could see how it might work.

In the end, for a label which supposedly didn't have adequate advertising it's still around today, people are still interested, new generations. I don't see many books and movies out there about Sony. Although, unfortunately, we thought that 24 Hour Party People film was really poor. But James Nice's Shadowplayers book redresses the balance to my mind. Admittedly, James is a friend, but I genuinely believe it's a better representation, more in the spirit of the label.

Shadowplayers book front cover

Promotion is a really specialist thing and unless you can do it on a very large scale I'm not sure it makes that much of a difference. When we were with Blue Mountain for publishing they funded some music press adverts for Talk About The Past and it did seem to give it a slight boost - no more. Factory had no objections. So I'm not sure it was such an idealistic issue - more of a practical thing - they just couldn't compete in that arena.

Anyway, for what it's worth, we thought it was a good move to go in the other direction and make it a label you had to become interested in through your own reactivity and awareness.

Was Rob Gretton your main ally at Factory?

Yes, Rob was our main ally. Every time we wanted to do a record it was Rob we approached in the first instance. We stayed at his place quite often. He always dropped by the studios when he had time. He was around for most of Harmony and that made us feel like a real part of the label during those initial sessions.

I mean our relationship with Tony was good as well. Although when we did the Something That No One Else Could Bring EP we had a bit of a dispute with him about the artwork. We'd always done our own covers up to that point and we had an idea of what we wanted but didn't really have anyone to draw it up for us. Tony wanted to use specific designers - can't remember the name but it was some company who did a lot of the ACR stuff at the time. They came back to us with a sleeve that was basically for an ACR dance record and it just wasn't right for us at all - very 80s New York, very clubby - and nothing to do with our starting point. Had any of these people even listened to tracks like Gruesome Castle and Pale Spectre? That was the first time we felt Factory could easily slip into being a bit formulaic. We were expected to say yes to an idea that had nothing to do with our work just because Tony thought some art school guy was the next Peter Saville. We went in the opposite direction and went for something a lot more punk. But Tony didn't like it and the record was given a pretty low key release even by Factory standards to teach us a lesson. Apart from that though, Tony was great to us.

Rob Gretton

I'd say Rob would've been a lot more supportive over an issue like that but he wasn‘t around so much or accessible to us at the time. Rob actually enjoyed people challenging any preconceived notions of what a Factory record should look or sound like. I'm not saying Tony wasn't like that. I think he was deep down. It was just a period when the label was changing and certain people were becoming more influential and convinced Tony that dance music was the only way forward. We thought our EP was a much more interesting direction for Factory to go in than the dance stuff. We were right in my humble, but correct, opinion. It was never a natural dance music label apart from the ACR side of things.

What are your memories of Palatine Road?

Again being based in Glasgow we didn't get to Palatine Road that much - maybe four or five times - no more than that. Most of our business was done over the telephone - mainly with Rob at his place and later with Tony and Tina who worked at Palatine Road.

All I can remember is it being a lovely big house in Didsbury. There were lots of boxes and office paraphernalia lying around. It had a nice relaxed atmosphere. Some might say too relaxed. And yet it could get quite chaotic suddenly. My impression was it operated on the spur of the moment - there was a lot of spontaneity involved - not much in the way of a strict business plan or anything like that. I suppose there must've been a hell of a lot to deal with in respect of Joy Division and New Order at the time. But if you approached anyone at the Palatine Road office for help they would always try to get something done. It had the feel of a place that had grown organically - defined by the people who worked there and who ran the label on a day-by-day basis. I have good memories of it but as I say we weren't there very much.

86 Palatine Road outside front view

What are your memories of Manchester in the mid-80s? (The Hacienda pre-acieeed, the city pre-Madchester, Manchester United pre-mega-global success.)

Memories of Manchester are fairly limited too. After that early period when we were chasing support slots and trying to find a label we weren't down that much and when we worked there we were in studios and hotels mainly or Rob's house in Chorlton (hardly the centre of any burgeoning music scenes). We spent an equal amount of time in Stockport during the Harmony and Of The Matter sessions working at Strawberry.

When we did go out it was to The Hacienda once that was up and running. We were there at the opening and quite a few occasions after that and played there a couple of times. Once supporting Howard Devoto and once on our own. They were good gigs but the sound there wasn't so great as is well known. Before it took off as a club it was a strange one. It was an exciting and impressive space to be in but of course people weren't going in any great numbers at the start. I think the gigs did okay. I always felt something significant was going to happen there eventually - it had so much potential. I'm just not sure that what actually happened was that significant artistically although it undoubtedly left its mark all over the city.

I suppose living in Glasgow we were closer to what was happening here. This was a very active and creative place at the time too. We spent more time around the groups here and had more awareness of what was happening with the Postcard label really.

As for Manchester United - well, for me football begins and ends with the SPL in spite of all the Sky billions.


See also: part one, parts one and two

Many thanks to Ian and Caesar.

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29 Jun 2017
Cover Versions - an exhibition of recent record covers 
Cover Versions - an exhibition of recent record covers

APRIL 30 - MAY 21 1981
Tues-Fri 10.30-5.00 Saturday 10.30-4.00

Transcript of exhibition introduction


an exhibition of recent record covers

The idea which emerged in the 1960's that a record, its packaging and artwork might have its own visual identity, was distorted or lost in the early 1970's, and, like much of the music of that decade, sleeve design tended towards the slick and empty. The obvious experimentation, seen for example in The Beatles' 'Sergeant Pepper' or the 'White Album', disappeared in a mire of air brush and weak surrealism.

However, the most original graphics that accompanied the profusion of new wave records released since 1977, were imaginative, colourful and energetic, reflecting to some extent the vitality of the new music. During this period, countless groups and individuals committed their songs to vinyl, some adopting a do-it-yourself approach by financing, recording, packaging and distributing their product themselves, while some secured deals with the major record companies, and others found a home amongst the emerging small independent record labels, such as Stiff, who worked creatively with their artists, emerging with a world of witty parody, slogans and good design.

The picture sleeve, customary packaging for e.p.'s by '60's pop groups, made a reappearance, and indeed became almost obligatory for any single release. The designer's job therefore became increasingly more significant, especially when there were additional requirements such as separate covers for 7" and 12" releases, artwork for advertisements, t-shirts, badges, stickers, posters, and assorted promotional ephemera. For this exhibition, we have made a selection from record covers produced over the past four years, concentrating on those designers whose work we consider to be consistently innovative, visually interesting and witty. Included are individual designers Malcolm Garrett (designs for, among others, the Buzzcocks and Magazine) and Peter Saville (Factory and Dindisc); record labels Stiff, Radar and F-Beat, and Bob Last's Edinburgh-based Fast Product/Pop-Aural; Al McDowell's Rocking Russian, with the extension of its activities into related areas such as t-shirts and magazines. This diversification into other areas is illustrated elsewhere in the exhibition, e.g. Fast's 'Quality of Life' packages, Stiff's promotional material.

Chris Kennedy, Bryan Biggs
exhibition organisers

We would like to thank the following for their help in arranging this exhibition: Malcolm Garrett, Chris Morton, Peter Saville, Al McDowell, Bob Last, Frances Lupton, Jez Miller, Peter Richmond, Jeremy Stickings, Penny Lane Records, A&M, Albion, Arista, Blueprint, Charisma, Decca, EMI, F-Beat, Groovy, MCA, New Hormones, Pre, Radar, RSO, Trojan, Virgin, WEA.


Exhibition booklet images follow. Many thanks to Brian Nicholson.

Note: this is the exhibition to which Tony Wilson is referring in his essay 'Saville - the partner's story' which we published in May 2017.

Cover Versions - an exhibition of recent record covers

Cover Versions - an exhibition of recent record covers

Cover Versions - an exhibition of recent record covers

Cover Versions - an exhibition of recent record covers

Cover Versions - an exhibition of recent record covers

Cover Versions - an exhibition of recent record covers

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28 Jun 2017
Caesar talks about the past (part one) 
The Wake - FAC 88 Talk About The Past - poster

The Wake formed in Glasgow (Scotland) in April 1981, after singer/guitarist Caesar joined forces with drummer Steven Allen and a bassist, Joe Donnelly. Caesar had previously played with Altered Images and wrote their first single Dead Pop Stars, but elected to leave shortly before the band crashed into the UK charts.

- extract from the LTM biography by James Nice

The interview that follows was conducted via email with Caesar between around 2010 and 2012. Originally planned for Cerysmatic Factory's print fanzine Scream City, it never saw the light of day. This was my fault and down to my dilatory approach. The interview process should take, ideally, about 90 minutes. In this case we're talking 18 months. By which time Scream City's editor had decided it was time for the print project to rest (at least for the moment. Ed.). So, what follows is some talk about the past, from the (5+ years) past.

- Ian McCartney

In a VBS TV "Soft Focus" interview a few years ago, ex-The Wake bassist Bobby Gillespie tells the story of how the band signed to Factory. His version of events seems pretty simple: you basically knock on Rob Gretton's door and hand him a tape, leading to the band recording for Factory. Is this how you remember the events leading up to The Wake's being on the label?

Bobby's version of events is basically right. Some of us went to Manchester. It must've been around January 1982. I'm not sure who was there from the group and who wasn't. Anyway, a Wake delegation went down.

The idea was to visit Richard Boon at the New Hormones office - as well as Rob - to give them a copy of our self-released single On Our Honeymoon. We might have handed in a tape as well as the single - I can't remember - but the main thing was to give both a copy of the record. We were looking to support Buzzcocks or New Order. Also, obviously, we hoped that something might happen label-wise eventually.

Anyway, New Hormones wasn't really operating as a label anymore. Richard Boon had his hands full just managing Buzzcocks of course. But he was very friendly and helpful when we went to see him. I'm not sure how we got Rob's home address. It could be that Richard Boon gave it to us - I can't think how else we would've got it. But Richard Boon was kind enough to advise us a little and he was very encouraging.

However, we managed to find him, Rob was hugely approachable when we turned up at his door. We gave him the single and I got in touch with him shortly after to see if we could do any gigs with New Order. Sure enough something came up immediately; I'm not certain where it was - one internet site mentions Trinity Hall in Bristol 26th Feb 1982 and that sounds about right to me. After playing with them a few times he spoke to us about doing something with Factory. He'd already had a word with Tony about us.

As well as seeing us live, I guess Rob liked the fact we'd done the single independently and had the initiative to take it down to him and so on… The brilliant thing about people like Rob and Richard Boon was that they kept in touch directly with new music. Well, NEW Hormones and NEW Order after all.

Cheekily enough, when Rob asked us to do something - probably having in mind a single or an EP - I said we wanted to do a mini-album even though we were completely unknown. Again, the great thing about Factory then was they just went with an idea and enabled you to do it if they thought there was something behind it. No demos, no proposals, no need to explain what you were trying to achieve. If they believed in you, they backed you.

They booked us into Strawberry Studios in Stockport to record - it was a pretty state-of-the-art studio at that time, part owned by 10cc. I suppose Rob liked the fact they'd provided that facility outside of London.

And that's how we came to make Harmony.

The Wake - FACT 60 Harmony

A release like The Wake's debut single On Our Honeymoon would, I'm sure, have had the likes of Virgin records knocking on the door. Were labels other than Factory making offers at the time, and were they considered? Also, how many copies of On Our Honeymoon were pressed?

As for the notion that On Our Honeymoon (1,000 copies pressed) might have had the likes of Virgin Records approaching us that certainly wasn't the case...

I had been signed to a major label for a short time as part of the original line-up of Altered Images. I was the guitarist and wrote quite a lot of their early songs - first single Dead Pop Stars for instance - and I was still potentially contracted to CBS/Epic when I left to form The Wake. Even though I could've been tied to them legally they had absolutely no interest in keeping me on fortunately. We didn't contact any majors re The Wake.

It's hard to realise now the impact the new independent labels were having - we think of indie music as a genre, a style of music, whereas back then it was actually an explosion of small labels like Fast, Rough Trade, Factory and Postcard - and they were just the better known ones. It wasn't a guitar based beat group style of music at all - there were all kinds of musical approaches out there - it was more a way of thinking about how to keep creative control.

The Wake - On Our Honeymoon

Unlike previous independents like, say, Stiff Records, labels like Factory weren't just calling cards to try and get a major deal, they were labels that appeared to be saying this is a way ahead - responding to the supposed ideals of punk - a new way of doing things, a new way of releasing music, and we were really attracted to that and thought it was the way forward for The Wake. Personally speaking, I would've seen The Distractions single on Factory, Time Goes By So Slow, that record, the song itself, the way it was presented by Factory, as some sort of ideal, that was what I wanted the group to be doing, that was the template.

Major label interest actually came later around the time of Talk About The Past. Just as that was about to come out on Factory we signed a publishing deal with Blue Mountain Music which was a company connected to Island Records. When we signed that deal, which came off the back of a headlining gig at the Hacienda, the boss of Island at the time - it was Dave Robinson who had started Stiff Records - heard Talk About The Past playing in the Blue Mountain office - and in true corny showbiz style burst into the room saying, ‘That‘s a hit! Who is it? They‘ve got a deal.'

Not too surprisingly, in subsequent meetings, when it came down to the details of signing to the label for real, some conflicts arose. The main problem was our determination to choose which songs could be released as singles. Another big stumbling block was our suggestion that singles might not necessarily appear on albums as was our way of doing things at Factory. Also we wanted final say on - and the option to design - all artwork including any advertising. Basically we were trying to retain the creative controls we had at Factory. This was the ultimate test for us - had this so-called major learned any lessons from smaller labels like Factory? And, of course, they hadn't taken the slightest bit of notice. So the deal never happened.

In any case, Tony really encouraged us to follow up on any major label interest. He was always very open about that. He was pleased when bigger labels took an interest in the Factory groups.

Around the same time, we recorded a session for the David Jensen Show on BBC Radio and the broadcast led to phone calls from - and meetings with - a few other well-known labels but it never came to anything.

We were always trying to move forward on a creative level - that was the main thing - and Factory was the right place to be when working on the Here Comes Everybody album which was coming next.

The Wake - FAC 178 Something That No-one Else Could Bring

The Wake's time at Factory was about five or six years. Starting round about sometime in 1981, with the final release Something That No One Else Could Bring being in 1987. Now, I'm not trying to be a cheeky bastard (and please correct me if I've got it wrong) but by my reckoning the sales of the records wouldn't have paid enough to live off. Did you have another way of making money during these years?

...and did you have any discussions about moving elsewhere?

You're so wrong - we were living the dream and owned properties across the world. OK - I'm only kidding.

Record sales weren't enough to live from on a regular basis but we got occasional royalties and made money from gigs. Basically, we went through phases of having enough to get by on and some times of signing on and doing a few part time jobs now and then. The publishing deal made a big difference as it involved an advance.

Certainly now we make more from the LTM reissues than we ever did from the original Factory recordings. Then again, the records wouldn't exist at all without Factory's considerable financial input.

As mentioned before, we had major label interest around the time of Talk About The Past. The one we took most seriously was when Sounds journalist Dave McCullough, Geoff Travis (Rough Trade) and Mike Alway (Cherry Red) started up Blanco y Negro Records through Warners and there was definite interest from Dave in his new role as head of A & R. In the end we stuck with Factory for as long as we felt a connection. Possibly it was the right place for us to be all that time although it changed later.

The Wake


End of part one.

See also: part two

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Independent Label Market @ Spitalfields 8 July 2017 
Independent Label Market @ Spitalfields 8 July 2017

Independent Label Market returns to London on Saturday 8 July and Factory Benelux, Les Disques du Crépuscule and LTM will be there for the sale of records, CDs, badges and probably a few free biscuits.

Other labels in attendance include 4AD, Fire and Heavenly and don't forget the London Brewers' Market is on too.


Saturday 8 July 2017

11:00 - 18:30
Old Spitalfields Market
London E1 6EW

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27 Jun 2017
C88 3CD box set on Cherry Red 
C88 3CD box set on Cherry Red

More indie-pop compilation goodness from Cherry Red in the form of C88, a 3-CD box set out 30 June 2017.

This time the Factory Records interest comes from The Wake with a demo version of Crush The Flowers. This song was originally the a-side of a single on Sarah Records in 1989 (SARAH 21)

"C88 is another celebration of the Eighties Indie scene, documenting a golden era when tuneful guitar-based bands made records on shoestring budgets, often issued on small labels with hand-made artwork, with little hope of mainstream exposure."

- Cherry Red


Title: C88
Format: 3CD
Release date: Friday 30 June 2017
Catalogue number: CRCDBOX36

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26 Jun 2017
Black Grape's Beano On The Sea in September 
Black Grape's Beano On The Sea in September

Black Grape have been added to the Beano On The Sea at Hastings Pier over the long Friday to Saturday weekend of 8-10 September 2017.

Bez out of Happy Mondays also hosts one of the aftershow parties over the weekend.

The Lightning Seeds, Cast, Echobelly, Reef, Space, Dodgy, The Bluetones and many more complete the line-up.

Weekend tickets are available now priced 99 GBP via beanoonthesea.com

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25 Jun 2017
A Certain Ratio live @ Dancity Festival, Foligno, Italy 
A Certain Ratio live @ Dancity Festival, Foliglo, Italy

A Certain Ratio follow-up their storming performance at 229 in London with a special appearance at the Dancity Festival in Foligno, Italy on Saturday 1 July 2017.

Facebook page

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Joy Division screening and panel discussion 
Joy Division movie still

HOME Manchester presents a special screening of and panel discussion about the Joy Division documentary film on Tuesday 11 July 2017 at 18.00 in connection with the True Faith exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery (30 June to 3 September).

"Featuring the unprecedented participation of all the surviving band members, Grant Gee's Joy Division examines the band's story as depicted through never-before-seen footage, personal photos, period films and newly discovered audio tapes."

The director Grant Gee and writer and True Faith curator Jon Savage will discuss the writing and making of the film and the wider cultural impact of Joy Division and New Order.

For tickets and more info see homemcr.org


2 Tony Wilson Place
Manchester M15 4FN
From Manchester With Love 
From Manchester With Love

Following the tragic bombing on 22 May 2017, Manchester's music community bring you 'Manchester With Love', a 226-track charity compilation from all parts of the music spectrum.

"The city came together in the hours, days and weeks after attack at the Manchester Arena and this compilation shows the city's music community coming together. Previously unreleased tracks from 808 State and A Certain Ratio line up against new music from Anz and Finn, The Buzzcocks line up next to Levelz, showing Manchester's diversity through music. Available to buy for a limited time."

Highlights for FAC fans include:

A Certain Ratio - Nostromo A Go Go (Original Soundstation Demo)
Space Monkeys - Only The Good Die Young

From Manchester With Love is available to buy now via Boomkat.

All proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.

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24 Jun 2017
True Faith @ Manchester Art Gallery 
True Faith @ Manchester Art Gallery

True Faith explores the ongoing significance and legacy of New Order and Joy Division through the wealth of visual art their music has inspired and runs at Manchester Art Gallery from Friday 30 June to Sunday 3 September 2017 in conjunction with the Manchester International Festival.

"Curated by Matthew Higgs, Director of White Columns, New York (see FAC 171) and author and film-maker Jon Savage with archivist Johan Kugelberg, True Faith is centred on four decades' worth of extraordinary contemporary works from artists including Julian Schnabel, Jeremy Deller, Liam Gillick, Mark Leckey, Glenn Brown and Slater Bradley, all directly inspired by the two groups.

"Also featuring Peter Saville's seminal cover designs, plus performance films, music videos, fashion and posters from John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger, Lawrence Weiner, Jonathan Demme, Robert Longo, Raf Simons and Kathryn Bigelow, True Faith provides a unique perspective on these two most iconic and influential Manchester bands. The exhibition will also present a selection of rarely seen personal materials, including original hand written lyrics."

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Steve Martland Bursary Fund 
Steve Martland - Summer School - Bursary Fund

Sound and Music has launched a compelling appeal to raise £25,000 by July 2018 in order to create a much-needed bursary fund, in memory of the much-loved composer Steve Martland (1954-2013), offering financial support to young composers attending the annual residential Summer School for Young Composers.

Every year, 75 young composers aged 14-18 from all over the country arrive at the Sound and Music Summer School for a transformational week of music making. They learn from and work alongside a team of world renowned composers, professional musicians and experienced educators in developing their compositional skills, be it in writing for instruments, writing for film, writing for non-European instruments, writing for voice, or writing for a jazz ensemble. This is the only course of its kind in the UK and for many of the young people attending it is a truly life-changing experience.

For music to thrive in the future, there is an urgent need to ensure that the pursuit of music and composition as a profession is available to every young person who has the talent. Every year, at least a third of attendees at the Summer School need some level of bursary to be able to attend and in 2015 the idea of creating bursaries specifically in memory of Steve Martland was conceived, from which the current appeal has been born.

Steve's words feel more than ever relevant now: "Creativity is everything that is against what's going on in the world right now. It's to do with tolerance and understanding other people. With more creativity we wouldn't have these conflicts we're having. I know that's very idealistic, but if I didn't believe that I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing. It's about seeing the differences between people and celebrating them. That's what all music is about for me."

An exceptionally generous donation of £9,000 from Steve's publisher and friend Sally Groves, made in memory of her husband of Dennis Marks, has kick-started the appeal. Other supporters are now being sought to make the fund a reality.

The actual cost per pupil of attendance at the Summer School is £1,200, and the fee to parents (without a bursary) is £450. Donations received will go directly towards assisting young people to attend, and a fund of £25,000 means that Sound and Music can ensure the future of the Summer School’s ability to offer bursaries whenever they are needed.

More details and the facility to make a donation are available via soundandmusic.org.

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23 Jun 2017
The Names - German Nights [FBN 122 CD] 
The Names - German Nights [FBN 122 CD]

Factory Benelux presents a brand new live CD by The Names. German Nights was recorded in 2016/2017 over the course of three concerts in Berlin, Hamburg and Freiburg. Produced by Thomas Neidhardt, the set draws heavily on the albums Swimming and Stranger Than You, as will as classic singles including Nightshift, Calcutta, The Astronaut and Spectators of Life. The set concludes with a cover of Velvet Underground classic What Goes On.

"The new members have injected new life into the band," explains singer and songwriter Michel Sordinia, "and together we've updated the arrangements on some of the older songs. But ultimately we're still the same new wave band who joined Factory Records in 1980."

Covert art by Twilight. CD booklet features tour photography by Peter Staessens.

CD tracklisting

1. Intro/Discovery
2. Life By the Sea
3. Hands Off Love
4. This Is Harmony
5. The Fire
6. Spectators of Life
7. Shanghai Gesture
8. I Wish I Could Speak Your Language
9. Boy With a Gun
10. Nightshift
11. Calcutta
12. The Astronaut
13. My Angel of Death
14. What Goes On

More details and info on how to order at factorybenelux.com.

See also: thenames.be

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FAC 148 Styal water wheel bucket sponsorship 
FAC 148 Styal water wheel bucket sponsorship

Quarry Bank Mill
Museum of the Year 1984

Quarry Bank Mill Trust Ltd
Styal, Cheshire SK9 4LA

12th December 1985
Our Ref. FR2/DS/JA
Water Wheel Donations

A.H. Wilson Esq.
Managing Director
Factory Communication Ltd
86 Palatine Road
West Didsbury
Manchester 20

Dear Mr Wilson

Thank you for your cheque for sponsorship of a water wheel bucket. We will be delighted to inscribe the bucket FAC 148 in accordance with your wishes.

This very generous measure of support for our major restoration project is much appreciated by the Museum Trustees.

I hope that you will come and visit us in the near future to see the progress made so far; we will of course, be in touch with you when the bucket has been inscribed, so that you can see your bucket on the wheel.

Yours sincerely

David Sekers


Original letter from Quarry Bank Mill to Tony Wilson in acknowledgement of receipt of an unknown sum of sponsorship money for a water wheel bucket at the museum.

FAC 148 was chosen because it was 1 of 48 water wheel buckets.

The final inscribed bucket may be seen below.

FAC 148 Styal water wheel bucket sponsorship

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22 Jun 2017
Shades of indifference from Happy Mondays and Weeds 


* * *


* * *

Live at Corbieres Wine Cavern
Half Moon Street, St. Annes Square, Manchester
Sunday 27th October 1985    8 - late

Admission 50p     BY INVITATION ONLY

"shades of indifference"


Original ticket invitation for a gig by Happy Mondays and Weeds at Corbieres in Manchester.  

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21 Jun 2017
Legacy - DJs Dave Haslam & Seth Troxler 

Two big names from different generations of club culture are coming together to raise funds for mental health charities.

'Legacy' featuring DJs Seth Troxler & Dave Haslam is on for one night only on Thursday 13 July at South Nightclub, Manchester with all profits going to Mind and CALM.

You may recall that Dave sold his record collection to Seth in November 2015 and at the time the two DJs promised to find the right moment to one day play together in Manchester. The waiting is now over.

The event at South, which follows immediately after New Order play the Manchester International Festival the same evening, will include the club's Courtyard space and others featuring on the night include Micron DJs and TinTin (New Order's tour DJ). The complete line-up, with special guests, will be announced nearer the date.

Seth Troxler grew up in Detroit and over the last ten years has established himself as one of the biggest names on the international circuit. Dave Haslam DJ'd at the Haçienda almost five hundred times from 1986 to 1997.

Expect a proper party, past, present and future combining.

Advance tickets priced 12.50 GBP are still available via Skiddle.


South Nightclub
M2 6DQ

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20 Jun 2017
John Metcalfe live @ Bedford Arms, Balham 13 July 
John Metcalfe

London local John Metcalfe plays a free gig at The Bedford Arms in Balham on Thursday 13 July 2017.

John says on his Facebook Page: "Full band in attendance with Rosie Doonan, Daisy Palmer and Ali Friend providing glorious groove and gorgeous vocals. They look lovely too. And it's totally free so no excuse not to come with all your friends and say hello. On around 10."

Stage times

20.30: Tamara Hansson | Facebook

21:00: Liv Austen | Facebook

22:00 John Metcalfe


The Bedford Arms
77 Bedford Hill
London SW12 9HD

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Scissorgun - Aural Assault Two 10" and CD 
Scissorgun logo

Scissorgun are a two-piece soundscape project from Manchester comprising Alan Hempsall (Crispy Ambulance) on treated guitars, vocals, prose and trumpet, and David Clarkson (ex-Triclops and Illuminati) on synths, keyboards, drum programming, rhythms and percussion.

The duo came together in the summer of 2016 with a view to creating spontaneous music, and by November had laid the foundations of Assault Two, their debut release, so named because it is the second release on Aural Assault Records, whose first outing was the debut single by Crispy Ambulance way back in April 1980.

This special 10" and CD package is released in a limited edition of 500 copies. The extended CD features longer versions of the five tracks on the vinyl disc as well as two bonus cuts. The artwork is by Pascal Blua and the official release date is 8 September 2017.

10" vinyl tracklisting

A1. Bastard Son
A2. Dusting For Zika
B1. Caballero
B2. Sahara Dream
B3. The Searching

CD tracklisting

1. Caballero
2. Bastard Son
3. Dusting For Zika
4. Sahara Dream
5. The Searching
6. Kahutek
7. Sahara Night Flight

Scissorgun go out live in support of Wolfgang Flür (ex-Kraftwerk) at the Lexington in London on Friday 10 November 2017.

Tickets are available now priced 13.00 GBP (plus booking fee) via WeGotTickets.com.

The Lexington
10 November 2017
The Lexington
96-98 Pentonville Road

Facebook Event

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18 Jun 2017
Fac 81 1st Factory Records International Congress 
Fac 81 1st International Congress stationery source materials

The Factory First International Congress was an event held in Manchester at The Connaught Building in George Street, Manchester, England on 10 September 1983. Whether it actually started at 6.15pm as per the official stationery bearing the official designation of Fac 81 is not known but some interesting information on the design of said stationery by Factory in-house designer Peter Saville has come to light courtesy of the AHW archives at MSI Manchester.

A found image of our favourite two Chinamen shaking hands is stapled to a sheet of paper bearing detailed notes of how the paper should be laid out including the precise wording and positioning of the various elements. Ardent followers of Cerysmatic Factory over the years will recall that a variant of this very image stood on our masthead for many a year.

Cerysmatic Factory / Fac 81-style masthead

The exact source of the image remains unknown too because it is a torn out corner. Perhaps it is from a Chinese magazine sourced in the very same Chinatown in which George Street sits. Would any Chinese-speaking FAC fans like to translate?

View the original source material.

See also: Stationery | Events

Fac 81 stationery

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17 Jun 2017
Joy Division's cancelled 1980 US tour 

In a different, parallel universe, Joy Division would have toured North America in May/June 1980 and gone on to be super massive. Sadly in this world it never happened for tragic reasons but there are plenty of artefacts from the time which remind us of what could have been.

One of the many treasures in the AHW archive at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester is a typewritten itinerary for all the days in the trip which was planned 19 May to 10 June. Other variants exist including Detroit Bookies on 26 May (which Rob Gretton's notes in 1 Top Class Manager - which also contains further details on costings, etc - explain there was a "possibility of cancellation"). Days off were built into the schedule and the San Francisco date was to have been either the 6th or 7th of June.

You may wish to view the full typewritten itinerary (including some handwritten annotations).




19th Fly in
20th Day Off
21st New York      Hurrahs
22nd New York      Hurrahs
23rd New York      Hurrahs
24th Day Off
25th Toronto       The Edge
26th Day Off
27th Chicago       Tuts
28th Madison       Merlins
29th Minneapolis   Duffies
30th Day Off
31st Day Off


1st  New York       Pop Front
2nd  Fly to San Francisco
3rd  Day Off
4th  Day Off
5th  Day Off
     San Francisco  American Indian Hall
8th  Los Angeles    Flippers?
9th  Day Off
10th Fly Home

Further suggested reading: Joy Division Central

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Factory Records founded here 1978 
Factory was founded here 1978 - blue plaque on 86 Palatine Road, Manchester

A special blue plaque to celebrate BBC Music Day was unveiled by original partner and in-house designer Peter Saville at 86 Palatine Road, the old Factory Records HQ on Thursday 15 June. Bearing the inscription "Factory Records Founded Here (1978-1992) it is affixed just below a first floor window.

There were plenty of Factory Records folk present to honour the occasion including Shaun Ryder, Bez, Mark Day and Rowetta from Happy Mondays, Bruce Mitchell (the Gonzo Drum Master himself from The Durutti Column), Jez Kerr out of ACR, Hacienda designer Ben Kelly, DJ Graeme Park and the Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham was there too plus media coverage from BBC Manchester and North-West.

See the more pictures courtesy of Lawrence Cassidy at 86 Palatine Road Blue Plaque.

Listen to Alison Butterworth and Phil Trow talk about Factory Records and the blue plaque preparations on BBC iPlayer (geographical restrictions may apply).

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Mancsgiving @ The Carlton Club Sat 8 July 
MancsGiving @ The Carlton Club 4 June

MancsGiving is a charity event in aid of the victims of the events of 22 May 2017 is being held at the Carlton Club in Manchester on Saturday 8 July from 13:00-23:00. This is a rearranged date after the one initially set clashed with other supportive events on in the Manchester area.

The Factory connection comes from The Distractions who are in the line-up and possibly with Dr John Cooper Clarke who is on the awaiting confirmation list.

"After the tragic few days, the Carlton Club wishes to do something to return some love into the people of Manchester. We open our doors and our hearts to our community with MancsGiving. We urge you to come down and celebrate the Mancunian spirit. Artists and helpers near and far have donated their time to this cause and we humbly thank them."


Dust Junky Collective
Helen Forshaw
Joe Symes and the Loving Kind
Kit B
Open Voice Community Choir
Paul Gleave
The Brakes
The Distractions
The Exceptional Remarkables
The Low Numbers
Tim Wright
Vieka Plays

Awaiting confirmation

John Cooper Clarke
Rubber Duck Orchestra

+ Special Guests

"Acoustic or lightly amplified music outside and inside amplified music to your heart's content. The Buckateers will be at the club so please give to our lovely Buckateers."

More info at the Facebook event.


The Carlton Club
Rowan Lodge
113 Carlton Road
Manchester M16 8BE

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15 Jun 2017
Blue plaque for 86 Palatine Road 
On Thursday 15 June 2017, each BBC local radio station in England will erect a blue plaque on a building to commemorate a local music legend to mark BBC Music Day. In Manchester, the plaque will be on Alan Erasmus's property at 86 Palatine Road, the first home of Factory Records.

Peter Saville
will perform the unveiling ceremony and plenty of Factory Records alumni are expected to attend.

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13 Jun 2017
But what price art? 
FACT 89 Dowie (detail)

A letter from Tony Wilson to Ralph Steadman dated 1 September 1983:

Dear Mr Steadman

Forgive the intrusion and the videos herein. And most particularly forgive the paltry sum of money offered in the last paragraph. Let me explain; Factory Records is a small independent record company operating out of Manchester, England, with some success, mostly in keeping our back to the marketplace but still with our hands in the till. The company has a small video wing - so far we have put out three videos, largely mail order, at the extremely socialist price of £13.50, and they have sold 200, 800 and 1800 respectively. Recently an old friend of mine, a frequently down and out comedian called John Dowie (we put a record out for him in 1979) approached me and asked if we would put out a video cassette of a performance at last year's Edinburgh Festival. Since sales demand will be low and only in the region of 40 to 100, no real expense is involved. Our cottage industry simply transfer from a 3/4" master to a VHS one by one to keep up with demand. HOWEVER (better than but) it would nice to have a good sleeve. It would be nice to have a good sleeve. It would be nice to have a serious piece of art reflecting the manic nature of the piece and the classical nature of the record company involved - do I have to say any more? When things cost about £9 to produce and we sell them for £13.50, on sales of about 50 I could only reasonably offer you £100 (it could be a very quick drawing). We could agree that any sales above 50 you would get £1 a copy for. I enclose the Dowie video itself with its awful sleeve, and our own New Order video. Plus an example of the size of paper required. All it has to say on it is "Dowie" and the matrix number "FACT 89".

I could tell you how long I have been an ardent admirer, I could tell you how I purchased large quantities of those remaindered postcards, the Gridiron Exploder being my favourite, an I could tell you that I am a friend of Viv and Ian Starr as a form of civilised introduction. I could also offer you more money but what price art?

Yours sincerely

Anthony H Wilson

P.S. Ian just sold the Searle. I think he has some money for you - not much, but then who's Searle anyway?


AHW's direct approach paid off and Mr Steadman duly provided the cover. It is not known whether it sold more than 50 copies.

View the full letter and accompanying notes/details (and the final cover).

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12 Jun 2017
Wolfgang Flür & Scissorgun live at The Lexington 10 Nov 
Scissorgun logo

Scissorgun featuring Alan Hempsall (Crispy Ambulance) on treated guitars, vocals, prose and trumpet, and David Clarkson (ex-Triclops and Illuminati) on synths, keyboards, drum programming, rhythms and percussion support Wolfgang Flür (ex-Kraftwerk) at the Lexington in that London on Friday 10 November 2017.

Tickets are available now priced 13.00 GBP (plus booking fee) via WeGotTickets.com.

The Lexington
10 November 2017
The Lexington
96-98 Pentonville Road

Facebook Event

Wolfgang Flur & Scissorgun live at The Lexington 10 Nov 2017

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11 Jun 2017
IKON: Not An Officially Authorised Biography 
IKON: Not An Officially Authorised Biography

If you want to know the truth IKON is largely built on arrogance - Not the sort of bullshit based on the aesthetics of presentation, celebrity status, the paying of "dues" and the attendant materialistic goals of the Metropolitan Media. Nor is IKON based on some kind of inverted snobbery of "the North will rise again" type.


IKON is based, simply, on "doing it". Day in, day out. Very un-heroic, boring even. Very difficult though, to keep the stamina, especially when it seems that critically nothing changes;

N.M.E. 25/9/82
".... the power and dynamics of the music are accompanied by poor editing and shaky, hand-held camera work."

N.M.E. 10/9/88
".... the band wobble around as much as the camera."

Fuelled by Punk, although old enough to know otherwise, pre-IKON there was an 8mm, home-movie camera and friend who managed a local band - who became a bit successful. It was the start of a video label, based then, as now on co-productions and collaborations.

Essentially non-broadcast, IKON was the first mobile video cinema - "The Video Circus" - Northampton, Berlin, Pickmere Country Club, Osaka, Blackpool (police raid permitting), Toronto and others too numerous to mention - and is the first (and only) independent producer, distributor and retailer of the noisy, ugly, raw, careless, rare, offensive, beautiful, timeless.... blow our own trumpet why don't we!

It's just that if IKON hadn't who would? Who would? Who would take the time, care and consideration to promote such a range of exotica?


Sneak-previewed at the Venice Film Festival or the Riverside Studios, London; Pirated in Milan, Amsterdam and Barcelona; Critically acclaimed in New York; Video that doesn't rely on exotic locations (no offence Darwen, Glasgow, Bury or Hale). dry ice, Hollywood re-hash, bare breasts or football transfer-fee budgets.

IKON is the best kept secret of Altrincham (where?), U.K. and can be found getting them in at a bar new you.

Tim Chambers (Interest Declared)

IKON distributes: Ron Johnson, Doublevision, Cut Deep, Dubious, Ink/Red Flame, Factory ad of course IKON.


Eighties-era official unofficial IKON biography by Tim Chambers on IKON logo stationery. View the full biography.

With thanks to Brian Nicholson and Tim Chambers.

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10 Jun 2017
Saville's subcultural style statement 
Peter Saville Associates stationery and bill

Here we have a typewritten invoice (on beautiful letterhead) dated 14 July 1983 from Peter Saville Associates to Factory Records requesting payment for graphic design services rendered on several key items for New Order (including FAC 73 Blue Monday and FACT 75 Power, Corruption and Lies) and FAC 51 The Haçienda (including the original logotype and stationery) and which totals just over £8K. Adjusted for inflation that represents approximately £25K which is quite a tidy sum. There is no evidence (yet) of when the bill was paid.

FACT 75 Power, Corruption and Lies - New Order

The bill, in summary, is as follows:

Current Account with Factory Records, BeMusic, FCL and The Hacienda.

New Order 'Temptation' 7" & 12" FAC 63 £528.21
Hacienda Logotype Membership card/leaflet FAC 51 £535.38
New Order EP for Canada/USA FEP 313 £1304.54
New Order 'Blue Monday' 12" FAC 73 £538.20
New Order 'PCL' album FACT 75 £3557.62
New Order 'PCL' cassette liner for Italy FACT 75 £110.38
New Order 'Confusion' 7" & 12" FAC 93 £556.09
New Order Video Liner FACT 77 £478.47
Hacienda Anniversary Poster/ad for NME FAC 51 £57.50
Hacienda Stationery System FAC 51 £556.11

VAT payment £604.20

TOTAL £8826.70

Payment received Dec.1982 £750.00

Balance now due to Peter Saville Associates £8076.70

You may wish to view the full invoice is presented in monospaced type on Peter Saville Associates stationery.

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8 Jun 2017
We're going to Barbados (but not Miami) 
Happy Mondays Barbados and Miami cost estimate

Happy Mondays famously went to Barbados to record their final Factory Records album, FACT 420 Yes Please! Stories abound of moped accidents and selling studio furniture to raise money to buy crack cocaine. And, of course, it is alleged that the costs of the trip were a major contributory factor in destabilising Factory financially to such an extent that it eventually folded. However, Factory's other commitments, especially in property following the development and opening of the New Factory HQ were also major reasons why it all came to an end.

In a 2000 interview with The Guardian, AHW said: "Although Factory was always a precarious pile of shite, everything had to go wrong. Happy Mondays had to discover crack cocaine in Barbados! New Order's album had to be two years late! Claire Leighton had to die, of a tablet bought in Stockport, but in the Hacienda! There had to be an international property collapse! Do you want me to go on?".

Shaun Ryder told The Independent in 1992 that Nathan McGough (ex-Mondays manager) called Yes Please! 'the most expensive indie album ever made' only that was in jest but it became a myth that the press perpetuated.

But how much money did Factory actually spend on the Barbados sessions? Book-keeping wasn't a Factory speciality but Tony Wilson had a definite penchant for making lists and below we have an advance cost forecast of the whole operation. It seems that six weeks in Barbados were originally planned to be followed up by a further six weeks in Miami. However, this second part, which was outlined at just of £74K never transpired but further recording time was required because no lyrics were recorded in Barbados. The album was eventually finished at a studio in Surrey.

The trip to Barbados itself was planned at just over £68K including flights. The handwritten note at the bottom estimates production costs (for the services of Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth) at $5K per track (about $60K in total) and an undisclosed percentage on top. The Surrey costs are not known but are not thought to have been excessive as they mostly only involved recording vocals. Certainly, when put into to context of the reported £2.5m that Factory was in debt at the time of going into receivership, the contribution of Yes Please! to this amount is not as large as it is often reported to be.


(in handwriting: "Mondays")


Barbados (6 WEEKS)               £

Flight Man-Ldn-Jam-Miam-Ldn       7,236
Villas (8 people) $4,000 pw x 6  14,120
Studio $1,000 pd x42             24,705
Food                              3,175
PDs 6 x 8 £20 pd                  6,720
Freight                           8,810
Wages                               500
Ground transportation             2,823
Tape                                      -


Apartments 4 x 2 @ $3,400 pm     18,000
PDs £25pd x 8 x 42                8,400
Ground transportation             2,941
Studio $1,800 pd                 44,470
Equipment (strings, repairs etc)    500

CONTINGENCY                       6,978

TOTAL                           149,378

NB Above does not include producers fees.

(in handwriting: "Estimated fee. $5000/track Don't know % yet")

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7 Jun 2017
True Faith in promotion 
True Faith badge

Here we present the True Faith "leaf" promo badge/brooch (in gold and in silver editions) for special promotion of FAC 183 True Faith by New Order.

The promotional fun didn't stop there either for this release - there was also a poster and the True Faith Paperweight.

True Faith badge

See also: Factory Records Badges and Factory Records posters.

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5 Jun 2017
The Railway Children and The Wendys live @ Audio 
The Railway Children, The Orchids, The Wendys live @ Audio, Glasgow

The Wendys are late additions to an excellent bill on Saturday 17 June at Audio in Glasgow alongside The Orchids and headliners The Railway Children who continue their reunion gigs which started last year.

Tickets priced 15.00 in advance are available now via Tickets Scotland


The Railway Children
The Orchids
The Wendys [via archive live video stream]

14 Midland St
Glasgow G1 4PP

Facebook event
Official site

The Wendys 7.45pm - 8.10pm
The Orchids 8.25pm - 9.10pm
The Railway Children 9.30pm - end

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Releases of time to come 
Releases of time to come

Transcript of typewritten Factory Benelux release schedule from the archives with, as ever, a few unexpected twists on the FBN catalogue as we know it. Check the explanatory notes at the end for more info.

December 30th 1983

Releases of time to come

FBN 15
1982 recording in Brussels. Sleeve Patrick Roques. testpressings just arrived 1

FBN 22
from the december 83 recordings; no edit known as yet; song still to be selected; sleeve? this is for NEW ORDER. 2

FBN 26
'In movimento' A Dojo Be Music production for this Italian act; sleeve by the band in the Mussolini style; cutting in Belgium Jan 9th. 3

FBN 28
'Fate/Hate' Hookie on production; cutting done in London recently; testpressings soon to be available; sleeve by the band currently being processed in Brussels. 4

FBN 31
recordings to happen in Brussels early February with an appearance at Interferences, latest nightspot in Grand-Place, Bruxelles. 5

FBN 32
If Donald was less upset about Benelux recent foolishness, we'd know more about this project... but it shouldn't remain a questionmark for much longer... 6

FBN 33
Section 25 'From The Hip'
To be released simultaneously by Brussels and Manchester and France, etc. Sleeve by Saville; masters and films impatiently expected; a memorable release for start of 84; thank you Wally. 7

FBN 34
LAVOLTA LAKOTA 'Mitawin/Prayer'
Testpressings just arrived. A Hookie production again; one side is 33rpm; sleeve by the band currently being processed in Brussels 8

FBN 35
THE WAKE 'Talk About The Past'
Masters and films expected anytime. Release to be launched with a Benelux and German tour late February. 9

FBN 35
THE DURUTTI COLUMN 'Short Stories for Pauline'
From the December recordings in Brussels. Picture sleeve for the back (c.f. Tony's choice) Release schedule to be discussed according to Portuguese LP and the next FAC album. 10


1 - released as FBN 18 (instead of FBN 15) in April 1984
2 - released as FBN 22 (Murder b/w Thieves Like Us (instrumental)) in May 1984
3 - released as FBN 26 in April 1984
4 - released as FBN 28 in April 1984
5 - unreleased by James but FBN 31 eventually became Alma Mater by Stockholm Monsters
6 - released as FBN 32 (Brazilia) in December 1984
7 - released as FBN 33 and FACT 90 (From The Hip) in March 1984
8 - released as FBN 34 (Prayer / Mitawin) in July 1984
9 - unreleased FBN version of FAC 88 Talk About The Past
10 - unreleased until it eventually surfaced on the resurrected Factory Benelux on CD and LP in 2012

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3 Jun 2017
Movement of the 24th January stationery 
Movement of the 24th January stationery

The Movement of the 24th January
(The Durutti Column)

2-4, Little Peter Street
Manchester, England
M15 4PS

Tel: 061-834-4440
Fax: 061-839-3930

Bruce Mitchell, Vini Reilly, Anthony Wilson

Factory Too era letterhead stationery for the Movement of the 24th January / The Durutti Column.

View larger version

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Something for the weekend 
Crawling Chaos FAC 17 alternate design

This is an alternative design concept for a flyer or other promotional material for the FAC 17 Sex Machine / Berlin single by Crawling Chaos.

It is not known whether this is related to work supposedly carried out by Stephen Horsfall as mentioned by Tony Wilson in "SAVILLE: The partner's story" or whether it could in fact be to do with FAC 27, the cancelled Saville/Rob Gretton revenge programme project for alternative FAC 17 sleeve.

Or it could be neither of the above but it definitely remains a curiosity when compared with the eventual artwork.

Crawling Chaos FAC 17 alternate design

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