26 Nov 2019
The Praxis XL Factory Records Anniversary badge 
The Praxis XL Factory Records Anniversary badge

Trevor and Trevor and Craig Johnson, who curated and designed the Praxis XL exhibition currently running at The Modernist Society in Manchester, have designed a special limited edition commemorative badge which is available in Plum, Pink and Red colourways.

Each badge comes on its own backing card and has a rubber butterfly fastening.

The badges are available to buy now priced £7.00 via the-modernist.org [->]

See also: Praxis XL - A Factory Anniversary Exhibition Review

Labels: , , ,

25 Nov 2019
Trevor and Craig Johnson in conversation with Pete Mitchell 
Trevor and Craig Johnson in conversation with Pete Mitchell

Pete Mitchell will host an in conversation event with Trevor and Craig Johnson at the Modernist Society in Manchester on Wednesday 5 December 2019 from 18:30 until 20:00 to tie in with the current Praxis XL exhibition.

Tickets priced from £4.00 are available via the-modernist.org [->].

The Modernist Society
58 Port Street

See also: The Praxis XL Review

Labels: , , , , , , ,

22 Nov 2019
Scream City 6 
Scream City 6 [front cover detail]

Scream City 6 is the long-awaited film and video edition originally planned for 2012 but which never happened but is now slated for 2020.

The regular line-up of writers will return - Michael Eastwood, John Cooper, Andrew James, Ian McCartney, David Nolan plus debutants Iain Key, Brian Nicholson and Paul Pledger.

The publication schedule is somewhat tentative at this stage but, with a surprising amount of work already having been completed several years ago, it is not having to be started from scratch. More information when I have it but it should be published in the first half of 2020.

In a break from tradition, but rather aptly considering the subject material, this edition will be online-only.

See also: Scream City

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

21 Nov 2019
Scream City 5 - additional material 
Scream City 5 - additional material

Scream City 5 was published in 2010 about 2 years after issue 4 and after just shorter than that in preparation time. The graphic design of the cover spanned just about the entire development period. It was pretty clear from the outset that this would be "The International Edition" and that some form of map would feature.

In the end it featured Buckminter Fuller's Dymaxion projection in a wraparound full-bleed design but not before a brief dalliance with vintage Ordnance Survey.

Let the full, epic story commence!

Scream City 5 - additional material

Labels: , , , ,

20 Nov 2019
The Durutti Column Fidelity (2LP coloured vinyl) review 
The Durutti Column Fidelity (2LP coloured vinyl) review

Recorded in the mid-'90s and released after a string of celebrated albums, including 'The Guitar and Other Machines', 'Fidelity' [Les Disques du Crepuscule, TWI 976] is something of an underdog when compared to some of The Durutti Column's canon.

Released on CD only in 1996, this forgotten album continues the electronic theme of the outfit's final Factory album 'Obey The Time'. However, whereas the former reflected the acid house era, 'Fidelity' occasionally recalls the likes of Carl Craig, Richie Hawtin's F.U.S.E. project or Ultramarine, particularly on the giddy minimal techno of 'Sanko', the dreamy 'Grace' or sample-driven house sounds of 'Abstract of Expression'.

In truth, there isn't a great deal of Vini Reilly's guitar work on here - again as with 'Obey The Time', there are the merest hints of him riffing on the more upbeat pieces, but thankfully plenty to digest on the chilled out and glorious 'Guitar For Mother', the melancholy 'Storm For Steve' and short and sweet vignette 'G&T'. Taking centre stage across most of the album is Vini and Laurie Lexicon's other machines with beats coming from computers rather than drumming stalwart Bruce Mitchell who was notably absent from these sessions. No matter - it's a consistent album nonetheless.

With the exception of the misplaced 'Remember Me', Fidelity makes for pleasing listening on this re-ordered coloured double vinyl update, completed with the addition of two bonus tracks and a much improved new sleeve courtesy of Crépuscule's in-house artist and designer Benoît Hennebert. Somewhat surprisingly there's little in the way of sleevenotes but then there's little in the way of a back story to an album that dipped under the radar 20-plus years ago. Well worth your time.

- review by Paul Pledger (originally published at Flipside Reviews) with thanks

Labels: , , , ,

19 Nov 2019
In conversation with Anthony H. Wilson by Iain Key 
In conversation with Anthony H. Wilson by Iain Key

I think it's safe to say that everyone who ever came into contact with Tony has at least one "Tony Wilson Story".

My Dad and I had season tickets in the South Stand at Old Trafford for many years about 6 rows behind where Tony and Oliver, or other friends would sit. Every game we'd watch the players come out, the toss of the coin, the teams line up for kick-off. Then, normally, within a couple of minutes of the match starting, Tony would arrive causing those on his row to stand, and those around hm to strain to see past if anything of interest was happening.

Whilst making his entrance Tony would apologise, shake hands and wave, occasionally I'd get a nod in my direction.

I think my Dad actually enjoyed having Tony sitting in our block as when he spoke about his religion - Manchester United, he'd always mention the late arrival and wished that "the bugger off Granada" would buy a watch and then with some irony comment "he's always on the TV, never late for that...".

I'd then often then hear other people pick up the thread with the line, "that Tony Wilson...".

Ironically, my first meeting with Tony involved him being late as well. My friend, Ian, and I were doing a project on Factory Records for college in early 1995 and we had invited to interview him. We arrived at the time agreed, were shown into his office and then waiting for 2 hours. He'd been at awards do in London the night before and had been delayed.

As with his late arrivals at Old Trafford though he was apologetic and very personable.

I transcribed the interview we did that day with the idea I could submit it to The Big Issue. I ran it past Tony and he (politely) dismissed it as boring, pedestrian and nothing new, which in fairness it was. It was the same story that anyone who knows the history of the label could relate.

Rather than tell me this over the phone or by letter though I was invited back into the Factory office and Tony explained his feelings and suggested I try again. To assist me he lent me a couple of books, one of interviews with politicians and one with musicians and artists and told me to read them and go back to him on the afternoon of Monday 22nd May.

I remember being nervous when I arrived, I'd been given a second chance and I really didn't want to blow it.

This interview was going to by an attempt to look beyond the caricature and break down some of the perceptions people held, hence the limited questions about Factory or Factory Too (as it was then).

I still vividly remember sitting on the metal staircase just outside the office in Little Peter Street on a warm spring afternoon with a dictaphone between us, being in the company of one of the most charismatic individuals you could ever hope to meet.

I rushed home, on a high to listen to the recording, and was mortified to realise the batteries were dying meaning that we sounded like chipmunks on helium. Not to be put off I soldiered on and transcribed the piece, sending it back to Tony for approval.

It was nearly a month before I heard anything back due to Tony being away. What impressed me was he'd not just read and approved what I'd sent, he'd been through it and made notes and changes "to make sense of his rambling".

So that's my Tony Wilson story, rather than dismiss the first piece of work I'd offered, which would have been the end of it, he gave me feedback, encouragement and and opportunity to produce the best piece of work I could which was printed in the Big Issue in August 1995.

Nearly 25 years later I still feel blessed and proud to have had that opportunity.

- Iain Key, Stretford, November 2019

In conversation with Anthony H. Wilson by Iain Key

With a career in television, journalism and music spanning over 20 years Anthony H. Wilson, Granada stalwart and co-founder of Factory Records, love him or hate him, is one of the most well known faces in the North West.

He's a Manchester United and Eric Cantona fan and probably as close to a professional Mancunian you'll find.

Monday 22nd May, the country is seeing its 2nd glimpse of summer and Manchester is not the dour, gloomy city some would have you believe. Anthony Wilson is in a brilliant mood, despite the team he's supported since a boy failing to hold onto either their League Championship or the F.A. Cup.

How disappointed were you?

I actually wasn't that disappointed the previous weekend because a) I think it's boring if we win everything all the time and b) for me it was important for Eric’s myth. He won the League Championship in 1991 in France, 1992 with those tosspots from Leeds and in '93 and '94 with United. So you see it adds to the myth, the one year he wasn't playing he didn't win the League.


Yes, poetic, I didn't feel too bad but I did perceive they'd win at Wembley. I wasn't depressed by the game, but I was depressed that Paul Ince who is fantastic had a shit game from beginning to end and as far as I'm concerned we didn't actually get beat in either game .

We certainly didn't get beat by West Ham and it wasn't as if we actually got beat by Everton. The result was down to Mr Southall and his do or die heroics, so yeah, I'm a bit pissed off.

So was the season a disaster?

No, having won the League twice, a wonderful achievement, and to have pushed Blackburn so far without deserving to was great. My season was complete when Crystal Palace got relegated.


Everyone in the country seems to hate United but the level of hate and sheer nastiness from the Crystal Palace supporters was sickening.

As you are such a well-known face in the North West and have such a strong personality, do you think it's fair to say people either love you or hate you?

I think it's something people don't talk about in the media, we're not national celebrities. The easiest way to explain is if you ask people who Mike Neville is, 90% won't have heard of him. Do you know who Mike Neville is?


In one fairly significant area of Great Britain, the North East, he is bigger than the Pope. He's been the local TV presenter for years and years, and he's bigger than the Pope, George Michael and Elvis rolled into one.

That’s what happens with regional TV presenters to a greater or lesser degree. I've been at Granada for 20 years and it’s a strange phenomenon that people are aware of me because of my personality. In 1973 I did a feature for Granada with Emmylou Harris and I asked her to do a song she'd recently recorded by Gram Parsons. Anyway she couldn't but that night at the Manchester Free Trade Hall she said "I'm going to do a song now for a nice young man I met this afternoon called Tony Wilson", almost immediately 2000 people stood up and shouted 'WANKER!'. Par for the course really but I think it ruined her concentration. So yeah, it goes with the territory really.

Have you ever been misunderstood?

Liverpudlians have a problem with me. These people at the end of the M62 think I have a problem with Liverpool, I love Liverpool. To be honest I don't think they've ever forgotten or forgiven me for the Brugge rosette.

What was that?

Liverpool were playing Brugge in the Semi Final of the European Cup, this is years ago, and I was told that under no circumstances was I to mention that night’s game. So I didn't, I just wore this fucking great white Brugge rosette.

Do you ever get worried about over exposure?

No, I do 4, 13-week series a year for Granada and it's up to them when they show them. Do you think I'm on TV too much?


I don't think I'm on enough. I'm a red light junkie. I work my bollocks off and I think I should be on more often.

With working at Granada and also running Factory Too, do you find it difficult to split your time between the two?

No, I don't really, at Granada I'm a hired hand, a journalist and I work for them. It can be difficult because I do a lot of travelling, but at Factory though I'm only~~ ;!lking head\A and I've got a great team of people working with me.

Do you get a greater satisfaction from one over the other?

No (pause). It's a strange thing but I still see journalism as a craft, like being a plumber or a carpenter. I served my apprenticeship to do this job.

Moving on to Factory and music, in a recent article in VOX you drew parallels between 'No One Here Gets Out Alive' and Deborah Curtis's book about Ian and Joy Division. Do you think there will be a Doors type 'Joy Division revival' ?

I think, yes, to a degree, what is happening in the media - there is a generation that has come of age who understand the importance of and significance of Joy Division. I really thought that Paul (Morley) would write the book. Yes, there will be a degree of a revival.

Do you think it's a good thing that the book has been written?

Oh yes, the more books the merrier, but I think the book is a little short really.

It seems to be more 'pre-fame' than when things were happening.

Well yes, Debbie is telling her story and understandably it’s from that period. When a band, any band, gets going it always happens that the wife is an outsider, a rock ‘n' roll casualty. I was thinking about this the other day, the scene of the band travelling up and down the M1 in a transit, which is something that most Manchester bands go through. The wives or girlfriends do feel shut out because that's a lads thing.

Have you read the book yet?

Bits - from what I have read it's like 'Tony Wilson treated me like shit. I don't intentionally treat anyone like shit but I can imagine what Debbie or anyone would feel. Until you get to playing Wembley Stadium with the baby changing and hospitality suite next door - that's what's going to happen.

Do you ever get pissed off talking about Joy Division?

No, never, not at all. I'm still very surprised that I was fortunate enough to work with Joy Division. It's exactly the same as walking down the corridor at Granada and this guy goes 'Hello Tony', what gets me is do I call him Ken or Bill because you don't expect these mythical creatures, like Ken Barlow, to talk to you. I feel the same way about Joy Division, a bit other-worldly but I feel very strongly that people should know about it, and listen to the wonderful music.

Pete Waterman recently paid tribute to you over the 'In The City' festival, and you are revered by the music press. Are you the most important person in the music industry outside London?

No, people see me for things like Factory; the Hacienda; and 'In The City' but yous ~ the Hacienda is really Rob Gretton, 'In The City' is run by my girlfriend and partner Yvette Livesey, and Factory over the years in general has been run by all the people who are a lot cleverer than me. as with all these things I'm the 'talking head', the middle class wanker who went to Oxbridge and so I end up being the face of all these things and people get confused, they think / I'm the face and therefore I must be the thing itself, which I’m not.

With Factory it was Rob (Gretton) who thought of the idea. I thought we were just going to get our bands signed to other labels. I get the credit for these things which is hard on everybody else. It's all down to my face and lazy journalists.

In conversation with Anthony H. Wilson by Iain Key

You are presently arranging a Computer Festival for 1998 to celebrate the creation of the 1st modern computer being developed in Manchester. Why?

It's absolutely essential. I have friends regularly coming across from America and they get the Wilson tour of Manchester. First I take them to the Hacienda, then at 2 o'clock in the morning they get driven past Foo Foo's to see 500 drunken post-menopausal women falling out of the club which they think is amazing.

The next stop is the Daily Express building and then I take them to this unlit park in the middle of the University, where no-one ever goes, and to this little alley and this little building with a plaque on the wall that says "the world’s 1st computer ran here in 1948"; and then I laughingly point out that Rutherford split the atom 2 doors down.

If this had been anywhere else in the world they'd have built a fucking theme park and have brass bands playing. I'm a Salford lad and I didn't know 'til I was 31 that Manchester won the race ahead of Teddington and Philadelphia.

So I think it's very nice, and important, for the people of Manchester to know that a) our city was the scene for both the 1st and 2nd industrial revolutions and b} for the rest of the world to know. So we should celebrate this.

Do you think Manchester underrates itself?

Yes, it's almost like this wonderful thing of not selling ourselves to anyone because we can't be bothered. It's typically Mancunian just not to tell anyone. In fact United’s success over the years has been so overt with the likes of Edwards, Law, Best, Charlton, Robson and Giggs that when we do get overt everyone gets upset.

Yes, we underrate ourselves, but the opportunity to celebrate the computer is too good to miss.

Is there anything you'd still like to achieve?

Yes, loads (laughs). It seems you have music, TV, computers, so If you really wanted to achieve anything or be involved in anything you can. People find it strange but I feel excited about every record I'm putting out as I did with 'Transmission' or whatever. I've lots of ambitions, loads. One thing is a movie that was being done with 2 very talented Geordies that would have been, and still will be, one of the best British movies ever made. Before I die I want to see it made.

Is there anything you're glad you've never been asked?

Very good question (long pause). Yes, there are probably one or two things in my life that I'm embarrassed about, but I'm not going to tell you.

I think you make mistakes and that's part of the process. One thing I hate being asked is "What would you have on your gravestone?".

What would you have on your gravestone?

"The perfect client" as Ben Kelly, the architect calls me. Generally speaking I'll answer anything - it's my day job. That's probably why people say I'm a bullshitter, this bizarre reputation I have which I find insane, I wish I was.


Next time Tony Wilson is on your TV, don't switch channels, he may not be the man you think he is.






Transcription and editing from original draft by John Cooper, 2019

Labels: , , , ,

18 Nov 2019
Factory 40th Anniversary T-Shirt out now via Vinyl Revival 
Factory 40th Anniversary T-Shirt out now via Vinyl Revival

The Factory Records 40th Anniversary t-shirt by original Factory Records designers Trevor and Craig Johnson is available to buy now via vinylrevivalmcr.com [->] and in-store at the Vinyl Revival shop on Hilton Street in the Northern Quarter of Manchester.

Labels: , , , , ,

Space Monkeys live at Deaf Institute, Manchester 14 Feb 2020 
Space Monkeys live at Deaf Institute, Manchester 14 Feb 2020

Space Monkeys return to live action at the Deaf Institute in Manchester on 14 February 2020.

Don't forget that the new Space Monkeys album, Modern Actions, is released on 1 January 2020 via the Supercool label.

Tickets go on sale at 10:00 on Monday 18 November 2019.

More info: Facebook event

Labels: , , ,

15 Nov 2019
Praxis XL - A Factory Anniversary Exhibition Review 
Praxis XL - A Factory Anniversary Exhibition Review

Recently opened at The Modernist Society's premises on Port Street, Manchester, Praxis XL is an understated exhibition to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Factory's first release.

Whilst Jon Savage and Mat Bancroft's recent display at Chelsea Space (coming to Manchester in 2020) focussed on the first 50 Fac numbers and the ephemera linked to the early days, Praxis XL showcases the whole legacy of Factory.

Praxis XL - A Factory Anniversary Exhibition Review

It's been curated and designed by Trevor Johnson (a stalwart of Factory's design team) and his brother Craig. On display are 40 of the label's most familiar and sometimes interesting items from the likes of Peter Saville, Central Station, 8vo, Ben Kelly as well as Trevor himself.

The Modernist Society is tucked away in the Northern Quarter, close to where the Buzzcocks' New Hormones office and the Roadhouse once stood, slightly off the beaten track, just a short trip up Newton Street from Piccadilly. The Society, until a few months ago had only held pop-up events and exhibitions before renting this unassuming building.

Praxis XL - A Factory Anniversary Exhibition Review

It's quite small and as you may imagine quite minimalist but perfectly formed, with the items on display allowed to breathe and not cramped.

My son and I went along on the morning of Saturday 9th November and we were surprised that we were the only 2 visitors upon arrival. However, this meant we had plenty of time to peruse and study the 40 items on display on the ground floor as well as read the accompanying notes.

Praxis XL - A Factory Anniversary Exhibition Review

For Factory fans and aficionados there are plenty of heart-warming familiar items on display, such as the original Factory Club poster, A Factory Sample, Unknown Pleasures, Blue Monday, etc.

Where this exhibition comes into its own, in my opinion at least, are the more unusual, and seldom seen items, the original rough layout for the Leigh Festival Poster, the 'Say No To London' T-Shirt design and of course Fac 191, the Haçienda Cat (a picture, not a real living cat).

Praxis XL - A Factory Anniversary Exhibition Review

Personally, the one item I would have liked to see included, but isn't is FAC 268, Northside's 'Shall We Take A Trip' - not only for people to realise that "the one with the apple on the cover" actually has a plum, but to remind people that Happy Mondays weren't the only successful band in the final years of the label.

After exhausting the items downstairs we moved upstairs to the smaller space on the first floor (greeted on the way up by a classic cheeky image of Rob Gretton with his tongue out) where there are selected photographic works of Kevin Cummins. Most will be familiar to fans but they really come to life when blown up from the A4 size people will most be familiar with. My personal favourite is the distance shot of the Factory Club alongside one of the infamous Hulme crescents.

Praxis XL - A Factory Anniversary Exhibition Review

Whilst we were watching part of the loop of Factory-related videos, the musical pioneer that is Graham Massey arrived with a small entourage who were out on a walking tour around key locations of the city, with Graham recollecting his personal experiences and involvement in Manchester's music heritage.

Praxis XL - A Factory Anniversary Exhibition Review

I can't guarantee that you will bump into a bona fide Manchester music legend if you visit Praxis XL but I can guarantee you'll be met with a warm welcome and an exhibition that will reinforce Factory's legacy of being a key cultural force which is recognised worldwide, and not just as a record label.

- Iain Key for Cerysmatic Factory


Praxis XL runs from 11:00 Saturday 9 November 2019 11:00 to 17:00 Monday 23 December 23 2019.

The Modernist Society
58 Port Street
M1 2EQ

More info: modernist-society.org

Labels: , , , , ,

14 Nov 2019
Joy Division @ Colston Hall, 1979 - Jacknife Heritage Poster 

To commemorate their 150th anniversary, Colston Hall in Bristol partnered with Jacknife Print Studio to create a series of gig posters of iconic performances, including one for Joy Division on 4 November 1979.

This is essentially sold out via jacknifeprints.com but it would seem they have one left which is "unnumbered but signed display print with slight denting and very small mark".

See also: joydiv.org

Labels: , , , , ,

13 Nov 2019
The S25 Industrial Unit Cerysmatic Factory Playlist 

Ahead of their Wildcard Brewery gig in London on 21 November 2019, Section 25 IndustrialUnit's Vin Cassidy and Steve Stringer pick their top tunes for Cerysmatic Factory.

Vin's picks

'Whip It' by Devo - I saw them at Manchester Apollo back in the day. Excellent.

'The Light Pours Out Of Me' by Magazine - Saw them at Lancaster University, Great Hall and they did this epic piece. The proto post-punkers.

'United' by Throbbing Gristle - Saw them at The Russell Club and was converted

'The Gnome' by Pink Floyd - Reminds me of when my brother and I were small. We were very fond of Syd's whisticism.

'Strong' by London Grammar - This got into my head at work. I like the vocal style.

Steve's picks

'2000 Light Years From Home' by The Rolling Stones - A great track from Satanic Majesties. I listened to this a lot back in 1977.

'Careering' by PIL - I saw this on the Old Grey Whistle Test in early 1980. A great TV moment - uncompromising and sublime.

'Für Immer (Forever)' by Neu - From Neu 2, driving, precise. Rock music at its best.

'Warszawa' by David Bowie - Great ambient future sounds and still inspiring to listen to.

'I Want More' by Can - Great pop dance track from 1976. Always loved the feel and sound of this track.

The Section 25 Industrial Unit Cerysmatic Factory Playlist is available on Apple Music and Spotify.

Section 25 IndustrialUnit play the Wildcard Brewery in Walthamstow, London E17 on Thursday 21 November. Tickets are available now via Eventbrite from 11.00 GBP + booking fee.

Many thanks to Paul Pledger for sequencing and assembling (and exerting compiler's licence to insert the 11th track).

See also: Section 25

More info: section25.com

Labels: , , ,

12 Nov 2019
Factory 40th Anniversary T-Shirts via Vinyl Revival 
Praxis XL T-Shirts via Vinyl Revival

Vinyl Revival is launching a special t-shirt to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Factory Records designed by the brothers Johnson - Trevor and Craig. The release coincides with the Praxis XL exhibition currently running at The Modernist on Port Street in Manchester.
Five colour schemes will be available:

  • White print on Navy
  • White print on Red
  • White print on Burgundy
  • Burgundy print on Grey
  • Burgundy print on Petrol Blue

The t-shirts are available to buy now via vinylrevivalmcr.com.

Praxis XL T-Shirts via Vinyl Revival

See also: Johnson Panas / Trevor Johnson

Labels: , , , , ,

11 Nov 2019
Monaco return in Belgium 
Monaco - Music for Pleasure

Peter Hook and David Potts's Monaco will return with a live show on Saturday 23 May 2020 at the ⁦‪W-Festival‬⁩ at Waregem Expo in Belgium.

Meanwhile, follow Monaco on Instagram for the latest updates.

Labels: , , ,

8 Nov 2019
Scream City 4 - additional material 
Scream City 4 - additional material - Situationist International graphic inspiration which was abandoned

Scream City 4 - The FAC-2 issue - had a consistent graphic identity the whole way through and there was one golden rule - no colour. That rule was adhered to without fail except for one small dash of orange on the centrespread.

After a brief dalliance with a Situationist International graphic, the front cover concept was tied directly to the FAC-2 interview with Vini Reilly and the SC4.1 CD of 'Cup a Soup Romance' by The Durutti Column. Vini Reilly provided three photos by Rachel McFarlane, his then girlfriend, with the best of these being selected. The original photo features Vini in a brightly coloured top holding his beloved Les Paul guitar. It seemed such a shame to drain the colour but rules are rules...

Scream City 4 additional material

Labels: , , ,

Biting Tongues 'Live It' out 29 November 2019 
Biting Tongues 'Live It' out 29 November 2019

'Live It', the long-lost second album by Biting Tongues, is released by Finders Keepers Records / Cache Cache on 29 November 2019. Previously only available on a mega-limited edition cassette it comes on vinyl, with two sleeve variations and extensive notes from Graham Massey and Ken Hollings.


Evening State (The Wave State)
Reflector (Bootleg Studio)
Denture Beach (Relentless)
After The Click The Dialogue
Or With Eyes Closed (Relentless)
Read This
Unhook That Boy

Catalogue number: CACHE02

Labels: , , ,

7 Nov 2019
Happy Mondays - The Early EPs Review 
Happy Mondays - The Early EPs Review

Maybe I'm flying in the face of conventional wisdom but the early years of Happy Mondays' lengthy career have always been my favourite. I'm not one of those who obsess about a band having a limited underground following and selling just a handful of records until they become mainstream and then accuse them of selling out.

I genuinely believe there is something really special about the run of releases by Little Hulton's finest from 1985 to 1989 (up to the 'Madchester Rave On' EP) where you hear a band and their lyricist experimenting (not just with pharmaceuticals) whilst growing in confidence which set them apart from other indie bands at the time and still keeps them sounding fresh today.

This remastered, limited, coloured vinyl box set release featuring the 12" releases in their colourful Central Station sleeves from 1985's debut 'Forty Five' EP through to 1987's call to arms '24 Hour Party People' highlights this best.

In Shaun Ryder's 'Wrote For Luck' book containing selected lyrics he practically dismisses the first two of these, saying "some of our early recordings shouldn't have made it on to vinyl really, 'Kuff Dam' and 'Tart Tart' were the first tracks we managed to record in the studio that I felt truly captured the sense and potential of the Mondays".

I can understand his view to a point but I would make the case for 'Forty Five' and 'Freaky Dancin'.

The Mike Pickering (post Quango Quango, pre M People) produced 'Forty Five EP', featuring 'Delightful', 'This Feeling' and 'Oasis' was released in late 1985.

When you look at some of the 'C86' bands and the scene created by the NME which they were actively promoting with their 22-track cassette 6 months later, any of the songs on this EP could quite easily have held its own against them and honestly would have probably fit better... it's perhaps fortunate however that this didn't happen though as it could have stalled the group's career before it really began.

What you do hear is a band, with emerging talented musicians, with elements of label mates James and Shaun borrowing lines for the first time with Oasis liberating lines from Les Reed and Gordon Mills, previously made famous by Tom Jones.

Personally I have a soft spot for the 2nd single 'Freaky Dancin' after hearing it at DeVille’s in Manchester. It would have been early in 1987 and one of the first nights out I'd had in the City Centre. I'd have only been 17 at the time and for some reason we though the infamous indie club with the bucking bronco in the connected 'Lazy Lil's' would be a good place to hang out...

At the time I'd been listening to John Peel sporadically really getting into a lot of the aforementioned C86 scene such as The Bodines, Mighty Lemon Drops, Wedding Present and only been to a couple of gigs; The Primitives and the Soup Dragons both at Manchester International on Anson Road, Longsight. I suspect anyone reading this will be familiar with the legacy of the club so I won't go into detail, although I will tell you I bought a copy of Dave Haslam's 'Debris' fanzine on my second visit which had a flexi-disc attached featuring Inspiral Carpets.

Anyway, the Bernard Sumner-produced track really impressed me as there was a shambolic confidence to it which I don't think ever copied. Whilst it had elements of the jangly guitar bands of that era, there is something fresh about it too. It isn't a full-on aural attack like some tunes of the era, it has space in it and it breathes.

What's more, it made people dance. (Well, shuffle a little quicker).

Worth noting, and mentioning it's great that the B-side 'The Egg (Mix)' which has a wonderful swagger about it is being reassessed due to this release and the accompanying promo video/clip to promote it

The 3rd single, 'Tart Tart' sees the band move up another notch with production by the legendary John Cale (I'm not sure why I'm saying that as I'm confident most people reading will know that already).

Whilst musically the style hadn't changed but the vocals appeared higher in the mix and clearer.

The first two verses are apparently about Martin Hannett, this then leads on to verses about Paul Ryder, before closing with the songs title character, an amphetamine dealer from Chorlton who had befriended Shaun and Bez but sadly passed away suddenly.

This was followed by the debut album, 'Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out)' a month later.

By the time the 4th single, 'Twenty Hour Party People' came out in late 1987, indie dance had become a thing and was crossing over from the pages of the NME to Smash Hits, with MARRS' 'Pump Up The Volume' spending a couple of weeks at No 1 in the Official UK Top 40. The Mondays themselves though were still quite underground but it’s clear something was about to happen.

Despite being a live favourite, I don't think the song every really reached the public conscious and received the acclaim it deserved until the release of the film of the same name 15 years later.

It's interesting to note that despite the hedonistic lifestyle attributed to the band since the early days, the releases on this box were all before ecstasy had hit Manchester with the tracks fuelled by heroin, weed and speed...

Not quite days of innocence, but a great snapshot of the birth of an era.

- review by Iain Key for Cerysmatic Factory

See also: Central Station Design, Happy Mondays


Happy Mondays - The Early EPs (London, 2019)

FAC 129 - Forty Five EP 12" - Green Vinyl
FAC 142 - Freak Dancin' 12" - Orange Vinyl
FAC 176 - Tart Tart 12" - Blue Vinyl
FAC 192 - Twenty Four Hour Party People 12" - Yellow Vinyl

Labels: , , ,

6 Nov 2019
Those Use Hearing Protection posters in full 
Those Use Hearing Protection posters in full

The winners of the recent poster design competition run in conjunction with the Use Hearing Protection: FAC 1 - 50 / 40 exhibition at Chelsea Space were announced at an event at the gallery on 24 October 2019.

Chloe Wang won a copy of Use Hearing Protection - Factory Records 1978-1979 for her minimal design shown above. Chloe was presented with her prize by exhibition co-curator Mat Bancroft. Special mentions go out to Steven Fenwick, Fliss Horrocks, Edith Owen and Macy Ward for making the Top Five.

The 5 designs were all printed, framed and exhibited on the outside wall of Chelsea Space.

More info (including all designs submitted): chelseaspace.org

Labels: , , , ,

5 Nov 2019
Scream City 3 - additional material 
Scream City 3 - additional material

Scream City 3 saw the graphic design identity concept veer off from that established in the first two years. A slightly longer gap between issues perhaps contributed to this fresh approach. It also got a bit fruity...

In 2005 I had visited Lyon, France to participate in the Nuits Sonores festival with Tony Wilson and Matt Carroll of Central Station Design. It was at this festival that I had conducted my interview with AHW (with occasional interjections from Matt). It was also her that I met Lyon resident and photographer Richard Bellia who took a photo of Tony and me alongside his more regular pictorial duties for the event organisers.

Scream City 3 - additional material - Tony Wilson and John Cooper

On my return to England, I met Richard and his friend Push at Push's house in Brentford near Griffin Park and that's where the Cock and Balls Story begins...

Read on: Scream City 3 - additional material

Labels: , , , , ,

4 Nov 2019
Haçienda NYE @ The Viadux, Manchester 
Haçienda NYE @ The Viadux, Manchester

Fac 51 The Hacienda presents its NYE Residents Party at Viadux Warehouse in Manchester with a fantastic line-up of ex-Haçienda resident DJs at the new Viadux Warehouse venue not far from the site of the hallowed Haçienda dancefloor itself. Graeme Park, Greg Wilson, Tom Wainwright, Jon Dasilva, Allister Whitehead and Chad Jackson will be spinning on the night and tickets are on sale now via Skiddle.



FAC 51 The Hacienda @ Viadux Warehouse, Manchester
Tuesday 31 December 2019
19:00 - 03:00
Viadux Warehouse, Lawrence House, 8 Albion Street, Manchester M1 5NZ

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

A Memorial Service for Malcolm Whitehead 
A Humanist memorial service for Malcolm Whitehead will be held at Bowdon Rugby Club, Clay Lane, near Altrincham at 2.30pm on Thursday 14 November 2019.

All are welcome to attend.


3 Nov 2019
Paul Smith x Factory Records T-Shirts 
Paul Smith x Factory Records T-Shirts

Paul Smith has linked up again with Warners/Rhino/Factory to launch a series of Paul Smith x Factory Records limited edition t-shirts as part of the celebrations of the 40th anniversary of the label. The five designs feature the first generation logo, the Use Hearing Protection graphic and the third generation "smokestack" logo.

Shoppers in the UK should visit paulsmith.com/uk in order to buy the shirts which are priced at £70 (!) and international shoppers should head to the main paulsmith.com site and select their region.

See also: Paul Smith 24 Hour Party People T-Shirt

Labels: , ,

Evenings with Shaun William Ryder 
Evenings with Shaun Ryder

Get ready for An Evening with Shaun Ryder as he continues his extensive UK Q&A tour in parallel with the Happy Mondays Greatest Hits tour. The events with the frontman of Happy Mondays and Black Grape features an in-depth interview with SWR plus an opportunity to ask your own questions too.

Shaun promises to talk frankly about any subject, whether it be Madchester, drug-addled gigs, tours with Happy Mondays, the Haçienda or I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.

"Whatever anybody wants to ask I will answer, I've been doing it for over a year now and I don't think I've ever been stumped by anybody's questions, I think I've managed to answer them all".

The tour continues through the autumn and winter and tickets are available now.


6 - The Apex, Bury St Edmunds + Special guests [Buy Tickets]
19 - The Villa Marina Promenade Suite, Douglas, Isle of Man [Buy Tickets]


22 - The Bread Shed, Manchester + The Jade Assembly [Buy Tickets]



11 - Sugar Club, Dublin, Ireland + Special guests [Buy Tickets]
17 - The Cheese and Grain, Frome + Penny Eyes [Buy Tickets]
24 - Penny Cars Stadium, Airdrie - with Ross Owen [Buy Tickets]


1 - The Tivoli, Buckley [Buy Tickets]
2 - The Factory Venue, Barnstaple + Alan McGee + The Hideaways [Buy Tickets]
7 - The Constitutional, Farsley SOLD OUT
8 - The Constitutional, Farsley SOLD OUT
9 - The Constitutional, Farsley SOLD OUT
21 - The Water Rats, London + The Magic Mod + The Gulps [Buy Tickets]
28 - Leaf, Liverpool + Stone [Buy Tickets]


6 - Savoy Theatre, Monmouth + Special guests [Buy Tickets]
7 - Chesterfield FC Proact Stadium + Special guests [Buy Tickets]
20 - The Benn Hall, Rugby + Brody Swain + The Estates [Buy Tickets]
27 - The Parish, Huddersfield + Special guests [Buy Tickets]
28 - Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury + Special guests [Buy Tickets]


10 - The Layton Club, Blackpool + Special guests
17 - Rialto Plaza, Coventry + Special guests [Buy Tickets]

Labels: , , , ,

John Metcalfe live in November 2019 with Sebastian Plano 

John Metcalfe returns to live action in November 2019 supporting Sebastian Plano at a string of dates. Tickets are on sale now.

November 2019 itinerary

Fri 8 - Courtyard Theatre, London Buy Tickets
Sat 9 - Colston Hall, Bristol Buy Tickets
Mon 11 - Brudenell Social Club, Leeds Buy Tickets
Tue 12 - Band On The Wall, Manchester Buy Tickets

Labels: ,

2 Nov 2019
Praxis - A Factory Anniversary Exhibition 
Praxis - A Factory Anniversary Exhibition

"In 1978 the unlikely pairing of a jobbing actor and a Cambridge graduate-cum-TV presenter founded a record label in Manchester. Alan Erasmus and Tony Wilson released their first record on Factory Records in 1979 and during the period up until its demise in 1992 made a huge impact, not only on music but on popular culture and design."

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Factory's first release, The Modernist presents an exhibition, PRAXIS XL, showcasing the legacy of Factory Records.

Curated and designed by stalwart of Factory's design team - Trevor Johnson, alongside brother Craig - the exhibition will feature selected output from 40 of the label's most interesting and sometimes esoteric projects.

Praxis - A Factory Anniversary Exhibition starts on Saturday 9 November 2019 at the Modernist Society [->] at 58 Port Street, Manchester M2 2EQ.

Opening hours: 11:00 - 17:00 daily

Labels: , , , , , ,

1 Nov 2019
Scream City 2 - additional material 
Scream City 2 - additional material

Scream City 2 followed on at relative breakneck speed from the first issue in June 2006. I managed to combine two of my loves - cricket and Factory Records - into the same project by virtue of the graphic design identity this time round. The latest instalment in the ongoing Scream City digital archive series explains the journey from the Observer's Book of Cricket to Scream City - Music, Art, Books, Popular Culture.

With no overall consistent theme to the content, but two articles about Fac 51 The Haçienda, Anthony Blunt was the eventual cover star. Pulp fiction detective stories (what else?) were referenced on the back cover to round things off.

See also: Scream City #1 Additional material

Labels: , , ,

- - - -
Blogger Archives
- - - -