31 March 2004
Our friends electric 
Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark's Fac 6 'Electricity' was originally released on Factory before being licensed to Dindisc ['the best example of this to date' (NME)] so that they might forge worldwide chart success. The official OMD website features the lyrics to 'Electricity' and the b-side 'Almost'. There is also a 1978-1980 photo gallery including several moody black and white shots of Andy McCluskey, Paul Humphreys and Winston (the tape machine) and a detail of Peter Saville and Ben Kelly's staging for their live set.

The following extract from an interview which appeared in The Face back in the very early Eighties explains more about how OMD and Saville came to work together, their artistic direction and contains the now infamous story of how Factory were banned from using a certain printworks:

"In another direction, Saville began another a close association with another early Factory coup, Orchestral Manoeuvres, the first of the label's signings he'd enjoyed musically, meeting in a Rochdale pub, they exchanged ideas. Saville told them about a book of avante-garde musical scores which he'd come across in Llandudno public library. Andy McCluskey said that he sometimes wrote down the tunes he composed in a similar shorthand.

"I also knew from college," Saville explains, "that shiny black ink on black paper worked, so I decided to suggest that. Tony didn't believe it, the band didn't believe it and the printer said it couldn't be done." The Manchester printer who Saville persuaded otherwise regretted his acquiescence; the printing - by a special heat process called thermography - was a success, but the place set on fire three times. The printer's insistence - "Don't come back!" - meant that the edition of 5000 was strictly limited."

Bringing everything OMD slightly more up to date there's an exclusive Q&A with Paul Humphreys. He is currently working with Claudia Brücken (ex-Propaganda) on new material.

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29 March 2004
Haçienda Top Ten... 
... as played by Hewan (from the Fac 51 The Hacienda Members Newsletter Number 4)

1. B52's - Rock Lobster (Video Version)
2. Kid Creole - Stool Pidgeon (12")
3. Culture Club - I'm Afraid Of Me (12")
4. Shalamar - A Night To Remember (12")
5. Felix + Jarvis - Flame Thrower Rap (12")
6. A Certain Ratio - Knife Slits Water (12" Promo)
7. Kid Creole - Anny I Ain't Your Daddy (12")
8. Haysi Fantaisi - John Wayne Is A Bit Leggy (12")
9. Trio - Da Da Da (Video Version)
10. Transdance - Night Moves (12" Promo)

[all spellings are transcribed verbatim, so it should be 'Stool Pigeon' and Haysi Fantayzee - 'John Wayne Is Big Leggy']

Your perceptions of the music that was played at the Hacienda may be somewhat twisted by the realisation that Kid Creole has two entries in the chart and that Trio's plink-plonk Kraut-pop has a place too! Having said that, Shalamar, ACR and Transdance are in there too. The latter has a Factory connection as it was reissued in October 2003 on a double A-side 12" with a Quando Quango remix:

[from Cerysmatic Factory 27 Oct 2003] Quando Quango / Night Moves : Love Tempo / Transdance - 12" £7.99 - Benelux Records: 210-002. This US booty 12" from new label 'Benelux' features a couple of beauties for retro-future beat hunters. 1983's "Love Tempo" by Quando Quango was a Factory classic from Mike Pickering and Hillegonda Rietveld, so beloved by Larry Levan that it led to them playing live at the Paradise Garage that same year!

Night Moves "Transdance" was a New Wave piece of disco from the same year that earned much underground play in NYC and the fledgling house scene in Chicago. It's not too difficult to sense the influences these tracks have over Metro Area today.

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Flashy 
Peter Saville's new Saville Associates website is available at http://saville-associates.com, albeit in an 'under construction' state. The site looks good but a word of warning: it seems to require you to have Macromedia Flash rather than it being an option.

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You might feel out of place 
The server which holds Cerysmatic Factory will be upgraded (from Plesk 5 to Plesk 6, whatever that means) on Friday 2 April at 10:00am BST (GMT+1). This will cause approximately 10 minutes downtime for the site. Thank you for your forebearance.

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28 March 2004
Rudimentary 
The History Lesson (from the September 1979 Newsletter and Shareholder's Analysis) continues... Fac 5: A Certain Ratio; 'All Night Party', & 'The Thin Boys' 7" single; 'rudimentary skills with more panache and imagination than most since the Sex Pistols' (Melody Maker), 'messy modern music' (NME) 'dark' (CF). 5,000 in May '79. Not sold out due to lack of response from the music press (ghouls). Only Savage of MM understood; and K Needs for the prime reason that when ACR played the Acklam Hall he was the only person incapably drunk as they were. A four (they look 'early' (H&Q )) piece they have now added a drummer , the funk direction, and are apparently selling well in San Francisco. See Fac 16.

Fac 5 is eloquently described as "Paper and vinyl construction in an edition of 5000" on the sleeve. Slightly surprising that it didn't initially sell out.

The 'early' reference is the famous Peter York quote which he came out with when Tony Wilson asked him what he thought of the band. It was used as the title for their compilation of, erm, early material on Soul Jazz Records.

Many thanks to John K for a (legible) copy of the newsletter.

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27 March 2004
Three from the one 
Ex-James lead singer Tim Booth is touring in April with three dates confirmed so far - 18th Portsmouth Guildhall, 19th Liverpool Academy and 20th Cardiff Engine Room. More shows are likely to be added. Tim's new album is called Bone and will be out in June on Sanctuary Records.

Thanks to Dave at OneOfTheThree.co.uk for info.

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26 March 2004
The Belly of an Architect 
The following extract comes from a Les Disques du Crépuscule booklet designed by Hennebert in 1990 describing future releases on the label ("a little something for everyone").

The soundtrack [TWI 813 / Fact 195] to the Peter Greenaway film of the same name essentially combines three musical sources. First and foremost is original material from Mertens and noted American avant-gardist Glenn Branca, both of which appearing on both record and film alongside past works by Mertens especially chosen by the director. Though taken separately the music of Mertens and Branca might seem impossibly at odds, here the circular melody of the former works in perfect counterpart to the latter's harsher textures and musique concrete.

More details including an audio clip are available on www.wimmertens.be the official site. Wim Mertens would have perhaps been a suitable candidate for a release on Factory Classical but in the end his only other Factory release is Fact 190(c) Educes Me.

Slightly off-topic but this year also sees the sixtieth birthday of Michael Nyman, the noted composer (of amongst other things excellent soundtracks to Peter Greenaway films such as Drowning by Numbers and The Draughtsman's Contract).

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24 March 2004
Rumours 
According to a totally unconfirmed thread on the Popbitch messageboard [thanks to AJ for spotting] a Rob Gretton tribute concert is planned in the near future. Doves, A Certain Ratio and even possibly New Order could appear.

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Prescient 
Now that there have been several reproductions of classic Factory items, the following slightly garbled extract from the 'History Lesson' Newsletter / Shareholders' analysis featured earlier today has an uncanny resonance to it: "Fac 4: Third Factory poster covering December gigs. White on black drawn to left. All put up. It would be amusing to reprint 1, 2, 3 & 4; should cash-flow or distribution (posters) permit it may happen, and then again.... "

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Systems of Romance 
The Shareholders' Analysis continues with Fac 3: Second Factory poster: CV, JD, & TB's [Tiller Boys]. White on Black, simultaneous to Systems of Romance cover [?]; 250; October '79, all put up, One gig.

In this interview with Rick Poynor published in Eye 17/95, Peter Saville expands on the influences for Fac 3 including the 'Systems of Romance' reference:

[Rick Poynor] At what stage did you become aware of post-modernism as a cultural idea?

[Peter Saville] In 1978, while working on the second Factory poster. On a trip to London I picked up a book of Philip Johnson's proposals for the AT&T building in New York. On the cover was the broken pediment. It made me think that maybe I wasn't wrong in wanting to use Tschichoid's later work - that and a John Foxx album cover for Ultravox [Systems of Romance] with serif type on a black background. Within 12 months, neo-classicism and the influence of architectural post-modernism were everywhere. People in New York were buying columns to put in their apartments. My contribution was the graphic equivalent. It was always an emotive feeling and after a year or so I began to trust in my senses. I didn't need to wait for supportive signals and became brave enough to take a step myself, but nearly always informed by some historical reference.

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Devious...to seduce and introduce 
FAC 2: A Factory sample; double 7" EP; Joy Division,Durutti Column,John Dowie, Cabaret Voltaire; 'devious...to seduce and introduce'(NME), 'I wonder what sort of pills he takes, ibet they all speak Frennh too'(RM-); Design, silver paper in plastic, from Thailand cheapo albums; not cheapo this time...5,000 in January and February 1979; released on Dec 24th. Sold out."

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Constructivist beginnings 
From the Factory Newsletter and Shareholders' Analysis September 1979 subtitled 'History Lesson': "Fac 1: Original Factory poster. Designed by Peter Saville. in yellow and black constructivist fashion and used for opening of the Factory club in May '78. Featuring Joy Division, the Durutti Column, the Tiller Boys, Cabaret Voltaire, Jilted John, Big in Japan and Manufactured Noise."

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23 March 2004
Nothingness 
Paul Morley's most recent book is 'Words and Music' but before that came 'Nothing'. This short passage features Joy Division:

"It was the Sex Pistols tonguing out of the mouths of Stooges that harassed the group that became Joy Division into galactic north-west technological rock and roll action, and they adapted to and pretty quickly transcended this frenzied coincidence of The Sex Pistols, Kraftwerk, The Doors, Brian Eno and Television (and you never know Peter Hammill and Black Sabbath, or J. G. Ballard and Albert Camus, or Franz Kafka and Chic, or Neu and Isaac Asimov, or Mott the Hoople and Dostoevsky ...).

And here... Factory Records: "What about their record company, Factory? Not so much a record company as a state of mind, an organisation in constant graceful disarray, and a company of free-thinking sub-maniacs who were responsible for pushing and pulling Joy Division through their short, frantic career".

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21 March 2004
Tickets 
Tickets for A Certain Ratio's gig at the Band on the Wall on 3 April have finally gone on sale online for 10 pounds each (11.50 inc booking fee) at Way Ahead / SeeTickets.com the official ticket agency (essentially, they're the same company I am reliably informed). They're also available at various outlets in Manchester such as Piccadilly Records.

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Everything in its right place 
A non-exhaustive list of Manchester venues old and new played by Factory bands: Academy (Manchester University), Apollo, Band on the Wall, Beach Club, Boardwalk, Capri Ballrooms, Castlefields, Comedy Club, Electric Circus, Free Trade Hall, G-Mex, Green Rooms, Fac 51 The Hacienda, Heaton Park, International, International 2, Jabez Clegg, Kelly's, Lamplight Club, Lesser Free Trade Hall, Maine Road, Manchester Cathedral, Manchester Town Hall, Manchester University, Mayflower, Manchester Arena (MEN/NYNEX), New Electric Circus, New Osbourne Club (The Factory II), Old Trafford Cricket Ground, Piccadilly Gardens, Piper's Disco, Pip's, Polytechnic, PSV, Rafters, Ritz, Royal Exchange Theatre, Royal Northern College of Music, Russell Club (The Factory), Salford University, Squat, Urbis, Whitworth Hall (Manchester University), Woolworth's on Oldham Street.

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18 March 2004
Silent and free 
Ex-Northside lead singer Dermo's new band Silent Partners are playing a free gig on Friday 26 March at The Footage Bar, Oxford Rd, Manchester. You can now also listen to the band's new material at www.demotapeonline.com for free just by registering. Thanks to the ever excellent Rowetta's Noticeboard for info.

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Post-punk classic 
Soul Jazz Records continue their programme of A Certain Ratio re-releases with 'To Each'. Originally released on Factory Records as Fact 35 it is due out on Monday 22 March. The album is available on compact disc with two extra tracks from the Sir Horatio alter ego project, 'Abracadubra' and 'Somnadub'. As with most if not all Soul Jazz releases, the album is also available on vinyl with the extra tracks on a bonus 12" single. More details on the Soul Jazz website.

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17 March 2004
Landmark 
Full details of Peter Saville's At Home project are now available on the Urbis website. Saville's work will be displayed on 8 billboards in and around Manchester from 22 March to 4 April 2004.

The same site now features a video introduction to the Peter Saville Show (which continues at Urbis until 18 April) plus full details of all the ancillary events.

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A certain anniversary 
The official A Certain Ratio website has details [pop-up alert! you need to allow the pesky things through to see the ad for the gig] of a new ACR gig at the Band on the Wall in Manchester.

"ACR and Soul Jazz Records invite you and your friends to celebrate 25 years of A Certain Ratio

Saturday April 3
9pm-2am
Band On The Wall
Swan Street Manchester
Tel: 0161 834 1786
A Certain Ratio will perform at 11pm
with special guests
Stuart Baker - Soul Jazz Records
£10 advance / £12 on the door
www.acrmcr.com"

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16 March 2004
Where are they now? 
Since Tim Booth's departure, James have been conspicuous by their absence despite apparently not having officially split. James only recorded two 7" singles and one 'compilation' 12" single with Factory. They joined major label Sire but ran aground culturally and financially and resorted to selling themselves for medical experiments before becoming stadium-filling, million-selling megastars. Here's a brief run through the current activities of the various band members from their whole history. For further info on James check out the official site www.jamestheband.com and the excellent fan site www.oneofthethree.co.uk without whom, etc.

Tim Booth (vocals) recorded a solo album with Angelo Badalamenti (as Booth and The Bad Angel) in 1999, left James in 2001 and is pursuing a solo career with an album slated for summer 2004 release.

Larry Gott (guitar) left the band in 1996 after choosing to spend more time with his family. Has worked on solo material and played in bars/clubs in Manchester.

Jim Glennie (bass) is the last-surviving member of the original line-up. A devout Manchester City fan. No current information on what he's up to.

[edit ] Gavan Whelan (drums), who was the second to leave the original line-up, is producing an upcoming band called Alive after a sabbatical from the music industry. According to the James fan site oneofthethree.co.uk he sometimes joins the band onstage for their storming rendition of Sit Down.

Paul Gilbertson (Guitar) went to school with Jim and was a founding member of the but was replaced by Larry Gott on guitar. He is now a taxi driver in Manchester.

There have been plenty of other band members: Saul Davies (violin, guitar) and Mark Hunter (keyboards) have both been working on Ainslie Henderson's solo debut album. David Baynton-Power (drums) is touring with The Alarm(!). Adrian Oxaal (guitar, replaced Larry) went to school with Saul which stood him in good stead when James needed to replace Larry. Recently played a few gigs in Brighton according to the Jamestheband.com message board. Andy Diagram (trumpet) has played with numerous bands including The Pale Fountains, Dislocation Dance and David Thomas & Two Pale Boys. Currently playing with Hat.

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A kind of humanoidal Frankenstein poet 
"A kind of humanoidal Frankenstein poet combining the inspired lunacy of Leon Thomas & the anarcho-beatness of Kenneth Patchen". This is part of a complimentary (I think) description of Ted Milton by Bart Plantenga ("crazy name, crazy guy" - Radio 100 / Radio Patapoe Amsterdam) on the Twelve Bar Club website to coincide with Blurt's gig there tomorrow. The day after the show the band are flying to Austin (not Boston), Texas to play the SXSW Festival. Support comes from "21 year old New York sensation Char Johnson" who is "Billie Holiday meets Ms Dynamite", apparently.

Blurt's official website is also reporting that Volume 2 in the series "Let There be Blurt" entitled "The Body That They Built To Fit The Car" is due for release May 2004. The CD will also feature two video clips. And finally, the same site says that two tracks ('Burial Mound' and 'Click' from the Magic Moments album) will appear on the 'Abstract Constructivism' compilation CD brought to you by the Dossier label (Germany).

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15 March 2004
Sly Stone jamming with Joy Division 
Sly Stone jamming with Joy Division or Can auditioning for New Faces. This is how Stuart Maconie describes listening to Bummed by Happy Mondays in his new book 'Cider With Roadies'. Furthermore: "... a Martin Hannett production, woozy, seditious, funky and faintly menacing ..." Well worth checking out for tales of The Smiths, James, The Fall and loads of other bands which weren't (gasp) from Manchester.

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11 March 2004
A unique aural/noise/rhythm background 
The Third Member of The Durutti Column was a video package made to commemorate the re-release of the first batch of Factory Once Durutti Column albums. It also celebrates "the founding role of legendary producer Martin Hannett. It was Martin's idea to take a lone genius guitarist and by providing a unique aural/noise/rhythm background, allow this boy Vini to make great music and express himself on record". The video itself is a film by Tosh Ryan about Hannett's life and work.

The Martin Hannett Biography Project by William and Anna is a great resource for all things Hannett-related.

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09 March 2004
Double Plastered 
Download the new set of Cerysmatic Factory Desktop Wallpapers featuring a piece of Hacienda dancefloor, Peter Saville's awesome packaging for Section 25's Always Now and the Fact 137 Shorts video.

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Young, gifted and back 
The Factory history section has been updated to include proper access to three key articles (and hopefully no more 404 frustration!). 'Young gifted and Fac' is an NME article on Factory's glorious past and, as it was published in October 1992, looks forward to what the future would hold for the label. 'Hacienda that:Factory is dead, long live Factory' is from Q magazine from around the same time and gives a slightly different perspective. A linking glitch has meant this page has been unaccessible for a while.

Meanwhile, 'Hacienda that! Official', is another NME article which records Tony Wilson's announcement of the temporary closure of the Haçienda in February 1991.

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08 March 2004
Intricate 
Peter Saville chooses his favourite record sleeves (including Kraftwerk, Roxy Music and New Order) in the latest edition of Jack magazine also available at www.jackthemag.com

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The gnac and how to get Tempus Fugit 
Support at The Durutti Column's forthcoming shows in Liverpool, Shrewsbury and Nottingham will come from Mark Tranmer (aka Gnac) according to the official Durutti website which was updated today.

The new Durutti album has been confirmed as being called Tempus Fugit. It will feature 14 acoustic tracks and will be available at the band's shows in April and May through the Kooky label.

No further news on 'The Definitive Durutti Column' despite it being listed in February's Observer Music Monthly under Compilations and provisionally being slated for February / March release. As an aside, the same OMM's Record Doctor item on the fashion designer Paul Smith shows him to have The Durutti Column in his collection.

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07 March 2004
Disorder 
Peter Saville on Factory working methods in City Life 518: "New Order disagreed with each other out of principle. This was a committee that was trying to disagree. A perfect example was when I did a piece of artwork which was black and white, a label, and it could be any colour we wanted. They were there so I asked, 'what colour do you want it to be?', Bernard: 'Red', Hooky 'Blue', Steven (help me , I thought): 'I quite fancy green myself.' Fucking hell. 'Gillian, give me two votes on the colour, pleeeease,' 'I quite like yellow.' Rob Gretton: 'I don't see whats wrong with black?' End of meeting, off they go. Rob hangs back: 'Just do it, Peter.' It ended up black and white."

Read the full Peter Saville interview from the same issue of City Life. Thanks again to Conor for help.

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The "bouncy castle face-slap" dance 
Nobody copied the "bouncy castle face-slap" dance.

Q213's Best Videos Ever lists New Order's True Faith at number 18.

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05 March 2004
The Powder Blind Dream 
The new Crispy Ambulance album is now expected to be released by LTM towards the end of March 2004. According to the band's official website "the album was recorded in June last year and was originally planned for release last autumn. However, problems with the original sleeve design caused the release date to be delayed.

A new sleeve design has been selected and the album is now in the manufacturing process. Our thanks to Dave Garson of Logoprint, Manchester, who has provided new images and a fresh design concept." The album is listed on amazon.co.uk for sale at the bargain price of 8.99 GBP with a 29 March release date.

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04 March 2004
The Definitive Durutti Column Tour 
In an unprecedented (at least in recent times) level of gigging activity, The Durutti Column have five gigs in April/May with the prospect of further ones being added. The line-up so far is:

King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, Saturday 3 April
Islington Academy, London, Thursday 8 April
Buttermarket, Shrewsbury, Thursday 6 May
Liverpool Academy 2, Saturday 8 May
Rescue Rooms, Nottingham, Sunday 16 May

The last one, in Nottingham, is newly-announced today - thanks to Mike and Phil. The dates are in support of the release of the forthcoming 32-track 'Definitive Durutti Column' retrospective set.

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03 March 2004
Tour alert 
The Durutti Column are playing at Shrewsbury Buttermarket on 6 May 2004 as part of the "The Definitive Durutti Column" album tour, John Kertland has announced. John will also DJ by way of support for the band. The Buttermarket is a superb, converted Victorian warehouse in the town centre. Tickets are £10.00. More info as it becomes available. Two days after this gig the band will play at Liverpool Academy 2.

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02 March 2004
I Could Be So Good For You 
Pleasure Crew's Fac 169 'So Good' is credited to Noel Taylor (vocals, keyboards, guitar and programming), Himat Singh (backing vocals, percussion) and Def Blam (!) (drums). Who were they, how did they get a one-off single on Factory Records and where are they now? More intriguing perhaps are the production credits: Engineered - TcO; Produced MP + TcO. Was perhaps Mike Pickering involved? I think we should be told.

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01 March 2004
Back In Black 
The hessian-bound, black slip case version of Designed By Peter Saville is available.

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Academic probe 
Picked up tickets for The Durutti Column's 8 May show at Liverpool Academy from Probe Records in Liverpool. If you're going to the gig and are in Liverpool it's a lot cheaper than getting them online.

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Blurt out 
The official Blurt website is listing some transglobal (well, USA & Europe) gigging activity in the coming months.

March

17th, London, UK - Twelve Bar Club
19th, Austin, Texas, USA - Elysium (SXSW 2004 Music Festival

April

21st, Koper, Slovenia - MKC
22nd, Zagreb, Croatia - Mochvara
23rd, Llubliana, Slovenia - Metelkova Mesto
24th, Mestre, Italy - Magic Bus

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Factory Congress 
It was a pleasure to meet Dennis Remmer of the Unofficial Factory Records Discography at www.factoryrecords.info in Manchester on Sunday. We swapped stories whilst perusing The Peter Saville Show at Urbis.

The bookshop stocked an interesting and in some cases expensive range of memorabilia associated with the show. The hardback edition of 'Designed by Peter Saville' can be yours for GBP 49.95 (photo soon) or those with really deep pockets can opt for the signed limited edition print of Fac 1 at GBP 165. Those on more of a budget can opt for the free flyers or postcards available in sets of six or individually.

Most interestingly there is a limited edition print of the studio wall tracklisting from the recording of New Order's 'Republic' with tentative titles such as 'Gillian 12 string' together with the one they'd already named, 'Regret' at the top of the pile.

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FAC 51 The Hacienda
The Names

Post punk cult band The Names emerged in the winter of 1977-1978 as The Passengers, gathering immediate attention on the local Brussels scene. In 1979, after a series of successful gigs and a crucial step forward opening for Magazine, they recorded their first E.P. ("Spectators Of Life") and attracted the interest of prominent label Factory Records in Manchester.

Their first British studio session (at Stockport's Strawberry Studio) produced the single "Nightshift" / "I Wish I Could Speak Your Language (Fac 29). Receiving enthusiastic reviews in the UK and abroad, it marked the start of a long and fruitful collaboration with producer Martin Hannett. The album "Swimming" followed as well as more singles, including "Calcutta" and "The Astronaut".

- extract from the official website biography

Factory Records Catalogue

The Durutti Column