“nothing short of an epiphany”

The determinedly iconoclastic Anthony Wilson 1950-2007, founder of both Factory Records and the Hacienda Club – the former being home to Joy Division – and someone who will always be, for a certain generation, Mr Madchester, has died of a heart attack whilst battling cancer. As the Guardian reports he began as a reporter, and worked on World in Action, before moving into music and other fields. RIP Tony. More On Mr Manchester at Will’s blog

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  • Doctor Who

    A great visionary, a true icon of modern poular culture and one of the great modern Britons. Never got it right when he described Vini Reilly as a genius though.

    He will be sadly missed.

  • kensei

    Ah fucko. Factory is an experiment that will probably never be recreated, a big burst of genius and idealism and madness. His passion for Manchester and music always shone through.

    Joy Division

    New Dawn Fades: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATRmuAujRDQ
    She’s Lost Control: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-eTTDFX_Yw

    New Order – True Faith

    Happy Mondays – Step On

    Durutti Column – Jacqueline

    (They are great, Dr)

  • Dec

    …founder of both Factory Records and the Hacienda Club

    Actually, co-founder of Factory with Peter Saville, Alan Erasmus and the indisputably great Martin ‘Play it faster but slower‘ Hannett and The Haçienda was originally the brainchild of New Order manager, Rob Gretton.
  • deadmanonleave

    Flawed genius….

    RIP

    Martin

  • Harry Flashman

    Ah yes, memories, memories, the early ’80s, when pop music was raw, there was passion, we were at the cutting edge of the new beat.

    My favourite was Meat Loaf;

    “Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone when the morning comes, like a bat out of hell. . .”

    Er, I’ll get me coat shall I?

  • Cromwell

    Aye Harry I’d get your coat!

    Not long back from Canada where I spent 3 weeks on Vancouver Island & driving through the Rockies with The Mondays on the stereo. Mainly Squirrel & the G.man & Bummed, 2 albums which badly need re-asessed.
    Heard Paul Ryder on the radio this morning & he said that Tony once told him that “you might not make a lot of money with Factory but I can gaurantee you’ll see the world”.
    I suppose Tony Wilson was a gob & an ego but like all the rest of us, human, capable of making mistakes & some pretty marvellous ones at that.

    What a shame.

  • esmereldavillalobos

    Very, very sad to learn of this this morning even though not totally unexpected. The guy was such an entertaining and interesting man to listen to, a champion of punk, indie music, architecture and Salford; a record company owner and star of his own biopic while he was still alive!. He was also very self-deprecating, knew he was a bit of a tosser and described himself primarily as a fairly good TV presenter – God he was much more than that!

    This Factory/Joy Division/Neworderstory gets more tragic as the years go on doesn’t it? First Ian, then Martin, then Rob, now Tony – let it stop please!

  • Cromwell

    Shaun Ryder’s been doing his best to follow that sad tradition for years!

  • A couple of years ago I saw “24 Hour Party People”, which was supposedly a history of Factory and the whole Madchester thing, but in reality it more like Wilson’s autobiography. Boy, he had one ego…but whatever, it was a truly brilliant film, great tunes and loads of great one-liners from the man itself.

    Probably his best epitaph comes from God ( who suspiciously looked like Tone himself) when he appears to Wilson and Shaun Ryder at the end of the film:

    It’s a pity you didn’t sign the Smiths, but you were right about Mick Hucknell. His music’s rubbish, and he’s a ginger

  • Cromwell,
    another good er…line,/em> from Tony Wilson about the Mondays…

    Every band needs it’s own special chemistry. And Bez was a very good chemist

  • Cromwell

    oneill,

    Two belters, I’d forgotten that one about Mick Hucknell, you just cant imagine him on Factory Records, Tony Wilson probably looked at him, realised he’d make a lot of money & went “nah, he’ll spoil the look of the place”!

  • esmereldavillalobos

    There is always the scene in the Russell Club where Howard Devoto of The Buzzcocks does his cameo after seeing the actor playing him shagging Lindsay saying that he really doesn’t remember it happening – Wilson (Coogan) voices “when faced with the truth or the legend, print the legend.”

    Love the Mick Hucknall line – but God mysteriously looks like Tony and likes Vini Reilly. Hmmm…

  • esmereldavillalobos

    Eurrgh – it’s the remix of “Love…” with the jangly guitar all the way through! People should not mess with genius….

  • Aaron S

    I know I say this every couple of months Pete – I’m sorry for repeating myself 🙂 – but in the grand scheme of things that have nothing to do with NI politics and culture, this’ll take some beating!

  • Cromwell

    What Aaron, you werent listening to The Mondays et al in the late 80s’ early 90s’, nothing to do with culture…..bah!

  • Harry Flashman

    Well I’m all for a bit of harmless reminiscing about our youth and pop nostalgia but I’m with Aaron on this one.

    A bloke who used to run a disco in the North of England and who along with some friends produced some vaguely memorable pop records a quarter of a century ago dies and we go into raptures about “genius” (3 times) and “iconoclastic” and “legendary” and “culture”. Are we not losing the run of ourselves a wee bit?

    I’m very sad for the guy’s family obviously, but um, to be truthful I’d never heard of him. But hey at least I now know what the definition of ‘genius’ is these days.

  • but in the grand scheme of things that have nothing to do with NI politics and culture, this’ll take some beating!

    Aaron

    Surely you remember the revival of the 40-inch bottow flared trousers 1989-90ish?
    The Dougal (of Magic Roundabout fame)haircuts?
    And the floppy white cricket hats?

    Even Belfast spides put aside their shellsuits and became stylish Mancs for a few golden months.
    Directly down to Mr Wilson and his prodigies, the Happy Mondays.

  • marty (not ingram)

    Directly down to Mr Wilson and his prodigies, the Happy Mondays

    And the Roses.

  • kensei

    “And the Roses.”

    Indeed. though, indirectly, Tony Wilson had a part in shaping their careers too. Howard Jones had a turbulent stint as General Manager of the Hacienda. Part of his motivation in making the Roses successful was sticking it to Wilson.

    And Flashman, if you’ve never actually heard of the man, perhaps this is a thread to ignore with respectful silence?

  • moochin photoman

    Nothing to do with NI politics and Culture !!!
    Well lets see, what about all the dodgy ‘Donaghadees’ that flooded here and who would be supplying those then?
    Sad loss Tony was a real charcter and as said a flawed genius but he brought us some brilliant music and i for one have plenty of happy memories of that time in Madchester.

  • Pounder

    I grew up listening to New Order, Joy Division and and the Stone Roses amongst others. This is a sad loss.

  • páid

    There’s no need for every thread to directly to NI politics and culture of course.

    Tony Wilson was a leader of the Manchester music and fashion scene for the past 30 years and his voice and ideas helped shape modern British popular culture.

    Which is the dominant culture in NI.

    So he is relevant, and his importance in the toleration of drugs, toleration of fascist style and demonstration of the cultural leadership of Northern, white, male music has to be a factor in NI’s culture.

    What Manchester does today, the rest of England does tomorrow, is a saying best known in Manchester. But he didn’t take his cues from the States, novel enough in the times of our generation.

  • Pounder

    [i]Ah yes, memories, memories, the early ‘80s, when pop music was raw, there was passion, we were at the cutting edge of the new beat.

    My favourite was Meat Loaf;

    “Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone when the morning comes, like a bat out of hell. . .”

    Er, I’ll get me coat shall I?
    Posted by Harry Flashman on Aug 11, 2007 @ 08:48 AM[/i]

    Meatloaf is pretty cool himself. He played Jack Blacks dad in The Pick Of Destiny and who can forget the total ownage he handed down to Avid Merrian which in my eyes elevated him to god-hood.

  • kensei

    “There’s no need for every thread to directly to NI politics and culture of course.”

    Of course, it’s not too hard to tie him into lessons for NI politics. He wanted people to stop leaving Manchester in search of work or culture, reasoning instead that they should be able to find those things at home. And he wanted people to invest and put back into the community where they came from. And he campaigned for devolution for the North West of England.

    Not too hard to see some parallels.