Factory Records from my hometown of Manchester were always incredibly cool. Tony H Wilson, one of the founders led an interesting double life as a presenter of news and debate programs on Granada TV – smoothly dressed and professional while never hinting on screen, of his role as hedonistic guru to a legion of homegrown musical legends such as Joy Division, Happy Mondays, New Order and of course, Crispy Ambulance.
Then there was the artwork – all originally designed by Peter Saville – minimalistic, stark and uber-cool, which combined with the Factory Records numbering system that found it’s way onto everything they ever made, really captured my imagination. Even The Hacienda, their infamous nightclub was given a serial number. Was it fac 051 from memory?
It’s all gone now. A label that never had any signed contracts, splurged many hundreds of thousands of pounds on The Hacienda, was not destined for future longevity, but perhaps it’s better that way. They were of the time, of the place and reflected the zeitgeist of a Manchester that was struggling out of depression, IRA bombs and of being forgotten. The city is now another place completely, new and regenerated like so many others. The Hacienda is now a block of flats – but complete with blue plaque to denote it’s place in history. This box set is a glorious compilation of the great, mad and bad of Factory Records, a soundtrack to a certain place and time.