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the official distractions website

Welcome to the official Distractions website. We will be aiming to record the history of one of the greatest, but least heralded, of all Manchester beat groups.

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Manchester pop

This 24th October 1981 NME article from The Redskins vaults is rather timely as Thatcher is back in the news and the ConDem Alliance condemn us to widespread job cuts.  The Redskins lead singer Chris Dean (under the name X Moore) describes the 'Right To Work March' from Liverpool to the Tory Conference in Blackpool via Manchester.  It took in several benefit gigs and The Distractions supported by playing in Manchester (10/10/81) and Blackpool (15/10/81).


March for the right to work out of Warrington, through the town centre into the City of Salford, to Manchester Poly for the gig...  A chance to see the first bands on the 'Anger On The Road' Tour. 

A Travolta disco floor (spotlights and grids) hangs from the ceiling and a massive RAR banner with Thatcher painted as a chicken under the slogan 'RUN THATCHER RUN!' is draped behind the stage.  Harlem Spirit slip on for some "Moss Side jazz funk".  'CheckOut The Disco' and 'Love Game' win me over and I have to smile.  "OK, we move you gently into reggae."  Maybe it was the bass beat or maybe the first pint of Tetley's (don't gimme no Moscow Mule!) I'd had in days, but Harlem Spirit were uplifting.  The pint lasted a few seconds but the band keep buzzing and humping as the fluorescent RAR sign burnt on at the back of the hall.

The Distractions were great.  The songs don't matter; the singer swayed and shuffled in bow tie and suit (black) and the music bounced.  While they swing, I talked to Paul, an unemployed chippie from Harrogate...

Tony Cliff addresses the marchers but the RAR crew leave for an early tea and transport to the gig at Blackpool's Squires.  Downstairs in this pub that takes in all the rejects other pubs have turned out, the DJ plays rock 'n' roll...

The Out might as well be playing Brum; they've no presence here.  They play cabaret pop - no pinch.  Only their shiny-pants girlfriends dance.  Neat sound, babe.  Coup de Grace offer no dialogue either.  They are Blackpool (joy) division four - their way is feedback.  Give me The Distractions.  Give me some swing.  Convert me to pop.  The singer, white suit this time, talks back, "It's funny how the Prime Minister and the Queen always have to be protected from their loyal subjects."  Celebrate with Manchester pop.

Read more: www.asminor.info.


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