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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, August 5, 2012

Romance and melancholy

Here is David Quantick's article in the September issue of Uncut (which may have resulted in the last few tickets for the Friday gig being snapped up - now Saturday night is selling fast):




DAVID QUANTICK

Stop me, 
if you think you've 
heard this one before

THEY WERE ONE of the great Manchester bands, a charismatic singer and a great guitarist, and they left an enormous gap between their t two equally extraordinary albums.  Now they're back, and the fans are delighted.  I am, of course, referring to The Distractions, whose 1979 Factory single "Time Goes By So Slow" is a sad song with a happy tune that even Pete Shelley would kill to write, and whose Island album Nobody's Perfect is so wonderful that it may have failed to be a worldwide hit only because Island signed U2 on the same day and saw which way the wallet was falling.

Now they're back, with vocalist Mike Finney - post-punk's greatest soul singer - and guitarist Steve Perrin, the missing link between David Byrne and Johnny Marr, and some live dates (not quite Heaton Park; King's Arms, Salford, August 31 and September 1).  I'll be there, shouting and weeping with many other middle-aged fans of romance and melancholy.  It's not just nostalgia to go and see The Distractions because they've got a new album out, The End Of The Pier, only 32 years after the last one.

But what if they hadn't?  What if The Distractions were just another old-man new-wave band, touring minor hit singles from 1978 while the hacks at the bar say, "Of course, they lost it when the drummer joined Hambi & The Dance"?  I've spent a lot of time mocking people for going to reunion shows lately, keeping quiet about the Buzzcocks and Magazine gigs I've recently seen, and I'm aware I'm guilty of being ever so slightly massively two-faced.

I don't know.  I still play records I loved in 1979 and 1986, and I'd still love to see the groups who made them because gigs are different to records.  I'd rather see bands with new records out, but I've loved the Paul McCartney and Sex Pistols shows I've seen (not alas together).  Come on!  It's not too late!).

Nostalgia for an age yet to come," Pete Shelley rang, in 1978.  He wasn't to know that the age yet to come would itself be modern nostalgia.  These days we live in a world that's not so much back to the future as forward to the past.  Punk is to us is what World War II was to our parents. Which makes me, I suppose, Corporal Jones.  And they still don't like it up 'em.

DAVID QUANTICK, Uncut, 2012.

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