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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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Friday, November 30, 2012

Time goes by so quickly

There was a fine interview with main Distractions, old and new - Steve Perrin, Mike Finney and Nick Halliwell - on the Blurt site earlier this month.  The lengthy introduction from Dave Steinfeld is a good read in its own right:


TIME GOES BY SO QUICKLY 

The Distractions

[L-R: Perrin, Finney and Halliwell.]

A 30-year layoff hasn't dimmed the Mancunian post-punkers' enthusiasm or talent.

BY DAVE STEINFELD

This past summer, while thumbing through an issue of Uncut one night, I noticed a very short piece about a band called The Distractions.  I had to read it twice to make sure it was the same band I was thinking of and that I wasn't imagining things.  Blessed with an excruciatingly limited discography and no members who went on to big things, The Distractions were obscure even in their native England.  But to a small but rabid group of fans, this Manchester quintet was considered one of the great lost bands of the New Wave era.  As recently as last year, I looked for news about them online and found very little, which led me to wonder whatever happened to the band members.

What a difference a year makes.  This item in Uncut said that a new album by The Distractions was imminent -- more than three decades after the last one!  I was stunned.

For the uninitiated... The Distractions were part of the late '70s post-punk scene in Northern England.  After a few singles and the wonderfully titled EP You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That, the band released their one proper album, Nobody's Perfect, in 1980.  The disc featured 14 songs and covered a broad musical spectrum. "Waiting for Lorraine," the opener, was an angry song about unrequited love in the form of an unreturned phone call, a theme revisited later on the album, literally, in the track "Still it Doesn't Ring."  Other highlights include "Looking for a Ghost," which UK journalist David Quantick once aptly described as "the greatest sleepwalking nightmare ballad ever," and a rocking anthem of independence titled "Untitled."  Most of the tunes on Nobody's Perfect were written by guitarist Steve Perrin, some in collaboration with singer Mike Finney.  But a couple were penned by second guitarist Adrian Wright.  The Distractions were rounded out by a rhythm section that may have had the best names in all of rock history: bassist Pip Nicholls and drummer Alec Sidebottom.

Nobody's Perfect was loved by almost everyone who heard it -- but unfortunately, few people did!  There are various theories as to why The Distractions never made it, ranging from the fact that a little band called U2 was signed by the same label (Island Records) around the same time; to, as another UK journalist, Ian Cranna once wrote, "bands fronted by overweight and bespectacled singers were not the stuff of which legends were made."  Whatever the case, The Distractions weren't long for this world and Nobody's Perfect remains one of the ultimate "cult" albums of the post-punk period.  Ironically, the band's best known song didn't even appear on the album. The wonderful single "Time Goes By So Slow," released in late 1979 by the tastemakers at Factory Records and a popular track on college radio here in the states, was their (relative) moment in the sun, an incredibly sad lyric married to an infectious melody.

Unlike some stories in rock and roll (say, that of The Tourists, an English band who came up around the same time as The Distractions and had very marginal success but whose singer was one Annie Lennox), this tale doesn't have a happy ending -- at least in the sense that the band members did not go on to achieve greater success after their breakup.  None of The Distractions ever became a household name and most of them currently have day jobs.  In this case, the happy ending is simply that three decades and change after Nobody's Perfect, they're still alive and well, and indeed they finally released their sophomore set, The End of the Pier, in late August.

The band's current lineup finds Finney and Perrin joined by Nick Halliwell, Granite Shore guitarist, owner of Occultation Recordings and catalyst for the reunion; bassist Arash Torabi of The June Brides; and drummer Mike Kellie, whose extensive resume includes stints with both The Only Ones and Spooky Tooth.

In contrast to Nobody's Perfect, The End of the Pier, while still a Distractions record, is a more concise, unified album.  There are only 10 songs this time around.  Also unlike Nobody's Perfect, the subject matter of these songs isn't quite as varied.  Throughout The End of the Pier, there's a sense that time is short; indeed, the first line on the album is "We're running out of time."  (Incidentally, Finney sings the hell out of that song, "I Don't Have Time," in a voice that recalls World Party leader Karl Wallinger.)  This theme is echoed in tracks like "Too Late to Change" and "The Last Song" which, appropriately, closes the disc.  Even the title of the album can be taken as a reference to time running out.  These days, it seems, time doesn't go by so slow.

The Distractions celebrated the release of The End of the Pier with exactly two live dates, in the Manchester borough of Salford.  This may seem strange but the fact is, it's miraculous that these dates happened at all.  The band members no longer live in Manchester these days; rather, they're spread throughout England, and Perrin is based in Australia.  So it was no small feat for them to come together for these gigs.  This writer lives in America and wasn't lucky enough to attend either of the Salford dates -- but I was lucky enough to be the one to write about them on these shores, a result of seeing that short piece in Uncut and then tracking the unassuming Mike Finney down online.  For this piece, I spoke with Finney, Perrin and Halliwell, all of whom were great interviews. 

(c) Dave Steinfeld, Blurt.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mancunian sons of pop

Another of the many reviews the new album has received this year.  This one is from AllGigs' Paul Pledger - a long-standing Distractions aficionado - at the FlipSideFlipSide Reviews site:




ALBUM REVIEW: The Distractions - The End of the Pier
CD/vinyl/download - Occultation

Post-punk's long-lost, but not forgotten, bittersweet Mancunian sons of pop herald triumphant return with first album in three decades

9/10



In 1979, The Distractions released a brace of memorably melodic, frenetic, frantic and unforgettable singles, before succeeding in obtaining a deal with Island Records and disappearing under a fug of critical adoration and poor sales.  Haven't we heard and read all of this before?  What makes singer Mike Finney's charges any more special, any more deserving of further praise and review?  In short, they were painfully ahead of the game. 

In the late '70s, being initially signed to indie-labels (or not signed, in the case of Factory) pretty much constituted a requirement to sound rough, ready and rebellious, even still mildly angry with what life dished out after punk.  The Distractions were gloriously detached from such notions - they were pure pop, with a gritty world-weary edge and a penchant for easily-hummed choruses that hid tear-jerking and self-effacement.  Those first few singles illustrate this description - listen to the original TJM version of "It Doesn't Bother Me" or the timeless beauty of their one Factory single, "Time Goes By So Slow" or their cover of Eden Kane's superlative '60s hit, "Boys Cry".  The latter is perhaps something of an unlikely template, a signature tune of sorts and helps to pinpoint just what this band were all about - hopeless romanticism, '50s and '60s pop a la Billy Fury or Buddy Holly and a pre-cursor of Pulp and ex-member Richard Hawley's splendid solo canon.

Time does indeed go so slow - it's been 32 years since a new Distractions album hit the shelves, a time when opening song "Waiting For Lorraine" heralded the beginning of a largely-ignored but priceless debut album.  2012 is an altogether colder era, but there is warmth aplenty heading out of Manchester once again - it's coming courtesy of the follow-up to "Nobody's Perfect", the aforementioned Island album.  Never mind the Dexys, here's the real bollocks.

"The End of the Pier" is the third chapter in the rebirth of the lovelorn outfit and the culmination of a rare batch of recording sessions with Occultation's label-guru and the man behind Granite Shore, Nick Halliwell.  Many of the songs hail from the mid-'90s and are steeped in the trademark fumbling adolescence and bitter adulthood that laced those older recordings.  Recently recorded, assembled and painstakingly given a hug and a kiss in Exeter, via Holmfirth and New Zealand (the key songwriters' chosen residencies these days), "The End of the Pier" is a beguiling cocktail of reflection, hardships and emotive tug-of-wars and a prospect so unlikely a few years back that its very existence should make you want to rush out and buy a copy and give it a good home.

There isn't a duff song on here - from the opening sparkle of "I Don't Have Time" (as opposed to that same time that used to go by so slow), the bottom-lip trembling "Wise" and the comparably jaunty "Girl of the Year", you have three stone-cold classic songs in the making after just ten minutes.  One track that stands out as a single is "Boots", mercifully not espousing the virtues of a nearby chemists but rather a three-minute blast about 'coming back' and 'finding a pair of boots to fill'. 

Finney's voice still sounds fragile, still sounds jaded, heartbroken and utterly woebegone while Perrin can still make the whole thing sound like a trip to the seaside with subtle hooks and riffs, seemingly from another age, yet with one foot in the present.  It's refreshing to hear all the raw nuances left in, rather than being auto-tuned or rejected - this album's strength is its spiky, spunky, sparky attitude, found on songs like "The Summer I Met You", "Boots" and "100 Times".  And then comes "The Last Song".  The fact it's called this already has appreciating admirers of The Distractions reaching for the Kleenex - this could be Finney and Perrin's last song, who knows?  My only grumble is the label couldn't squeeze any of the brilliant six songs that made up the previously-issued Occultation EPs, "Black Velvet" and "Come Home" - "Lost" and "Still It Doesn't Ring" would have fitted in perfectly here.  It's still glorious, with or without this pairing.

"The End of the Pier" is like finding a previously treasured scrap-book in the loft, blowing the dust of the covers, opening the pages once more and finding solace in the inclusions within, only to find photos and memorabilia you'd completely forgotten about.  It's a good feeling.  The same as dropping the needle back to the first track on both this and that debut album all those years ago. 

To buy "End of the Pier", head straight to Occultation here.  

For live shows (and archived reviews), head to Allgigs here or for related Factory gubbins, go to Cerysmatic here.

(c) Paul Pledger, FlipSideFlipSide.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

There'll be more

The second and final part of the interview with Occultation chief and Distractions guitarist-songwriter, Nick Halliwell, by John Clarkson at Penny Black.  The Distractions' reunion is explained and a DVD release is mooted...




Occultation Recordings: Interview With Nick Halliwell 

Author: John Clarkson


PB: Your main release for this year is The Distractions’ second album and first album in thirty-two years, ‘The End of the Pier’.  Apparently you first made contact with Mike Finney after he sent you a thank you email after you published an article about The Distractions online.  How did you go from that to being their label boss, guitarist, co-songwriter with Steve Perrin, producer and presumably the prime instigator in their reformation and comeback?

NH: I’d say "facilitator” rather than “instigator”, Steve was the prime mover behind the direction taken in the songwriting, I just played a supporting role.  It started in late 2009 with me bemoaning the fact that Mike, one of the finest singers this country’s ever produced, had made so few records.  Steve said "stick him in a studio when the label makes you a million” but I suggested doing it straight away.  Steve was living in New Zealand (though he’s now in Australia), so I asked if he’d fancy writing a song or two, but he spoke to Mike then e-mailed back saying “I’ll be in the UK in June,” so I booked a studio and wrote ‘Oil Painting’, though at that point I had no idea it’d be a Distractions record.

Steve’s version of the story is that I thought I was commissioning a Mike Finney solo record but even I’m not that daft.  I hadn’t got as far as thinking what name it might go under, that had to come from them, but ultimately The Distractions is what happens when you put Mike and Steve together so it made perfect sense.  An album was the logical next step and we needed a bassist at short notice.  I’d worked with Arash Torabi on Granite Shore and June Brides records and knew he’d be perfect, then a mutual friend put us in touch with Mike Kellie of the Only Ones who did an amazing job on drums and has become part of the family. 

PB: Ian Henderson, your counterpart at Fishrider Records in New Zealand, has said in an online essay that the critical ingredients for running a small label, even more than money, are time, expertise and passion. Would you agree with him?

NH: Ian and I agree on a lot of things, which is why we work together so well.  Obviously some money’s required, and you need to be prepared not to see it again, otherwise I’d change the order to 1) time 2) passion and 3) expertise – if you have 1) and 2) you can pick 3) up as you go along and if you have enough of 2) people will often offer you 3) anyway.  1) poses the biggest problem, I find.




PB: On the subject of Ian and Fishrider Records, you have recently co-released an album together, the self-titled debut album of New Zealand band Opposite Sex.  You’re also selling some of Fishrider’s other albums through the Occultation website.  You met online after discussing the merits of Scritti Politti’s first EP.  Why did you decide to go into partnership together for this album and will there be other co-releases?

NH: Fishrider have now released Factory Star’s ‘New Sacral’.  We’re making releases by the Puddle and the Shifting Sands available in the Northern Hemisphere with Fishrider doing the same for Occultation material South of the Equator.  There are also plans for a joint label compilation of some kind, though that’s only at the discussion stage so far.  I see this as a key part of our long-term strategy; we may not be huge but, between us, Occultation and Fishrider genuinely do span the whole wide world.

PB: You’re about to release a June Brides record, ‘Between the Moon and the Clouds’, in another collaboration, this time with Slumberland Records.  How did that collaboration come out?  That album includes both tracks from the recent June Brides/Occultation 7”, and various Phil Wilson demos and acoustic tracks.  Do you see it as a rarities compilation and did it take a long time to put together?  Why also has the Granite Shore’s second single ‘Flood of Fortune’ crept onto there? 

NH: We released the June Brides single, ‘Moon / Cloud’ in June (the press release almost wrote itself...) and we always try to do something extra for people who buy directly from the label, so Phil went through his archives and we came up with ‘Between the Moon and the Clouds'.  For now, that’s only available to buy together with the 7" from us or Slumberland. 

‘Flood of Fortune’ is there simply because Phil, Arash and Andy are all on it.  Occultation is a family, so a lot of the same people crop up: The June Brides’ new drummer, Steve Beswick, was in The Wild Swans and played on the first Granite Shore single, The Wild Swans' keyboard player Richard Turvey has engineered Distractions and Factory Star records, Arash plays with The Distractions, a lot of the sleeves use photos by Jim Donnelly and most are laid out by Andy Chambers... We all work together.  I’ve always loved labels where you get that sense of a family.

Slumberland had released Phil’s solo album, ‘God Bless Jim Kennedy’, in the States a couple of years back, so they’re his US label, simple as that.  Phil put me in touch with Mike Schulman who’s a gentleman and everything went very smoothly.  I’m convinced that the only way forward is to work with other like-minded labels; with Fishrider it’s an ongoing, long-term thing, in other cases much more ad hoc, but I’d like to find partners in other countries – if anyone’s out there I speak French, Catalan and Spanish fluently and my Italian’s not too bad so please get in touch.




PB: The Granite Shore have taken something of a back seat over the last two years, and since the release of the ‘Flood of Fortune’ single.  Is this because things with The Distractions and the rest of Occultation have taken off?  Have you got more Granite Shore releases planned for the future?

NH: Oddly enough, the longer the Granite Shore spend in the back seat the higher the profile seems to rise.  Both singles are still selling and we get more e-mails asking when the album’s coming out than about anything else, which is nice for my ego.  Trouble is something else always seems to come along and, with my label hat on, I’m constantly trying to juggle everyone’s interests and it all takes up a lot of time. 

I did a version of Martin Bramah’s ‘When Sleep Won’t Come’ for the B-side of Factory Star’s ‘Lucybel’ single at Christmas but this year I’ve focused on The Distractions and running the label in general, but I hope this’ll prove to have been the right decision as I’ve learned a huge amount from working on all these other records.  I want the Granite Shore album to be a coherent, fully-rounded record, with the packaging as part of the concept from the start, so the whole thing needs thinking out properly and I’m planning to take a bit of time to do that over the next few weeks.  I think I know what the album's about now.  Once it’s all properly written I’ll aim to record it quickly as usual and I’m hoping for contributions from various Occultation family members.

PB: This year has been Occultation’s busiest year.  What other plans have you got for the immediate future?  Have you got more releases planned for the next few months?

NH: Realistically there probably won’t be anything major before Christmas – though you never know, things do come up unexpectedly.  Aside from the Granite Shore album, there’s The Wild Swans reissue, a DVD of the ‘End of the Pier’ shows featuring the Distractions, Factory Star and the June Brides, and that joint Occultation-Fishrider compilation album I mentioned earlier, but these are all still in the early stages.  Occultation is now larger than it was, we’ve got various partners.  Each release is ultimately down to the artist so I’m talking to Paul about The Wild Swans reissue, to Phil about another June Brides record, we’ve just done new Factory Star and Distractions records but there’ll be more from them too, I hope.  

We’re at something of a crossroads.  We were badly let down last year, although I can’t actually discuss what happened for now, it was touch and go for a while but we pulled through and, as you say, 2012's been our busiest year, punching well above our weight with four albums in as many months.  That’s a big investment, a lot of money sitting in boxes dotted around the planet.  Sometimes I wonder how on earth we managed it but it’s largely been by building partnerships with like-minded people and organisations and by everyone involved – artists, partners, the various people who help out behind the scenes – all pulling together.  As Ian says, if you've got the passion and can make the time there’s always a way. 



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

White Dopes


Most compilations featuring The Distractions go for the brilliant but obvious FAC 12, Time Goes By So Slow.  Not 2005's White Dopes On Punk (Castle Music), though.  Compiler, David Wells, went for It Doesn't Bother Me from the debut EP, and it sits alongside the likes of The Damned, Sham 69 and JCC on side one of this fine collection of "50 punk nuggets and new wave rarities":






Back in Manchester, The Distractions, who first formed in 1975 but changed direction after hearing The Buzzcocks, included drummer Alec Sidebottom, who'd joined flower power jugband The Purple Gang (of 'Granny Takes A Trip' fame) as far back as 1969. 





The Distractions possessed a 60s-style Pop approach to songwriting that was evident on the EP You're Not Going Out Dressed like That, which featured the rather splendid 'It Doesn't Bother Me' - subsequently re-recorded and released as a single then the band signed to Island a year later.




7. The Distractions - It Doesn't Bother Me: 2.44
(Finney/Perrin) Island Music
from the EP You're Not Going Out Dressed Like That,
TJM2, released November 1978

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Occultation Interview (part 1)

There is a lengthy interview with Occultation boss and Distractions guitarist and songwriter, Nick Halliwell, by John Clarkson over at Penny Black.  In this first part Nick discusses the label's origins...





Occultation Recordings: Interview With Nick Halliwell 

Author: John Clarkson

Occultation Recordings is an Exeter-based label that puts a strong emphasis on both packaging and, while it also does CD and download editions of most of its releases, particularly vinyl.  It was established by the versatile Nick Halliwell, who as well as running the label, also doubles up as a producer, a musician-for-loan and fronts his own band, The Granite Shore.

Occultation Recordings, which Halliwell first established in 2008, includes on its roster The Wild Swans, whose first album in twenty one years, ‘The Coldest Winter For a Hundred Years’, came out last year; The June Brides whose recent single A January Moon/Clouds was their first in twenty-seven years, and The Distractions whose just released second album, ‘The End of the Pier’, follows on thirty-two years after their debut, ‘Nobody’s Perfect’.

Occultation’s other two main acts are Factory Star and the Granite Shore.  Factory Star is the band of Fall founding member and ex-Blue Orchids front man Martin Bramah, and have released both an album, ‘Enter Castle Perilous’, last year and a six song EP, ‘New Sacral’, this year through Occultation Recordings.  The Granite Shore have now had two releases, a 10” single, Tomorrow Morning 3a.m. in 2009 and a 7” single, Flood of Fortune, in 2010.

Nick Halliwell took time out of his busy schedule to speak to Pennyblackmusic about his label.

PB:  You have become quite well known in music circles over the last three years through Occultation Recordings.  What was your musical background before then?

NH:  I formed my first band in 1978 and have always been involved in one way or another, but I’m not sure I’m that well-known, not outside certain very limited circles, anyway.

PB:  Mick Middles has described you as being “the guitar playing, song writing, uber-enthusiast of great lost bands.”  Alongside being the boss of Occultation Records, you front your own band the Granite Shore; play guitar for The Distractions; have written songs for The June Brides and The Distractions and have also worked as a producer.  What do you see yourself as first-a label boss, a musician, a songwriter or a producer-and then what comes next?

NH:  Mick’s being very kind.  The answer is that if I weren’t a songwriter I wouldn’t do any of the other things.  Steve Perrin (Distractions guitarist and main songwriter-Ed) reckons The Distractions are one of the few bands in the world with a dual-rhythm guitar attack rather than two guitarists fighting over who takes the lead parts because we’re both songwriters who happen to play the guitar, rather than guitarists who also write songs.

If you look at the label’s output, it’s all about the writing in one way or another, although we’ve a range of very different songwriters.  The last four years have brought many rewards, but the moment that’ll stay with me was the first time I heard Mike Finney from The Distractions – one of the all-time great English vocalists – singing Oil Painting; before that I wasn’t even sure I was capable of writing for someone else.  Cloud was written for the Granite Shore, but I didn’t feel it worked.  Phil Wilson from The June Brides put a vocal on trying to persuade me to finish it so I said, “Why don’t we finish your version and put that out?” and I think the June Brides made a better job of it than I would have done.




As far as production goes, I always think that if the material’s strong enough and you’ve got the right people, recording ought to be straightforward.  All the records I’ve produced have been done very quickly, the Factory Star album in three days, the Distractions LP in four, while The June Brides and Granite Shore took a few hours.


PB:  Why did you form Occultation Recordings?  The first two releases on it in March 2009, which were the Wild Swans’ English Electric Lightning and the Granite Shore’s debut Tomorrow Morning, 3 a.m., were both on 10”.  Was it simply to provide a voice to both these acts or were there other factors?


NH:  I started the label in late summer 2008 as I found myself with a bit of money and no real responsibilities.  Paul Simpson had reactivated The Wild Swans, writing the best material of his life, and we’re friends so it made sense to join forces and we planned our initial assault together.  We went way over-budget, but those two insanely ambitious 10" singles set out our stall and we followed them with the Liquid Mercury (Wild Swans-Ed) and Flood of Fortune 7”s, both of which did well.  We’ve been building on that foundation ever since.


PB:  Pretty much all your releases since then have come out on vinyl, with only The Wild Swans’ album, ‘The Coldest Winter For a Hundred Years’, not receiving any sort of vinyl release.  You also make it the primary format for most releases, even with something like ‘The End of the Pier’ which was also given a CD release.  Vinyl is on the rise again, up 28% last year, but still very much a niche market with many even older fans not owning a record player now.  Does it worry you that you are releasing material in such a constricted format and how do you get around that?  Is that one of the reasons why you throw in a CD copy with most of your recent vinyl purchases? 

NH:  I don’t see vinyl as “constricted”, quite the reverse.  The CD’s 1980s technology, and it’s as though The Beatles had been forced to release their records on wax cylinders.  ‘The End Of The Pier’ was recorded at approximately three times the quality a CD can handle, whereas the vinyl’s cut from the original 24/96 masters.  It’s only in the mass market that “convenience” has become king, but the reverse is true in our niche.  Most of our audience tell us they want quality across the board, from recording through to packaging so that’s what we try to give them.


The vinyl + CD thing is an example of listening to our audience.  People told us that, although it’s the vinyl they really want, they like having a CD “for the car”.  A lot of thought goes into our CDs as well.  We use our own format of inner sleeve/outer wallet, and, although that costs a bit more (it’s “non-standard”), people like it.  The CD inner sleeve of ‘The End Of The Pier’ is different to the LP inner but people who buy the LP from us get the CD thrown in anyway.  A great piece of music with a thumbnail on a computer is still a great piece of music, but in a gorgeous, beautifully printed sleeve it’s more: it’s a great artefact.  For instance, ‘The End Of The Pier' is 180g vinyl in a heavy-duty sleeve, and. although the image is black-and-white, we used four-colour printing on the reverse of the board for the matt effect.  The LP inner sleeve has the lyrics plus some visual clues – it all feeds into the record.




For Factory Star’s ‘New Sacral’ we decided on a plain black disco bag for the 10” and the information on the CD outer wallet, then a CD inner which is again plain black... except for one sentence.  All quite deliberate, as it’s about designing the packaging to augment the record.  If you look at our records over the last four years, I hope they all look as though they belong on the same label.


It always bugged me not being able to do ‘Coldest Winter...’ on vinyl, so I’m thrilled there’s a reissue coming next year.  Current thinking is a 2x180g LP deluxe edition and maybe a seriously limited "super deluxe” version if enough people want it.

PB:  Three out of the five bands on your current roster – The Wild Swans, The Distractions and Factory Star – are from the North West and either Liverpool or Manchester.  You don’t, however, live in Manchester, but in Exeter.  Why have you gone for so many Northern acts?  Is that something which happened consciously or unconsciously?

NH:  Initially everyone assumed we were based in Liverpool because of The Wild Swans.  Now they think we’re from Manchester because of Factory Star and The Distractions.  I suppose we’ve probably gained a reputation for "reviving” post-punk bands but that makes it sound very backward-looking which it isn’t.  None of us made many records or had “careers” to revive, and I’d like to think we’re all writing about the here and now and still have something to prove.  I think the answer to your question is that Liverpool and Manchester are two cities with a strong sense of individual identity, but also with strong links not just to the rest of England but to the rest of the British Isles and the world.

I’m very proud so many people think ‘Coldest Winter...’ is the Swans’ best album; similarly reviews of ‘The End of the Pier’ compared it favourably to ‘Nobody’s Perfect (The Distractions' 1980 debut record-Ed), an album let down slightly by its production – though there’s no denying the quality of the songs and performances on it. 




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