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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, May 19, 2013

Great lost band of Manchester

More excerpts from Mick Middles' essential Factory: The Story of the Record Label, and a rare poster advert for the first post-Factory single (from a February 1980 issue of Sounds):


(c) zocardo at ebay.


The great lost bands of Manchester, beautiful in their pomp... The Distractions, Section 25, Northside, even A Certain Ratio.  Factory bands of distinction; Factory bands unable to achieve much beyond a cult status. These were the great eclectic acts that were the heart of the record label.


[Tony Wilson is en route to a New Order gig in the US...]

Wilson's mind flashed instantly to that day, in 1979, when had had driven Ian Curtis down to London's Nashville Rooms, only to swell with pride as they discovered Joy Division's first real out-of-Manchester queue.  On the San Diego freeway that night, the feeling was almost as good.  A touch of sadness would creep in, also, not just because the jam had triggered memories of a simpler, fresher, more exuberant, more naive, more optimistic Factory Records.  That feeling had surfaced, temporarily, that afternoon, as they argued in the hotel bar.  But it was only temporary.  Wilson glanced around the members of the band - lost really, cynical now, famous, rich, but so happy to reach the end of the tour.  And Rob, recovering but not quite the Rob of old.  Something had changed.  It wasn't just to do with success and money, either.  It was merely the passing of time.  This gig, thought Wilson, would be fun... but it wouldn't be that much fun.  It wouldn't be Joy Division and The Distractions carving up a fuss on a fag-burnt carpet in London, or giggling schoolishly over large turds at the Leigh Festival, or hitting out at Sounds journalist Dave McCullough in the Wellington pub two hours before the Stuff the Superstars event... He could glance around at the traffic jam around him and feel the rush of pride.  But he couldn't deny it - something had changed.  The magic had faded.


(c) Mick Middles (2009). 
Virgin Books: London.

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