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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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Friday, January 7, 2011

Registered historical artefacts

A few random but fascinating artefacts spanning 6 distracting years.  The first is this cartoon of The Distractions' bassist, Pip Nicholls, on the front cover of the October 1978, first issue of the City Fun, the famous Manchester music fanzine.  This was published in Joan Bimson's fascinating account of punk fanzines, Hard Wired for Heroes: A Study of Punk Fanzines, Fandom, and the Historical Antecedents of The Punk Movement [1].  This issue of City Fun also contained an in -depth feature on The Distractions which would have made interesting reading around the time that the debut EP was released:

(c) Joan Bimson [2].

"Like contemporary fanzines this issue focussed on music and features a Manchester band called The Distractions.  The front cover is an illustration by one of the regular City Fun contributors – known only as J.C. – of the band’s bassist. Instead of a face, the figure has a question mark.  There was no mystery about the bassist’s identity; her name was Pip Nicholls.  City Fun writer Liz Naylor suggests that the question mark in place of her face could be a reference to her androgynous appearance but she is not entirely sure as editorial decisions were occasionally unilateral [1]."

This mural behind The Distractions was on Oxford Road near the university in All Saints, Manchester.  The scan posted by dubwise-er on the Manchester District Music Archive is from a 'City By City' article in the Melody Maker, 28th February 1981:

(c) dubwise-er at MDMA [3].

This is a flyer for a 1st Circle gig at the International 1 in 1984, posted by Rooster at the Manchester District Music Archive.  Look closely as you'll see it features none other than Alex Sidebottom (third left), Mike Finney (second right) and Julie Middles (right; yes, the very same as alluded to in Mick Middles' recent article).

(c) Rooster at MDMA [4].

"Here's a flyer from what could be First Circle's first headline gig, after a few test gigs at pubs in Didsbury and Stockport and positive reviews in City Fun and the NME.  In this flyer First Circle are from left to right; Don Durham, Mark Coley, Alec Sidebottom, Paul Rosenfeld, Mike Finney and Julie Middles.  The picture was taken from a photo shoot for the NME by Kevin Cummins in the grounds of a now abandoned church on Wellington Road North between Stockport and Heaton Moor.  Mike Finney had come from The Distractions and both he and Julie had subsequently been with The Secret Seven.  Don, Mark, Alec and Paul were formerly with Dr Filth [4]."

1. www.joanbimson.co.uk/Hard_Wired.pdf.
2. www.joanbimson.co.uk/Fanzine_images.pdf
3. www.mdmarchive.co.uk/archive/showartefact.php?aid=6491&bid=290
4. http://mdmarchive.co.uk/archive/showartefact.php?aid=7014.


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